How do you restore a diseased golf course to its best condition in more than two decades?
The answer, for Falkirk golf club's greenkeeper Matt Thomson, was in a cup of tea.
Three years ago he inherited the course management duties at the Carmuirs course on Stirling Road and he's managed to up the green speeds, make every hole unique and improve the aesthetics of the course - and all by repairing the fairways with a spray of his special mixture.
It's working, and repairing the course so well, his special brew is giving Matt more work.
"I actually had to cut the grass in January - unheard of in my 47 years in the job.
"In winter months grass doesn't tend to grow, but since we've been brewing the mixture and treating the course the grass has shot up. It can only be a result of the brew.
"We make them in one of the sheds, basically in big teabags," Matt explained to The Falkirk Herald when we visited his on-course micro-brewery.
Both tanks are empty when we visit, but still have two plastic stockings draped inside them and crusted with an orange debris.
"We put our mixtures into the socks and suspend them in the tank then that makes the brew, just like a big teabag."
The tanks are 900 litres, and the 'socks' filled with the Carmuirs mixture of the course's pine needles and soil and a few scoops of a peat-smelling powder which dissolve and mix in the liquid. The clever bit comes when Matt adds a litre of 'bugs' which activates the fusion and smells suspiciously like castor oil.
"After about 24 or 36 hours it brews and we think because it is organically sourced on the course it helps as well. In a sense the course is healing and repairing itself.
"It's pretty simple, but it wouldn't happen if there wasn't some bio-chemistry in it.
"When I came here the course had problems. There was a chemical layer lying dormant deep in the soil, and stopping the fertilisiers and treatmenets from working. I had to find a way of activating that and letting the treatments do their work."
Matt is a former lecturer in green-keeping and knew of a company who only dealt with a handful of clubs in Scotland. They advocated the 'tea-bag' methods.
"But the course also developed a fungal disease within the grass last year," explained Matt who has been tending courses since 1965. "We were wondering how to tackle it and had started spraying our mixture in September and it was quickly curing itself - quite literally when you consider what the mixture's raw ingredients are."
See the rest of the article on the following link:-Falkirk Herald