Why Golf Greens Are About To Become Better Than Ever

Why Golf Greens Are About To Become Better Than Ever: Modern turf management practices are raising the standards for golfers. 

Why Golf Greens Are About To Become Better Than Ever

Greenkeeping Lecturer Anthony Stockwell gives us an update on the modern turf management practices that are raising the standards for golfers.

Updates in technology are driving the greenkeeping industry at an accelerated pace. Once keepers of the green used scythes and sheep to keep the turf short.

In this article we look at five major advancements that are pushing the boundaries of turf management, so that golfers particularly of the elite level can play on unbelievably smooth greens and fine fescue fairways.


Machinery has become lighter in weight enabling less compaction to the turf. Super sharp blades are able to cut with the turf with accurate precision.

Maintaining the tools and equipment on a golf course has become easier. Advancements in electrical machinery has enabled smarter and more sustainable use.

Robotic machinery is on the horizon and it won’t be too long until all surfaces on a golf course are cut without the need for an operator.


Turf managers have become obsessed with data collection and measuring the performance of their turf.

These measurements enable the greenkeepers to make informed and accurate decisions. Soil sensors can instantly measure soil moisture, temperature and salinity.

Green smoothness, trueness and speed can all be accurately objectively measured. These readings along with accurate weather forecasts can help them make informed decisions, such as “do we roll greens or mow?”

This aspect will be used a considerable amount at Royal Birkdale for the 146th Open Championship. This will help the greenkeepers give the optimum conditions for the professional golfers.


The history books will tell you of greenkeepers adding seaweed to golf greens during the winter.

However, nowadays, universities are conducting innovative research into the exact science behind this green slime and their benefits to playing surfaces.

Once formulated and sprayed on to the golf course the substances can provide benefits to the turf including greater tolerance to droughts, pests and diseases – all of which help the golfer enjoy a smooth and consistent playing surface.


Turfgrass breeding is a marathon task, usually taking over 10 years of arduous scientific work to create a new cultivar of seed.

New seed cultivars are providing golfers with surfaces that are finer and demonstrate greater tolerance of environmental pressures.

The type of grass seed you find on a golf course will certainly not be your average seed you can buy in your local garden centre.


The world of football has been pioneering with expensive technology such as grow lights.

Under soil heating, soil vacuum systems and over ground ventilation to reduce surface and soil moisture. Turf reinforcements system are enabling a greater volume of players to use the surface.

Will these products be used on golf courses? Well, they already are at the elite level. Perhaps, these types of turf products are the future for golf.

However for the time being you won’t find such expensive technology at your local pay and play golf course, if ever at all.

To read the original article from Golf Magic, click here

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iTurf improves 9 hole Cruit Island GC

iTurf improves 9 hole Cruit Island GC: Despite working with a small budget, Brian McMonagle, Head Greenkeeper at Cruit Island Golf Club in Donegal, Ireland, has still managed to significantly improve the course through a tailor-made ICL iTurf programme.

iTurf improves 9 hole Cruit Island GC

Situated on the edge of the Atlantic coast with breath-taking panoramic views, Cruit Island Golf Club is a natural 9 hole, par 68, links course. Set over 2,809 yards with seven par fours and two par threes, the course also boasts a signature 150 yard 6th hole – which is played along the rocky cliff edge.

If you were to sail westwards from Cruit Island, across the vast Atlantic Ocean, the first land you would see is North America and it’s dedicated golfers from those shores that add to the 140 plus members already at Cruit Island. The course is generally run on the back of the green fees received throughout the year.

Brian has been at the club since 2000 and has worked with his assistant Donal Timoney since 2005.

They can both be highly commended on maintaining the course to an excellent standard. However, with budget restraints and unfavourable weather conditions, Brian contacted Colman Warde, ICL Ireland Country Manager, to see if there were any products that could potentially take the course to another level.

Together, Brian and Colman designed a tailored iTurf programme which was put together based on the specific nutritional requirements of the course, aligned with the budget he had.

The programme sees Brian start the year with an application of Greenmaster Pro-Lite Cold Start to the greens in order to get the growth up and running.

During the summer months when Cruit Island experiences most of its play, Brian uses SierraformGT All Season as a base feed, which aids recovery from heavy wear. This is supplemented with a monthly tank-mix of Sportsmaster WSF Spring & Summer, Seaweed, Greenmaster Liquid Effect Iron Fe, Primo Maxx and Seaweed from May to September – which is an excellent hardening mix for the links environment.

SierraformGT K-Step is applied in October as a turf hardener prior to the harsh winter weather the Atlantic brings to the course. When faced with these unfavourable conditions Brian also applies Sportsmaster High K, Seaweed and Greenmaster Liquid Effect Iron Fe as a tank-mix to provide a light feed to the plant during the colder months.

Commenting on the success of his ICL iTurf programme, Brian said: “If I’m honest, I initially thought that ICL products would be beyond my financial reach but I thought that I’d have a chat with Colman anyway. We sat down and spoke at length about the course and its nutritional requirements and we devised a programme within my budget which we felt would benefit us.

“The programme has massively improved the course and our members and regular guests have noticed the difference as well. It just goes to show that there is an ICL programme out there for anyone – whether it’s for a top level golf course which hosts major tournaments or for a local 9 hole course in Ireland that sits on the edge of the Atlantic ocean!”

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

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Leeds line up with Pitchmark

Leeds line up with Pitchmark: Leeds United Football Club’s groundscare team have been using Pitchmark Ecoline+ line marking paint since 2015 and are currently adding a fourth Eco Club spray line marking machine to their kit. Ecoline+ is one of the most advanced low volume ready-to-use marking paints available.

Leeds line up with Pitchmark

When used in combination with Pitchmark’s Eco markers and special nozzles, the atomising technology allows you to mark a football pitch with as little as 1.5 litres. Kiel Barrett, Leeds United’s’ Head Groundsman, and his team use Ecoline+ in the Elland Road stadium and across all eight First Team training grounds and Academy pitches.

“What we were looking for was supreme quality in our marking paint,” says Kiel, “we want the brightest and it has to be quick drying but also very cost-effective.” With these criteria laid down Kiel had a demonstration by Pitchmark in 2015 and was immediately impressed with the results, putting his order in to one of their dealers, Countrywide Turf and Amenity. He says he is also very pleased with the high level of service and support he gets from Pitchmark and equally praises the consistency of the product.

Ecoline+ is manufactured using the best pigments on the market combined with advanced binders to make the paint extremely bright and durable. At the same time it is a water-based, biodegradable and environmentally-friendly product.

In the busy Leeds United groundscare schedule Kiel wanted the paint to be quick drying so they can be watering as soon as possible after application. They use Eco Club battery-powered spray line markers to achieve the most accurate lines without ghosting and find the machines straightforward to use and easy to maintain.

“On match days the speed at which we work relies heavily on the quality we get with the Pitchmark system,” adds Kiel, “we made the right choice and I would recommend it to anyone.”

Used at top level professional sport the Pitchmark results are seen every week on TV across the best leagues in the world and Ecoline+ was the paint of choice for every stadium at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014™ and UEFA EURO 2016 France™.

Pitchmark is a British company based in Bristol +44 (0)1454 776666 www.pitchmark.com

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Limagrain’s MM range is rapid at King’s Bruton

Limagrain’s MM range is rapid at King’s Bruton: Adrian Davis, head groundsman at King’s Bruton School in Somerset, has reported remarkable germination speed and recovery rates from Limagrain’s leading MM range of grass seed mixtures.

Limagrain’s MM range is rapid at King’s Bruton

In 1519, three eminent people born in Bruton, Richard Fitzjames – Bishop of London, Sir John Fitzjames, later to become Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, and Dr John Edmundes – Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, established a new school in the town. Nearly five hundred years later, and still on the same site, the school is soon set to celebrate its quincentenary.

This unique school, which hosts 347 pupils, may be small in size but is big on education – in which every individual pupil is given an opportunity to flourish.

Sport plays a huge part in the life of all pupils at King’s Bruton. The school’s hockey teams have reached ten National Finals in the last five years with the Under 16 girls winning the English Schools National Indoor Hockey Championships in 2017, while the rugby 1st XV were unbeaten throughout the season.

Overseeing the safety and the quality of the school’s sporting facilities is head groundsman Adrian Davies, who has been in his role for nineteen years. Adrian works in a team of five, with two team members tending to the school’s impressive gardens while three manage the sports fields.

Cricket and rugby are the two sports that dominate the playing time on the school’s sports fields and throughout the year fifty-four home cricket matches are played over the summer while up to seventy rugby games take place throughout the winter period.

“Switching from rugby to cricket and then back from cricket to rugby can be challenging,” admits Adrian. “We start around mid-April for cricket and that runs through until the start of August – at which time gives us a window to start preparing for rugby – that’s normally about four weeks of growth.

“I have always used Limagrain’s MM seed. I have tried others but MM just seems to suit my type of soils here and I think it is the best out there.”

Limagrain’s MM range is rapid at King’s Bruton

Limagrain UK’s MM range of grass seed mixtures is one of the most respected brands in the UK amenity industry and its mixtures are relied upon at many leading sporting venues in the UK and Europe. Adrian relies on MM50 for his cricket squares and MM60 for his rugby pitches. He also uses MM60 on his cricket outfields and MM16 on the school’s ornamental lawns.

“I do an overseeding programme in early April, prior to the cricket season, and obviously your governed by weather but it gives me great results every time – I’m known to have outfields like carpets.

“After overseeding all the outfields, we will be up and ready for September, and then we do another seeding programme in late March. I’ve always got a really established sward by September which takes me through a really busy fourteen week rugby period – where they are played on four or five times a week.

As Adrian says, the MM mixtures have the added bonus of being treated with Headstart® GOLD. This user friendly, non-toxic treatment can help your grass get off to a great start and is perfect for enhancing performance on grass seed coatings for sports fields, golf courses, lawns and amenity turf.

Adrian also believes that the service he receives from Limagrain simply adds to the overall package.

“I like the fact that the company are not pushy whatsoever in trying to sell me products and I have built up a great relationship with them. They are always around when I need them and I get excellent back-up. This is of course fantastic but ultimately I buy Limagrain seed because it is a good product and it works for me.”

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.limagrain.co.uk

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Souters Sports Bring Architect’s Vision To Life

Souters Sports bring architect’s vision to life: After successfully completing a huge bunker renovation project at the prestigious West Kilbride Golf Club in Ayrshire, Souters Sports have been widely praised by both the club’s secretary and architect.

Souters Sports Bring Architect’s Vision To Life

The West Kilbride Golf Club, established in 1893, is situated on the Ayrshire coast, with spectacular views across the Firth of Clyde to the beautiful island of Arran. As host to regular national events, West Kilbride is the most northerly of Ayrshire’s true links courses and the entire course is exposed to even the slightest breeze.  With the strongest of winds coming from the South West and North West, the 6523 yard course offers players the experience of links golf at its most demanding.

West Kilbride has a committed membership base and its motto is “Gaudio Cedat Cura” – which translates to “Care gives way to joy,” which is perhaps testament to the club’s recent decision to rejuvenate over 30 bunkers.

“We essentially wanted to make them look and play a lot better,” says managing secretary Graham MacKenzie. “On some of the older bunkers the drainage had suffered and over time had developed a poor shape. We also wanted natural looking bunkers – to give the course more of a links feel and after a few members had commented on them we decided to go ahead with the project.”

The club called upon Scottish Golf Course Architects Rennie Design Ltd to undertake an analytical study of the facilities and following an in-depth report, plans for the renovation works were soon put in place.

“The next step was to put the job to tender, and myself and Stuart Rennie (managing director of Rennie Design) invited three different contractors to come in and pitch. It was at this point that we chose Souters Sports because we were most impressed with what they had done at other courses and with their overall portfolio. They came across incredibly well and we also thought that their proposal offered good value for money,” said Graham.

With the architect’s vision in place and the Souters team briefed, construction commenced in late October and was complete by the end of February allowing time for establishment in advance of the season ahead. The works incorporated the strategic repositioning of bunkers, building bunkers in similar positions, shaping support mounding and landform, drainage installation, irrigation alterations and finishing. The final piece of works was carried out on the 18th hole where the entire hole was re-bunkered to create improved strategy and deliver a visually impressive finishing hole.

“Between the architect and the club, we had a few different ideas throughout the project which changed the process but Souters were very accommodating,” says Graham. “The feedback has been extremely good, not only from members but also from visitors who come to play on open days. The appearance is most notable and they look a lot tidier than they previously did and they also play a lot better.

“I’m very happy with the work and would absolutely recommend Souters Sports and Rennie Design. We built up a good relationship throughout the project and I would absolutely work with them again in the future.”

With such a potential complex project, Stuart was pleased that Souters were able to flawlessly bring his vision to life.

“Souters Sports worked tirelessly throughout and carried out all aspects of the works in a professional manner. They were a joy to work with and Scott Maclaren and his site team pulled out all the stops to deliver the architects vision to the satisfaction of the client,” he said.

For further information, please contact Souters Sports Limited on 01236 453030 or visit www.souterssports.co.uk. Souters Sports are also on Twitter @SoutersSports.

For further information about Rennie Design please call 07977715 382 or visit www.renniedesign.co.uk / email stuart@renniedesign.co.uk.

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Replay Rejuvenation Process Pays Dividends At Ecclesall LTC

New for Old – Replay Rejuvenation process pays dividends at Ecclesall LTC – Ecclesall Lawn Tennis Club in Sheffield has enlisted the help of Replay Maintenance to bring some much needed TLC to its 4 artificial grass courts to bring them back to a safe and playable condition.  Celebrating its centenary in 2015 the club has a private membership of over 120 people. 

Replay Rejuvenation Process Pays Dividends At Ecclesall LTC

Club Secretary Martin Gilmour has been involved with the club his whole life.  Following an investment in 2004, new carpets, floodlights and changing facilities were installed.  Since then however, the courts have struggled with their shaded location.  “The club is sandwiched between two residential roads” explains Martin. “With the gardens that surround us, we get problems like leaves that drop but the biggest issue is the shade – especially on the bottom court.” This combined with the mild conditions and sporadic rainfall experienced over the previous couple of years meant moss was becoming an issue, causing the courts to become slippery and dangerous. “We’ve been trying to keep on top of the maintenance in-house, as well as calling in some companies to come in and clean the courts, but we haven’t had a lot of joy with these in the past.”

With an admittedly sceptical mind, Martin looked for another company who could come in and sort the courts out once and for all. “I contacted Replay Maintenance and Nick Harris came straight back to me; he visited and explained how their Rejuvenation process worked. Even though I wasn’t sure they’d achieve what they said they could, we went ahead.  How wrong I was – they came in, they did deliver and now the courts look as good as new!”

Replay’s unique Rejuvenation process uses compressed air to remove the contaminated top layer of infill; restore the pile to vertical and fill again with new clean infill. Thanks to Martin choosing 15mm pile when the courts were installed, the tests conducted by Replay showed that there was still a good amount of life left in the carpet.

“After the Rejuvenation process the courts were back to an as-new condition.  Already we’ve had many comments from players on how fantastic the courts are now, which gave us the confidence to embark on a service agreement.  Replay will now visit 4 times a year to ensure we’ll have great looking courts for the foreseeable future – and as important, we’ve extended the lifespan of our investment much further than it would have been if it weren’t for them.”

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Bletchley CC Winner Of Total-Play Ltd Competition

Bletchley CC bags itself a Rain Cover as winner of total-play Ltd competition – Milton Keynes village side Bletchley CC has just taken delivery of a brand new Rain Cover pitch cover courtesy or cricket pitch specialist total-play Ltd.

Bletchley CC bags itself a Rain Cover as winner of total-play Ltd competition

The club was drawn from entries in a Facebook competition run by the company to mark the 15th anniversary of its groundbreaking Climate Cover System™. The club’s prize of a flat sheet Rain Cover worth £230 + VAT was delivered to its ground in early May, with Patrick Scholte who posted the winning entry on hand to put the cover through its paces.

 The Rain Cover, designed to as an easy to use ground cover system offering quick protection against rain prior to or during play is strong & semi-translucent; engineered to give maximum durability for frequent use. Already a popular choice for clubs following its launch in 2013, the Rain Cover was re-launched this year to a new specification that includes improved material offering added UV stability. A great solution for clubs on a budget, it represents the most cost effective cricket cover currently available through the NatWest CricketForce initiative.

Total-Play Cricket Pitch Covers The Ideal Choice for Raskelf CC

Rain Defender mobile cricket pitch covers the ideal choice for Raskelf CC – As the winner of the Niddedale League’s ground award for their division for the past seven seasons, it’s fairly safe to say that Raskelf Cricket Club takes its grounds management pretty seriously.

Rain Defender mobile cricket pitch covers the ideal choice for Raskelf CC

When looking to replace its ageing self-built ground covers recently, the club spent a significant amount of time researching the market. With funding raised through a combination of Section 106 contributions to the council from new housing developers, an ECB Small Development Grant and the club’s own fundraising activities – including takings from the bar and BBQ when the club hosted the annual T20 cup finals day in 2015 – just shy of £4,000 was available to invest in a new solution.

Quality and value were key factors in the selection process, and it was total-play Ltd’s Rain Defender Dome mobile cricket pitch covers that stood out from the crowd. Pete Sigsworth, Chair of Raskelf CC explains:

“These new covers are much lighter than our old ones such that one person can easily push them on and off, and they are also wider so reduce the chance of water running underneath. The Geka connections are water tight and make it easy to detach the pipes leaving them in situ for temporary cover removal and replacement in variable weather conditions.

 “The service has also been impressive – the installation team turned up promptly and it took just 2 hrs to construct the covers. They were proactive in giving us guidance on how to use them – even down to how to take the tarpaulins off and on correctly so that they don’t get damaged and offered useful tips on storage and maintenance. The covers were christened within a few days by heavy rain and there were no leaks, even where the covers join – they are a great piece of kit.”

 The Rain Defender range of Mobile Pitch Covers (MPC) has been designed to offer quality, a­ffordability and value for money. The range of solutions have been designed to suit a variety of needs and budgets and includes PVC and steel-topped options with both dome and apex styles on offer. All of the covers are manufactured by total-play Ltd in-house using the highest quality materials with maximised longevity and practicality in mind.