Meet the course manager: Andrew Orr
Meet the course manager: Andrew Orr
Can you give a brief description of your background and how you came to work at Ralston Golf Club?
I started greenkeeping in 2007 at East Kilbride Golf Club as an apprentice, I served my time at the club until I got the opportunity to go to The Ohio State Program in 2012. I worked at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rhode Island, then I moved to Florida for the winter months where I worked at The Club at Mediterra. I got the chance to volunteer at a PGA event which was held in LA at Riviera Country Club in 2013. After my year was up on The Ohio Program, I got a seasonal job at St Andrews Links – I was there for six months, then went to Elmwood College over the winter months to complete my HNC. In 2014 I got offered a job at Drumpellier Golf Club as an assistant greenkeeper. I worked here for three years then I moved overseas to Australia to work at Royal Sydney Golf Club for six months, then I did farm work for three months so I could extend my visa for another year. Then I travelled around Asia touring for three months. I ended up in Perth Western Australia working at Lake Karrinyup Country Club for six months – I was there as we held a European tournament. I then came back to work at East Kilbride Golf Club for the season, then the position of deputy greenkeeper came up at Ralston Golf Club. I was successful in the interview process and gladly accepted the offer.
What do you enjoy most about your job and what is the biggest challenge you and your team face when maintaining the course?
I enjoy the planning side of things, when it all comes together it’s a great feeling that you and your team have produced, but it can be very challenging when, say, a machine breaks down or you have a few staff members off and with the amount of play we have these days it’s key to stay ahead of the golf. I think it’s important to keep the members updated with as much information as possible but just with the key points and areas we are working on or getting held up on. With the amount of play since Covid it’s very important we plan as best we can to stay ahead or out of the way of the golfers in the summer months where possible.
What’s your proudest achievement at Ralston so far?
I would say getting promoted to course manager would be the proudest achievement after Paul Hamilton moved onto a new challenge. I would like to thank Paul for giving me the backing and confidence to take on the role as course manager here at Ralston.
The club invested in a Tru Turf greens iron recently. Why did you select this piece of equipment, is it easy to use, what areas are you using it on and what results are you seeing?
The club had an older version of the Tru Turf and we have just upgraded to our new RB48, which has been with us since September 2021.
The Tru Turf is a great piece of kit for getting the best out of your greens when it comes to smoothness and trueness of your greens. I personally have used the Tru Turf here in Scotland and in Australia where both courses I worked at had the battery-powered ones which were brilliant and easy to use. I found it very comfortable to use and very easy to steer, hitching it on and off is simple and quick.
At Ralston in the summer months, we will have the Tru Turf out twice a week on the greens if the conditions allow us as we are right in the central belt. In the winter months we will use it once every two weeks again it all comes down to the weather.
The results are great. After we do any maintenance we use the Tru Turf to smooth the surface out which allows us to keep the disruption to play at a minimum in the competition months. The members have seen a big difference.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
We have been busy with tree work this winter and we have completed a drainage project, we are reshaping some greenside bunkers followed by turfing them. With the season just around the corner we are tidying up debris around the course and starting our spring maintenance plan for greens, tees and approaches, so it is all go at the moment – we just need the weather to play ball.
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