Recording in the region of 4000 rounds played every month, Southport's Hillside Golf Club is a very busy course! Tasked with balancing the expectations of the players with the sustainability of the Course is Links Manager Chris Ball - who is now conducting weekly passes with a set of UltraGroomer™ cassettes from the TMSystem™ to satisfy the golfers 'need for speed' without reducing heights of cut.
Chris has been in charge of the 18-hole links venue since his return to the club in 2018 and together with his greenkeeping team of eight has to manage not only the challenges of their exposed coastal location, but the demand for pace on the greens. "While simply lowering heights of cut may work for some clubs, because of factors such as the wind, this is not sustainable for us without detriment to the overall health and condition of the plant" Chris explains.
"Our previous verti-cut setup was no longer fit for purpose, so we spoke to our local dealer Turner Groundscare who introduced us to the UltraGroomer™ cassette." One of 12 maintenance cassettes from the TMSystem™, the UltraGroomer™ features over 80 1.3mm tungsten tipped blades, spaced 5mm apart, to remove Poa, lateral growth and organic matter - enhancing the downward movement of oxygen, nutrients and moisture and making it more difficult for disease pathogens to take hold.
"We trialled the cassette, fitted in the pedestrian INFINICUT® unit, on a couple of greens and it did a fantastic job of removing the coarser leaves without disturbing the finer species we're trying to encourage, and without leaving lines in the ground. Although we hadn't seen them operating on a triple, we were all impressed straight away and promptly purchased a set for our JD 2500 triple."
Through the main growing season, the Hillside team are running the UltraGroomers™ over the greens once a week to remove any lateral growth, refine and reduce ingress of unwanted species and stand the plant upright - all without causing undue stress. "Having proudly hosted some pro events in recent years, and by being in regular contact with bodies such as the R&A, we know what pace we're ideally trying to achieve and the best methods to attain that. We are delighted to be maintaining ours, with relative ease, using the UltraGroomer™ cassettes and are very pleased with the results we're seeing so far."