Tag Archive for: Courses

Golf courses tackle extreme heat

Golf courses tackle extreme heat: Smoking bans, course closures, early finishes, just how are some golf courses tackling the high temperatures?

Read the full article from Golf Monthly here

Golf courses tackle extreme heat

Golf courses tackle extreme heat

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Jack Nicklaus courses benefit from Ventrac

Jack Nicklaus courses benefit from Ventrac: London Golf Club has taken delivery of the new Ventrac 4520 all-terrain compact tractor and selection of attachments to assist in the maintenance of their two Jack Nicklaus-designed courses near Brands Hatch in Kent.

Lee Sayers is the Golf Courses and Estate Manager and heads a team of 27 full-time staff and 15 part-time including two head greenkeepers, a workshop mechanic, irrigation technician and a gardener with 21 members of the team working on the golf course.

Jack Nicklaus courses benefit from Ventrac

Jack Nicklaus courses benefit from Ventrac

“That might seem a very large team to most people, but we have 500 acres of estate including two championship golf courses to manage and large areas of woodland; it’s an intensive job”, he says.

Lee began his career in 1991 at Cottesloe Golf Club in the suburbs of Perth in Western Australia, before returning to the UK in 1994 to take the position of assistant greenkeeper at London Golf Club. Four years later he joined Hempstead Forest Golf Club near Cranbrook and in 2000 returned to London Golf Club as No. 2 to Peter Todd. In 2003 he joined Mid Kent Golf Club near Gravesend, where he spent 14 years until returning to take up his current role in 2017.

“Our members and guests expect a high level of presentation and we try to maintain a manicured ‘look’ across the entire estate, so the Ventrac was an obvious choice, he added. “I’d seen lots of ‘noise’ about Ventrac in the press and on social media together with good feedback from my peer group across the county, especially Mark Todd at the Wildernesse. We had a really good demo and that just reinforced my opinion, so we purchased the tractor unit and four attachments; the Contour deck, Tough Cut deck, Turbine Blower and Power Brush.

“The Tough Cut deck is great for maintaining the woodland margins. The out-front position of the Tough Cut deck combined with the low profile and agility of the tractor unit, means we can get in and under the trees. Without doubt, it has lifted the presentation of the course. The Contour deck does a superb job on the Nicklaus-designed bunker surrounds, where we previously used ‘Flymo’ mowers on the steep sides. This has saved numerous hours and has increased efficiency.

“We have significant woodland and spend too many hours using backpack blowers removing leaves and other debris, not just in the autumn, but all-year round. This is so time-intensive, but the Turbine blower is brilliant; we can also use it to remove debris after scarifying and even blow cores from the greens after aeration.

“Changing between the different attachments is quick and easy. There’s no three-point linkage to worry about or adjustments to make, you simply drive out of the current implement and drive into the next one. The mounting system is ingenious; it’s so quick that it encourages you to use it to its full potential.”

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New Reesink training courses

New Reesink training courses: Reesink’s new range of training courses, of which there are now four, are now held at the customer’s venue and focus on getting the best from Toro equipment in just two days.

Lee Rowbotham, service manager at Reesink Turfcare, says: “We knew coming out of the pandemic we were going to have to look at doing things differently and we decided all the courses would all be hosted at the customer’s venue using their own products. This ensures there’s little disruption to the new schedule, but most significantly it comes with the advantage of the customer learning in an environment they are familiar with, about products that they have and use daily.”

New Reesink training courses

New Reesink training courses

The courses cover the Safe Use of Ride-On Mowers which is ideal for new starters giving a thorough overview of operating, checking and maintaining ride-on mowing equipment. The Turfcare Mechanics course is aimed at instilling confidence in troubleshooting, routine servicing and maintenance of Toro equipment as well as understanding Toro Fault Codes and Level 1 Hydraulics and Electrics fundamentals to incorporate on board machinery diagnostics.

The Professional Sprayer course focuses on how to calibrate and operate Toro spraying equipment and the Compact Tractor Driving course is a quick refresher course on what to look out for on pre-use checks before using a compact tractor and its attachments, guiding you through basic operations and manoeuvring.

All provide manufacturer backed certification at the end of the course and both course material and assessment are included in the fees. Each course ranges from one to two days of training and can be conducted on an individual basis or in small groups.

Lee continues: “We’ve tailored these courses to meet our customers’ needs, whether that be carrying out preventative maintenance, fine tuning their cutting units or calibrating their Toro sprayer. We feel that having this knowledge has so many benefits in getting the best from their Toro and TYM equipment.”

Reesink Turfcare offers competitive prices and flexible dates so that they can book training ahead of time, safe in the knowledge they are getting the best deals possible.

Training is an invaluable investment in the workforce and developing skills and expanding knowledge in the products they use and repair on a daily basis.

To find out more contact Reesink Turfcare on 01480 226800 or visit reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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The ultimate aerification system for natural grass pitches and golf courses

The ultimate aerification system for natural grass pitches and golf courses: SubAir Systems, a high-tech system provided by Bernhard and Company to EMEA and parts of Asia, is one of the most revolutionary products in the turf industry, being trusted by some of the most famous golf courses and natural grass stadiums around the globe.

We sat down with Steve Wilson, PAC-Asia Business Development Manager from Bernhard and Company, and Matt Cindea, Global Project Consultant from SubAir Systems, to learn more about the product and why it is the ultimate aerification system for natural grass pitches and golf courses.

The ultimate aerification system for natural grass pitches and golf courses

The ultimate aerification system for natural grass pitches and golf courses

“As a concept, SubAir is a vacuum and aerification system for natural grass pitches and golf courses,” said Matt.

“In pressure mode, the system simply pushes clean oxygen into the selected root zone of any pitch or green, encouraging the best possible growing conditions for the grass plants. This is extremely important, as grass naturally develops waste gas that formulates around the root zone – even more so during high temperatures. Being able to remove these gases and replace them with fresh oxygen means that the growing conditions can be regulated continuously and kept at optimal levels.

“The vacuum mode essentially works in the complete opposite way, by pulling air out and away from the bottom of the root zone.

When you remove air from this zone, it also pulls moisture away at the same time, which allows the user to be very calculated when determining the amount of moisture they want within their soil profile.

“This use of SubAir Systems is perhaps the most globally recognised and is certainly one that our customers appreciate, because it allows them to maintain a constant moisture level despite any large storms or deluges of water that might otherwise flood their pitch or course.

“We also install sensors in the playing surfaces that can monitor the salinity, moisture, temperature and oxygen levels of the turf. The information collected by those sensors then directly feeds into our system which can create an auto-response. For example, the system can be programmed so that if there is a spike in moisture levels, the vacuum will automatically pull air out until the moisture level drops back down to the desired number.

“Initially, the SubAir product was created purely to push air into a root zone. The prototype product was actually derived from a powerful leaf blower, which was used to blow air through a drainage system to provide fresh oxygen to a green that struggled particularly badly with flooding each year. Over the course of a couple of months, it became obvious that the green was able to recover quicker due to the better-quality air circulating beneath the soil. From that came the realisation that if you could push oxygen into the subsoil, with a reversed power source you could just as easily remove air and water.

The ultimate aerification system for natural grass pitches and golf courses

The ultimate aerification system for natural grass pitches and golf courses

“Every SubAir System that we install has to contend with a different growing environment. We have systems all over the world, in Asia, North America, South America and Europe. The systems in each of those locations need to be programmed differently to tackle each totally unique climate. We work very closely with the turf manager at each individual site to determine their exact treatment requirements. With so many variables in play at each location, it is extremely important for us to go through a rigorous consultation process to understand the bespoke needs of each client and how we can deliver the best possible results.

“An example of the differing climates and how they have totally unique requirements would be with one of our more recent installations in Qatar. The amount of rainfall each year in Qatar is extremely low and the temperature rarely drops below 25 degrees Celsius.

This kind of installation very much goes against the misconception that SubAir Systems are all about moisture control. In Qatar, the turf management teams will be using the system almost exclusively in pressure mode, to provide fresh, cool oxygen to the pitches and help remove the waste gases that build up much more quickly in intense heat.”

Steve added that they had learned a lot from installing SubAir in Qatar.

“At one particular venue that is located by the coast, there is a very high water table. At this time of year in Qatar, they will overseed with Rye grass, which means they are watering the surfaces a lot. As such, the moisture levels within the turf have been very high, so they have been using their vacuum system to pull some of that moisture down which inadvertently reduced the salinity of their soil.

“In addition to reducing salinity, some turf managers will also use the vacuum system to help with their chemical applications. If they are looking to apply a root treatment, they can use the vacuum system to draw the chemicals further down into the root profile for maximum efficiency. I really can’t overstate how valuable it is to have control of a natural grass pitch, and the ability to pump in clean air and remove water. Not just from a maintenance perspective, but it is also so important from a safety side of things. The ability to dictate a perfect playing surface means that the field will be in the safest possible condition for those competing on it.”

Matt explained that each system has its own control panel that is housed on-site and allows turf managers to quickly and easily control their system.

“We have access to all our installations through an oversight app that allows us to make manipulations if requested, and we are always happy to consult with our customers on process recommendations. Ultimately though, it is a tool that we are providing to turf managers that will give them the ultimate platform to deliver the healthiest and most effective pitch or golf green.

The ultimate aerification system for natural grass pitches and golf courses

The ultimate aerification system for natural grass pitches and golf courses

“It’s important to note that SubAir is by no means just a product for golf. It was developed to help and improve any natural grass pitch or green. We have installations across multiple different platforms, from golf to cricket, baseball, soccer, horse racing and tennis, just to name a few. Every installation is completely bespoke – our team of engineers will take a look at the space provided, then custom engineer a system to fit that location.

“A SubAir System is the best insurance policy in the world for sporting venues that host major events or tournaments. Events that take place on an international or global scale have millions, if not billions of dollars pumped into them – look at the World Cup for example. If the heavens opened and a deluge of rain came down, it is completely feasible that pitches would quickly become unplayable and the cancellation of games in international and global tournaments can cost organisers millions. In the grand scheme of a project, having that insurance when it comes to game day is priceless.

“The future of SubAir is extremely bright. Maintaining a pitch is far more than throwing some seed onto a field and applying some fertilisers. Turf care is a science and modern-day expectations are very high.

When new pitches and golf courses are being created, everything has to be done to the highest possible level, including the turf, and SubAir is essential if you are looking to deliver the very best possible turf.”

Two counties, two courses – one seed

Two counties, two courses – one seed: Jason Connaughton, Course Manager at Yeovil Golf Club, says that he could not ask for anything more when it comes to the grass seed, customer service, and advice he receives from Limagrain UK.

Set on the outskirts of the town of Yeovil, this fabulous golf club boasts two excellent courses: the eighteen-hole Old Course and the nine-hole Newton Course. The two courses are divided by the River Yeo, which uniquely separates the two courses into two counties with the Old Course located in Dorset and the Newton Course in Somerset.

Two counties, two courses – one seed

Two counties, two courses – one seed

The experienced Jason Connaughton, who has worked at some top courses in the UK, Ireland, and Australia, is the man responsible for the upkeep of both courses. Now in his fourth year at Yeovil, his work across the 189 acres and 27 holes has been widely recognised, but he admits that due to the club’s location, it is not always plain sailing.

“The Newton Course is built on a flood plain which can cause issues,” he said. “The sixteenth green and seventeenth tee are at that same level, so they flood fairly often. When this occurs, there is a temporary green we use but this also tends to get very wet.

“On this small green we were commonly finding issues with moss and other problems – we also needed a grass seed which would be better for wear tolerance. I was not about to use a bent or a fescue because in the past I have found these too hard to establish on this site.

“Therefore, I spoke to both David Bevan from Agrovista Amenity and Matt Gresty from Limagrain UK – and they both suggested I try MM50.”

Limagrain’s leading MM50 mixture is a 100% ryegrass formula which is perfect for achieving consistency throughout a course. This hard-wearing mix has rapid germination, very fine leaved appearance, high shoot density and is tolerant to very close mowing, along with high disease resistance. All these attributes together produce a fantastic sward that has great colour all year round.

“We put MM50 down and it established so quickly – it was incredible,” said Jason. “There is more work to be done on the temporary green, but we’ve got the right seed now and the coverage is so much better – there is a huge improvement.”

After being impressed with the results he achieved on the temporary green with MM50, it led Jason to evaluate other areas of the course.

“After seeing how good MM50 was, it made me realise that we were not getting much out of the other brand of seed we were using,” continued Jason. “I soon made the decision to exclusively use MM50 for divotting and overseeding on the tees, fairways and aprons – and the results have been fantastic.

“It is such a lovely fine rye – the wear tolerance is fantastic, and the establishment is perfect. It ticks all the boxes for me, and the members have noticed the difference.”

Two counties, two courses – one seed

Two counties, two courses – one seed

In further pleasing the members, Jason revealed that he uses a range of Limagrain UK’s Colour Splash mixtures. The range has a floral arrangement for every requirement – whether it be a golf course, a local authority green space or any other establishment that has an area which needs brightening up.

“We have them spread out in visual areas across the course and the members and visitors absolutely love them,” said Jason. “Not only are they aesthetically pleasing but they are great for the environment and it’s lovely to see so many bees around the place. They are cost effective too – especially when you consider the impact that they have.”

Jason concluded by praising the support he receives from Limagrain UK.

“With Limagrain, it shows that you don’t have to be a big high-end golf course to receive the best support. They listen intently to what we want to achieve, and it means a lot to me when someone invests their time in talking to me and helping. I want to work with people who have our best intentions at heart, and I get exactly this with Limagrain UK.

“I couldn’t ask for more.”

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/amenity – you can also follow the company on Twitter: @MM_Seed and Instagram @mm_seeds

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Sheep taking over golf courses

Sheep taking over golf courses: At least two closed and empty English golf clubs have been taken over by sheep during the coronavirus lockdown – where the ruminants have been taking on the grass cutting duties normally reserved for the currently furloughed greenkeepers.

Several UK golf courses are located near to farmland but animals are typically deterred from venturing towards the courses due to the presence of golfers and greenkeepers. Plus, their source of food, which is now growing more quickly than it has been in recent months, is usually mown away just as rapidly.

Sheep taking over golf courses

Sheep taking over golf courses

But with no golfers bar one or two breaking the rules, and with most golf clubs furloughing all but one greenkeeper, golf courses are proving to be rich pickings for hungry sheep.

Avington Park Golf Course and Bramshaw Golf Club, both in southern England, have showcased the hard-working animals on social media.

According to entertainment website TMZ, there have been about 100 sheep roaming and grazing on Avington Park’s 32-acre golf course.

Bramshaw Golf Club also saw the funny side of the invasion – and also outlined the benefits to the course.

The club wrote on Twitter: ‘Been out there for a couple of days. Not doing any harm at the moment.. free labour!’

While sheep on golf courses due to a lack of golfers because of a pandemic may be something new, many golf courses around the world do use herbivores to help out with the maintenance of their facilities.

Machrihanish Dunes in Scotland has used sheep to control the rough in the past.

A spokesman told The Golf Business in 2014: “Here at Machrihanish Dunes we are very proud of our eco friendly status.

“By using the natural lawnmowers to thin out the rough on the course we are able to help preserve several rare and protected species of orchids that grow here on this site and in few other places. The added benefit is visitors can enjoy the company of these unique companions as they play a round. These woolly wonders will have people flocking to see them in action.”

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NZ courses braced for no upkeep

NZ courses braced for no upkeep: Normally at the weekend, stadiums around New Zealand are full of kiwis watching rugby and cricket or for the thousands of weekend hackers, it’s time for a round of golf with their mates.

But with the country in lockdown, those stadiums and golf courses aren’t just bare of people they’re without care and maintenance, and the cost economically and socially hurts.

NZ courses braced for no upkeep

NZ courses braced for no upkeep

Hundreds of clubs around the country were forced to close with upkeep not permitted.

“Greens are our babies,” New Zealand Greenkeepers president Steve Hodson told Newshub.

“If we lose our greens, we lose our golf course and we’ve lost our revenue, then we’ve lost jobs.”

He is among thousands of volunteers and is devastated.

“[It’s] a massive social cost as well, as financial cost to the clubs,” he told Newshub.

NZ golf has been lobbying to get a dispensation to allow a skeletal staff to cut the greens, until a decision is made.

“The grass keeps on growing,” Hodson added.

But while the lockdown effects may be permanently crippling for many small golf courses, the grounds in our big stadiums are in better shape

Turf manager Karl Johnson says FMG Waikato Stadium has sprayed a product to slow growth.

“Hopefully it will hold on for 4 weeks,” Johnson told Newshub.

“Our irrigation systems are managed by mobile devices so we are able to irrigate from home”

Instead, Johnson will spend the month preening his own lawn and is hopeful the grass will be greener for all when this finally ends.

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Two Ryder Cup Courses For EcoBunker

Two Ryder Cup Courses For EcoBunker: Working on a course for a Ryder Cup is a great achievement for any golf construction professional. To work on two in the space of a week, though, is pretty remarkable. But that’s what EcoBunker site manager Louis Palser will have done by the end of next week.

Louis has spent the last two days at Le Golf National in Paris, supervising EcoBunker’s part of the construction of the 2018 Ryder Cup venue’s new state of the art practice facility, which is being managed by golf consultant Alejandro Reyes (the former superintendent of Le Golf National). Flying directly from Paris to Rome, Louis moves on to the Marco Simone club, currently under reconstruction at the hands of European Golf Design architect Dave Sampson, in advance of its starring role in the 2022 Ryder Cup. There, for ten days, he will be working alongside EcoBunker’s top construction specialist Llewellyn Matthews installing EcoBunker’s AquaEdge lake edging product on the sixteenth and eighteenth holes.

Two Ryder Cup Courses For EcoBunker

Quite some going for a young man who is new to the golf business. Louis joined EcoBunker last year after studying civil engineering at Salford University, because ‘he wanted to use his construction knowledge, work outdoors and gain plenty of travel opportunities’, and spent 18 weeks last year on the company’s job at the new Dumbarnie Links in Fife, where he rose to be deputy site manager under Llewelyn Matthews. Now, he’s comfortable leading jobs, and has worked on EcoBunker projects in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and France.

EcoBunker CEO Richard Allen says: “With our contracting business growing rapidly we’ve had to invest in new construction management talent, and Louis has rapidly become an important part of our growth.”

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Gleneagles’s New Golf Courses Manager

Gleneagles’s New Golf Courses Manager: Gleneagles, the iconic Scottish hotel and sporting estate, has announced the appointment of Craig Haldane as its new Golf Courses Manager.

South African Craig, a well-known figure in the global golf industry, joins Gleneagles from Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, where he held the position of Director – Golf Course Maintenance, and had led golf course operations at the iconic Middle East venue for the past 11 years.

Gleneagles's New Golf Courses Manager

Previous to this, Haldane’s international experience included senior roles at Nad Al Sheba Golf Club, Dubai; Riffa Golf Club, Bahrain; Ria Bintan Golf Club, Indonesia; and Fancourt Hotel, South Africa.

Haldane arrives at Gleneagles as it prepares for the staging of two significant tournaments over the next 18 months – the inaugural European Golf Team Championships on The PGA Centenary Course this August and The Solheim Cup 12 months later – as well as the centenary of The King’s Course next year.

The James Braid-designed King’s Course will also welcome the 100th playing of the Scottish Stroke Play Championship this year, while The Queen’s Course will see the second PING Scottish Mixed Championship.

Commenting on this important announcement, Gary Silcock, Director of Golf at Gleneagles, said: “I’m incredibly excited by Craig’s appointment and his global experience and expertise will be a huge asset as we continue to invest in our golf business and customer experience.

“His industry knowledge and tournament preparation skills – The Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club stages the European Tour sanctioned Omega Dubai Desert Classic each year – will be invaluable. Bringing together Craig’s experience with Scott Fenwick, our Director of Agronomy & Estates, who has 38 years of tournament expertise here at Gleneagles, is helping us create one of the strongest tournament teams in golf.

“We are now blending a growing international team with home-grown talent and Craig’s appointment will allow us to further develop our succession planning goals within our Greens Team Apprentice programme, which started two years ago.”

Haldane’s appointment at ‘The Glen’ coincides with the 850-acre Perthshire estate winning a host of industry accolades, including being named the ‘No.1 Golf Resort in Britain & Ireland’ by Golf World Magazine, and the ‘Ultimate Golf Resort’ at the recent 59club Awards.

Craig Haldane, said: “Gleneagles is one of the world’s great golf estates and the opportunity to work with Gary and the team to deliver the next chapter in its illustrious golfing history is something I am hugely looking forward to.

“The King’s, The Queen’s and The PGA Centenary Course are already recognised the world-over as exceptional golf experiences and I am confident that in my new role, and with the support of the incredible golf team at Gleneagles, we will be able to take the management, conditioning and preparation of all courses to the next level.”

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