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A key chapter in any golf course management plan must be that of turf and pest management. Issues such as chemical use, irrigation, greenkeeper training and waste management are part of the fundamental activities of every greenkeeper. Clearly these can have an impact on the environment, and following best practice in these areas will reduce the potential for groundwater pollution, spillages, disturbance to wildlife and so on. Many of these aspects are related to good Health and Safety practice and therefore are necessary to comply with legislation.

For the purposes of the Club's management plan it is essential to clearly document your policies and practices in these areas. This provides a basis from which practices can be evaluated, and possible future enhancements identified.

The following guidance should assist you in preparing a detailed overview of how the playing area is maintained, in terms of cutting regimes, cultural management of turf, chemical usage, irrigation and pest control. It will also cover the qualifications of green staff, and how they are trained to ensure all activities are carried out to high environmental standards.

To begin the preparation of your turf maintenance policy you should summarise your practices for tees, greens, aprons, fairways, semi-rough, rough and deep rough, using the following format.

Turf varieties:

  • Are cultivars suitable for soils and climate?
  • Are they the most durable, drought resistant species?
  • Are they native to the area?

Cultural management:

  • What are your mowing heights?
  • How do you avoid overstressing of turf?
  • What are your aeration and anti-compaction measures?
  • Do you monitor and control thatch?
  • How often do you hollow core, slit tine, verti-drain etc?
  • Do you apply top dressing and how often?
  • How do you control thatch?

Fertiliser use:

  • What are your application rates and quantities for each area of the course?
  • Do any areas require additional applications?
  • What are your application methods?
  • What types of fertiliser do you apply?
  • Do you use natural/organic fertilisers?
  • How is it applied?
  • Are their any areas that you do not apply fertiliser, such as close to ditches and water features, near wildflower areas, or within semi rough.

Pesticide use:

  • Do you regularly scout the course for signs of pests and disease?
  • Do you set threshold levels for different types of pest and disease in certain areas? Is there a certain level of disease that the club feel does not warrant treatment?
  • Do you look at product toxicity and persistence when purchasing?
  • Do you adhere to strict application techniques? Such as weather conditions, no spraying in windy conditions.
  • Do you use any anti drift equipment? Nozzles on sprayers, drift guards and similar equipment.
  • Do you know the minimum amount of a given product to cure a problem in a given location?
  • Do you apply pesticides in spot treatments to cure problems, or do you undertake widespread, preventative treatments?

Integrated Pest and Turf Management

Cultural Controls:

  • Select turf species appropriate for climate and soils, which may require least intensive management and prove to be most durable.
  • Regularly scout the course for disease and pests.
  • Identify local disease, and hot spots for recurring problems.
  • Apply chemical controls on a curative rather than preventative basis to help minimise coverage
  • Use slow release or natural-organic fertiliser.
  • Monitor and control thatch using mechanical and cultural techniques.
  • Ensure good aeration and anti-compaction practices.
  • Initiate ongoing programme of traffic management to help spread wear and reduce erosion.
  • Set thresholds.

Practical Applications:

  • Only treat area in correct climatic conditions ie. if spraying only on calm days, using correct water pressure to avoid spray drift.
  • Apply chemicals as directed by the manufacturer.
  • Use minimum amount required to cure problems.
  • Choose least toxic substances.
  • Apply chemicals only when absolutely necessary, after other methods have been attempted
  • Allow buffer strips of rough vegetation to develop alongside water features or ditches to avoid contamination, both directly and through runoff.
  • Avoid application of any fertiliser or pesticide with 3 metres of water courses with hand held sprayers, and avoid any application within semi-rough.
  • Undertake and audit of current management practices, for inclusion in the Management Plan





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