Q+A with Maverston Golf Club course manager Calum Morris

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Q+A with Maverston Golf Club course manager Calum Morris

Q) Can you give a brief description of your background and how long have you now been at Maverston Golf Club?

A) I started at Maverston in early 2008 when I was 17 years old after I saw an advert in the local paper advertising for a general labourer. The course had recently been constructed and was in the final stages ready for opening. Maverston is a private course and was going to be exclusive to the properties that were to be built on the estate, but with the economic crash in 2008 plans were delayed in opening and the course didn’t open until 2014 with a totally different business model and would not be exclusive just to the residence. In that time, I did my apprenticeship at Elmwood College in Cupar, Fife. I was moved up to the deputy’s role in 2014 and was given the course manager’s job in April 2019.

Q) The club has seen a significant surge in membership with only four staff to maintain two courses. What have you had to do to keep abreast of course maintenance?   

A) Yes, we have seen a huge rise in members over the last 18 months which has had its challenges, but I would say they are good challenges. Planning is key with a small team and everyone needs to be clear in what we need to achieve in a week. Staying ahead of play is a priority but some days impossible so we just try and keep disruption to a minimum. You get to know the busy days on the 18-hole course, so on those days we will float between it and the nine-hole par three course to get the jobs done. Thankfully we are taking on another member of staff in the spring. The benefits of another body in the team will help dramatically and hopefully allow us to knock up our standards even more.

Q) You undertake the renovation of tees and are looking at traffic management. What will you be doing? 

A) With the course originally being built just for the residences on the estate the construction of the tees were made quite small as demand on them wouldn’t be high but with membership well over the 500 mark now these small tees are getting a battering, so over the last few years we have increased the size of many. One we are currently working on at the moment is a par three tee which was around 87m2 which is now getting made to 340m2 to cope with play. Traffic management is another issue which we face again with the rising numbers of members’ and visitors’ play. So, we are looking at areas where paths can be made to keep wear to a minimum. I would say there is 10 years’ worth of work easily in changes that can be made to improve the course, make the course more enjoyable and help us work more efficiently.

Q) You invested in Lastec XR700 rotary trailer mower. What were your reasons for selecting this particular piece of kit, how often are you using it and for what areas, what level of quality in cut does it deliver and what time savings have you experienced?

A) Our site is huge and we cut a lot of areas. It’s always a battle each week to get everything cut and if weather is against us it’s even more of a challenge. Another Lastec will hopefully cut or semi rough cutting time and all the other areas it does by half. Meaning time is freed up and we can concentrate our time on other areas of the course and being able to keep ahead of golfers much easier.

Q) Who were the biggest influences in your career path to date and what do you enjoy most about your job?   

A) My biggest influence would definitely be the previous course manager Richard who I took over from. His background working at Carnoustie and then his stint working in golf course construction meant he was a great person to learn from, so when it comes to presenting the course, the quality of turf we are trying to produce or remodelling an area, it’s always done to the best of our abilities with the resources we have. Maverston, which is in Moray, is a great place and with its own microclimate it’s a great area to work especially when the weather is on our side, which makes the job much more enjoyable. The feedback we get from members and visitors is always great to hear and makes the effort we put in feel really worthwhile and results we get from a staff of four is probably what I am most proud of.

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