There is nothing like the prospect of holding a number of major sporting events to focus the mind. For Craig Gilholm, Links Manager at Royal Liverpool Golf Club on the Wirral, exciting times are ahead as the club prepares to host three major events in the next few years; the Ricoh Women's British Open in 2012, the British Boys Championships in 2013 and The Open in 2014.
The greenkeeping staff always strive to achieve the highest standards, but the staging of world class events gives even greater impetus to improve. Craig has been looking to implement a programme of overseeding which would ultimately transform the species composition on the greens from Poa annua and bent to a greater percentage of fescue. Fescue is the grass of choice for links courses as it thrives in the fast draining pure sand conditions. It is also incredibly hardy requiring minimal watering. "I like the characteristics of the species and the fine, natural appearance, it gives," said Craig. "Changing over to fescue is not an easy task and may take up to five years to complete, however the job has been made a whole site easier using the new Vredo Super Compact seeder from Campey Turf Care Systems."
Craig explained that they overseed the fairways at Hoylake once a year and the greens are given only one pass. There were several reasons for this; it was a time consuming process of drop seeding followed by hollow coring and topdressing. This had an adverse effect on the smoothness of the playing surface affecting playability and the recovery period was lengthy. "Using the Vredo Super Compact seeder has changed our whole approach, and has made the overseeding programme much more achievable. The recovery period is so quick and the greens are playable within hours, not weeks. Our aspiration is to make three passes per year and we have already achieved two with minimum disruption. It is perfectly feasible to overseed all 21 greens including the putting, chip and practice greens in less than 10 hours."
"This is quite an achievement but the performance of the Vredo is undoubtedly quick and effective," he continued. "Even in the hardest ground, where I thought that it might have trouble piercing the ground with the very close set blades, there wasn't a problem. There is no more surface disturbance than other methods; lines are formed, but these quickly settle back to normal and with the new irrigation system recently installed by MJ Abbott, recover even faster and encourage germination."
The results speak for themselves. Based on the results of the fairways, patches of Fescue are beginning to take over. "I would like to get up to 30% fescue on the greens," said Craig. "It would be true to say we have made a significant start."
The Vredo Super Compact Series is an accurate and efficient range of disc seeders designed for overseeding golf greens and tees, sports pitches and other amenity grass. Seed is placed in a V-shaped slit with spacings of 35mm, at a pre-set depth of between 5mm and 25mm deep, depending on seed variety, directly in contact with the soil for maximum germination rate. The slits are then closed by a compaction roller and a level surface re-established. There are three different widths available, either 3-point mounted or towed for use behind compact tractors.
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