Neil Lowther, Course Manager at Chart Hills Golf Club, has revealed how utilising a range of ICL products has resulted in vastly improved fairways and greens.
Situated in Kent, Chart Hills is the first signature Sir Nick Faldo-designed golf course in Europe. Dramatically undulating fairways, numerous water features, Europe’s largest bunker and complex greens present a challenge to all levels of golfer.
However, it is safe to say that the club has experienced mixed fortunes over recent years, but new owners have signalled an exciting new era.
“From my point of view, I would like to be 20 years younger – it certainly has been a roller coaster,” said Neil. “Our new owners are passionate about making improvements and they are investing in all the right areas so it is nice to have their full backing.”
Neil admits that a lack of investment previously prevented him from using the products that he wanted to, but the new owners gave him an opportunity to reassess exactly what he needed.
“After looking at all the nutritional products we were previously using, we decided that there was no reason to keep chopping and changing,” he said. “We felt that going with fewer manufacturers was the way to go, certainly in terms of consistency and results.”
Neil credits Craig Brisley, Sales Director at Collier Turf Care, for suggesting ICL products and says that he was sold on them following a trial with Sierrablen Plus Turf Starter 5.28.0 which features Pearl technology to aid early establishment.
Through independent trials, data has revealed significantly increased rooting when Sierrablen Plus with Pearl technology is used as part of a seedbed preparation and during turf-laying.
Furthermore, there was a 2.5 x increase in rooting when compared to another existing high-performing product.
“Craig advised Sierrablen Plus Turf Starter because he felt the product would help us establish as quickly as possible,” said Neil “So we tried it on a trial area to start with.
“What I like about this product is that you are incorporating it into the top part of the rootzone and you don’t lose any nutrients. No matter how much irrigation you put on, you won’t lose the product. Also, with Turf Starter being a slow release fertiliser that releases its nutrients over a 3+ month period, it gave us more time to concentrate on other jobs without worrying about getting more nutrition on.
“It had a great impact and members were saying they had never seen grass establish so quickly. We seeded the area on 21 May and were cutting regularly on 21 July.
“This process allowed us to demonstrate what was achievable in that amount of time to the owners and from that point onwards all our products have been ICL.”
Neil continues to use a range of ICL products from the Sierrablen Plus range and says Sierrablen Plus Stress Control 15-5-22 fertiliser helped his fairways recover after a Red thread disease outbreak and loss of coverage at the end of 2021. As part of his ICL programme, Neil also relies on products such as Sportsmaster Spring & Summer 9.7.7, Sierrablen Plus Mini 37.0.0, H2Pro AquaSmart wetting agent on his fairways and a range of SierraformGT products on the greens.
As well as the support he receives from Craig at Collier Turf Care, Neil also has regular communication with Andrew Pledger from ICL.
“I really like the technical back-up from both Andrew and Craig,” he said. “They’re very knowledgeable and they take the time to explain how the products work. This is essential because I want to know how it all works, and in turn I want to explain it to my members of staff.”
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