Renowned agronomist Greg Evans has headed a two-year programme of turf maintenance that has transformed Oxford Golf Club.
The club, which boasts the oldest course in the Oxfordshire, recruited Evans on a consultancy basis to help create and implement a detailed greenkeeping improvement and maintenance strategy at the Harry Colt-designed 18-hole course, working in partnership with the head greenkeeper Doug MacGregor and his dedicated team.
Evans said: “Oxford Golf Club is a fantastic course, and has always been well regarded. Following the implementation of a targeted agronomy plan, it now has perfect greens and the rest of the course is of a very high standard.”
He added: “The club was really supportive and allowed us to close the competition greens for a tight maintenance window to enable us to really focus on a big agronomy programme. The greens have a good sand profile and so we carried out deep aeration activity and then followed a strict maintenance plan. This included targeted hard watering and tight cutting to produce faster, smoother greens. Within nine months the greens were performing very well, and they are the jewel in the crown of the course.”
The greenkeeping team also focused on tees and approaches as part of the wider agronomy plan. Evans added: “As with a lot of older clubs, Oxford was built before irrigation systems were introduced, and so the course tends to hold water. We hired in a verti-drainer to fully drain the course and changed the fertility programme to add small amounts of nutrients every ten days.”
MacGregor said: “The introduced and continuation of the intense agronomy plan has been fantastic for the course, members and staff. It has been an excellent experience for the greenkeeping team, and we can all take great pride in the enhancements we have made to the course.”
Stephen Nicholson, the club’s general manager, said: “We are committed to continually improving the course and the agronomy plan has formed a key part of our strategy. The course has really reaped the rewards of this intensive activity and our members and visitors alike have commented on the quality of our greens and tees. The greenkeeping team has embraced the change in philosophy and done a fantastic job.”