Course Update

Over the last 2 weeks the weather has been fantastic and the course is starting to take shape nicely. Last week saw the team carrying out several operations, to continue building towards quality putting surfaces. We were able to verti-cut, cut, top dress, brush and roll.

The application of small amounts of sand, at more regular intervals, during the season will play a big part in better greens performance throughout the year. The more sand we integrate into the surfaces, the better the greens will receive a ball being pitched in. Integrated sand also helps to breakdown organic matter which will further improve greens performance.

At the beginning of last week we also changed the way that we cut the semi rough, previously both the fairways and semi were striped, which reduces definition between the two heights. When standing on the tee box it should be clear what is the intended target and what is semi rough. With the new 9 holes still relatively young and generally lacking defining features such as established gorse bushes or mature trees like the old 9, cutting the semi half and half will frame the striped fairways, creating more definition. The photos on the website show that during the summer the fairways are a real feature of the course and using the semi to frame them will further enhance this. It may take a little time to really pop but the picture below is what we are aiming for.

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Moor Allerton Golf Club’s 23rd hole.

Competition Time 

One of the perks of getting up early and working out on the course is seeing all the wildlife that make our course their home. It is something that I will continually look to increase over the years and any sightings of wildlife,  I am always happy to hear about.

A friend of mine Chris Espiner from Ponteland GC donated 6 bird boxes which last week I installed out on the course. To help create awareness of the boxes and any activity, I thought we could have a little competition.

The first member that personally tells me the location of all 6 bird boxes on the course I will put £20 behind the bar for them to enjoy a few drinks.

Good Luck and hopefully we will see them being used shortly.

This week has seen the fabulous weather with little to no rain continue, meaning that the greens have been placed under heat stress. The lack of cloud cover has meant the sun was out in full force evaporating moisture from the ground. This weather has highlighted that we lack of a fully functional irrigation system. This has meant that this week we have been maintaining the greens for health instead of performance. We have reduced the use of the greens iron, sarel spiked and applied a spray consisting of wetting agent and seaweed.

In spite of our efforts greens 16 and 18 have been overly dry resulting in a drop in performance, however on Friday I managed to get a system in place that allows us to hand water the greens. Since hand watering on Friday, Saturday and Sunday the greens health has bounced back. With the weather set to continue, drought and heat stress management will be paramount but a very welcome challenge.

The recent weather has allowed an insight as to how firm the greens will become during the summer, making them difficult to stop a ball on. Actions we will be taking to help alleviate this problem are to firstly start a wetting agent program on the greens. This means applying wetting agent on a monthly basis, so that it is continually working towards maintaining a consistent moisture level within the upper subsurface. When moisture is in short supply the wetting agent retains it, and when moisture is in abundance it aids in the movement down through the subsurface. A more consistent moisture level means more consistent performance and a more consistent bounce.

Secondly we will continue to apply small amounts of sand topdressing during the season and then a larger amount down aeration holes at the seasons close. We use a United States Golf Association (USGA) approved topdressing that has been tested for infiltration rates, particle size and compaction so that it performs perfectly for the use in golf greens. Having this top dressing integrated into our greens will further improve the performance.

Lastly the control of organic matter is very important, as during the summer it drys out becoming hydrophobic, repelling water and creating a firm layer that decreases chances of stopping the ball on the green. We will continue to manage organic matter by monitoring the amounts of fertiliser we apply, top dressing, verti-cutting and aerating during the season and hollow coring in the Autumn.


Moving Forward

Since my last post we have had a full array of weather conditions; sleet, hail, frost, snow and finally this week blazing sunshine. Fortunately now, with a little trepidation I think we can say we are about to get some decent growing condition.

I would like to say a big congratulations to Billy Brown for his successful Captain’s day and wish him the best of luck in this coming year. I enjoyed briefly attending the night time whilst ensuring I missed the karaoke! It was good to witness both the atmosphere and a great feeling of togetherness in club spirit proving that Alnwick castle GC is both a welcoming and enjoyable place to be. Moving forward this will stand us in fantastic stead for the growth of the club.

I would also like to say a massive thank you to Billy for the help he has given me since I joined the Alnwick team, today was his final day before he leaves us to enjoy his retirement. It didn’t take me long to realise that Billy lives and breathes Alnwick Castle GC and over his 8 years has been a fantastic assets to the club. I have no doubt that with his dedication and passion  whatever he turns his hands to next will be all the better for it.

Best of luck Billy and enjoy!


Out on the Course 

There have been some slight amendments to the course over the last few weeks firstly on the 6th approach removing the semi rough between the 2 bunkers and reinstating the approach height of cut to reward good play.

The long rough between holes 10 and 11 has been cut into 3 separate islands to speed up the search for lost balls and also creating path ways to either hole.

Next week will see the movement of the 16th fairway to create a slight dogleg to the left, this is to aim play away from oncoming blind shots up the 3rd. This is both practical for health and safety reasons but also a little more rewarding as the lay of the land promotes ball roll to the right. This may take a little time to establish normal fairway standards of play and your patience during this time will be greatly received.

I am delighted to say that the greens iron we have had on demo last week has now been purchased along with an extra cut brush attachment for the greens mower. It has been fantastic receiving positive feedback on greens performance since using the greens iron and this is a solid investment. Using the extra cut brush in conjunction with the greens iron will further boost greens performance. The brush stands up and presents grass blades for the mower to achieve a more uniformed and higher quality of cut, following this operation with the greens iron them smoothes the surface creating speed and quality of ball roll.

I feel this investment was essential to increase greens performance and to help produce a better course. I will certainly make the most of it and I am delighted we are all working towards the same objectives.


Whilst feedback has been great for the course recently I feel there is still an issue with consistency of performance from morning golf to evening golf. During the spring period it is always a difficult balance between helping growth to create quality putting surfaces and achieving too much growth which reduces greens performance in the evening. Today finally presented the correct conditions to spray the greens meaning that we could apply a growth regulator along with a small amount of nitrogen and seaweed, this will help increase consistency. It is likely to take a few weeks to gain full control of both greens health and growth but with the machinery, products and knowledge we now have I am confident we can create a good platform for your golf.



I would just like to finish with a thank you for all the support myself and the team have received recently, it is greatly appreciated and we are all looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in the coming season.

Hopefully I will see you out on the course soon.