In less than a year, an ICL fortnightly tank-mix has radically improved the greens at Houghwood Golf Club according to Head Greenkeeper Michael Abbott.
“When I show people photos of the greens last September compared to this September, they cannot believe it,” said Michael, who has worked at Houghwood for an incredible twenty-two years.
Michael has seen the young course develop into one of the best in the area. Based in Lancashire, the course is an 18-hole, par 71 (6388 yard), private, parkland golf course and was the creation of two farmers in 1994.
Michael and his team of three have their challenges – particularly with some parts of the course which consists of heavy clay. He admits that his small team can feel stretched at times, and it is for this reason that he likes to be as prepared as possible.
“We’re a small team but we believe we can tackle any task put in front of us and I feel our experience is invaluable,” he said. “From a management point of view, I like having a plan in place and ICL has given me a superb integrated turf management (ITM) plan to follow.”
Houghwood Golf Club’s ITM programme was devised by ICL Technical Area Sales Manager Rob Ainscough and was based on the results of soil testing.
As part of the programme, Michael applies a fortnightly tank-mix on his greens which consists of Sportsmaster WSF Spring & Summer 28-5-19+TE, H2Pro TriSmart, Vitalnova Links and Primo Maxx II.
The 4-way tank-mix offers balanced nutrition for responsible growth and plant health through the playing season, residual wetting agent to allow consistent dry down of surfaces and avoid dry patch development; growth regulator to improve turf density and wear tolerance; biostimulants in the form of seaweed and carbohydrates to promote increased rooting, improve stress tolerance and increase microbial activity to improve nutrient cycling in the rootzone.
“Since using this tank-mix, I’ve noticed improved playability,” said Michael. “There are no bare areas, no moss, just a nice, lovely coverage with great colour throughout all the greens.
“It gives us consistency throughout the year with no flushes of growth and applying it fortnightly saves us time – which is another major reason for using the mixture.
“The water-soluble dissolves really well – within seconds; there is no residue at all, and I don’t get any blockages on my jets whatsoever.
“It’s also very cost-effective for us but most importantly, it works. The members have loved the improvements.”
Michael also revealed that he has full confidence in the support he receives from ICL.
“I really trust Rob Ainscough’s (ICL Technical Area Sales Manager) advice because of his greenkeeping experience. He has done the same job as me and has faced the same challenges. This played a part in me choosing ICL products to be honest.
“Having the technical back up and the practical experience is a big plus for me.”