Q&A with Gavin Ballantyne, course manager, Turnhouse Golf Club

Alistair
By Alistair July 13, 2021 07:58 Updated

Please can you give a brief description of your background, your path to being a course manager, how did you learn, where did you study and how long have you now been at Turnhouse Golf Club?

I started my career at Ratho Park Golf Club at 17, moved to Craigmiller Park Golf Club before moving to Turnhouse Golf Club at 28 years old and have been here for 30 years this year.

What challenges are you and the team currently experiencing and how have you coped throughout the pandemic to maintain the course and what are your hopes for this season?

We have been through two lockdowns, we have been able to work through most of the pandemic, we have split into two teams for a while and also worked one week on and one off using furlough for two months, slit breaks for lunch and so on, this year we are back with competitions and Opens, so we are working with in the regulations and getting the work completed.

What are the things that you enjoy most about your job, what are you most proud of and how does this make feel?

Like producing a top course for the members and also attracting top events to the golf club and getting good feedback so we can measure were we are with the course and what more we can do to make it even better. Also working with the new greenkeepers / apprentices and watch them develop while they are at Turnhouse.

You’ve invested in a number of Lastec machines throughout your professional career. What models have you used and why, what level of efficiency does it deliver to your course maintenance, how often do you use it as part of your programme and to which areas, how reliable and easy to maintain are they and will you be buying another?

We run a 721 XR, we have had a number of these machines and they deliver a great cut dry or wet deals with the undulations and with it being articulated it follows you along walls around corners and trees. We are using it once a week for two days cutting all our rough areas at 1.2 inches, it’s very easy to use and reliable, we service it in-house and its costs us very little each year, our current one is six years old and we have spent under £500 in the six years.

The club has probably the best practice range in the area and has now introduce a specific membership for this. What plans are in hand to develop and expand this exciting project?

We have plans in the pipeline and are hoping to get our 15 bay range area covered in the next few years, we already have a 400m3 pitching green and a 500m3 putting green, the range area is capable for most golfers to hit any club in the bag.

 

Alistair
By Alistair July 13, 2021 07:58 Updated

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