Golf Course Manager finds winning formula with Agrovista Amenity

Chris Bassettin Golf

Steve Lloyd, Golf Course Manager at The Worcestershire Golf Club, admits to 'sticking' to what he knows works best and it is for this reason that he relies on a range of products from Agrovista Amenity.

The Worcestershire Golf Club is proud to be the oldest club in Worcestershire and one of the oldest in England - the 16th oldest to be precise. Nestled in the picturesque Malvern Hills, which provides a stunning backdrop, the 18-hole parkland course offers challenging play for golfers at every skill level.

Steve has been the Golf Course Manager for six years and oversees a greenkeeping team consisting of five full-time members of staff, a mechanic, and a summer casual. He claims that the robust and highly skilled team plays an integral role in the well-groomed fairways and meticulous greens.

Ever the perfectionist, Steve insists on only using products of the highest quality and once he finds the products he's looking for, he rarely looks elsewhere.

"I've been working with Agrovista Amenity for the past three years, ever since Ray Hunt (Amenity Specialist for Agrovista Amenity) began coming to see me," he said.

"Through Ray I had the opportunity to find out more about the company and products and it was very impressive. I carried out some trials and thought that it was a good fit. I don't tend to chop and change products and once I've found ones that suit the course then I continue to use them."

One of the first products Steve started using from Agrovista Amenity, and one which he particularly singled out for praise, is Humimax - a liquid humate product derived from a naturally occurring source. It operates both in the soil and the grass plant, and the micronised formulation is highly efficient for foliar absorption, making it especially useful for tank-mixing - which is exactly what Steve does.

Steve mixes Humimax with Biomass Sugar - a product which stimulates growth of both leaf and root. It is a unique natural formulation of sugars, macro nutrients and trace elements, approved as a biostimulant within the UK and used on many high-profile golf greens and sports pitches throughout Europe.

As part of the tank-mix, he applies Humimax at a rate of 10 L/ha and Biomass Sugar at 20 L/ha and he explains how this formula has made a difference to the greens.

"We apply this tank-mix once a month consistently throughout the growing season and we've found that it's given us a fantastic colour, but more importantly, good plant health. In fact, we've actually been able to reduce our nitrogen input by approximately 20%."

"We find that this mix works particularly well when applying it about 15 days after a feed - it keeps a good density to the sward without getting any flushes of growth. It's a perfect formula for summer and the last application will normally go down at the end of September. From then onwards we switch over to our winter nutritional programme."

Steve is about to enter his second winter with Agrovista Amenity's Bullet Phosphite after being impressed with his first taste of the product last year. Bullet Phosphite is a super-concentrated form (37%) of stabilised phosphite (PO3) derived from a blend of ammonium and potassium phosphate which is taken up quickly and mobilised around the whole plant.

This unique product provides protection for new and existing growth by assisting the plant in periods of stress, thereby increasing metabolic responses to pathogens. It is also a potent stimulator of plant root growth and unlike a lot of other phosphites, this formulation contains zero aluminium phosphite.

"With the reduction in chemicals and fungicides, Bullet Phosphite has become a major tool in our armoury, because it helps us with our integrated pest management programme aimed at minimising the risk of disease during the winter period," said Steve. "We apply it at a rate of 20 L/ha and combine it with a turf hardener and a little bit of seaweed - just to strengthen things up in the colder months."

"Fundamentally, since we've been using this product as part of our IPM programme, we have seen very little disease and along with our other cultural practices, it has helped us to keep the greens as clean as possible."

As well as reporting good results from the products, Steve also reserved praise for the customer service he receives.

"The customer service is fantastic - right through from dealing with Ray, where we will discuss our nutritional and maintenance programmes, to receiving orders ahead of schedule. In fact, the ordering process is one of the best I've seen, which gives me peace of mind when I'm ordering products that I know I will get them delivered on the specified dates."