Specialist grass seed breeder Barenbrug recently accompanied the St Andrews Links greenkeeping team on an exclusive visit to its greens and fairways trial at Ballybunion Golf Club in County Kerry.
Research and development manager Jayne Leyland provided the group – led by Gordon Moir, the director of greenkeeping at the ‘Home of Golf’ – with a valuable insight into the progress of the company’s second Irish trial. Ballybunion deputy course superintendant Mike Hartney and his team proved welcoming hosts, with Barenbrug’s regional sales manager in Ireland, Neil Pettican, and manager for Scotland, David Greenshields, together with course superintendants from the region, joining the group.
Complementing Barenbrug’s groundbreaking golf green differential input trial at Druids Glen Golf Resort in County Wicklow, this second trial at Ballybunion is investigating the performance of 24 current and in-development mixtures and monocultures for greens and fairways under the influence of a links management programme and environment in indigenous sand. Gordon Moir says the visit was of real educational benefit to the team.
“I thought the trial plots were very impressive,” he says. “The team has done a great job bringing them on in such harsh conditions, already achieving strong cover in a short period of time. The surfaces were dense and smooth, with some of the plots featuring a mixture containing a new fescue variety – which I believe is to be named Barlineus – standing out in particular. Having the opportunity to visit and view trial plots maintained under typical golf course conditions and growing in an environment similar to our own gives us a much greater idea of how the seed will perform.
“It is important for St Andrews Links to see that Barenbrug, despite already having some excellent cultivars, are continually looking to further improve their product. Not only are they producing great grass, but they are also now recruiting staff who can play golf to a high standard, with David Greenshields giving the St Andrews Links team a lesson in how to get the golf ball round a great links course under difficult conditions!”
Ballybunion’s Mike Hartney says the club was delighted to welcome Gordon and his team to view the trials. “We were honoured that the St Andrews Links team were interested to visit the Ballybunion trials. It was a good opportunity for us both to enjoy an open exchange of thoughts, ideas and information – of particular use was comparing their specific goals and interests to ours. It was also very motivating for us in terms of our trials work, knowing that they were coming to inspect and appreciate the plots.”
Barenbrug UK www.barenbrug.co.uk