Q&A with Dumfries & County Golf Course Manager

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Q&A with Dumfries & County Golf Course Manager

Steven Knaggs, Course Manager at Dumfries & County Golf Club details how he maintains the venue.

Q: Can you give a description of your career path to the course manager of Dumfries & County Golf Club?

A: I joined Dumfries & County in 1988 as an apprentice greenkeeper, I attended Elmwood College on block release and completed my apprenticeship in 1992. I was promoted to the role of first assistant in 1993, then in 2005 became head greenkeeper. Over the last 33 years there has been a huge development of machinery, lots of changes in chemicals you can use and cultural techniques.

Probably the biggest project was the re-construction of all our greens, this was done in-house by the greenstaff removing the poor soil based greens to sand based over a four-year period.

Q: The club hosted the 2021 Scottish Boys Under 16 Championships with participants commenting that the course was great and the greens were unbelievable. What programme did you and the team run in the lead up to the tournament to achieve such high playing surfaces?

A: The championship was a great honour for the club to hold, this year it was challenging due to weather conditions and most of the staff being on furlough at the start of the year; the greens came through the winter in to spring relatively well and with our fertiliser and topdressing programmes the greens really started to perform well. Going into the final weeks before the competition all areas received applications of fertilisers / growth retardants. During the competition we had extra machinery provided by our Toro dealer, which enabled us to cut greens, aprons, fairways and rolled with the Tru Turf every morning and managed to keep ahead of play. In the evenings greens, tees and semis were cut and another roll to maintain the green speeds which were 10 feet 10 inches on the stimp; normal speed during the season at the county is between 10 feet and 10 feet six inches depending on competitions.

Q: You’ve recently purchased a Tru Turf RB70, what savings have you calculated the 70 inch width roller will deliver, what will this contribute to the team?

A: In the last month we upgraded our old RC48 Tru Turf to the newer RB70; course efficiency has increased as we have now been able to incorporate some side jobs like raking bunkers, changing holes, moving markers and so on along side the rolling operation as the width of this new machine has reduced operating times. We should also see some financial benefits from less fuel required and service intervals reduced though the season compared to the RC48.

Q: Like many clubs, you’ve seen a surge in membership. How has this affected you and the team when attending to the daily maintenance of the course?

A: Since Covid we’ve seen a vast increase in membership numbers and with play being allowed to start at 7am til last tee time of 7pm for 18 holes, this has made the job very challenging. Jobs are taking much longer to complete, trying to spray or apply fertilisers is difficult, health and safety has become an issue for the staff during this time. Things have now settled down now people are back to work after being on furlough.

Q: What are the things that you enjoy most about your job and what are you most proud of?

A: The best part of my job is the end results at the end of the week; the staff work really hard to present the course to the best conditions possible, with only four staff and a part time lad we do well especially in the busy period during Covid and when staff have holidays. The greens are what I am the most proud of since I was involved in the re-construction of them and have managed to develop them over the last few decades into fast, firm, smooth and true greens to put on worthy of holding a competition of the standard of the Scottish Under 16s.

Enjoyed this Q&A?

Read our previous Q&A with John Brown, Bearsden Golf Club Manager.
 

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