Specialist grass seed breeder Barenbrug has shared the findings of two in-depth trials into which grasses are best suited to golf greens, with the resulting 24-page booklet concluding that a red fescue-browntop bent blend is the best option for UK and Ireland courses.
The findings are the fruition of a six-year independent trial at the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) in Bingley, together with Barenbrug’s own sister trial at Druids Glen Golf Club in County Wicklow – the first trial of its kind in Ireland.
The results strongly indicate that the preferred grass composition for golf greens under year-round play in the UK and Ireland is a combination of high-quality red fescue (slender creeping and Chewings) and browntop bent cultivars. Specifically, a 80:20 red fescue-browntop bent blend was the top-performing treatment in the Bingley trial. It performed well at Druids Glen, too, ranking second overall.
The trials also give an unprecedented insight into how seed selection and standard- versus low-input maintenance regimes influence the long-term performance of a newly-constructed golf green. Both trials saw a broad range of golf green mixtures and monocultures sown on a sand-dominant rootzone, with performance assessed after an establishment period to provide a thorough insight into their sustainability.
Commenting on the launch of the booklet, Barenbrug’s research and development manager Dr David Greenshields says: “We’re thrilled to publish these results after six years of hard work with STRI, plus we are also grateful for the assistance from Druids Glen.
“Until now, there have been many preconceptions – and misconceptions – about which grasses should dominate our greens here in the UK and Ireland, but there have been few hard facts. Now we can say with more certainty that a red fescue-browntop bent blend is, for most golf clubs, the best bet for quality golf greens.”
David says that the data – which is detailed in full in the free booklet – also echoes what Barenbrug has found at other field-testing and customer venues, such as St Andrews Links, Castle Stuart, Carnegie Club and Perranporth Golf Club.
“Of course, not every golf course is the same,” he continues. “But, for those looking to sow out new greens, this is likely to be a recipe for success. The trials have also yielded further valuable data, such as the negative aspects of other grass species used throughout the UK and Ireland. Quite simply, it’s a ‘must read’ for course managers seeking the best quality greens.”