Good quality playing surfaces are the ultimate goal of all Greenkeeping staff, Course managers and Greens Committees.
The effects of Climate Change are having an increasing impact on golf. Many traditional links courses are experiencing problems of coastal erosion, while the general change in weather patterns are affecting many golf courses in terms of different prevalence of turfgrass pests and diseases, seasonality of play, changes required to drainage and irrigation systems, pricing of energy and fuel supplies, as well as less predictable revenue streams from tourism and events.
These issues, along with the increasing amount of National and European legislation and the higher expectations of golfers, are causing a huge challenge to clubs to retain their high standards.
Sustainable turf management techniques should be employed by all golf clubs to ensure good turfgrass quality, reduce the impact of pests and diseases, reduce costs and comply with legislation.
Chemicals alone will not encourage strong, healthy, deep rooting, drought and disease resistant turf. They may cure problems such as fungal disease in the short term, but will not affect the real problem, which may be heavy thatch. Other cultural practices such as regular aeration, anti compaction, thatch control, topdressing and traffic management should help to avoid chemical dependence.
We therefore recommend that all clubs have a written sustainable turf maintenance policy as part of an overall Integrated Management Plan, detailing their cultural and mechanical practices geared to achieving good turf quality. We advise that chemical treatments should only be applied as a last resort, once all other means have been considered. If using chemicals, we recommend that clubs look to minimise the quantities used and follow sustainable application methodologies to ensure their safe and effective use.
In these economically challenging times, effective recording and monitoring of all chemicals and materials used in course management is important. Scottish Golf recommend a recording system such as the new, free online service provided by The R&A. It has been specifically designed to provide a fast and effective means by which you and your facility can enhance revenue, reduce costs and increase your competitiveness. CourseTracker will enable you to:
- conduct effective cost-benefit analysis of agronomic advice and environmental certification
- identify where your operation can improve
- assess your competitiveness within your market by utilising anonymous in-country comparisons with similar facilities
- generate professional reports to demonstrate the value of the product you provide for your customers.
See www.coursetracker.org for more information.
CourseTracker already has a large international user base and has been endorsed by Scottish Golf. The GCMA and BIGGA actively encourage their members to use CourseTracker, supporting your efforts to make your course a more attractive one for existing and potential customers.