0 Derbyshire golf club greenkeeper gives his tips for the perfect lawn

alan russellMany of us have looked longingly at the beautiful, green grass in our neighbour's garden. Then we look at the pitiful patch of dust where ours should be and wonder, where did it all go wrong?

One man who does not share those concerns is Russell Allen, who has been the head greenkeeper at Horsley Lodge Golf Club for 20 years.

It is a job that requires constant attention, all year round, from his devoted team.

The operation at the club in Horsley, is on a huge scale. But Russell insists the fundamentals remain the same when tending to any area of grass, no matter its size.

He says: "The most important thing you need to look after your grass is a cylinder lawn mower."

He stresses that by using this type of machine, as opposed to a rotary lawn mower, the straight, fixed blade it uses provides a more accurate cut.

"The problem with the rotary mower is that they just thrash at the grass and that is what makes it uneven," he adds.

The 50-year-old, of Key-worth, Nottinghamshire, completed a college course in green keeping at Brackenhurst College, now part of Nottingham Trent University.

He then took on a green keeping role at Stanton-on-the-Wolds Golf Club.

After spending 15 years there, he moved to his current role, which he says he still enjoys just as much as he did on that first day.

"I have been here 20 years and I love it. I love the weather and the preparation of the golf course," he says.

"I like the work in the summer and in the winter, it is so varied.

"No two days are ever the same."

In order to maintain such a large area - totalling 160 acres - Russell and his team use a wide variety of equipment. The grass is cut to different lengths for the greens, fairways and rough areas and they have a different lawn mower for each one.

Their attention to detail on the greens is so specific that they need to be cut every day - twice in quick succession. Sometimes they are mowed even more if there are competitions being held at the club.

To ensure the grass is at the right length, Russell uses a grass height measuring prism. The device is placed on top of the grass and an angled mirror reflects the image of the grass against the wall of the prism, which indicates the length of the blades.

This is ideal for keen gardeners striving to establish a perfectly flat lawn.

But how long is the ideal length to make your lawn really look the part?

"Don't cut any lower than 12mm. During the summer months the ground is better off if it has more grass on it," he adds. "Don't just cut it shorter and shorter."

And the green keeper - also a keen golfer with a handicap of +10 - stressed that it is important not to put too much water into the ground.

"You water it to keep it alive, you don't want to drown it," he adds.

Read the rest of the article on the following link http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/Derbyshire-golf-club-greenkeeper-gives-tips/story-21341995-detail/story.html#eOMjALxShuRROV1y.99

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