Meet the course manager: Chris Yeaman

By Alistair October 2, 2023 09:34

The course manager at The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh talks about his 46 years in greenkeeping, working for the oldest golfing society in the world and why he uses an electric roller on his greens.

Can you give a brief description of your background and how you came to work at The Royal Burgess Golfing Society?

I’m coming to the end of my 46th year in greenkeeping and it’s all I’ve ever done. I wanted to be two things: either a golf professional or a greenkeeper, and I wasn’t good enough to be a professional. I love greenkeeping and now couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I’ve been at Royal Burgess for nearly 14 years and it’s a fantastic club to work for. We are the oldest golfing society in the world and there’s a lot of history in this club. They look after us extremely well on the machinery side of things and anything we need is provided for us.

What do you enjoy most about your job and what’s your biggest challenge when maintaining the course?

I enjoy all of it, every single part of it! I’m a big golfer and play lots of golf to a reasonably high standard so this job is like a hobby as well as a job. No two days are the same and there are always different challenges. The working day can change so rapidly. Forty-six years is testament to how much I love it. All the clubs I’ve worked at have been good and treated me as a professional.

In the last five to ten years the weather has posed more of a challenge. It changes so much and there are no seasons anymore, it’s all of them rolled into one. I can’t see that changing and it’s the biggest challenge we have nowadays.

How have you found the Tru Turf RE50 electric golf greens iron to use so far?

It’s going really well. We had the older petrol model before and this one is even better due to some clever developments to the machine. The rollers stay clean all the time now due to the self-cleaning nodules. It’s so easy to use and all the guys use it, even myself, which is very unusual as I’m usually told I can’t keep straight lines! It’s easy for us to maintain as well. We looked at competitors but there’s nothing to compare to this machine.

When looking for a machine, what factors made you opt for the Tru Turf?

We have houses and flats very close to the boundary of the golf course and in certain areas we couldn’t roll before 7am because of the noise. This caused a problem because tee off is from 7:30am and we sometimes got caught up with golfers. When the electric Tru Turf roller came along it was perfect for us and we can now roll very close to the properties without any noise issues, so it solved all our problems.

Would you recommend the purchase of a Tru Turf RE50 to others?

Absolutely 100 percent. It does everything we want and more; it’s quiet to use and light to transport. We’re quite big on the environment here and when we told our environment committee that we were going electric they were extremely happy. I would tell anybody that Tru Turf products are all very good and the electric roller is fantastic. It’s just the most up-to-date machine out there.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

We have a lot of projects going on at the moment. We’ve currently putting in a new putting green. The previous putting green was quite small and not adequate for the 1,250 members we’ve got here now, so we’ve got a new 1,000 square metre putting green, with raised up mounding shaped all around it. Then we’re putting in a pathway around the clubhouse and building a wall around the back of the first medal tee. It’s quite a major project and we have a contractor coming in but we’ll also be doing some of the work ourselves, such as finishing up and turfing all around it.

Hopefully that will be finished by Christmas, depending on the weather.

What are your projects or goals for the future?

As well as the projects we’re about to undertake we’re also going to be putting in a roadway around a lot of the golf course over the next two winters. This is so we can move our machinery about without damaging turf areas and we need it because the winters are now so wet. While all that’s going on we also have a five-year project to rebuild all the bunkers on the course and half a dozen tees. We’re planning a lot in the next five years and I’ll be project managing it.


By Alistair October 2, 2023 09:34

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