Only Johnsons can manage the microclimate at Maesteg!

Louise Challissin Turf & Grass Seed

The unique hilltop location of Maesteg Golf Club in Wales provides a challenge to golfers and greenkeepers alike, the picturesque playing surfaces nestled in a valley with its very own microclimate! These conditions demand flexibility and durability from the grass seed, to cope with extremes of both moisture and temperature, and its mixtures from Johnsons Sports Seed that deliver just that. Deputy Head Greenkeeper James Matthewman explains how the combination of J Fescue, J All Bent and J 4Turf from DLF are retaining better coverage and plant health than ever, keeping them fungicide free for over four years.

"We first trialled Johnsons mixtures a good few years ago and right from the off, were impressed with the speed in which is germinated and established" explains James, who works alongside a team of three on the 18-hole James Braid designed course. "We wanted to go down the route of fescue, to fit with our sustainable maintenance approach and put us in a better position to cope with drought as our irrigation here isn't the best."

James and the team sought advice from their DLF Regional Technical Manager Ian Barnett, along with Zak Thackeray at Indigrow, who suggested they trial J Fescue from the Johnsons Sports Seed range. J Fescue is a 100% fine fescue mix, providing a blend of cultivars with high drought and salt tolerance and resistance to disease, resulting in a sward that requires lower inputs of water and fertiliser. "We overseed with J Fescue in the spring, and have used this for a couple of years now with excellent results. We were especially impressed with how the fescue coped with the drought last summer, and how we emerged with good grass!"

To provide additional sward strength, the team switch to the equally sustainable Johnsons J All Bent for renovations. "Because this likes the wetter conditions, we find we get great take and then retain this coverage through the winter months. These two mixtures combined have definitely helped to keep disease and weed ingress at bay which means we haven't applied a fungicide for over four and a half years and any scarring is easy to treat with a spot of overseeding."

On the back of advice from Ian, the team are also employing DLF's 4Turf tetraploid ryegrass technology within the J 4Turf 50 mix to provide additional wear tolerance on tees and approaches. "We'll aim to do a single or double pass at the start of the season, when the weather is right, and divot the tees with J 4Turf 50 throughout the year as and when needed. The germination we get with this is incredible!"

He concludes, "We are very unique, the course is unique and our climate is awkward to say the least. With our grass it's very much survival of the fittest and so far, with Johnsons, it's so good."

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