Q&A with Westhill Golf Course Manager

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Q&A with Westhill Golf Course Manager

Phil Watson, Westhill Golf Course Manager talks about role challenges, course presentation and his 10 year greenkeeping hiatus.

Q: Please give a brief description on your background in greenkeeping and your time at Westhill GC?

A: I started at Westhill in 95, then left to go to NZ in 2005. I then left industry for around 10 years before returning to greenkeeping at Fraserburgh as deputy head. I then had 4 years at Huntly Golf Club as Course manager, before returning to my roots at Westhill Golf Club as Club and Course manager.

Q: What have been the main challenges at Westhill Golf Club since you took over the role?

A: Firstly, I came in with a completely fresh mindset by changing the cutting and fertilising program and bringing the golf course and machinery up to date. I feel this made a huge difference to the course and club over the last 18 months due to course presentation and lack of downtime, in turn this has seen a significant increase in members.

Q: How have you found your recent machinery purchases and general experience with Double A?

A: I have now been working with Double A for 5 years- even back to my time at Huntly Golf Club. Having a local Double A depot is a huge advantage for servicing and parts backup. I was used to the 2500 series greens mowers up until early last year before Gary Stuart (Double A’s North Golf & Sport Sales Specialist) brought in the 2750e for a demo. I was blown away with the precision and accuracy of the machine. Also, having the tech control feature ensures the quality of cut is the same regardless of the operator. Coupled with Use of our Tru-Turf RS48-11A, this has taken our surfaces to the next level. 

Another issue I had was the time it took to cut the rough. We only had one rough machine which is around 6ft therefore it was taking around 3-4 days to cut. I had a conversation with Gary Stuart again and he provided a demo of a Lastec xr721 rough mower. A feature I found hugely beneficial with the Lastec was we the amount of ground we could cover in a short amount of time whilst leaving a great finish due to its contour following.

I find Double A extremely experienced in their departments, with Gary Stuart being from the service side initially he has a vast knowledge of all types of machinery and is well placed to advise and suggest which machines would work for me, as well as what machines wouldn’t be suited to me!

Q: What challenges do you face in your role and what do you enjoy about it?

The main challenges in my role would definitely be time scales and weather. Unfortunately I can’t change the weather, however managing timescales is made easier with reliable machines and good management. I enjoy setting up the golf course particularly for big events such as club championships and opens. I also enjoy the challenges of day to day running of the club - no two days are the same which keeps me on my toes. General feedback feedback has been positive and constructive.

Enjoyed this Q&A?

Read our previous Q&A with Dean Muir, Machrie Golf Course Manager.

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