Gary Corlett Q&A

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Gary Corlett Q&A

The course manager at Mount Murray Golf Club on the Isle of Man talks about his career, including managing a golf club in China, and how his Greenkeeping team, which includes two retired bankers, is setting course condition standards on the island.

How long have you been course manager at Mount Murray and what has been your career path to this point?

I’ve been course manager for about 12 years now. I started greenkeeping at this club 21 years ago and after five years I decided to go to Myerscough College full time and did a degree. I worked in Galway in Ireland for my placement year and did a year in China as a general manager after I finished college. It was good and very different in China but I wanted to do more greenkeeping so I came back to the Isle of Man, where I’m from, and started as the course manager at Mount Murray.  

Which aspects of the job do you enjoy most and what challenges have you faced?

I like all the problem-solving. I prefer to be doing the fiddly, technical jobs and working on the detail around the greens now. We’re currently trying to change the soil profile, which takes up a lot of my time. It’s all enjoyable though, and I couldn’t think of doing another job. The Biggest challenge at the moment is staff recruitment. We’re not getting applications for the jobs we advertise and I’ve heard this from friends who work outside of golf too. Possibly it’s because of the lack of EU workers. Irrigation is also a big problem, although we’ve got a good mechanic and we can get around that Rainfall has been quite poor recently and that’s adding to the challenge. 

What’s been the proudest achievement for you and your team at Mount Murray so far?

When I took over as course manager we were one of the best courses on the island ,but now I think we’re definitely setting the standard for course condition. When it comes to course condition we’re the best. That’s been my achievement, I think. Also the team of four greenskeepers I have are very strong and come from lots of different backgrounds, which helps. Two of them are retired bankers and they are very dedicated and do a really good job. 

The club invested in an electric Tru-Turf RE50 with lead-acid batteries in the Spring of 2021. What difference is it making to your rolling schedule, is it easy to use and are you pleased with the results?

We can do very nearly 36 greens on a single charge. It’s really quiet to use and you can even talk to someone on the green while you are rolling. When we first got it I did a test on the green: I did a stimp reading then cut the green and did another stimp reading, then rolled it with the RE50 and did another reading and we’d gained just under three feet. It’s made a massive improvement to our greens. Even after we’ve done some aeration or spraying we can quickly go over it with the role and the surface is back to normal. I would say it’s definitely as good as a petrol machine, if not better. It’s really nice to use and pretty easy to learn. It’s been a great investment. 

What projects have you got planned for the rest of the year?

We’re hosting the Northern Counties’ qualifying competitions in August 2023 and we hope to build some new tee boxes ahead of that. We’ve also got ongoing drainage works to complete but mostly we’ll be working on everyday maintenance. We’ve got 200 acres and we don’t have any eco-rough so we cut all the grass. It’s a massive battle every week to maintain. 

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