Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy

Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy: According to the Course Manager at Ham Manor Golf Club, Agrovista Amenity’s Evolution Naturelle fertilisers have been a driving factor in producing healthy, dense turf that recovers quickly.

Paul Brown has been the Course Manager at Ham Manor Golf Club in West Sussex for just over five years. It was the job he always wanted and was therefore delighted to be head hunted for the role while working in his previous job at Canterbury Golf Club.

Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy

Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy

Paul may well have been in greenkeeping for an impressive duration of 38 years but admits that he never stops learning – and believes this has certainly been the case over the past year.

“This period during Covid-19 has taught me a lot about turf management,” he said. “There were products that I thought were essential but actually didn’t have any impact when I removed them from the maintenance programme. We were faced with a limited budget and we had to look for value in money in products. Evolution Naturelle is one of those products – it is tried and tested, and we have faith in it.”

The process in which Paul decides on which products to use on the course is rather unique. Whether it is scepticism or the perfectionist in him, Paul always insists on trialling the products somewhat closer to home before applying them to his beloved course.

“If there is a product I haven’t used before, I will more often than not trial it on my own lawn in the garden,” he admitted. “Joe Dormer from Agrovista Amenity gave me some samples of the Evolution Naturelle, and I took them home with me. Boy, did it grow! It was the most amazing lawn anyone could ever have and after that I trialled it on the tees at the course. It worked so well that we rolled it out everywhere – tees, aprons, collars, greens, and areas around the bunkers.”

Evolution Naturelle is a premium range of organo-mineral fertilisers designed with a unique mode of action. Poultry based Evolution Naturelle contains essential nutritional elements such as phosphorus (P), potassium (K), magnesium oxide (MgO), sulphur (S) and iron (Fe) which are compounded to the advanced granulation making them available for plant uptake.

In particular Paul relies on Evolution Naturelle’s Sport Spring – which contains three nitrogen sources blended to optimise consistent grass plant response; and Micro Summer – for phased release and a steady growth response throughout the core of the growing season.

Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy

Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy

“They really are our go-to products,” said Paul. “We apply them throughout the season as a base feed and then will liquid feed or foliar feed on top. There are only two or three months where we can’t use them due to the soil temperatures being a bit low, but generally we are able to apply them most of the year. One of the benefits to using them is that we can use them on a wide variety of areas.”

Further benefits of the Evolution Naturelle range include:

  • Low carbon to nitrogen ratio
  • Provides healthy balanced growth due to phased release of nutrients
  • Complexed potassium for slow release
  • Promotes stimulation of bacterial soil life helping reduce thatch build
  • Hardens turf due to cell division and cell extension as a result of ammonium take up
  • No scorch risk due to low salt index when applied at the correct rates
  • Increased tillering for a denser sward
  • Ammonium produces large volumes of root hairs which ensure active up take of micronutrients

“They really are phenomenal,” continued Paul. “The Evolution Naturelle products have been a big driving factor in producing dense, healthy turf that is resistant to divot damage and recovers quickly from environmental factors such as Leatherjacket activity.

“We find that they provide a decent amount of growth without that huge push and they feed consistently for us. They are also a lot gentler than many similar products we have used in the past which is great because over the past few years my focus has been on encouraging soil health. When I started working here, the organic matter was 28% in the top 60mm and now we are around 3.5% and part of that, apart from all the cultural activities and thatch eating products, is the fact we have stayed clear of harsh products. Evolution Naturelle has been part of that process.

“I’d like to thank Joe Dormer for recommending the products,” added Paul. “Being a former greenkeeper, he is very knowledgeable and now he has an incredible range of products in his portfolio. There is a lot of mutual respect between us and I think there are times where we both learn from each other.”

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Reesink & Toro At Ham Manor GC

Reesink & Toro At Ham Manor GC: A five year commitment is a big thing, and is not something that should be taken lightly. Trust and confidence are key components, and Ham Manor Golf Club is convinced it has the best combination in Reesink Turfcare and Toro.

Paul Brown, who has been course manager at the West Sussex club for two years, says it was the right time to commit, but the big decision was to whom? “You place a lot of trust in your package partner and ask a lot from them so it’s important to feel comfortable they can deliver. I’ve previously used Toro equipment and I had no doubt that Toro would deliver for us here at Ham Manor, but the primary drivers behind this decision were the trust and confidence we have in Reesink’s area retail sales manager Jon Cole and Toro’s unequivocal reliability.

Reesink & Toro At Ham Manor GC

“You put your reputation on the line when you embark on this sort of package deal. It’s a massive financial commitment over a long period of time, and you’ve got to be sure you’re not going to be let down. I hadn’t felt the time was right to make that sort of commitment, until now.”

In the order are a Reelmaster 3575-D, TriFlex 3400, two Workman MDX-D and one Workman HDX utility vehicles, the Multi Pro Workman sprayer and ProPass 200 topdresser. These machines add to the Reelmaster 3100-D and two Groundmaster 360 Quad Steers acquired over the last 18 months.

Positioned where it is nestled between the coast and the South Downs, Ham Manor is a parkland course a mile away from the sea, which Paul says: “has its own microclimate. Out of ten we’re an 11 when it comes to how much grass growth there is here. We could easily cut the fairways five days a week and still have work to do!”

Add to that the general trend of wetter winter months and it’s clear to see why Paul has opted for the combination of Toro’s Reelmaster 3575-D and TriFlex 3400: “We can struggle to get equipment on the course, but the RM3575-D is light with a larger footprint, and its three-wheel design and turf-friendly tyres mean we can rely on it to not damage the ground. Both machines make light work of the amount of grass.”

“When I started here there was a ‘mix and match’ range of kit, and this batch of machines are like-for-like replacements of those while we begin the process of investing in one manufacturer for the majority of our equipment. When our existing lease arrangements have run their course, the intention is to renew the entire fleet in one package. I feel this is the most cost-effective way to bring reliable machinery management to the club.”

Complementing the machinery lease deal, Ham Manor has completed phase one of its irrigation installation. This is a three-phase process to renew the entire system. Back to back Toro Infinity sprinklers have already been installed on the club’s new academy area and brand new 18th hole and up next is a Toro Lynx central control system and then Infinity sprinklers, back-to-back on the greens, tees, aprons and partial fairways of the 18-hole course.

Paul says: “Replacing our irrigation system is the biggest single investment the club will make in the next 30-40 years. Due diligence was essential in the evaluation process and we were thorough in our research. We viewed all the major brands and even travelled overseas visiting factories to see how sprinklers are made, but when it came down to it, Toro had everything we needed, including first class support from Reesink’s Rob Jackson which of course, is an essential component of the whole process.”

It’s common sense that when making an irrigation decision to consider sustainability too. With that in mind a new irrigation lake has been built and a borehole installed and Paul is actively investigating running grey (roof) water into the lake to further enhance the club’s ability to be less dependent on a mains water supply. That, however, is a story for another day and we look forward to bringing you the latest at Ham Manor when phase two of the irrigation installation commences!

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