Chris Haspell, Course Manager, Castle Stuart Golf Links
The grass may not be greener at other golf courses, but we are constantly learning about the way it behaves in certain conditions and in different countries.
Information from our continuous testing of many types of fescue grass to ensure we use the best to suit the Highland climate, is something we share with other courses around the world.
But we also regularly share personnel to maintain a constant, two-way flow of ideas.
One of our greenkeepers, Darren Chisholm, will shortly be flying to the other side of the world to study different techniques used in growing and course management in Australia.
During the winter shutdown at Castle Stuart, Darren will be working at the Yarra Yarra Golf Club in Melbourne which was designed by Alex Russell, a student of the British course architect Dr Alister MacKenzie.
During his time there he will learn from the greenkeeping team how they deal with the different climate and types of grasses and this new knowledge will help him develop his own skills which he can then pass on to colleagues at Castle Stuart.
As part of our programme to learn more from our counterparts in other parts of the world, we have sent greenkeepers to many well-known courses, to see new things, bring back innovative ideas and share some of their own knowledge and expertise.
This winter a member of our staff will visit Victoria Golf Club, another course in Melbourne’s famous Sandbelt and one of the Top 10 courses in Australia. Previously, we have had greenkeepers visiting other Sandbelt courses of Royal Melbourne, another Alex Russell design, and the only facility outside the United States to have two courses regularly ranked among the top 100 in the world, and the Metropolitan Golf Club, one of the country’s finest championships courses.
The visits are reciprocal and we also get interns from all over the world coming to Castle Stuart to learn about our management techniques. This year we have had visitors from Canada, Australia and Switzerland and previously we have welcomed trainees from many countries, including China, Malaysia and New Zealand.
This constant exchange of people and ideas brings a fresh atmosphere to the place and I think it’s good for my team to see and learn how others deal with situations.