0 Open Qualifying Course benefits from scarification of fairways and semi-rough

Open Qualifying Course benefits from scarification of fairways and semi-rough


Not that there is too much wrong with a golf course that has been selected to host the 2007 English Seniors and has been appointed also as a qualifying course for the Open Championship from 2007 until 2011.

However, as course manager Jonathan Wood points out: "Certain areas of the course did need attention, with specific emphasis being placed on improving the management of the natural habitat. With input from STRI agronomist, Bob Taylor, maintenance routines have been put in place that are producing a sustainable rise in course standards, benefiting the local environment while providing a sound and enjoyable challenge for golfers."

Comprising two 18 hole courses known as Highgate and Lodge, Enville Golf Club lies about 15 miles due west of Birmingham between the towns of Stourbridge and Bridgnorth. The two courses are probably unique in the UK in that both have nine holes of woodland and nine holes of heathland style terrain, giving players the opportunity to play shots in a variety of surroundings, irrespective of which course they choose to play.

And it's not just the surroundings that vary. As might be expected, the fairways and greens approaches within the wooded areas of the two courses are not as free draining as the heathland parts, allowing the ingress over the years of coarser poa annua and ryegrasses.

"The aim is to maintain the level of finer fescues and bents on the heathland fairways and steadily improve the woodland fairways to encourage and support the growth of better grasses," pointed out Jonathan Wood.

These aims are being achieved through a fairway improvement schedule instigated by Jonathan across the two courses shortly after he was appointed course manager in June 2005. The programme involves extensive deep tining and scarifying operations in the spring and autumn, accompanied by once-a-year overseeding of all fairways in September.

"The TM5 with its 1.7m scarifying head allows us to remove and collect the thatch in one pass, providing a more receptive base for the grass seed," he explained. "We are using pure fescues on the heathland fairways and a 60:40 bent/fescue mix in the woodland areas. The complete operation was completed within three weeks, which is excellent."

In addition to its work on the fairways, the TM5 is being used to scarify the semi rough adjoining all 18 heathland-style holes. This action, recommended by Bob Taylor, is intended to promote the re-growth of the heather that used to be major feature of the course and gave it a true heathland look and feel.

"By stirring up the soil, we aim to encourage germination of the heather seed that has fallen from the plants in the past, lying dormant in the soil for up to 25 years," commented Jonathan. "The action has produced also a significant improvement in the condition of the grasses alongside the fairways."

In late autumn, the TM5 vacuum collector's scarifying head is swapped for a rotating brush and the machine is put to work helping to collect the leaves that have fallen from the thousands of trees at Enville Golf Club. The job is enhanced by the optional hand-held wander hose that allows rapid leaf collection from ditches and bunkers.

"When we ordered the TM5 in late 2005, we wanted a machine that could do more than one job for us," concluded Jonathan. "I am pleased to say that it has done everything asked of it without fuss or bother. It is also well made and ably supported by Turfmech. In a very short time, the TM5 has become a very important member of the course maintenance team."

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Contact Kerry Haywood

07973 394037

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