28 October 2021
With a heritage stretching back over 150 years, the picturesque course at Stirling Golf Club is well known, not only throughout Central Scotland, but to golfers across the globe. With the last major course improvements made as long ago as 1967 (under the watchful eye of Sir Henry Cotton) the club appointed Northern Irishman, James Lindsay, as course manager in 2012, with his team subsequently implementing a series of changes to bring the course up to date with the modern game.
“In addition to ensuring the existing playing surfaces remain in the best possible condition 365 days a year, my main remit over the last eight years has been to bring the course up to modern standards so that it meets the expectations of our members and international visitors,” James explains.
“We recently worked with Swan Golf Designs to audit the design and layout of each individual hole and to appraise the feel and flow of the course as a whole. As a result, we’ve rebuilt all the bunkers and relocated several to improve the passage of play and we’re currently in the process of remodelling and relocating a number of tees to make the course more challenging for experienced players and to make the most of the space we’ve got available.”
Two tees will be rebuilt over the course of each forthcoming winter, with a fescue and ryegrass turf used to shorten the growing-in period. The new tees will subsequently be repaired and overseeded using the same renovation mixture that’s currently in use: “I’ve tried various tee blends over the last eight years,” James describes, “and have settled on a bespoke version of Germinal’s A10 Golf Tees and Divot Repairs mixture.
“We’ve used the custom version of A10 as a renovation and repair mixture for the last couple of years and I’m delighted with the way it blends in with the surrounding swards. It’s got great natural colour and good disease resistance, but, from a practical point of view, it’s the density and wear tolerance that its mixture of fescues, browntop bents and ryegrasses provides which makes maintaining the tees so much easier and enables us to play off grass tees all year round.”
James also uses a Germinal seed mixture to overseed the Stirling course’s greens: “I’ve been using AberMajesty (historically a 50:50 blend of two UK bred browntop bentgrasses) for the last five years and it has always produced fabulous results,” James describes. “It works perfectly in our northern climate and we know that as long as we put the seed in the ground properly, we’ll get excellent germination rates and rapid establishment.
By James’ own admission, he’s switched to ForeFront Greens largely on the basis of feedback from other Scottish greenkeepers: “I’ve been a relatively late adopter of creeping bentgrasses because I was initially quite sceptical about how they’d perform under our traditional maintenance and input regime. Creeping bents have historically had a reputation for requiring much more intensive management, but I’d heard good reports from other greenkeepers which gave me the confidence to try 007 on our greens as well.”