Headley GC and fusarium advice
by David Markham
Richard Hartley has some useful advice for greenkeepers who are troubled by fusarium disease.
Richard took over as Head greenkeeper at Headley Golf Club - a sloping course on the hills some four miles from Bradford City centre - three months ago. He succeeded Shane Wells who had been there for 23 years and who left to go to Pannel GC. Prior to this position, Richard had spent 11 years on the greenkeeping staff at Baildon, which is where he picked up the practice that keeps fusarium under control.
"In autumn and through the winter the greens are brushed every week except when there is frost on the ground. Here at Headley, when conditions allow, I also brush and slit on Mondays. This allows a flow of air through the grass and it keeps down the disease. We have no fusarium at the moment, but I am keeping my eye on it."
In the 11 years Richard spent at Baildon the course experienced fusarium twice in 1995, during a drought, and on one other occasion after that.
Richard's arrival at Headley coincided with some unusually difficult circumstances. At the time Shane Wells left the club in mid-February, the other member of the greenkeeping staff, Andrew Hainsworth, broke his leg playing football. A greenkeeper from Halifax was drafted in to cut the grass once a week until Richard's arrival. He spent one week on his own before being joined by Andrew who, by this time, had recovered from his broken leg.
"When I arrived some of the tees were more than four inches long," said Richard, " I had to cut them with a John Deere rotary deck and then a flymo to get the grass down to a reasonable length so I could then use a John Deere 220 greens machine. Headley is on a hillside which means we have to cut the greens by hand because you cannot get a Torro triple mower on to the sloping course. That makes it hard work - it takes me two and a half to three hours to cut the greens by hand whereas if I could use a triple mower it would take an hour."
Richard's regime includes cutting the greens four times a week - Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays; and the tees, aprons, semi-rough and fairways twice a week - all on Mondays and Thursdays. Richard's machinery includes two sets of Ransomes gang mowers - one for the semi-rough and the other for fairways.
Richard concluded, " We have the paths and drainage work to do next winter. In the long term I have got to finish off the eighth tee. Golfers have been playing off a mat for the last couple of years. My brief is to keep the course tidy this summer and work on the tee. I expect it to be finished off in the autumn."