Tom Watson famously said of the Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club in south-west Ireland: “It is a course you will always enjoy and never tire of playing. I know I never will. Ballybunion is a course on which many golf architects should live and play before they build golf courses. I consider it a true test of golf.”
The Old Course at Ballybunion – ranked by 2016Golf.com at #17 in the Top 100 golf courses in the world – has been subject to a complete renovation of the greens and surrounds under the stewardship of course manager John Bambury, together with course architect Graeme Webster and construction firm Atlantic Golf Construction, which was achieved in under 16 weeks.
This was designed to replace the old poa annua surfaces with 100 per cent fine fescue greens, which were mapped and reconstructed to appear exactly the same as they were before. At the same time course manager John Bambury, who arrived in October 2014 from Trump International Aberdeen, reviewed the equipment at both the Old and Cashen courses, much of which was at the end of its usable life.
“Really I was coming back to my roots, as my father use to live just 15 minutes away from Ballybunion and it was the first golf course I ever set foot on as a child,” says John. “In my job interview I said the course needed to reclaim its top 10 position in the world, and we’ve developed plans to achieve this over time, with the full approval of the membership.
“A key element of this was the reconstruction project, and we have also reinvested in the machinery fleet after conducting the usual tender process. As a result, John Deere and dealer Seamus Weldon of Killarney were selected as the preferred supplier to Ballybunion for 10 years.
“I wanted to get the club onto a sustainable fleet management and replacement programme, and you can’t really do that properly over five years, particularly with the initial need to replace a lot of the older machines. We know what the expenditure will be over this extended period, and this helps the club to budget accordingly.
“It’s a comprehensive fleet and we have chosen all the key machines John Deere has to offer the golf course.” These include the new A Model fairway, rough and surrounds mowers, walk-behind and ride-on greens mowers including hybrid electric triplex machines, Gator utility vehicles, compact and utility tractors from 35 to 75hp and amenity turf sprayers.
“There were a number of reasons for the choice,” says John. “Obviously the quality of the equipment, which is a given, but primarily the local dealer service and support is a very important part of the equation. I’ve always maintained this doesn’t end the day the kit is delivered, and we know we can call Mike Weldon at the dealership if a problem arises and he’ll get it sorted, which is absolutely vital.
“One of the other big focuses of the reconstruction project was the replanting and regeneration of the dunes, and as part of this we planted and hydroseeded 10,000m2 of marram grasses last winter. There were also a lot of hard core pathways on the course, which are not as pleasing as grass, so we’ve been replacing and installing 4m wide grass pathways across the course as we go. The John Deere 7200A PrecisionCut triplex mower is perfect for cutting these, and works very well in this environment.
“The 7500A fairway mowers also really work a treat. We keep cutting heights to between 8 and 10mm, and with four-wheel drive and a special conversion to run on smooth tyres, these machines work very well on our undulating terrain. It’s a very challenging environment for mowing, especially when the fescue grass is dry, but they work particularly well in these conditions without marking.
“The new TechControl feature is great too – the operators know a lot more about it than I do, but it helps produce a consistently high quality finish and maximises productivity across the course in all conditions.”
Ballybunion is a very busy golf course, with the biggest membership in Ireland plus high levels of overseas visitors during the playing season, so good time management of the course maintenance operation is critical. “The 7500A mowers have proved to be able to cover a great deal of the surface area quickly,” says John. “We have around 600 acres of grounds to manage across both 18-hole courses, so this ability is crucial.
“The course is well known for its history and landscape – management decisions are therefore based on what will be the lasting legacy, not what might seem the best short-term solution. We need to deliver the goal of quality all the time, and that’s always our main focus.”
The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association will be opening its doors on Thursday 2 March to welcome representatives of the amenity horticulture sector across Yorkshire.
The latest meeting of the Amenity Forum will be held at BIGGA’s headquarters, at Aldwark Manor, near York.
Those attending the Updating Event will hear presentations on subjects including integrated weed control approaches, effective use of sprayers, and the importance of regular up-to-date training.
Jim Croxton, CEO of BIGGA, said: “BIGGA is a strong supporter of the Amenity Forum which does an excellent job of representing our sector and strives to ensure good practice is prevalent and recognised. This is vital in the current situation with changes to pesticide legislation and the removal of products used by many turf professionals.
“I’m delighted that we’re able to welcome industry experts and a number of delegates from around Yorkshire to our headquarters at BIGGA House, and I’m sure it will be a great day of education.”
Professor John Moverley, independent chairman of the Amenity Forum, said: “We believe these Updating events are important and are an essential element for us in promoting good practice and the professionalism of this vital amenity sector which impacts on the lives of every UK citizen.”
The events are being held across the UK and are free to attend and open to anyone with an interest in weed, pest and disease management.
The Amenity Forum is an independent non-profit body bringing together professional organisations with an involvement in the amenity sector.
Following meeting in Yorkshire, further events will take place in London, Northern Ireland, Cheshire, Essex, Surrey, Devon, Edinburgh. The final Updating Event will take place in Durham on 12 April.
For more information visit www.amenityforum.co.uk
Over 400 golf club officials, golf course operators and developers attended two successful Sustainability in Golf seminars staged by The R&A in Japan and Korea this week.
A panel of leading international and local experts addressed the delegates on best practice in sustainability to encourage responsible and practical golf facility development, renovation and course management.
The expert speakers included Steve Isaac (Director – Sustainability, The R&A) Dr Micah Woods (Chief Scientist, Asian Turfgrass Center), Paul Jansen (Owner of Jansen Golf Course Design & Construction), Jonathan Smith (Chief Executive, Golf Environment Organization), Bill Coore (Partner, Coore & Crenshaw), Dr Choi Joon-Soo (Professor of Turfgrass Science, Dankook University) and Yoon Kyung Ho (Golf Course Superintendent, Jack Nicklaus Golf Club of Korea).
Dominic Wall, Director – Asia-Pacific at The R&A, said, “Sustainability in golf is an important consideration for The R&A and we are committed to supporting the adoption of best practice by golf facilities throughout the region.
“We are working with our affiliates around the world to raise awareness of golf’s responsibility to the environment and communities. The seminars were excellent opportunities to share expert knowledge and experience among the delegates.”
The seminars demonstrated sustainability solutions which are helping golf clubs to make improvements in their day to day operations while also generating discussion on golf course and club management, golf course renovation and development and tournament staging.
The events were supported by the Japan Golf Association and Korea Golf Association and follow on from the success of similar seminars in China and Thailand last year.
Andy Yamanaka, Executive Director of the Japan Golf Association, added, “I believe that everyone who attended will return to their home clubs, companies and businesses with a greater appreciation of sustainability and ideas to share with their fellow members and colleagues. We are committed to working on sustainability and helping as many people as possible to understand its importance.”
t the recent FEGGA Conference held at the Quinta da Marinha in Portugal, FEGGA Members unanimously elected Kamil Pecenka as its new Chairman. Kamil, of the Czech Republic and vice chairman for the past four years takes on this new role for an initial period of two years. Kamil said “he was delighted to be taking over the position from Olafur Por Agustsson, a position that Olly did for four years, and as a board member for 10 years in total. Olly did a great job over the four years, overseeing some very positive initiatives during his term”
Kamil Pecenka will be supported by Paul Worster as the new incoming Vice chairman. Paul is currently Course Manager at Minchinhampton Golf Club, and past Chairman of BIGGA.
FEGGA Members also welcomed new board member Rauna Pietarila, Course Manager at Laukaa Peurunka Golf Club, and Board Member of the Finnish Greenkeepers Association. Rauna, always known as Emmi is also a past FEGGA Scholarship student, attending the Polaris Excellence Award Programme. Emmi said she was really looking forward to serving on the board with fellow members.
Fellow board members, Darko Cecelja, Slovenia, Joel Nunes, Portugal also continue as FEGGA board members, along with Erich Steiner who serves as the Patron Representative on the FEGGA board.
Fellow board members, Darko Cecelja, Slovenia, Joel Nunes, Portugal also continue as FEGGA board members, along with Erich Steiner who serves as the Patron Representative on the FEGGA board.
FEGGA board, From left to right: Paul Worster (vice chairman- UK) Joel Nunes (Portugal) Erich Steiner (Patron Representative) Dean Cleaver (Executive officer) Kamil Pecenka (Czech Republic – Chairman) Darko Cecelja (Slovenia) Emmi Pietarila (Finland)
Quinta da Marinha was the venue for 21 Greenkeeper Associations to gather for what was two days of energised seminars and discussions, focused on many of the pertinent industry issues we are challenged with today. It was also challenging the representatives with Meeting Expectations in terms of golf today. The Conference was also attended by many of the leading industry and golf organisations, who equally played a significant role in ensuring that Golf and the supporting industries were well represented.
The subjects focused on, can be divided into four sessions, these including Sustainable Focus, Responsible Golf Course Management, Education and Greenkeeper Experience Programmes, and Managing your Association. It certainly reflects well on our delegates, in how they presented on these subjects, and the knowledge that exists to determine the successful outcomes that were achieved, and this being backed up by the survey that took place immediately following the Conference.
The industry engaged in a series of workshop sessions that focussed on further developing the document that was launched last year by FEGGA “Responsible Golf Course Management”. The document has already received global recognition, but this can only continue if its content remains relevant, and in a format, that provides benefits in how it can be used. The revised changes that will be incorporated will serve to ensure this happens in the future, and allows FEGGA, its Member Associations, and Partners to all gain from its use.
FEGGA continues to do more in bringing people and organisations together, and through its Greenkeeper Experience programmes have been able to enable valuable experiences for greenkeepers in many different Countries. It was very inspiring to hear of some of these experiences from the greenkeepers who presented on their experiences at the Conference, and how it has helped them with the development of their careers.
FEGGA’s role is all about working with its Members Associations, assisting new associations, providing support, sharing information and resources, and this enables them to become better in providing services for their own members. The FEGGA Session “Managing Your Association” focused on a selection of topics, all relevant to today’s needs as expressed by associations. These focused on Stress at Work, and what associations are doing to support this ever-increasing problem. It also focused on Continuous Personal Development, and how associations are using this as a valuable tool to engage with members. This session also allowed The Turf Managers Association of South Africa to share what they are doing as an association, what their challenges are, and what they are keen to develop to enhance the role as Greenkeepers/Course Managers in South Africa. Again, its proved, that we might be separated by thousands of miles, but we all have similar challenges, but all share the same passion and desire to make our profession stronger in supporting the game of Golf.
Harrogate, 17-19 January 2017 – At the Bigga Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) in Harrogate Melspring International B.V. has launched its new product Marathon TCR. At the booth of Sherriff Amenity, that distributes the Melspring product range in the United Kingdom, Melspring proudly presented Marathon Turf Core Renovator to the audience for the first time. Marathon TCR is an extremely versatile product that can be used on all areas of the golf course (roughs, fairways, greens) as well as on sports turf pitches and ornamental lawns that where re-vitalised or aeriated with active organic matter.
Marathon TCR is a proprietary organo mineral complex for better nutrient efficiency. Marathon TCR was developed to provide rapid recovery from stress situations on fine turf areas caused by essential maintenance. It contains a mixture of nitrogen sources to provide both immediate and prolonged growth for recovery so that playing surfaces can be quickly returned to use. The formula is NPK 4-3-4 + 8 CaO + 3.5 MgO + 0.5 Fe and usage of the product results in a rapid sod closure and reduction of stable soil organic matter.
- Rapid recovery from essential maintenance
- Helps deal with the stress and abrasion caused by re-filling core holes
- Fast green-up of damaged turf
- Ammonium nitrogen content allows use in cooler conditions
- Simple and cost-effective
Under FEGGA‘s inspirational leadership, greenkeepers all over Europe have come together in a pledge for responsible and sustainable golf course management. All of FEGGA‘s 24 European national greenkeeping organizations have agreed to promote and endorse a clear, detailed and ambitious strategic vision that embraces golf‘s potential to produce multiple benefits for nature and man.
“This is the first time that
Two years of active brainstorming and collaboration, both within and outside the organization, has now produced a roadmap that outlines a three-dimensional sustainability strategy for the industry. The first dimension focuses on achieving positive results in resource consumption, biodiversity, waste, pollution and extent of managed turf. The second dimension focuses on research and education while the third priority is directed at improving transparency and developing community outreach.
FEGGA’s strategy encourages the use of tried and tested monitoring and reporting tools, including the GEO’s OnCourse® framework. Jonathan Smith, GEO’s director, said: “Golf course management is coming under increasing pressure across Europe. Pesticide and water regulation is starting to bite in many countries, costs of resources and materials are increasing, and golfers expectations continue to rise. This timely statement, backed by so many of the industry’s course management representatives expresses an important commitment and plan that will help the sport address these significant challenges, now and in the future. We were very pleased to play a part in its development.”
The document clearly specifies how progress will be monitored in terms of performance, knowledge, outreach and reporting, spreading the word by way of its Roadshows and publications along with the annual FEGGA European Conference, which will next take place in Lisbon in February.
“It is extremely encouraging to see the greenkeeping profession in Europe, through FEGGA, promoting sustainability for golf course management,“ said Steve Isaac, The R&A‘s director of sustainability. “The R&A has led this cause, but only the implementation of accepted best practice by the professionals who care for our golf courses, and transparent reporting through systems such as OnCourse®, will convince everyone that the sport can bring economic, environmental and social benefits. We commend FEGGA for producing this statement and hope they are able to achieve its adoption so we see greater sustainability on the ground,“ Isaac concluded.
The seminar and the annual conference 2017 of the Czech greenkeepers association in Prague
Term: 18. – 19. 1. 2017
Venue: Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, 165 00, Praha 6 – Suchdo
Accommodation: all attentents order on their own, student’s dormitory or hotel are available
Kamýcká 1280, 165 00, Praha 6 – Suchdol
430 Kč per person per night
500 m from the seminar hall, Suchdolské nám. 9, 165 00, Praha 6 – Suchdol
400 Kč per person per nigh in room for three breakfast included
500 Kč per person per night in double room breakfast included
900 Kč per person per night in single room breakfast included
Registration fee: 3500 Kč
Per Rasmussen (Denmark) ENG/CZESons of Golf-An exchange of experience in greenkeeping- to promote career and turf care in a sustainable manner
Jaroslav Záhora (CZ -MENDELU v Brně) CZE
The current state of knowledge of the interactions between the root, soil microorganisms, soil invertebrates and soil.
Martin Nilsson (Denmark) ENG/CZEPesticide Legislation in Denmark: A success story or worst case scenario?
Dalibor Procházka (ČGF) CZEThe news in the rules.
Gerhard Lung (Germany) GER/CZERasenkrankheiten, Schädlinge und Lästlinge auf Sportrasenflächen – Übersicht über die wichtigsten Schadpilze, Schädlinge und Lästlinge; Maßnahmen dagegen: Pflanzenschutzmitteleinsatz sowie Alternativen zu Pflanzenschutzmitteln.
Karel Šilhan (CZ) CZEThe greenkeepers path.
Bram Bertels (Netherlands) ENG/CZEThe Golf course development and management close to the nature.
Attendants registration 18.1. 2017 8,00 a.m.
Beginning of the lectures: 18.1. 2016 9,00 a.m.
Expected end of the lectures: 19.1. 2017 3,00 p.m.
For more information and sending of your application form, please use email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The seminar and the conference of CSG in Prague 2017
Name and surname:
21st-24th February 2017
The 2017 FEGGA Conference to be held at the premier resort of Hotel Quinta da Marinha, set in the award winning golf coast of Lisbon, Portugal.
This years Conference will continue to focus on some of the key challenges facing golf and the turf industry today, and with these challenges come high expectations. This Conference will build on the work done last year, and focus on MEETING THESE EXPECTATIONS through active brainstorming and collaboration and producing a good roadmap through a sound and realistic sustainable strategy.
For further information, please contact Dean Cleaver (Executive Officer) email@example.com
As part of a new research project, part funded by Syngenta, PhD student Kirsty Fraser (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh), is seeking the help of greenkeepers across Europe to help build a greater scientific understanding of the emerging disease, Rapid Blight. If you ever encounter the symptoms and salinities described below on your greens, please get in touch and directly help combat this problem, before the disease gets ahead of the game!
What is Rapid Blight?
Rapid blight is a turfgrass disease caused by the slime-net mold pathogens, Labyrinthula terrestris (or ‘labys’ for short), under conditions of raised salinity. Prior to 1995, when the disease was first encountered in the USA, Labyrinthula pathogens were only known to occur in the sea. Despite happily destroying golf-greens many miles from the oceans, these highly unusual turf pathogens still require sodium (Na+) ions to grow. Therefore, if salt levels rise to 0.5 dS/m and above in your soil or irrigation water, then it is time to worry about rapid blight.
The first symptoms to appear are small, irregular patches of browning and/or yellowing turf, the foliage of which appears water soaked with a closer look. If left untreated, it quickly spreads and within a few days of the initial symptoms turf can collapse and die. Although, as far as we know, they do not produce spores or any other dispersal structures, ‘labys’ can spread extremely quickly through direct contact for example, by shared drainage water or lawn mowers.
Several species of turfgrasses are susceptible including, perennial ryegrass, annual and rough bluegrass. Some species show varying levels of resistance to rapid blight, the most resistant being Slender Creeping Red Fescue. However, even if there are no symptoms labys may still infect more resistant turfgrasses and the only way to tell is by looking under the microscope.
Since Rapid Blight is neither a bacterial nor a fungal disease, very few chemical controls work against rapid blight. Only the strobilurins have shown good control but there are concerns over resistance with these single-site compounds. Reducing the soil and/or irrigation salinity will definitely help get rid of rapid blight but with ever greater demands on fresh water resources, this is increasingly difficult for many clubs.
The problem we’re hoping to solve
Currently, we know very little about rapid blight in Europe. We know it is here and that it already seems be a recurring problem in specific areas prone to irrigation water quality issues. This knowledge has been gained through the work of Dr. Kate Entwistle (The Turfgrass Disease Centre (Surrey, UK)) who has identified several cases in the UK, Ireland, Spain and Portugal over the past few years. Yet we do not know its full distribution, how many strains or species are causing this disease or how it spreads from course to course, country to country. Without access to such basic scientific knowledge, we cannot effectively stay ahead of the pathogen and implement better controls and cures.
How you can help
We seek to answer the above questions over the next 2 years by undertaking a survey of golf-courses experiencing saline conditions in Europe, with a focus on the UK and Mediterranean countries.
This is where we need your help, greenkeepers of Europe!
If your turf experiences periods of high salinity (0.5 dS/m and above) either in the soil or irrigation water or both, please get in touch by email and we can arrange for samples of the affected area to be sent to us for analysis. The presence of both rapid blight symptoms and elevated salinity is perfect, but even if you simply have high salinity levels over a sustained period you may have labys infecting your turf and not even know it, so please get in touch too.
You and your affiliated club will remain anonymous in any publication arising out of the study.
How this will help you
We will send you your results on the presence or absence of rapid blight pathogens in your samples and as a result, this will directly help you with disease management.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Phone: +0044 (0)131 451 3734
Address: Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK EH14 4AS