Friday 31st December 2010

With the festive holidays on going it was a skeleton staff of 7 for all three courses yesterday, with only the Buddon opening for 9 holes due to waterlogged fairways on the other two courses.

We managed a bit of turfing in the rough at the 14th carry.

Today, no frost and the most of the water that was on the fairways has disappeared.

All three courses now open.

Jobs on today: bunkers raked, holes changed, boxes moved, dog bins emptied and water pumped from areas where water was still lying.

All The Best For 2011


24th December 2010

A quick catch up as there was no entry in the blog last week.

At the start of the week the snow started to shift with a slow thaw.

The course re opened with only a few holes being unplayable. For the greenstaff the ground still was nt workable so it Health and Safety talks and more gorse management.

The golf bag getting stocked up for next year with pro vs!!

At the tail end of last week we managed to get into the job at the 11th fairway, with the semi rough on both sides being returfed.

A great effort by the guys.

The one that did nt get away.

The builders from the new pro centre borrowed the Toro shed to help them get on during the cold spell.

Back to this week, more snow arrived at the weekend so it was back to gorse management, clearing snow/salting roads and Health and Safety talks.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Friday 10th December - Links Report

Very cold during the week

Roads were top-dressed(yes top-dressed) with sand to make them safe

Jobs this week were again gorse management due to the snow and helping Barry in the paint shop

We try to keep gorse from growing tall, leggy and ugly by cutting low down (8-10 inches) to encourage re-generation

Today the thaw was on with higher temperatures due over the weekend.



November was a pretty typical month until the last week when an unusually cold snap took hold. Noon temperatures barely got above freezing from Thursday 25th until the end of the month while spells of snow with night frosts meant that the courses were closed over this period. A westerly airflow dominated for much of the month until northerlies set in from the 20th. Average noon temperature was 6○C and total rainfall measured 100 mm.


Championship Course

11th Hole

Winter works commenced with the raising of the flood prone area on the left side of the fairway just short of the 11th approach. A layer of silty soil was removed before sand upfill followed by a covering of root zone. The turf was re-laid and rolled. Work continued on this hole with turf removal and set aside in the landing area between the four fairway bunkers. Meanwhile the four bunkers were rebuilt and raised appropriately to allow an increase in the floor height of at least one foot. Existing Tay sand in the bunkers was removed and stored for future return while the build up in levels was achieved with our own stock of “dune” sand. Following rotavation, the existing root zone material was stockpiled at the perimeter of the working area and sand was driven in to raise the area to suit new bunker levels. The infill was shaped and firmed prior to root zone replacement. Some turf was re-laid prior to the snows towards the end of the month.

Winter Circuit

The winter circuit was set up at the beginning of the month, with post and string placed as required and winter tee boxes, ball washers and hole tins installed.


Mowing was limited during November as usual although tees and greens were “topped” in the first half of the month. Greens were rolled on two or three occasions especially following verti draining.


Greens were verti drained using 8 mm diameter pencil tines during the closure period. Walkways were similarly aerated with larger tines.

Bunker Revetments

Bunker revetments during the month included:-

4 on the 11th hole
3 on the 10th hole
1 on the 14th hole
2 on the 1st hole
2 on the 15th hole
2 on the 4th hole

Certain bunker faces were covered with fleece grow covers.

Total Weedkiller

Total weedkiller (glyphosate) was applied to the bunker head area at the right hand side of the 14th hole and the sea lyme patches to the right and rear of the 16th green as a further trial to assess results.

Top Dressing

Remaining fairways were top dressed when suitable conditions prevailed followed by the usual brushing in.


A preventative fungicide was applied to greens in the second half of the month.

Bunker Maintenance

Bunker sand was shaped as required during the month.

Turf Repairs

Divot scars were plugged on the 8th and 13th tees while turf repairs were carried out to bridge crossing ends and certain parts of walkways as required. Turf was stripped from the right hand bank at the 5th green and reshaping commenced before the snows at the end of the month.

Tea Hut Surrounds

The low mounding and existing trees were removed from the west side of the Tea Hut in preparation for the new construction. Underground services were identified for the builder whilst they, Land and Building, demolished and removed the existing building. The slabs on the east side of the building were lifted and stored for future use. Three birch trees were transplanted in the poor area of rough to the left of the 10th hole while three alders were planted to the left of the 10th tee.


Miscellaneous jobs carried out in November included screening sand, repositioning certain granite tee yardage stones for improved alignment and safety, ditch clearance and at the end of the month snow clearance and salting on access roads.

Burnside Course

Wetting Agent

The monthly wetting agent application of “Revolution” was carried out at the beginning of the month.


Greens, tees, fairways and walkways were all slit tined during the month. Greens and approaches were verti drained during the course closure using 8 mm tines. The 3rd / 4th fairways were verti drained using larger tines. Greens and approaches were rolled following aeration.

Bunker Revetments

Three bunker revetments were carried out during November. Two on the 12th approach and one to the left of the 16th green which remains incomplete.


Greens and teeing grounds were mown following aeration.

Minor Turf Repairs

Small repairs focused on plugging outstanding divot scars on winter green areas, particularly on the 8th back tee.

13th Fairway Project

Following turf removal over the relevant section of this fairway, silty soil was removed down to the base sand and transported to the rear of the 15th tee. Previously salvaged sand along with material from Cotside Quarry was driven to the area to raise levels accordingly. The deepest infill of over two feet was to the extreme right side of the area to marry into the existing bank. The area was shaped to form appropriate contouring and a 2” – 3” layer of root zone mix spread over and suitably firmed. The irrigation pipework and sprinklers in the area were raised to suit the new levels. A fescue turf mixture was then laid but the onset of wintry weather prevented the completion of the work.

Buddon Links Course

Bunker Revetments

Bunker revetments during the month included:-

1 right hand side 10th green
1 left hand side 13th green
1 right hand side 8th green
1 left hand side 14th green
1 left hand side 15th green


Greens and approaches, teeing grounds and fairways were all either solid or slit tined during November.


Greens and approaches were brushed and cut in the middle of the month.

10th and 13th Greenside Bunkers

Turf was removed around the trio of bunkers at this former double green. The central bunker of the three was infilled as arranged and the two remaining were reduced in size and faces revetted accordingly. The central area was shaped with sand infill to form a contoured swale which is still to be completed due to the wintry weather.

11th Hole Alterations

Work continued with the 11th hole alterations. The area surrounding the new frontal bunkering arrangement was shaped as was the infilled rear bunker into a swaled green run-off. The rearmost area next to the gorse was stripped and turned over and awaits shaping. The ground around the two fairway bunkers was shaped but also awaits completion prior to turfing over.

Environmental Work

Environmental work included gorse cutting and chipping on all three courses, concentrated during the cold snap at the end of the month. Gorse work was carried out on the 8th, 9th, 11th and 12th holes on the Championship Course; the 7th hole on the Burnside Course; and the 6th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 17th holes on the Buddon Course. Fallen trees were cut up and removed within the 6th, 7th and 16th triangle on the Burnside as well as windblown trees on the 6th, 14th and 15th holes on the Buddon Course. The area of course waste (i.e. turf etc) at the west end of the Links was tidied up during the month.

Staff Training

Six staff members received digger, forklift and / or tractor training towards the end of the month.

John S Philp
Links Superintendent


Wednesday 8th December

History lesson

Part 2

Burnside Course

From the surplus proceeds of the 1892 bazaar, which enabled the purchase of the golfing ground from The Earl of Dalhousie, an “auxiliary” 9-hole course was constructed on the vacant ground (rabbit warren) to the north of the 18-hole course to Bob Simpson’s specifications.

Within 2 years, following the rapid increase in the countrywide passion for golf, the local councillors called in Old Tom Morris for advice as to how 2 18-hole courses could be fitted into the ground available.

Old Tom visited in the summer of 1894 and supplied a plan to meet the requirement. However after much deliberation it was concluded that the plan required so many new greens and would cause so much disruption that the course may take years to reach the standard of the existing one. Instead Morris and Simpson were instructed to proceed with a more limited alteration to relieve pressure on the 18-hole course by strengthening the outward half making it especially daunting for casual players while making the 9-hole course much more convenient for them. The subsequent changes were to be the last in which Bob Simpson took part.

By the summer of 1901 rounds on the 18-hole course were booked practically throughout daylight hours. Much time was spent again on proposals to form 2 18-hole courses by converting some existing greens into double ones and bringing “relief” greens into full-time use. Schemes were terminated firstly by the change in administration on the establishment of the Committee of Management and secondly by the fact that additional ground to the east of the “dyke” became available. Early in 1902 the cottages and garden ground (3.75 acres), properly called “Burnside” but by then known locally as “South America” came on the market. The Committee of Management acquired the land at a price of £500.

Some years would pass after 1902 before golf could be played on “South America” and in the meantime the rough ground was levelled with the introduction of hundreds of tons of top-soil. Much of the wasteland in the extreme southwest corner of The Links was cleared (current 7th and 8th Championship).

In 1910, following lengthy negotiations the 9 acre Ravensby carrot field (2nd and 4th holes Burnside) was finally purchased, at last providing sufficient ground for a worthwhile
18-hole second circuit. Various proposals were submitted before The Golf Course committee decided in 1911 to approve a plan drawn-up by J.P. Bruce, a Dundee architect and Caledonia Golf Club official. Willie Park Junior, Open Champion 1887 and 1889, was commissioned to plan the bunkering of both courses and he looked over the locations at the end of January 1912, immediately conspicuous elements in the Bruce plan were the transfer of “South America” and the “Dyke” hole to the “Supplementary” course, previously known as the “Duffers” course and subsequently the “New” course. There were also several poor new holes around Jockie’s ditch and the valley (no.2 Championship). Prolonged drought during the summer and autumn of 1913 caused the inception of the new holes to be repeatedly deferred, and the altered courses were not finally opened for play until April 1914.

Early in 1915 it was decided that “South America” must be restored to the premier circuit and a further recasting was completed by that April.

During the 1932-33 winter the “New” course was lengthened and reconstructed to form largely what we know today.

At the beginning of the 1935 season the courses were formally re-named – Medal & Burnside, in place of Old & New.

Some bunker alterations have been carried out in modern times, whilst the 13th green (mid 1990’s) and the 5th green (2004) have been re-built in house. Total bunkers currently on the course number 45.

Buddon Links

Carnoustie’s third course was constructed on land purchased by Angus County Council from The Ministry of Defence in 1977 (hence the hole names reflecting battles mostly from the 2 world wars).

The layout follows the perimeter of the Championship Course and is therefore the most remote from the maintenance facility and the golfing hub of the town. The course was designed by Alliss/Thomas Design, and I suspect constructed to a budget, before opening in April 1981.

The course was generally perceived to be too long and difficult having penal rough and small awkward greens and consequently unpopular with local golfers and visitors alike. The Links Management Committee (formed in 1980 by popular request to manage the courses) policy was therefore to shorten the course and make it more amenable for play, especially for junior and senior golfers as well as beginners. A greens reconstruction and enlarging programme was agreed along with teeing grounds and necessary re-bunkering. The initial layout required alteration anyway due to the location of the 18th hole, across part of the bay, contravening long standing bye-laws in an area of public recreation.

The shortening of the course was achieved by splitting 3 par 5 holes into 3 par 4’s and 3 par 3’s whilst returning the 18th to public recreation and incorporating what were the 2 most remote holes, the 8th and 9th into the practice facility and turf nursery.

The first par 5 to be split with the creation of 2 new greens teeing grounds and bunkering was the 600 yard 14th hole allowing the removal of the contested 18th. This was followed by the splitting of the par 5 5th and 10th holes to permit the removal of the original 8th and 9th. The re-vamp of the course over an approximate ten year period 1986-96 encompassed the rebuilding and some necessary re-sitting of 17 greens (including the practice green on the site of the former 9th) along with all teeing ground reconstruction and additions as well as re-bunkering the course.

The only original 1981 greens and bunkering remaining are the 1st and 18th (former 17th), all of the re-design and re-construction was done in-house.

Over the subsequent years we have been able to increase course maintenance procedures and the course has steadily gained in acceptance and popularity especially in recent years as course playing quality has improved dramatically from early years. Following the success of the course work and presentation allied to the potential for development, consideration is being given to creating a more challenging “second” course to the Championship with similar standards of turf performance and presentation.

With the current course consisting of seven par 3’s and only one par 5 and The Burnside Course having serious limitation for extension that appears to be a most worthwhile ambition for The Buddon Course and the overall future golfing facilities provision at Carnoustie Links, matching the progression in the game generally.


Monday 6th December

Still snow on the course, here is a bit of history for bedtime reading!!

Part 1

Championship Course

Although golf somewhere on “Barry Links” goes back to the 15th century there is no record of a formal layout until the early 19th century when a 5-hole course starting near the Station Road railway crossing was known to be in existence. The holes followed the coast line with a 2nd green in the vicinity of the present 18th, the 3rd at the cup (now the 1st), the 4th in the valley (today’s 2nd) and a 5th farther south on the same line. Players at that time then played homeward to the same holes!

Sometime in the 1840’s the 5-hole course was developed initially to 7 by Allan Robertson, the world’s first golf professional, from St Andrews. The first 4 were played as previously, then a 5th near to the present 3rd, a 6th in the vicinity of today’s 16th and a 7th in the area of the present Burnside car-park. Robertson carried out further work in the 1850’s with the 1st starting near the present 1st tee, the cup, formerly the 3rd hole, followed by the valley (former 4th) and then Jockies’ Ditch (former 5th), a new green was introduced (approximately where the 4th is now ), turning northwards for the 5th which subsequently gained the title of the “grog” hole. The 6th was then played eastwards to a green closer to the “battery” than the present 16th which had the name of the “tickets” as notices were set up nearby warning of the penalties for allowing dogs on to Lord Dalhousie’s rabbit warrens to the south! This green had the best turf in Carnoustie in the late 1850’s and was occasionally used for bowling matches. The 7th was played as before (“Sma’ Burn”). Narrow clearances were made through thick gorse to reach the 8th (westwards) and 9th (eastwards) to a green just over the “Sma’ Burn” and adjacent to the 7th. These holes were known as the “whin” holes. The 10th and final hole was then played crossing the line of the 7th and the burn twice to a site near the present 18th green. The two original holes from Station Road were retained for some years as practice holes.

George Morris, Tom’s brother, carried out some changes in the early 1860’s as curator of The Links which involved placing the 1st tee opposite Ferrier Street; taking in new ground for a green a little north of the present 6th and temporarily increasing the number of holes to 12.

Old Tom Morris was called upon by the Dalhousie Golf Club in 1872 to recommend alterations to relieve congestion and extend the course to 18 holes by continuing his brother’s extension of the course west and north-west to the turf dyke (present 11th hole).

The first 18-hole course, opened in 1873, was very short with eleven holes under 300yds and 3 under 200!

The 9th and 10th were made much more demanding when in 1879 a new 9th green was formed on the far side of the dyke, some 200yds beyond it’s predecessor.

The card of the Morris Course was as follows

1. Battery 367 -----10. Return 273

2. Cup 261 -----11. Grog 348

3. Gulley 264 -----12. South Burn 224

4. Ditch 252 -----13. Pot 212

5. Bowling Green 308 -----14. Carrot 316

6. South 256 -----15. Mid Burn 144

7. Cross 248 -----16. Factory 198

8. Westward Ho! 233 -----17. North Burn 184

9. Dyke 202 ----18. Home 275

2391 yrds out 2174 yrds in

4565 yrds

Course improvements continued, led by Bob Simpson, and lasted some 2 years (1886-88). Bunker sizes were reduced and the 8th hole carried about 100yds westward. Additional ground, the site of today’s 6th, 7th and 8th holes had been made fit for play. The 1st tee in front of the Dalhousie Clubhouse was moved westwards to allow room for the local cricketers!

Bob Simpson’s revised course (1888) was as follows

1. Battery 284-----10. Dyke 240

2. Cup 225 -----11. Eastward Ho! 367

3. Valley 353 -----12. Cross 225

4. Ditch (Saucer) 293 -----13. Bowling Green 217

5. Target 380 -----14. Flagstaff 360

6. South 277 -----15. Burn (or Roller) 330

7. Westward Ho! 433 -----16. Factory 383

8. Short 260 -----17. Whin 260

9. Railway 457 -----18. Home 273

2962 yrds out 2655 yrds in

5617 yrds

Further changes took place until in 1898 the overall length of the course had been extended to 6082yds.

In the early years of the twentieth century further developments took place which included in 1908 the first inclusion of a “South America” hole, then the 7th. In 1905 the “Spectacles” was converted into double green which at that time involved the 10th (eastwards, and 13th westwards, holes).

In 1914, with the opening of the 18 hole supplementary course, the altered courses measure 6227 and 5151yds respectfully, although early in 1915 “South America” was restored to the premier circuit and a separate green was provided for the 14th (today’s 15th) which was shared at that time with the 1st.

Aspirations to bring championship golf to Carnoustie were renewed in the mid 1920’s.
In 1926 James Braid inspected the courses with The Golf Course Committee with a view to provide a top class competitive circuit. Braid felt that The Open was played over worse venues and that no alteration to the line of play was envisaged. By far the most important part of his remit was to address the courses bunkering to prohibit erratic long driving. In mid January 1927 course contractor J.R. Stutt from Paisley re-cast the approaches. Some 60 new bunkers appeared and older ones removed and some new tees were constructed.
Predominating during James Wright’s tenure as chairman of The Golf Course Committee (from 1926-1937) was the removal of bunkers left over from superseded courses. By the 1932 season scarcely a bunker within 180yds of any championship tee remained.

Following the 1930 Scottish Amateur Championship at Carnoustie the R & A divulged that Carnoustie would join The Open roll the following year. The Golf Course Committee replied to grumbles about the undemanding final 3 holes by adopting suggestions for further enhancements which Braid had submitted in 1926. At the time the 1930-31 works began, the course measurement was 6680yds. To provide space for more sizeable 17th and 18th holes a new short 13th was created from an old 8th tee across the back of the 12th green. The then 16th was lengthened by setting the tee farther east and clearing a way through whins to what was the 17th green on the “new” course, enlarging that green and plotting the necessary bunkers. At the end of August the new 13th green was turfed and a month later the additional turf at the 17th had been laid. The removal of the short 17th allowed a notable lengthening of the 18th whilst the short par 4 15th became a long par 3 16th with a new tee position.

These changes established the course we have today although a number of new championship tees have been introduced along with further bunkering and landscape adjustments to keep pace with modern developments in the game. In more recent times some greens have been re-modelled (3, 6, 8, 11 and 18) and the 3rd hole has been

The length of the Championship Course from what is locally known as The Hogan tees is currently 7431yds.


Friday 3rd December

The snow does nt seem to want to shift.

even though the sun was out first thing it was very cold,

-6 first thing.

More gorse being taken away to the chipper.

Stumps removed where we dont want gorse to grow anymore.


Thursday 2nd December

Snow all around this week.

Jobs this week were keeping the course roads clear of snow

and gorse maintenance.

more snow predicted before the big freeze.