10 questions with Machrie Golf Links Course Manager

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10 questions with Machrie Golf Links Course Manager

It's been a busy year for most Golf Clubs as the world is catapulted back into action and as if on X5 speed to play catch up for those lockdown periods. Despite these lively times, we managed to grab 10 minutes with the incredible talented and busy Dean Muir, Machrie Golf Course Manager.

Q: How lucky are you, working on the beautiful Isle of Islay! Do you originate from the Islay?

A: No, home is originally Dunbar! However, I have been on the Isle of Islay and at The Machrie for seven years now.

Q: What was your career path to become the Course Manager of Machrie Golf Links?

A: I began greenkeeping at Gullane Golf Club before moving on to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield. I progressed to Deputy Course Manager which is a position I held for 9 years before the opportunity arose at The Machrie Links.

Q: What accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

A: What we have achieved as a team at The Machrie - the renovation of the links and the year-on-year improvement in the course conditions, considering we are on an Island and all the challenges that presents us with.

Q: What has been the greatest challenge you have faced during your career so far?

A: The grow in of the links has been very challenging, the fine dune sand with no water or nutrient holding capacity has been a real challenge particularly with the very variable weather conditions.

Q: What are your 'must have' products and machinery for golf course maintenance?

A: There are too many to list, an essential part of our maintenance is to be able to apply the correct applications of surfactants, nutrition, and sand top dressings. We have a large amount of maintained turf so well-maintained reliable cutting equipment is essential and with our undulations 3 or 4wd is very much needed.

Q: How has the pandemic effected your line of work?

A: It’s been very unfortunate, with having a hotel on site there have been many negative effects with the travel restrictions and being unable to operate. The golf course has always had a small team to ensure essential maintenance was ongoing so we could present the course to a decent standard once we reopened.

Q: What are your hopes for this season?

A: As a business we hope to welcome many golfers to The Machrie so they can enjoy the fruits of our labour. We hope there are no further restrictions, and we can get back to some kind of sense of normality.

Q: What was the reason the club invested in a 4WD ProGator & HD200, and what difference has it made to your course since use?

A: The Pro Gator and HD200 is a direct replacement of the same set up we had previously. Having two now allows us to have a dedicated sprayer whilst the older machine can be used as a utility vehicle or as our top dresser. If we ever have any issues, they can be swapped between them if needed, giving us piece of mind as being on an island we can’t get spare parts quite so easily.

Two men standing next to a tractor on a grassy field.

Q: What do you strive to achieve from the course now and for the future?

A: We are always striving to improve; the presentation of the surfaces and botanical composition is never far from our thoughts. We like to present a firm and fast links golf course which can be enjoyed as well as a challenge for all abilities of golfer.

Q: What type of experience can golfers expect from the Machrie Golf Links?

A: The Machrie Links is a very special strategic golf course. Yes, it takes a considerable effort to get here, but with the remoteness and solitude of the island and the golf course, coupled with the welcoming nature of the team it really is a bucket list destination, which is only going to improve year on year.

Enjoyed this Q&A?

Read our previous Q&A with Michael Slack, Cowglen Golf Club Course Manager. 

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