After seeing the results of Rigby Taylor’s R9 ultra fine dwarf rye grass on the STRI trial plots, head greenkeeper Colin Hopper knew that the perennial ryegrass mix would be ideal for overseeding his 18-hole Elsham Golf Club course. And he was delighted with the results!
The fairways at the Brigg, north Lincolnshire course were looking the worse for wear following the record-breaking hot summer of 2018. “But I knew that if I could repeat the impressive germination and coverage performance of R9 that I had seen – I couldn’t believe how well it looked – I knew the ideal solution would have been found and the fairways would be brought back to their best,” says Colin.
Indeed, such was the success of the initial overseeding, with germination at just 7 to 10 days, that he repeated the process a month later with equally impressive results. “Despite the fact that the second overseeding was very late in the season – around the last week in October – the R9 still performed excellently with fast germination and great coverage,” he adds.
The result was that the busy all-year-round course was back to its best in no time, enabling members and visitors to enjoy an 18-hole course. Indeed, this year (in June) Elsham Golf Club for the first time hosted the English Senior Men’s Open Amateur Championship. The greens were cut to 3 mm for this competition, compared to the usual 3.5 mm, while the fairways are usually held at 14 mm; semi or first cut at 26 mm and rough at 63 mm.
Elsham Golf Club received nothing but praise from the competitors and England Golf officials about the quality of the course and its presentation.
Built on a fairly sandy soil over a clay base, the course “generally drains fairly well”, says Colin – undoubtedly aided by the installation (by the greenkeeping team) of almost four miles of new drains in certain areas in recent years. While the greens are predominantly bent and meadowgrass, the fairways have been sown with a blend of perennial rye and ultrafine rye grasses, plus a little fescue, and Colin was relucted to overseed with fescue.
“I needed quick recovery on the fairways and, in total across the two overseedings, I applied 760 kgs of R9 then sprayed with nitrogen and seaweed (Rigby Taylor’s Seaquest), after a thorough preparation process involving the application of wetting agent (from Rigby Taylor’s Breaker range) to complement an annual programme of scarifying the fairways.
“The first ‘hit’ of R9, during the third week of September, made a big impression, so much so that I decided to repeat the process about a month later, sowing at a 45deg angle to the initial sowing, with equally good results. For example, it is usual on fairways to gain only a 60 per cent uptake when overseeding, but with R9 I achieved at least 90 per cent.”
R9 combines four types of perennial rye grass, in equal measures – Clementine, Gianna, Duparc and Estelle – and in addition to rapid establishment and all-year round colour, the mix also boasts high-level tolerance to wear, close-mowing and disease. It is also treated with Germin 8T which boasts eight main benefits:
- A potent cocktail of speciality penetrating agents, nutrients and mycorrhizae
- Faster germination in adverse, cold, wet environmental conditions
- Stimulates rapid cell division for faster germination and emergence
- Early root mass development to aid faster establishment
- Accelerated healthy leaf extension to arrive quickly at three-leaf stage
- Higher plant survival following renovation
- Long-term symbiotic health benefits for the sward
- No dust, no increase in seed sowing rate.
Colin has been using a host of Rigby Taylor services, including soil analysis, and products – other grass seeds, fertilisers, chemicals and microbial biostimulants, for example – since becoming head greenkeeper at the course in 2007, two years after joining the team following spells at Doncaster and Town Moor Golf Clubs.
“I’ve been involved in greenkeeping since I left school,” Colin continues. “I was a junior member at my local course and having seen what the greenkeepers were doing, I thought ‘that looks like a job that would suit me’.” With a wealth of experience gained over the years, his NVQ Level 3 in Sports Turf Maintenance is complemented by regular volunteer tournament support work at, for example, the French open, and the Ryder and Solheim Cup competitions.
“I’ve always received excellent support from Rigby Taylor,” he says, “with a classic example being the second overseeding. I hired in the seeding machine and I called Burdens Goundcare of Lincolnshire on the Monday to discover that the machine would only be available on the Wednesday. But I had no seed. A quick call to Rigby Taylor and I had the seed in time.
“It’s that sort of back-up that is indispensable in this day and age when my focus is always on continual improvement of the course by implementing a concerted programme of all-year-round maintenance plus, of course, the application of treatments in reaction to whatever the weather throws at us.”
Rigby Taylor http://www.rigbytaylor.com/
Elsham Golf Club www.elshamgolfclub.co.uk