Golfclub Munchen Nord-Eichenried, just outside Munich, will host the BMW International Open for the 16th time this summer, whatever the extremes of temperature.
Lancashire born Andrew Kelly, who has been in Germany since 1990 and course manager at Eichen Ride for over four years, says that as they are situated in the middle of a land mass and just 50 kilometres from the Alps temperatures can fluctuate wildly.
“In winter they can sink below minus 20 degrees centigrade and in summer they can reach the mid to high 30s,” he says. “Even then, they can change dramatically in a matter of days, rising or falling by 15 to 20 degrees. If it doesn’t rain, these conditions can put the average golf course grasses under a lot of stress.”
Andrew’s parkland course, built on a gravel bed covered with very peaty loam has 28 holes, (the 17th, a par 3 reserved solely for the BMW tournament) with sand based greens covered in predominantly cool season bent grasses. At temperatures of over 27 degrees these grasses suffer and fail to function efficiently.
Following a severe drought three years ago, Andrew started using foliar feed products from Floratine intermittently, but last year he decided to put them to the test. He kept some of his 28 greens – 18 on the twenty year old original course, with ten added four or five years ago – on his usual soil liquid feed regime, while the remaining greens were treated with Floratine.
Johannes Brummer, from Floratine’s German distributor Turf Innovative Products, who has been working with Andrew, explains that foliar feeding the correct elements allows nutrients to be absorbed quickly and easily and transported more effectively especially under stressful conditions.
“When the plant is under stress the photosynthetic process is not as effective and the plants find it much more difficult to convert soil applied, compound feeds into a usable food source. What we’re doing is taking the pressure off,” he says.
Johannes and Andrew applied Astron for stress tolerance, Renaissance, a micro nutrient package, Carbon N a balanced source of Nitrogen, P.K. Fight a form of stable Phosphite, and Perk Up a high quality foliar calcium for heat stress. In early spring they added Protesyn to provide amino acids and help the photosynthetic process.
At the end of his year long trial, Andrew concluded that during normal growing conditions, feeding with his usual liquid fertiliser was fine, but under extreme temperatures this was ineffective and carried a higher risk of damage.
“When we come out of winter the ground is too cold for the plant to take anything up through the roots,” he explains. “We need to get the grass going, so foliar feed is our only option. At the height of summer most products have a higher risk of damage. With Floratine you’re applying such little amounts. The idea is to apply little and often. It’s time consuming but 100% effective, and seems to be bullet proof. I’ve never had a bad reaction even at times where I would have worried about applying other products.”
Andrew now applies Floratine’s Spring Start Management Action Plan (MAP) at the beginning of the year and the company’s Heat Stress Management Action Plan (MAP) during June, July and August. That said, it all depends on the weather.
This year’s BMW Open will be held at Golfclub Munchen Nord-Eichenried, from 21st June.