'Is sustainable management of fine turf a viable option in the modern commercial climate,' was the subject under the microscope at a recent one-day seminar at Bridgewater College Cannington Centre for land-based studies. Leading industry experts, including Barenbrug research and development manager Jayne Leyland, tackled this important topic and explained how sustainability is already being successfully achieved in a number of instances.
Jayne focused on how seed breeding and the continued research and development of seed mixtures can play an important role in helping create a more sustainable approach to golf course management.
"Faced with increasing environmental and fiscal pressures, choosing the correct mixture for individual requirements and having access to the knowledge of how to optimise results from overseeding investment is vital," explained Jayne. "Selecting for desirable characteristics such as improved disease tolerance, considering germination temperature for faster repairs and establishment, looking to new species for specific solutions and choosing high purity, high germination and high vigour seed is essential. All these attributes are particularly important when investing in species exchange as part of a programme to help create a more sustainable golfing experience."
Her presentation also highlighted the important role of 'in-field' trials with turf professionals and independent trials at STRI. She illustrated her comments with results from the current Barenbrug Golf Green Differential Input Trial at Bingley where significant variations have already been observed. "We have seen differences in sward performance, particularly species composition and playing performance, where the same mixtures are maintained under two differential input regimes, a 'standard' and a 'relaxed' input. The two regimes differ in terms of mowing heights, nutrient input, and surface disturbance."
Other speakers included Richard Whyman from Burnham & Berrow Golf Club who talked about his experiences in introducing fescues into the sward; Paul Worster BIGGA vice chairman and course manager Minchinhampton Golf Club who tackled the subject of commercial versus environmental sustainability; Stuart Yarwood from Lymm Golf Club and Paul Lowe of Bromborough Golf Club covered their experience of sustainability with Laurence Pithie from Crown Golf UK outlining the details of the greens recovery programme at Oak Park Golf Club.
Barenbrug also confirmed its continued investment in supporting training and research, especially for new entrants to the industry, with the announcement that 10 student learning plots will be established at Bridgewater College. The plots will be used to help students with grass seed identification, the effect of different management regimes and disease identification. The students will also be able to study first hand the effects of three mowing regimes on the different mixtures.
The 10 mixtures include a selection of established and new material from the Barenbrug breeding programme including creeping bents and fescues. Barenbrug's local regional manager David Singleton will provide support to the students and monitor the plots throughout the programme.
Photo caption: Jayne Leyland (front left) pictured with her fellow speakers at the Sustainability Day held at Bridgewater College.
Back row, left to right: Lawrence Pithie, Crown Golf, Stuart Yarwood course manager Lymm Golf Club, Paul Lowe course manager Bromborough Golf Club, Will Bowden greenkeeping and sportsturf programme manager, Bridgwater College.
Front row left to right: Jayne Leyland, Paul Worcester course manager Minchinhampton Golf Club, Richard Whyman course manager, Burnham & Berrow Golf Club.