How Moray Golf Club was brought back to life

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick February 16, 2023 13:21

The summer of 2018 caused Moray Golf Club in Scotland’s New Course untold damage. Here, from overseeding to compost teas, the club’s courses manager details how it was brought back to life with the help of Origin Amenity Solutions.

When extreme hot weather coupled with little irrigation rendered the grass on the New Course at Moray Golf Club effectively dead and out of use, golf course manager Kevin Thomson had a big problem on his hands.

The old 18-hole course at Moray Golf Club in Lossiemouth, Scotland was established in 1889 and is considered to be one of the finest links courses in Scotland; a classic links with deep revetted bunkers, undulating gorse lined fairways and smooth fast greens. It is a superb test of golf with seven par fours over 400 yards.

The new 18-hole course which opened in 1979 had no irrigation system installed and “had always been an issue” explained Kevin, “with low annual rainfall, moisture levels were always a constant issue on the fairways. We have our own microclimate in Lossiemouth but the extreme hot and dry weather during the summer of 2018 caused untold damage and left the fairways in poor condition.”

Kevin continues: “We tried to overseed but without the irrigation to support this we were onto a losing battle. In 2022 the club had the finances available to install an automated irrigation system so in early September of 2022 we seeded with Origin Amenity Solutions R8 Grass Seed – an ultra-fine dwarf rye and fescue mix that is Germin-8T treated.”

R8 grass seed is formulated by Rigby Taylor, which, along with Headland Amenity, Symbio and TurfKeeper, make up Origin Amenity Solutions. It is the chosen mix for many golf clubs, bowling, cricket and tennis clubs due to its ultra-fine leaved high shoot density and its tolerance of regular close mowing. It is fast establishing, hard wearing and improves tolerance to red thread disease.

“The results after overseeding were exceptional,” says Kevin. “I chose the R8 grass seed mix because of the fescue content. Being a sand-based location, the fescue likes these impoverished conditions and does well. I knew from experience that I would get good results, but it was far better than I expected. The weather was exceptional – the temperatures throughout November really helped and the germination was fast. The results were astounding. Everything came together – the perfect storm if you like!”

Kevin has been at Moray Golf Club for 35 years and held the courses manager position for the last nine of those. He manages a team of nine to maintain the high standards the courses are renowned for. He has been a long-term customer of Rigby Taylor, Headland and Symbio so when they all became part of Origin Amenity Solutions this was great news for him. He has been using the Symbio Compost Tea programme for almost a decade and is a staunch believer in this approach.

Symbio Compost Teas are highly concentrated microbial solutions containing a wide variety of beneficial bacteria, fungi and other soil microorganisms that promote biologically active soils and healthy plants. He adds, “We spray on the fungi that contain the beneficial bacteria we need on the greens and in the soil. It massively helps with disease control. We get very little disease, significantly less than before we adopted this approach. As more and more chemicals are banned, I really feel that this is the way forward. It is definitely a longer-term approach, but I feel worth it. I saw significantly less autumn disease after a couple of years into the programme.

“I have known Andy Menmuir at Rigby Taylor for years and I do really like their grass seed, especially their rye coated. I have been using the R8 for many years on the heavily trafficked fairways of the Old Course where I need fine rye. I would also recommend their R9 for fast germination and hard-wearing properties – it’s a good strong mix and I get great results with that; as well as the R5 – pure fescue that I have used in the past.”

Discussing the method of seeding used to get such fine results: “Well, the grass on the New Course was effectively dead,” Kevin explains. “We scarified with a Terra Rake to rip up all the dead material. We then disc-seeded with pure fescue – the disc system places seed under the surface to improve the rate of germination, before finally pot seeding. ‘Pot seeding’ of fescue on many links courses is becoming more common. We effectively ‘punched’ holes into the ground and using a modified spreader with an attached seed tray and the R8 seed fell into the holes. The team top-dressed with sand and topsoil before watering.


“We’re really happy with the results. Irrigation is now installed which will ensure we maximise turf playability during periods of drought stress or low rainfall and will improve nutrient efficiency. Now the golf course is where it needs to be; I’m looking forward to maintaining it and seeing golfers enjoy it.”

For more information, visit


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick February 16, 2023 13:21
Write a comment

1 Comment

  1. Mint Greens Golf February 17, 10:54

    Always enjoyed my trips to Moray for the Scottish Uni Finals… Remember getting badly sunburnt! Great club and a beautiful area

    Reply to this comment
View comments

Write a comment


Join Our Mailing List

Read the latest issues

Advertise With Us

For editorial enquiries in the magazine or online, contact:

For advertising enquiries in the magazine or online, contact: