Leading grass seed breeder Barenbrug has been working closely with The London Golf Club, near Brands Hatch, in Kent, to help implement a grass species exchange programme and solve other problems on the club’s two 18-hole championship courses – The Heritage and The International.
Courses manager Peter Todd says, “Our existing sward is dominated by creeping bent, but this species doesn‘t grow well in cold winter conditions. We wanted a longer growing season, better divot recovery, greater wear tolerance, reduced water demand and less thatch production, so we sought advice from Jayne Leyland. She recommended we overseed with Barenbrug’s BAR Extreme mix and gave us excellent advice on sowing depth and rates, aftercare and establishment. We also visited Hanbury Manor, where they have achieved great success with BAR Extreme.”
BAR Extreme includes the three top-rated perennial ryegrasses Bargold, Barlady and Bartwingo. The mixture offers outstanding fineness of leaf, tolerance to close mowing, cleanness of cut, disease resistance and colour.
Peter began the overseeding programme in August 2004 on 13 hectares of fairway – quite a substantial area – and was pleased to see fast germination and rapid establishment. “We‘ve seen over 90 per cent take up of the seed, which is a fantastic result, and a dramatic improvement. The players are very complimentary on the condition of the fairways, particularly as the sward looks good and plays well, even in harsh winter conditions.
“This year we‘ll expand the over-seeding programme to The International course where we aim to combine the benefits of the fine leaved dwarf ryegrasses with fescues. With increased wear from buggy traffic and more winter play, the new grasses will help us to produce high quality surfaces all year round.”
Peter is also using Barenbrug’s new rhizomatous tall fescue turf (RTF), supplied by accredited grower Tillers Turf, for re-construction of bunker faces and surrounds. RTF is an innovative product which offers high tensile strength, fast establishment of turf and rapid recovery, as well as excellent wear, shade, salt and frost tolerance and will withstand both waterlogging and drought conditions.
Peter says, “Jayne recommended we lay RTF to combat several problem areas. We are in one of the driest areas in the country, and RTF’s drought tolerant characteristics should help overcome this. Also we‘ve laid it to help with sand splash and wear problems from machine rakes accessing the bunkers. It’s too early to see results, but watch this space!”
Barenbrug UK: www.barenbrug.co.uk
The London Golf Club www.londongolf.co.uk