For outstanding greens which don’t cost the Earth, British Seed Houses introduces ‘Level Par’

Ellie Parryin Industry News
bsh golf pic British Seed Houses wass proud to launch its new Level Par velvet bent grass blend at Harrogate Week 2007.

Level Par is a unique blend of Avalon and new Vesper velvet bent grasses and is suitable for use on both soil-based and USGA greens. Avalon is renowned for its shoot density, fine leaf and superb wear tolerance and has been used successfully in the UK since 1997. Vesper is an exciting new addition to the STRI seed listings. It has the highest recorded score for shoot density (10.3), a very fine leaf and a dark, year-round colour.

Velvet bents are the clear winner in the quest for sustainable golf. They have the lowest nutrient requirement of any commercial bent grass species, maintaining growth and colour even in low fertility conditions. Reducing inputs means greenkeepers can save money and help the environment without compromising the quality of their greens. End-users are also noting that velvet bents are showing resistance to nematodes, an increasing problem affecting creeping bent grasses.

Level Par produces a dense sward, requires minimal watering and is suitable for lower or more traditional maintenance regimes. Because it's a blend, the risk associated with sowing just a monoculture of bent grass is reduced.

Gordon Tamblyn, Head Greenkeeper at Mullion Golf Club in Cornwall has achieved superb results with Avalon in the past three years. He came across it in the BSPB/STRI seed listings booklet and, impressed by its rating for leaf fineness and wear tolerance, contacted BSH and first trialled it on high-wear walk-on, walk-off areas. bshgolfpic2

They thickened up so well that decided to apply it to all his greens at the coastal 18-hole course last year. "It has been fantastic", he enthused. "It doesn't dry out, it doesn't need much water and it doesn't need much feed. I think some people are afraid of using velvet bents because of thatch, but I've maintained my regular regime of aeration, scarification, topdressing and a monthly application of seaweed and recent soil samples showed that I have no thatch at all."

"The grass is really fine and produces a lovely thick sward and my greens are firm and flat. I only cut it down to 6.5mm and still achieve stimpmeter readings of 8-9 in the winter. In summer I'm in to double figures. I sow Avalon alone in the summer and with a pure fescue in the autumn but this year I'll be using Level Par instead. Since I've been using velvet bent I've had many compliments about the greens from our club members. With Vesper achieving even higher ratings than Avalon, I'm looking forward to our greens looking better than ever in 2007."
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