Weather ruining our golf courses (just don't tell Donald Trump)

Press Releasein Golf

Scotland's top golf courses are being harmed by the miserable weather, the people who look after them warned yesterday.

Greenkeepers at some of the country's most prestigious courses said they had been struggling to keep their venues open because this year's weather had been so bad.

They said incessant rain was leading to flooding, closures and long-term problems.

Across Scotland, bookings are down and the number of playing days has been cut.

Clubs have also been forced to cancel corporate and business bookings, causing clubhouse takings to nosedive.

The news comes after tycoon Donald Trump had his plans for a golf resort south of Aberdeen approved by the Scottish Government earlier this month.

Darrin Easingwood, the head greenkeeper at Archerfield Golf Club in East Lothian, is among those worried.

He said: "We had ten inches of rain in August alone. Because the course is built on sand, it usually drains quickly, but this year I've seen water lying on parts of the course where it has never lain before."

David Cole, the supervisor at Loch Lomond Golf Club, said: "Conditions this year have been very difficult for us. Ours is a destination course and people travel from around the world to play here. If they get up in the morning and find the course is closed, we risk ruining the memory of their trip."

Other managers said it was difficult to get keen golfers away from saturated courses.

Duncan Peddie, the head greenkeeper at Alloa Golf Club in Clackmannanshire, said: "Trying to get the message across to golfers is very hard. The ones who don't listen can make life very difficult."

Further difficulties have been caused by fungal infections developing in the turf and fertiliser costs rising by 300 per cent in the past year.

To make things even worse, heavy rainfall has washed newly applied fertiliser out of the soil, and turf farmers have been forced to grow hardier grasses in an effort to combat the problem.

Duncan Forbes, whose company, Stewartsturf, grows grass for many of Scotland's best courses, said: "We have been working towards selecting grasses that will better withstand the wetter, cooler summers that Scotland has witnessed. On our turf farm in East Lothian, we had 20 per cent of our annual rainfall in one day alone, and on many courses the situation has been even worse."

Barry Gromett, a Met Office forecaster, said 2008 had been far wetter than usual.

He said: "2008 has certainly been a wet year in Scotland to date. The total rainfall to 15 November was 1547.2mm, compared with the long-term average of 1521.4mm for the entire year. So, with six or seven weeks to go, it's already wetter than usual. Indeed, only May and September have recorded rainfall totals below average."

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