A range of course maintenance equipment from SISIS is helping Lutterworth Golf Club get its turf in superb condition. The 18-hole parkland course, just south of the Leicestershire market town of Lutterworth is set in rolling countryside and the club is one of the longest established in the county, having opened in 1904.
Head Greenkeeper Jon Barr explains that a programme of scarification has been put in place to keep thatch at bay: "There were seven fairways that were seriously affected by thatch and they had become difficult to play as any water just could not get through the thatch causing large areas of fairway to get squidge and die out."
Jon was familiar with the SISIS range from his previous role at Cosby Golf Club and had used the Rotorake scarifier on the greens, but the SISIS Veemo offered a unique opportunity to tackle the problem on the fairways.
The tractor-mounted heavy duty scarifier features a pivoting rear section and support wheels at the front to float over the turf, while tungsten tipped hook blades with variable spacing cut effectively through the thatch. Locking micro adjusters on each unit allow the depth to be set precisely to the required level.
"There are not many scarifiers that are productive enough to cover fairways while coping with the undulations," he points out. "We have been trying to remedy the thatch since 2005, but have to go slowly so that the course remains in play. The aim is to take thatch out once a year and we are really getting on top of it now."
"I would rather use the scarifier than the Verticut on the greens - it works deeper but is less rigorous on the turf. We then topdress into the grooves, and this operation leaves a good finish and has really improved the condition of the greens."
Scarification is followed by overseeding the worst areas of the fairways with a SISIS Variseeder, although Jon comments that the turf has improved so much that seeding is needed less and less these days.
The Variseeder is also used on the tees to tackle any worn areas at the beginning of the season, and to cultivate greens before seeding.
A Javelin Aer-Aid 1500 air injection aerator has also made a big contribution to improving the condition of the greens. This unique aerator introduces a blast of air at the bottom of the tine penetration to increase the fissuring effect and improve the effectiveness of aeration. With a working width of 1500mm it can get over the greens quickly but requires just 30hp.
"We use the Javelin Aer-Aid every three weeks before top dressing, and in combination with our new irrigation system it has helped to reduce the amount of dry patches," Jon explains. "This is the only aerator that I have come across that does not require the green to be mown afterwards - using the rear roller, the finish is so smooth, the green immediately looks as good as it did before treatment. After aerating the greens are immediately firmer under foot in the winter months."
Jon comments that all of the Sisis kit is durable and well made, and that he receives back-up 'second to none' from the company.
"Any parts are easily available and the Sisis team are always willing to help out," he says.
SISIS, Howardson Works, Ashbourne Road, Kirk Langley, Derby DE6 4NJ UK
Tel: +44 (0)1332 824777 - Fax: +44 (0)1332 824525 - www.sisis.com