Q&A with David Gray, course manager at Leven Links

By Alistair August 7, 2020 06:51 Updated

David talks about how an investment in a roller has helped the club with its course maintenance strategy.

You’re the course manager at Leven Links and your team maintains one beautiful course serving two separate golf clubs. What challenges does that present?

Leven Links is a stunning, traditional 18-hole course, with the unique setup of having two clubs that play over it. With around 900 members between them, this means a high volume of play especially competitive play where there is three medal days per week. Also, during club championships there is not only one per club, but there’s also a joint one. Including myself, I have a team of seven plus a seasonal, following Covid I have had to drop down to six total. Since taking over the role in September 2018 I have managed to build up a fantastic team, and it is most enjoyable to see how well we all work together and get on. I feel it is so important to come to work and have a good relationship with my staff, and helps massively with morale. We have invested in a lot of new machinery in the last year which will help push the course to a new level.

You’ve recently purchased a new Tru Turf greens roller to work across the course. What were you looking for and what in particular what appealed to you about the Tru Turf R50-11?

I have used the Tru Turf for over 10 years now, and the reliability, flexibility and ease of use is what appeals to me. My dealer, Double A, provide a fantastic service, which is vitally important when selecting any machine. When I came to Leven Links we had an old one which wasn’t used an awful lot, so when I produced a machinery replacement plan this was high on the list.

What do the team members think of and like about the new Tru Turf greens roller?

The team love the machine, it is so user-friendly which means any one of the guys can use it. Keeping ahead of play is important at such a busy course, and with it being so quick and manoeuvrable it is the perfect tool for us.

Pressures are brought upon the course by way of location. What are the ways in which you choose to use the Tru Turf roller and how do you integrate it into a course maintenance programme?

Yes, we are on an extremely dry site, right on the east coast of Fife and built on pure sand and we seem to miss all the wet weather. We don’t have a full irrigation system, so we try to put surfaces under as little stress as possible. We have managed to keep the mowing height on greens up a little, and target roll around holes on a daily basis during the playing season which keeps the greens at our desired speed without stressing the plant out. We can even sometimes miss out a mow and just roll some days without jeopardising surface quality.

Are the members happy with the playing surfaces and have Tru Turf together with your great husbandry of the course, been the reason the membership retention has been so high?

I think the big thing is having consistency from green to green and retaining pace longer into the day, and the Tru Turf is certainly been a contributing factor in this. Feedback is good and members are happy with trueness and smoothness as well as the pace which I’m sure is an attraction to retain members and gain new ones.


By Alistair August 7, 2020 06:51 Updated

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