Cosby Golf Club Head Greenkeeper, Thomas Flavelle, is in the process of preparing the course for a sward conversion programme. To help him get the course best prepared for the change he has been working closely with Andy Lane of Headland Amenity. Previously called the Narborough Golf Club, it was founded in 1895 and today offers a challenging and picturesque parkland course set in the heart of the Midlands.
Thomas came into the role in 2015 with a clear strategy to implement a sustainable maintenance regime. “During my degree, and some time spent studying in America, it’s evident that there’s a shift in the way courses have to be managed. We’re losing more and more chemicals as the years go by so the focus must be on creating sustainable greens to give surfaces the best chance of thriving through the winter months. Here at Cosby we’re trying to conduct a sustainable regime with the main aims of lowering organic matter to try and encourage finer species into the greens.”
Thomas intends to embark on a 5 year project to achieve a 50/50 (or better) Bent to Poa split. To give the Bent seed the best chance, Thomas has enlisted the help of Andy Lane from Headland to assist with a feeding and soil preparation programme. “Andy came in and we discussed my aims and objectives and he then created a nutritional regime around this. Following the results of some soil samples we began a full Headland programme on the greens, tees, approaches and fairways.”
“When I started at Cosby we struggled with some hydrophobic areas on some of the greens and improving those areas was one of my first tasks. Andy suggested we use a combination of TriCure AD and Turf Complex which quickly improved the drainage and dry-down characteristics. We’ve continued to use TriCure AD on a monthly basis and have cured the hydrophobic areas and seen no new areas form. Another great product that we apply before big maintenance tasks in spring and autumn is C-Complex 4-3-4. The high humic acid content is excellent for encouraging root and shoot development which is ideal after aeration work.”
Thomas faces the challenge of managing three different green constructions at Cosby; sand based, clay push-ups and one USGA spec green, but trusts the Headland products to work for them course wide. “We achieved fantastic results in the first year from the products we used, in particular noticing how quick the uptake is – you notice the differences very quickly. Andy gives sound, honest advice and knows the vast product range so well that he can suggest which products to tank mix, maximising the efficiency of our time and applications. We also use Headland’s Weathercheck service and follow Mark Hunt’s WeatherBlog which provides an invaluable source of information.”
They’re currently awaiting the results of some soil analysis which could signal the start of Bent seed applications. “What we didn’t want to do is put the Bent seed down before the soil conditions were correct and consequently lose the newly germinated seedlings through further maintenance procedures. I am always confident with the Headland products that they are designed to 100% deliver everything required for a healthy sward and when combined with the correct cultural practices, it is now possible for us to achieve a very sustainable course.”