The 18-hole course in Harlow, Essex, has traditionally transferred players to synthetic tees between November and April to protect the vulnerable turf from winter wear caused by high traffic. But head greenkeeper Mark Paxton says that his golfers can now enjoy playing on natural tees for a lot longer.
“Our tees really struggle with grass cover during the winter months and have no recovery, so have to be taken off standard practice,” he explains. “My seed supplier, Avoncrop Amenity’s John Selwood, suggested I use BAR 50 SOS for winter divotting and to try to keep the grass on the tees and I was very impressed with the results.”
Mark overseeded one tee with SOS in late November and says that the improvement was “almost immediate”. As he recalls: “I’d read the seed could germinate in temperatures as low as three degrees centigrade and it was pretty cold when we put it down, but sure enough it germinated in two to three weeks. As a result, the grass coverage has really improved and it’s also increased our recovery time.”
In past years, Mark has relied upon a grow-sheet to help with his winter repairs, but he says BAR 50 SOS is a far superior method. “Even though the grow-sheets create the microclimate necessary for winter growth, they can get blown away and lead to diseases like Fusarium if left down for too long. But I don’t need to bother with that now, thanks to the SOS.”
Mark now hopes that by using BAR 50 SOS – a unique ryegrass blend bred by Barenbrug Research for rapid turf repair – next winter’s golfers will benefit from an extra month or more of teeing-off on natural turf and that, long-term, he will be able to achieve year-round use of natural turf tees.
“SOS will definitely be a part of my winter repair programme from now on,” concludes Mark, who uses Barenbrug’s rapid-establishing perennial ryegrass mixture Bar Extreme for summer maintenance. “Customers do prefer to play on natural tees, so as soon as the weather improves I’m going to overseed the rest of the tees with the SOS. It’s great to know there’s now a seed I can put in for such speedy results in cold weather.”