Scott Duff, head greenkeeper at Bovey Castle in Devon, is using a range of Sherriff Amenity products to help the club get back into the Top 100 Golf Courses.
Designed in 1926 by J F Abercromby, one of the finest British golf course designers of the last century, Bovey Castle’s 18-hole championship course is challenging and surrounded by the natural beauty of the Dartmoor.
Duff, who has been at Bovey Castle for four years, started his turf career in football at Torquay United FC before switching to greenkeeping. He admits that it was somewhat of a challenging transition but claims that he has no regrets.
“When I was in football groundsmanship, I had always wanted to try greenkeeping but to be honest I was always worried that I would be out of my depth,” he said. “I went from looking after just one surface which had a fairly consistent maintenance regime to suddenly looking after a multitude of different areas – each with their own requirements. It was the biggest challenge in my career, but also the best because I can confidently say that I love my job.”
Duff excelled in his new role and was rewarded two years ago when he was promoted to the position of head greenkeeper. Now, alongside Sean Bennett – course manager, the two of them have a very clear goal.
“We are a championship course which used to be in the top 100, but not anymore unfortunately. Quite simply, our goal is to get back in there. I think with Sean’s knowledge of managing a course, his drive and his passion, along with the improvements he wants to make, I think it is very realistic. We are not a million miles away, but we still have a lot of work to do and with people like David Chammings from Sherriff Amenity on-board then this will only boost our chances. David has really changed the way we approach our feed programmes and also some of the work we do out on the course because he draws up management plans which concentrate on what we should be doing throughout certain periods of the year.”
After consultation, Chammings recommended a tank mixture consisting of iNTrench fertiliser 15.0.9 and GoGreen Energy bio-stimulant for the greens – two products which perfectly complement one another. iNTrench is a controlled uptake nitrogen fertiliser designed specifically for the needs of professional sports turf. It gives up to ten weeks of improved blade colour and a higher quality turf with 66% the nitrogen rate of leading competitors. Its tank-mix partner, GoGreen Energy, is a concentrated bio-stimulant, formulated to assist plant health and relieve stress symptoms.
“Every course is different and you have to work out what is best for your site,” said Duff. “With iNTrench and GoGreen, we find that if we go at half rate (20 l/ha) every two weeks, then the greens seem to hold the nutrients a lot better. By applying it like this we notice healthier greens and also better longevity out of the products. This tank-mix has worked really well for us and there has been a big improvement in the greens. In fact, we also use this mix with the addition of seaweed on our tees if they need some instant colour-up.”
Duff also reported excellent results from Sherriff Amenity’s Aqua-Zorb 45 – a unique wetting agent, which helped him through a somewhat difficult summer last year.
“Last year, Aqua-Zorb was a real saviour for us. I would say that at least 90% of courses in the UK would say that the disease period for golf was horrendous last year and a good wetting agent could have saved money on fungicides and relieved the drought stress. We had such intense heat last year and Aqua-Zorb still worked incredibly well considering we were frequently seeing temperatures of 30°C plus. I feel we have been going through a massive transition period and this year we will see even more improvements to the course. The Sherriff Amenity products have played a big role in the success over the past couple of years and I can’t fault the service from David whatsoever.”