Hollins hall golf
By David Markham
Working to USGA specification helps Hollins Hall Golf Club to keep their greens in use all the year round.
The course, which has been open for only three years, is part of a Marriott Hotel complex some four miles from Bradford city centre and it also includes a leisure centre.
Golf Course manager Ian Pullan said: "The specification was introduced in the USA as the term suggests and that means sand based greens with a high infiltration rate.
"It is the speed at which the water filters through that defines USGA specification.
"Our greens are at three levels. On top, the grass is a bent fescue mix with a root mix of 80 per cent sand 20 per cent peat underneath whereas most root zones are a mixture of sand and soil. Underneath that is a gravel carpet with a perforated drainage pipe. The tees are of the same construction.
"USGA specification is high in terms of maintenance because we need to do a lot of watering and feeding.
"We also need to put a high percentage of nitrogen on the sandy surface to allow water and nutrients to seep through.
"The big advantage is that you have greens in play for 12 months of the year whereas most clubs have to use temporary greens during the winter. Our greens drain very quickly.
"You have got to use a lot of water during the summer months and also use a wetting agent.
"If you don't use a wetting agent you get dry patches where the water doesn't seep through. It just sits on top or it runs off."
Ian Pullan has worked at Hollins Hall for four years. At first he was employed by a golf construction company called Southern Golf, who was constructing the course.
When the construction was complete, he applied for the job as course manager and got it.
He said: "When I started at Hollins Hall a lot of the earth works had been completed. So I was working on the tees and greens.
"My responsibility was to bring the fairways and greens into play because a lot of the course was just in seed.
"You have to put on double the amount of nitrogen to help the new turf mature and be careful it doesn't scorch. Over use of fertiliser damages the turf when it is at a juvenile stage.
"Hollins Hall is a four star hotel so presentation is a must. We need a high standard of presentation.
"I am well supported from head office and we are in a fortunate position that other clubs in the area don't enjoy in terms of machinery and equipment.
"The course is a large one, 220 acres. We also have the hotel grounds to look after and we have seven full-time staff and two part-time staff in the summer."
Among the machinery used at Hollins Hall is a £40,000 Toro 4000D to cut the semi-rough, a Toro Workman with attachments for fertilising, spraying, slitting and top dressing, three Kawasaki mules, which are utility four wheel drive vehicles, a Toro 3200 greens machine, two 2300s, one for cutting greens surrounds, one for cutting tee surrounds.
He also has a 6500 machine for cutting fairways and a 3000 machine for cutting rough areas, one 450 for cutting the driving range, two tractors and two smaller compact tractors and five 1000 Toro pedestrian mowers