Golf course construction specialists Ely Golf Int. Ltd have chosen mixtures from British Seed Houses for an intriguing inland links course development project in Cambridgeshire.
St Ives Golf Club commissioned Mark and Nigel Ely (directors of Ely Golf Int. Ltd) to build a new 18-hole course close to its long-established base in rural Cambridgeshire in 2007.
A heavy clay site has proved challenging to work with, but has also provided the opportunity to build an inland links-type course which blends in well with the surrounding farmland. "The architect's design involved moving soil to lift the fairways and using the excavated areas to create wetlands, which supports an incredible array of bird life," explains Mark.
Greens have been constructed to USGA specification, using pure sand to improve the poor topsoil, with full herringbone drainage and irrigation installed. Even the fairways and surrounds have been sand capped, while a multitude of lakes add to the links feel.
Course manager Phil Gates decided to use Velvet Bents to seed the greens, with British Seed Houses' Avalon and Vesper blend Level Par being selected.
Phil had successfully managed Velvet Bents at his previous course, Trentham Golf Club, and was keen to use them again. Level Par requires few nutrients and has a low environmental impact, ideal for such an idyllic setting.
"We were happy with that, Mark comments, "We have a good relationship with British Seed Houses and have always found the products to be excellent."
BSH fescue and ryegrass mixtures A10 and A12 were chosen for the fairways and the all-fescue A13 for the roughs, creating attractive movement in the breeze.
The fairways were the first to be seeded in 2007, but bad weather delayed the establishment of the greens until the following year, and again the course posed some questions for Ely Golf Int. Ltd.
"It is an extremely windy site, so can be difficult to get seeds to establish - you really have to pick a calm day," Mark explains "We used a Blec drop seeder along with manual irrigation to back up the piped system. The seeds were up in around eight days."
He comments that establishment was highly satisfactory with the greenkeepers able to roll and then mow within three weeks.
"I'm very pleased with how the mixtures have performed. Once we have the tees established, the course will open this year and will offer an impressive venue for golf with its wetland features. British Seed Houses have visited to see how the seeds are coming on, which is just one example of their attention to detail."
British Seed Houses
Camp Road, Witham St Hughs, Lincoln
Lincolnshire LN6 9QJ England
Tel: +44 (0)1522 868714 Fax: +44 (0)1522 868095