The golf course has been open for nearly 2 weeks and I am sure you will agree that the course itself and the areas around the clubhouse have looked tidy, well kept and welcoming. This is in no small part due to the greens staff, Iain Seath and George the gardener.
There have also been a small pool of enthusiastic members who have turned out to do a few hours here and there to spruce things up. Thanks are due to Anne Elder, Maureen Graham, Moira Kinnear, Mary Wilson, Jean Meachem, Mary Henderson, Sandra Love, Bill Carlyon, Hugh Roarty, Jas Robertson, Eric Miller and Gordon Finney. Between them they have either donated funds and / or have cleaned, pruned, weeded, brushed, painted, filled & fixed and manicured many areas of the course and garden borders and equipment.
Thank you all for giving your time and efforts to Liberton.
Nicola will be starting her take away food menu this Saturday. Please follow the instructions on the notices, order in advance if possible, do not queue close to each other. Please do not congregate in the car park to consume food as it could lead to congestion in that area. Please put any rubbish in the bins provided.
Nicola can be contacted on 0131 664 3009 ex4 or 07958 189863.
Initially this will be a weekend service.
Unfortunately on the course there have been empty cans, bottles and general litter left lying about. This is not acceptable as it is putting Greenkeeping staff at risk who are having to clean up. PLEASE TAKE YOUR RUBBISH HOME WITH YOU.
Members will be aware that we have postponed the Celebration of our Centenary until 2021. The official date of our Centenary is the 19th June.
It had been the intention that along with the flag raising we would have an evening in the clubhouse, open to all members to come along for a drink and light buffet. Obviously with the present restrictions that will not be possible.
On Friday the 19th June this year we will have a symbolic raising of the flag to commemorate the occasion. It will remain there for a couple of days and then be taken down. Given that the lockdown measures continue to ease, we are planning to hold a proper ceremony later in the year when hopefully we will be able to host a reception in the clubhouse along the lines originally planned.
A word now about competitions. Depending on the further easing of restrictions and guidance from Scottish golf on the 18th June, we intend to resume competitions at the beginning of July. This can only happen if we are allowed to play in three or four balls.
A provisional fixture list has been prepared and will be made available online as soon as it is possible to do so.
As everyone is aware at the moment tee times are at a premium. There have been a couple of occasions when a member has booked a time and then not turned up to play, thereby possibly depriving someone the chance of a game. Can I remind everyone that if you find that you cannot make your tee time, then the booking should be taken off the BRS system by the member, or failing that informing the professional in order that the booking can be altered. Please remember that when booking a time that all names should be entered in the booking. The line on the booking system ‘’ reserved by ‘’ should only be used by a member wanting to play on their own. Thank you for your co-operation.
Tee time bookings:
Due to the increase in demand for tee times throughout the UK and after consultation with the BRS golf company Liberton are, with immediate effect, changing our booking reservation time from 7pm to 7.20pm this should help with the accessibility and performance of the site.
Due to the increase in demand for tee times throughout the UK and after consultation with the BRS golf company Liberton are with immediate effect changing our booking reservation time from 7pm to 7.20pm this should help with the accessibility and performance of the site.
Nicola is running a takeaway menu from the side kitchen door starting on Saturday 13th June.
For the time being the kitchen will only be open at the weekend at the times shown.
Click to see menu available. Take away menu (1)
I hope this newsletter finds you all well and enjoying being back on the golf course.
The weather has been very hot over the last few weeks which has given the course a late summer look. The greens staff have been watering the greens and tees heavily in order to keep them in the best condition. I would like to thank on behalf of all the members, Brian Toall and his team for the amazing job they have done over the last 9 weeks or so.
As you know we furloughed two staff, which meant we only had two staff working at any one time, so to have the course looking and playing as it is, is a testament to the amount of hard work that they have all put in. I am sure every member will have been impressed by the condition that the course has been presented for us on our return to golf.
With the restriction of only being able to play in two’s, tee times at the weekend have been at a premium. We are therefore introducing a temporary restriction on members’ guests at the weekend. Council have decided that from and including Saturday 13th June no members’ guests will be able to be introduced on a Saturday. From and including Sunday 14th June a member will be able to introduce a guest from 3.00pm. These are temporary measures and will be reviewed as and when there is a further easing of lockdown restrictions.
This does not affect a member bringing a guest during the week.
You may remember that I asked in a previous newsletter that when a time was booked that all players’ names were added to the booking. This is important as the club have to keep a record for six weeks of all who have played. This is required in order that if a person becomes ill with the Corona virus, or has symptoms of the virus, then everybody who has been in contact with them can be traced by the authorities. Your co-operation with this would be appreciated.
One issue that has been brought to my attention is that we have a missing caddy car. It appears to have been inadvertently taken during the period when the shed was open for members to uplift their carts. It is a Motocaddy and has the number 44 on the handle.
If any member has taken this trolley by mistake please could they contact Iain Seath.
Members may have read that some golf clubs have seen a surge in people looking to join. Liberton is no exception and to date we have taken in 22 new full/youth members and 2 more juniors. We also expect this figure to increase over the next couple of weeks. This has provided a welcome cash boost for the club at this time.
I am pleased to say that all members who had fallen behind with their monthly direct debit payments have now made contact with the Secretary. Nearly all have paid subs due and the others are making arrangements to do the same.
Many members have been enquiring as to when we might see a resumption of catering.
I am pleased to say that from Saturday 13th June, Nicola will be operating a takeaway service from the side kitchen door. It will be a restricted menu of rolls, sandwiches and tea or coffee. I am sure this will be welcomed by everyone and I know that Nicola is looking forward to seeing everybody again and I hope that members will give her their support.
We are hopeful that in the next phase of lockdown that we may be able to start playing in three balls or four balls. If that is the case then we will look at the resumption of some stroke play competitions. When this does happen members will be able to enter with their choice of partners.
Both myself and Council are extremely grateful for the level of support shown by everyone. We have heard of some clubs who have lost quite a few members so to have our numbers hold up and indeed increase is very gratifying.
I hope you all continue to keep well and enjoy your golf. Please remember to strictly adhere to the social distancing guidelines as set out by the Government.
As the greens staff worked to keep the course in fantastic condition over the past two months or so we have been pleased to share it with our neighbours and public during closure. There have been great numbers of walkers plus we have seen picnics taking place, kids having fun in bunkers and families playing Pooh sticks from the bridges at the 4th green.
It has been tough for so many people and it was great that our course gave enjoyment to so many in these tough and trying times and even better that it was so well respected by all when a number of other clubs had problems with course and clubhouse vandalism and other difficult issues to deal with during these months.
However, all that has now come to an end as Friday saw the course reopen with the first tee time at 7am. Iain was there to welcome the first members and see them off where conditions were perfect for golf with blue skies and the course looking very inviting.
The Captain and Council hope everyone who played had a great day and thanks go out to Iain for having all running so well and especially to our members for keeping to the rules.
Please remember going forward to continue to abide by all the rules now in place as this will ensure everyone’s safety.
The following are some photos from the day taken by our very own Council (unofficial) photographer Joe Douglas so thanks to Joe for these.
One of our trees unfortunately came down on Friday 22nd May during the very strong winds and partially blocked Old Dalkeith Road at the junction of Kinston Avenue. We are pleased to report that no one was injured and no damage caused either to vehicles or the boundary wall.
Photographs appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News and can be viewed via this link:
Another piece of good fortune was that one of the vehicles stuck behind the fallen tree was that of a tree surgeon. He, together with the police, moved the tree to the side of the road and cut it up in to pieces. The Captain and Council would like to offer their thanks and appreciation to all for this kind act.
Return to Golf Requirements 22 May 2020
* To begin with, play will be restricted to single and 2 ball only. This will be amended in line with any change to the guidelines.
* All bookings are to be made online. For those without online booking capability call the Professional from 8.30am. Tee times must be booked in advance giving all players names. No one should turn up for a game without having booked a time or playing in a pre – booked time.
The first tee time has been brought forward to 7.00am and no one should be on the course before that time.
Booking on the BRS system will commence on the 23rd May at 19.00.
* All players must start at the 1st hole and not begin playing from any other part of the course
* Please arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your tee time to avoid congestion in the car park and around the 1st tee.
* Flags should not be touched at any time. The cups have been altered so that any putt deemed to have hit the hole or the flag will be taken as having been holed.
* Bunker rakes will not be in use. Players are asked to smooth bunkers with their feet as best as possible. If a ball lands in a heel mark players have the option to lift and place in the bunker without penalty.
* Practice nets will be closed. The practice putting and pitching areas will be open but members are asked to observe the social distancing guidelines.
* Ball washers will not be in use and waste paper bins will be removed.
* The air hoses will not be in use during the present changes.
The following restrictions concerning the locker rooms and caddy cart shed are in place to follow the Scottish golf guidelines.
* As the locker rooms will be shut there will be no access to toilets.
Iain Seath has kindly offered the use of his facility. This should only be used in an emergency and can be reached by way of the stairs behind the shop.
* The caddy cart shed will also remain closed. To help members who may experience difficulty with this decision Iain Seath has kindly offered the use of his trolleys free of charge to members. Council would like to thank Iain for this gesture.
* Only social golf will be played until restrictions are eased further.
* After completion of your round you are asked to refrain from congregating in the car park.
* Everyone is reminded to observe the social distancing guidelines.
* As restrictions ease, we will amend these rules accordingly.
* WE ARE AWARE THAT EVERYONE WILL BE KEEN TO GET BACK ON THE
GOLF COURSE. WITH THE NUMBERS RESTRICTED PER TEE TIME,
IT WILL OBVIOUSLY IMPACT ON THE NUMBERS OF MEMBERS ABLE TO
ACCESS A TIME ON THE BOOKING SYSTEM. WE WOULD ASK THAT
MEMBERS WHO ARE ABLE TO PLAY DURING THE WEEK BUT ALSO PLAY
AT THE WEEKEND, CONSIDER THOSE WHO CAN ONLY PLAY AT THE
WEEKEND. SOME CLUBS HAVE PUT A LIMIT ON MEMBERS PLAYING ONLY
ONCE OVER THE WEEKEND. WHILE AT THIS TIME THERE IS NO FIRM
RESTRICTION, THE SITUATION WILL BE KEPT UNDER REVIEW.
THE CLUB WOULD APPRECIATE THE COOPERATION OF ALL MEMBERS.
The R&A’s agronomists have explained to golfers why standards on their course may not be at the level they expected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
Following the outbreak of Covid 19 and the implementation of Government restrictions on movement and working practices, The R&A, in conjunction with BIGGA, published a series of statements on Essential Maintenance for golf courses. The idea was to develop a safe framework for the way in which golf courses could be maintained during this difficult period.
The aim has been to help ensure that working environments are safe and one in which greenkeepers are comfortable going to work. Many clubs in the UK have furloughed staff and reduced the staff hours available for maintenance. To keep greenstaff safe, measures such as social distancing, the introduction of rotas, enhanced hygiene/cleaning procedures and one person one machine directives have been introduced. In other areas of the industry, there have been inevitable difficulties with sourcing products and equipment for course maintenance, with many clubs pausing spending. Consequently, course maintenance levels and product supply have been reduced, and operations and applications have focused on the main playing surfaces.
Golf courses are living entities and can deteriorate quite rapidly if nothing is done to them, particularly when growth is strong. Consequently, practices such as mowing, irrigation and nutrition, and machinery maintenance were identified as essential in order to maintain a holding position and allow for swift recovery at limited cost once restrictions are lifted. Given that courses differ in type, location, soil types and grass species, it is accepted that what is deemed essential at one club may not be deemed so at another, so there needed to be some interpretation and flexibility in the guidance.
As golf returns, time will be required for staffing and maintenance levels to return to something like “normal”. It is likely that social distancing measures will remain in place for quite some time and there may be a lag period for greenkeeping teams to get back to a full complement following furloughing.
It is important for golfers to realise that in some cases the course they return to may not be as they would expect for the time of year. We all have to have realistic expectations for the course when we do return. The following describes some of the scenarios golfers may encounter:
If you ever wondered how long it takes nature to take over a golf course, the answer is about 3 weeks.
With reduced mowing frequencies and elevated heights of cut, combined with relaxed refinement practices, nutritional inputs and top dressing, it is likely that putting surfaces will not perform as well as normal for a while. With the potential for reduced staffing and budgets in the future, a general resetting of performance standards and expectations for greens may be required in the longer-term.
With relaxed top dressing and less footfall, organic matter may have increased, resulting in softer and more receptive surfaces. With patience and targeted practices, greenkeepers will rectify any deterioration. The initial focus upon the reopening of golf courses will be to get golfers back playing and enjoying the course again. Therefore, it may be wise to pause summer/early autumn renovation windows to minimise surface disturbance and make way for golf.
But there are some positives to consider for the putting surfaces. The lack of play will mean there are no pitch marks and the relaxation of mowing, refinement and golf will have reduced disturbance pressures on the turf and favoured the development of the finer grasses.
Our initial focus as restrictions ease should be on gradually restoring the height of cut, the implementation of refinement operations and top dressing practices, but the emphasis should be on patience. Aggressive implementation will only compromise long-term sward health and reduce any gains made with grass composition.
Tees, Approaches & Fairways
The main impact on these surfaces will be from reduced mowing frequencies and higher mowing heights, both of which will have reduced the general presentation and texture of the turf. This will be felt most on courses with richer soil types and more productive grasses. As with greens, a gentle increase in mowing operations will help restore turf quality and presentation of tees, approaches and fairways, but a patient approach is required.
Weed control will have been limited during the lockdown (especially on courses that have been readily utilised for daily exercise by the public), so the presence of flowering weeds may have to be tolerated for a period of time until sufficient control measures can be safely implemented.
Rough, Penalty Areas & Bunkers
Maintenance through the lockdown to rough, penalty areas and bunkers may have been limited to just weekly mowing of the in-play rough. Maintenance to the bunkers, wider rough and penalty areas was not considered “essential” so golfers should expect some significant deterioration to these areas. Stronger growth and longer grass may heighten punishment for errant shots and it will take time to restore routine mowing operations.
With the potential for restricted staffing levels continuing for some time, this may be a good opportunity to assess whether all areas of rough need to be routinely mown or whether this activity can be relaxed in some areas without being detrimental to enjoyment and pace of play. This approach could save time and fuel as well as providing a more natural feel to the course.
The impact of a lack of raking and general attention to bunkers is likely to have allowed animal damage, sand blow, weed ingress and sand contamination to have developed. These issues, alongside use by non-golfers during lockdown, will create work that will require significant efforts to redress. Large scale bunker work tends to be a winter job so it needs to be understood that rectifying this type of damage at this time of year is likely to take longer given the concentration of available resources on mowing operations.
Operations that contribute to the general presentation of the course, such as trim mowing around tees, course furniture, out of bounds and clubhouse areas, have all been relaxed and will take time to restore. However, consideration should be given to whether all this is necessary. Just because it was always done this way does not mean it needs to continue in the same way.
With many golf courses, especially those in coastal and urban areas, having been used widely as open green spaces by the public during lockdown, some collateral damage is inevitable and will take time to repair. Seeding and turfing may be required in more extreme cases but weather and lack of resource may mean that imperfections have to persist until conditions are more suitable for repair work to establish.
Whilst the general public have enjoyed using our golf courses for exercise during the lockdown and have appreciated what wonderful places they are, there will need to be a carefully managed, sensitive transition back to golf and full maintenance. The manner in which staff and members engage with the public during the return to golf will be key.
Catering for increased demand to play from golfers while allowing greenkeepers to prepare the course, and ensuring the safety of all, are matters that each club will need to consider.
Resources & Expectations
The serious impact of Covid 19 on golf course operations cannot be underestimated. Some will be more affected than others but the majority of clubs are looking to cut costs in some way, and with course maintenance being the biggest cost for many clubs, the trimming of course maintenance and staffing budgets may be seen as very necessary for those charged with ensuring the ongoing existence of clubs.
For many, this will require a rethink of how courses are maintained. The need to save money will force many clubs to identify what is important and what is less so in terms of the playing and presentational standards. If these difficult decisions are being made, full transparency is encouraged so that members understand why things might not be as they were.
It is important for all of us who work in and play the game to understand that courses may not be in the same condition when we return as we have come to expect. We need to collectively exercise the need for patience to allow greenkeepers the time to implement their expertise and restore course conditioning back to what we consider to be normal. As has been said in relation to many aspects of life since the emergence of the Covid 19 pandemic, golfers may have to adjust to a “new normal”.
Alistair Beggs, Richard Windows and Adam Newton from The R&A Agronomy Team.
When we do resume golfing again it will be necessary to keep the Locker rooms closed. This will also include the toilets in these areas.
Prior to the lockdown members should have removed their clubs from their lockers before we officially closed the clubhouse. However we are aware that not everyone managed to do this.
Arrangements have been made so that any member who needs to retrieve their clubs can do so on the following dates –
The locker rooms will be open on Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd May
during the hours of 10.00am – 2.00pm both days.
Entry will be by a strict one in one out system and be controlled by a council member, in order that the process can be carried out safely.
CADDY CAR SHED
Any member who has a caddy cart in the shed should also uplift their cart as their will be no access to this area when play does resume.
I hope that this update finds you all safe and well. It has been a very difficult time for everyone coping with the restrictions and adjusting to the changes in our lifestyle. I am sure we are all missing our family and friends and the normality we always took for granted until this terrible virus engulfed us all.
As you may have seen from the newsletter sent out on Friday, Council has taken the decision to postpone our celebrations for the Centenary until next year. It was felt that with the level of uncertainty surrounding the possible reopening of golf courses, to try and hold the Centenary would diminish what we would hope to be a memorable occasion for every member. By postponing until next year we would hope to have a full golfing calendar along with the social events planned for the Centenary.
Plans have been made for the course reopening. It would appear that for some time we will only be able to play social golf. You will have probably seen speculation in the media that this may be limited to singles or two balls, but until we hear officially nobody really knows what may happen. I mentioned previously that we were looking at a revised fixture list. When possible, we would hope to play our Club Championships and major Stroke competitions. These would take priority over any Medals that may have been due to be held. Everything is dependent on when and how we can reopen. We hope that depending on circumstances that the Flag raising ceremony will be able to be held later in the year. A list of local rules are being drawn up that will enable us when we are able to open, to do so safely. The BRS booking system is being closed down until we have a definite date when the course can reopen. Members will be kept up to date with any information as soon as we have it. There is a statement on the website from Scottish Golf which is worth reading.
The Seniors Texas Scramble has been rearranged for Tuesday 4th August. It is hoped that we will be in a position by then to hold this very popular competition but it will depend on any restrictions imposed on us by government. Liberton members have expressed disappointment that owing to the popularity of this event they were unable to get a time. There will probably be cancellations due to the change of date. Liberton members will be given priority for the revised date and should contact Iain Seath by email, in order that they can be fitted in where possible.
A waiting list will be established and entries will be taken in order by the date they are received.
Iain’s email address is – firstname.lastname@example.org
As I have previously stated the support we are receiving from the members who continue to pay by direct debit is very encouraging. Currently we have 262 members who pay by this method. To date when the May payment was received, the number who felt unable to pay was in single figures. This is extremely positive and shows the depth of feeling that everyone has for Liberton.
As of 10th May our Bank balance is currently down by just under £14000 compared to 10th May 2019. At the time of writing we are still waiting for our furlough payment from the government. This shortfall is represented by a slight decrease in membership numbers therefore lower subs, and the fact that we have had no green fees or bar / function income over the past weeks. Unfortunately even in the present circumstances the running of the club does not stand still. There are still invoices to be paid on a monthly basis. The Secretary has been attempting to negotiate a payment holiday with some companies, but even if that is successful it only pushes the problems further back in the year. We will receive a rebate from Scottish Golf of 25% of our affiliation fees which amounts to £2000. We are continuing to furlough all the Bar staff, the Office Administrator and two of our green staff.
Some members have been asking about Iain Seath’s position and whether the Club are continuing to pay his retainer. As I mentioned in a previous update Iain is continuing to work on behalf of the Club. As well as working on the fixture list he is undertaking other work on the Club’s behalf. He is not receiving a full retainer payment, but is receiving a payment commensurate with the work he is doing. This month like all self-employed members he will receive any payments that are due to him from the government.
I can assure all members that the Council are keeping a very tight rein on expenditure.
Some members have asked about the possibility of a reduction in their fees due to the fact that we have been unable to play golf for a couple of months. In an ideal world that might be the case but the harsh reality is that without members support the Club would struggle to survive. When circumstances allow Council will be discussing our financial position and making plans for the future.
I would now like to give you some information on another matter but one that relates to Club income. We have been in discussions for some time with a mobile phone company regarding the installation of a mast on the course. Negotiations have been going on for sometime now and in March we concluded all contractual arrangements. In the last few weeks we have received the payment for this project. It had been hoped that the money received would have been able to be used for capital projects, but in the present financial uncertainty a good part of it will have to be used in order to help with the economies of the Club. While this is disappointing, it is essential that as far as possible we keep the Club on as firm a financial footing as possible. A timing schedule for the work has still to be finalised but it will not be until the golfing season is over. The mast will be erected in the rough on the right hand side of the 10th fairway. It will be very near the wall and have no effect on the playing of the hole. There may be some disruption to the playing of the 10th during installation but it will only be for several weeks. More information will be made available near the time.
Before a word about the course I would like to thank the members who have been working around the clubhouse area & also on the course.
Anne Elder, Maureen Graham & Moira Kinnear have been tidying up the flower beds at the 1st & 9th tees and Gordon Finney has been working on the area beside the wall at the 13th. Jas Robertson & Bill Carlyon have also been helping with some general maintenance work. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all the members to thank you for your efforts.
The following is a short report from our Head Green Keeper Brian Toall.
Over the last four weeks we have been working hard preparing and maintaining our beautiful golf course. We are following the government guidance along with both B.I.G.G.A and the R& A, in which guidelines have been set out for all golf courses, which stipulate essential maintenance tasks.
These guidelines have slowed our rate of preparations but despite this, we are managing areas with the aid of chemicals to help us maintain them.
We are managing to undertake a level of work which has allowed us to deliver a good standard of course. However, we know it will not take us long to restore the course from its current state, to the excellent playing
conditions we have enjoyed over the last few seasons.
Head Green Keeper
I know that many of you have been up to the course and walked over the fairways and have seen for yourself the great job that is being done with limited resources. Obviously when we get back to playing, as Brian alluded to, the greens staff will need some time to bring the course up to the standard that we have all been used to over the last few years.
However, members will find the course in very good condition and I share Brian’s view that when staffing is back to normal levels, then we will very soon have our course in great condition.
Finally can I once again thank you all for your continued support. I realise that this continues to be an extremely difficult time for us all.
I hope you and your families keep safe and that it is not too much longer before we can be back on the course.