Sustainable turf management at Hesketh Golf Club (UK)
How to solve today’s sustainability challenges in the turf industry? With regulations on fertilizers and fungicides becoming stricter, turf managers are facing new challenges on how to maintain their high quality turf. At Hesketh Golf Club, Southport, UK, it is a combination of three ICL products, focused on efficient use of plant nutrition and water management, that play a significant role in a more sustainable approach to turf management.
The Course Manager at Hesketh Golf Club has revealed how three ICL products play a significant role in his sustainable approach to golf course management.
Peter McVicar has been the Course Manager at Hesketh Golf Club for fifteen years after initially learning his trade on the west coast of Scotland. In creating the majestic course at Hesketh, Peter has been committed to taking a sustainable approach to greenkeeping.
“It is no secret that over the years there have been less and less regulated products available for greenkeepers to use and there will be even less soon,” he said. “We’ve not used a fungicide in over 12 years. Yes, we get a bit of disease every now and then, but we accept it, and the members are on-board with this approach too. Communication with them is so important because we need to tell them what we are doing and why we are doing it.”
As part of the sustainable approach, Peter relies on three ICL products in the form of H2Pro TriSmart wetting agent, Vitalnova Links biostimulant and Gronamic Golf 6-2-4, an organo-mineral fertilizer.
He explained how these three products benefit the course.
“We apply Gronamic around March, which gives us a nice gentle boost at the start of the year without any excessive growth which we are keen to avoid – it just makes everything healthy. I like the fact it has a turf proven seaweed incorporated as well as a recycled phosphorus source in the form of struvite to help keep everything ticking over.
“Initially we just used TriSmart on the greens but based on the results we decided to roll that out to other areas such as tees, fairways and approaches, as well as the greens. The results have been especially impressive on the fairways, and we are managing to keep them healthy going into winter. We have good coverage, and the difference has been down to TriSmart.
“Last but certainly not least is Vitalnova Links which is a very special product in my eyes. It has the unique seaweed extract SMX combined with the carbohydrate based biostimulant Blade, which is two products we used to apply so to have that together in one formulation is very beneficial from both a cost and practicality point of view.
“These are all products that I like to always have in my arsenal,” continued Peter. “With price increases going up all the time you need to be using products that perform, and these ICL products do exactly that.”
Peter admits that taking the sustainable approach is not without its challenges and that the ever-changing weather conditions will continue to make life difficult. He believes it is imperative that greenkeepers start looking towards the future.
“Temperatures will continue to change, and we have to keep looking forward to both practises and products that can futureproof the course as much as possible,” he said. “I think with the research that is happening, particularly from companies like ICL, there will effective be solutions available.
“The good thing about ICL is that you always feel that they are on your side. You talk and you walk; you tell them what you are thinking, and they help you out along the way. Rob Ainscough (ICL Technical Area Sales Manager) knows our story and what we are trying to do.
“The relationship with Rob is very good – he is an ex-greenkeeper, and he has my respect. He takes the time to ensure that all the members of staff know exactly what the products do and why they are applying them. In turn we then relay that knowledge to our members.”