If the quote on Thornton Golf Club's website is anything to go by, the standard of the greens at the scenic parkland course in Fife is 'legendary'. Quite an accolade, but as any greenkeeper will agree, not one that comes easy.
The dedicated work of the greenkeeping staff at the club keeps them that way and using the very best grass seed plays its part too, as course manager Andy Graham explains.
"After chopping and changing the variety of grass seeds for many years looking for an ideal choice, I decided to trial AberRoyal two years ago. Since then our greens have improved enormously. They look better; a lush green all year round, the grass is healthier and needs no more maintenance than is provided by our standard maintenance programme.
Timing and weather conditions are essential for achieving good germination. Some greenkeepers blame poor performance on the seed rather than pressure to re-seed when conditions aren't suitable. For us, there are several very positive reasons for using AberRoyal; when the seeding conditions are ideal, germination is very fast - within ten days. But even when temperatures are too low, the seed remains dormant and when germination does take place the results are just as good. Poor start conditions do not translate into adverse effects on the quantity and quality of seedlings.
The course was originally constructed from a field in 1921 and is still 90% Poa Annua. Although I would love to have 100% bent grasses on the greens, particularly as they are noticeably more tolerant to disease, I don't believe it's a realistic target. What I have achieved by introducing AberRoyal is to tip the balance greatly in favour of the Bent grasses and we work to maintain this. AberRoyal, because of its fast germination and strong resistance has also shown itself very effective at filling in patches.
I don't mind paying a little extra for seed of this standard and speed of germination. I have no doubt that it is worth it and we have every intention of carrying on using it in the future. When you have found something that works why change it? I'm recommending AberRoyal to other clubs in the area. They will also benefit from the excellent service provided by BSH who have provided me with all the technical information on the product as well as ensuring that delivery is always on time - an essential requirement when you are planning your overseeding programme! Our representative from BSH, Alistair Eccles calls on me regularly to see how we are progressing and keeps me informed of any new products or developments."