NVQ level 2 and 3 sports turf students have been busy constructing a three grass surface golf green on campus at Writtle College. The project was co-ordinated by course lecturer, Nigel Beckford, who designed the project to enable students to gain valuable experience in organising and managing a large construction project. The exercise has also proved invaluable to the facilitation of the course, offering students a unique sports turf project to work on.
The students are currently employed on golf courses and sports grounds in and around the Essex County. NVQ Level 3 student, Greg Knight, has been involved in the project since the planning and preparation stages in March 2007. Greg commented
"The skills gained from my course have been invaluable, I would like to now use the experience gained to progress into a new role as deputy green keeper at the golf course where I work. "
"What I have enjoyed most about the project is seeing the golf green all coming together after all the preparations and hard work put into it."
The golf green project has been funded by the CoVE (Centre of Vocational Excellence) initiative at the College in collaboration with local industry suppliers. 'Baileys of Norfolk' sponsored the sand, 'British Sugar' the topsoil and 'Barenbrug' sponsored the grass seed. An irrigation system was fitted by the global American company Toro. The sponsorship and involvement from local suppliers has been both encouraging and promising for the College, who intend to use the new golf green facility for future students to compare and contrast the effects of respective maintenance regimes and environment on the selected grass species.
There are effectively three greens to the project with differing root zones; pure sand, British Sugar's Landscape 20 topsoil and the indigenous soil (predominantly clay). All three surfaces were divided into three sections and sown with varying mixes of grass. At the front is a mix of Lolium perenne (Perennial Ryegrass), in the centre is a mix of Festuca rubra commutata (Chewing's fescue) and Agrostis tenuis (Browntop Bent) and at the rear of each green is another mix of Festuca rubra commutata (Chewing's fescue) and Festuca rubra litoralis (Slender Creeping Red Fescue). The surrounds of the greens were sown with Festuca arundinacea (Tall Rhizomatous Fescue).