There have been two major changes at Selby Golf Club over the past 12 years.
The first occurred in 1998 when the new Selby bypass cut through part of the course, resulting in the remodelling of several fairways and the construction of three brand-new greens. The second change began in 2004 when Scotts Professional's H2Pro Liquid wetting agent was first trialled on selected greens on the heathland/parkland style course.
So successful was the trial that head greenkeeper, Gordon Street, decided to introduce monthly H2Pro liquid treatments for all 18 greens throughout the year. The result has helped maintain consistently good grass cover on surfaces that previously had suffered badly in times of dry and windy weather.
"The course is laid out on very free-draining sandy soils and, despite having a full irrigation system, the finer grasses used to die back dramatically due to a combination of poor soil water retention and wind burn," explained Gordon. "The long, hot summer of 2003 was particularly bad so I was keen to try H2Pro when Scotts asked if I would assist with trials."
The H2Pro treatment produced exceptional results and has been used regularly on all of Selby's greens ever since.
Gordon recalled one particular green - the 11th - which had suffered for years from a large sparse area in the centre. "The soil was totally hydrophobic and simply would not support grass growth," he said. "H2Pro cured the problem and that green now has excellent grass cover. The same is true of all our other putting surfaces, producing a totally different golf course to the one I took over seven years' ago. In fact, so effective has the treatment been that we are now using Scotts' Primo Maxx growth regulator also on all 18 greens throughout the summer."
The improvements brought by H2Pro Liquid to the condition and appearance of the greens has led also to the introduction by Gordon of a deep-tine aeration and fertilisation programme designed to ensure that the fairways are at a similar high standard, irrespective of the weather.
"The aeration helps water get down quickly to the roots," explained Gordon, "I wanted to use a controlled-release fertiliser that could be applied in March and left to do its work throughout the growing season. Scotts recommend SierrablenPlus Spring Starter, a 24+5+8+2%MgO mini-granular fertiliser with a dual coating that allows nutrients to be released only when soil temperature and moisture levels are appropriate. In the autumn and winter we switch to Sierrablen 15+0+22+Fe, which is also a controlled-release granular fertiliser."
Gordon commented that he is now looking for continued improvement of all of Selby Golf Club's playing surfaces, assisted by two forthcoming events. "We are hoping to receive permission soon to significantly increase the amount of water that can be extracted each year from our borehole for irrigation purposes," he said. "However, a more immediate benefit is expected from this year's enhanced course budget that will enable H2Pro applications to be extended outwards from the greens for the very first time to include all of the aprons as well, doubling the area of fine turf treated to a total of two hectares."
Research & Development
Trials were conducted in the UK measuring soil moisture content after one application of Scotts H2Pro wetting agent at 50litres/ha on water repellent natural soil versus untreated areas. The results showed a dramatic reduction in the volume of water needed to maintain optimum moisture content. Only 7mm of irrigation was needed on H2Pro treated turf compared with 31mm on untreated areas.
The reduction in irrigation requirement brought about by using H2Pro, in terms of both amount and frequency, enables greater flexibility in managing soil moisture.
As part of an integrated approach, H2Pro and Scotts' other liquid products - Greenmaster Liquids and Greenmaster Blade - are fully compatible with one another, offering the opportunity to save time and maximise product performance by applying them together. A tank mixing table with guidance on
compatibility and water volumes is available in the Turf & Amenity section of the Scotts website at www.scottsprofessional.co.uk
H2Pro is available in liquid, granular and tablet form and as H2Pro Maximise liquid for fairways and outfields from Scotts distributors.