Spring Newsletter 2021

Castle Douglas Golf Club

Spring Newsletter 2021

25th February 2021

Hello to all members, both new and existing. 

We hope that you are well and looking forward to the time when we begin to get back to a semblance of normality.  We want to bring members up to date with a number of Club matters, so here we go…

For members who have not yet arranged payment of their annual membership fee, you only have until Sunday 28th February to do so to avoid incurring a late payment fee of £10.  Please contact the Treasurer if you wish to discuss payment arrangements.

Covid-19 rules continue to mean that members can play golf only in two-balls, with only one other person from one other household.  Under 12s are not counted in these numbers.  A tee slot needs to be booked, and our tee booking system on Master Scoreboard will continue to be used.  Anyone needing assistance with the system, please get in touch with a Committee member.

We have secured the services of Mark Geddes, former Club Captain and qualified greenkeeper, on a fixed contract for 2021.  Mark was an apprentice greenkeeper at Castle Douglas when he was a youngster 25 years ago, and worked at various courses after that, including Royal Burgess in Edinburgh and Archerfield Links, East Lothian.  Mark has already been assisting the Club during Colin Murray’s ongoing absence, and we are pleased to have him with us.  After more than 10 years away from being ‘on the tools’, Mark is looking forward to the season ahead.

We have re-shaped the mound beside the 3rd green, where the bunker was filled in, so that it is more natural looking and easier to maintain.  Mark will turf it soon.

The 7th tee has had a makeover – the path has been widened and made less steep, with timber edging installed.  The surface has been reformed with the tar chippings which were stored in the car park.  The number 6 sign has been moved to be more in line with where a shot should be aimed to finish on the green.  As a result of the changes the teeing area is a little larger.  Mark will turf parts of the tee and area around the path to help it all blend in.  We plan to place Doreen Burchell’s bench at the back of the tee, and white posts and chain link fencing will be used to finish the area off.  The area where the water fountain once was will have plants put in and made into a feature area.

We plan to continue improvements to the path on the 7th, and for safety reasons we are moving it back to the centre of the fairway away from the ditch.  The plastic crete currently beside the ditch will be used, along with more stone chippings, to create a firmer, better draining pathway.

You will see that we have planted some evergreen trees to the left of the 7th green.  We are also replacing some that did not thrive last time we did some planting.

The hedge behind the ditch, between the 7th hole and the neighbouring field, will be cut back to fence height soon.  We have taken advice, and this is the time of year to do it, before birds begin to nest.  Hopefully by getting it into a more manageable condition, and then by maintaining it more actively in future, we will provide a better environment for wildlife in the longer term.

The house behind the 6th green – Kilmichael – has been sold, and some of the members have met the new owner.  He is a golfer, and says he hopes to join the Club soon.  He also plans to clear away some of the growth around the house, so that may help one or two find their ball on occasion!

As you will be aware, we have been having some issues with drainage on the course for a while.  We have sought advice and it is very likely that remedial drainage work will be undertaken in the future.  We will of course advise members what is happening and where in good time before any work commences. 

We have dug out the drain to the left side of the 4th fairway, at the end of the line of trees beyond the wood and ditch.  Remedial work will be undertaken there as required once the ground has dried enough to allow machinery in.  In the meantime, the area will be marked as GUR, which brings it under the heading of an ‘Abnormal Course Condition’.  We will mark the extent of the GUR with plain stakes to make the extent of the area clear for players.  Rule 16 of the Rules of Golf covers ‘Abnormal Ground Conditions, so please read up on the rule so that you know what to do should you or your playing partner be affected by this area during play.

The 5th green has suffered from flooding for some time.  There was in the past a drain with a removeable plug in it, and this is being reintroduced.  Together with improved drainage under the green we should see an end to this issue on the 5th.

There is a drain running under the 1st green which appears to have silted up.  Later this year Mark suggests we dig it up and replace it, and perhaps extend it with more spurs.  For the moment Mark is working on a solution to help the water get away from the green so that it is healthy for this season.

We are delighted that we have been able to co-opt several new members to the Committee.  Co-opted members take part in all aspects of Committee business however they do not have a vote at any Committee meetings.  Their appointment is subject to ratification at a General Meeting of the Club, so when we are able to hold an AGM this will be on the agenda. 

The newly co-opted Committee members are Craig Reeves, Raymond McFarlane, and Adam Graham.  Craig has agreed to take on the role of Bar Convenor.  Craig undertook this role at Lochside Theatre in the past, and this experience will prove useful for looking after the Club bar. 

Several Committee members have intimated that they did not plan to continue to serve on the Committee in 2021.  The Club and Committee’s thanks go to Annie Henderson, Grant Jardine and Mark Pflanz for their time and effort.

We are replacing the fence at the coup as the current one has been badly damaged by people who access the land, mainly for dog walking and exercising.  This time we are putting a gate in the fence so that those who choose to access the land can do so, hopefully without causing any damage.  We will put appropriate signage in place to request that people respect our property, clean up after their dogs, and follow the

Scottish Outdoor Access Code whenever they are on golf club land.  We will also point out that there are traces of asbestos in the ground, and that accessing the area is done entirely at the individual’s own risk.  Dumfries and Galloway Council have agreed that this course of action is appropriate in the circumstances. Adam Graham has volunteered to arrange the new fence, and work will start on it very soon.

Two storage bays for sand / top dressing / gravel etc. are planned for the area beside the greenkeeper’s shed.  It is hoped that construction will start soon.

As you can see, there are several projects underway and planned for your Club, with potentially more to come.  The Committee is looking to the future with positivity, and we hope that you will be there with us, enjoying the golf course, and later the facilities too, when the Club is once again fully open and operating.

On behalf of the Club, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has been involved in the work detailed in this newsletter, and I also thank, to no lesser degree, everyone who has been involved in the not inconsiderable work done ‘behind the scenes’ for the benefit of the Club.  There are too many to name individually, and I do not want to miss anyone!

Any member with questions about the content of this newsletter, or any other Club matter, please get in touch.

Kind Regards

C McIntyre

Chris McIntyre, Captain

On behalf of the Committee

Chris McIntyre, Captain                      Margaret McBride, Secretary            Graeme Maxwell, Treasurer

07725 340127                                     07800 745898                                     07986 705357