Hi everyone thanks for joining me on the Green Keeping Blog.

As I mentioned in my last post Craig Parry and I joined the green keeping team at Castle Stuart to help out at the Scottish Open at the beginning of the month. Volunteering for tournaments held on other golf courses is part of our development plans here at The Duke’s as it allows us to experience other top courses.

Before the tournament began- and the rain set in- Craig had a chance to explore some of the other courses in the area including Royal Dornoch, Skibo Castle, Tain, Fortrose, Nairn and Moray golf club. His task through out the tournament was to assist with the preparation of the course and mow the greens.

I arrived on the Wednesday evening ready for the first day of play on the Thursday. I was prepared for the 4am start (or so I thought) as I strolled in at 3.40am only to discover I was one of the last to arrive! This earned me the title “Goldenboy” due to my last minute arrival on site and also as I was privileged with the task of stimping the greens to asses the speed!  All plans changed on Saturday when the heavens opened. We all joined together to work on making the course playable again.

As you can see from the pictures the course was in fantastic condition with all the players praising the new venue. Everything was going exactly to plan until Friday evening when a thunder and lightning storm forced play to be suspended. 98mm of rain fell between 3am and 5pm. This unfortunately caused a huge amount of damage including two landslides which I am sure everyone would have seen from the TV coverage. As the entire team soldiered on, working our way round the course to make the course playable, the players eventually ventured out at 7pm to try completing the second round. Only half an hour later, despite our best efforts, surface water on one hole meant that play was abandoned and the players had to head back to the clubhouse.

After two days of back breaking work repairing bunkers, fixing washouts, landslides and pumping water, the tournament was shortened to 54 holes. Play resumed on Sunday morning allowing the golfers to complete the second and third round.  Once the tournament was over I was amazed to see that the greens appeared to be unflustered by the rain with only a small portion of the 8th green struggling to cope with the surface water. Normally the greens for a tournament will flood quickly due to the intensive mowing and rolling “sealing the surface” which would usually stop the natural drainage.

A huge thanks to Course Manager Chris Haspell for allowing us to be part of his team for the week, although it was a much tougher week than we had anticipated it was certainly a worthwhile experience.

Back at The Duke’s our PGA Professional Ayden has just posted his latest golf lesson on YouTube. This week he explains how we can correct our leg position in a bid to create the perfect set up. Don’t forget to have a look…you never know you might just discover that it’s the one thing holding you back from the perfect swing!

Take care

Derek