Week 8 - Moving on to more management
The ‘Lockdown’ trial running at STRI on behalf of Syngenta is now into week Eight – the intended duration of the trial that has coincided with a return to more normal management practices across most of the UK and Europe.
The trial was originally designed to investigate low intensity management programmes on golf greens, at a time when golf had been suspended and clubs were operating under restricted rules for managing the course. In many cases that was with fewer greenkeepers, to carry out what was deemed to be only ‘essential maintenance’.
However, the peak of the virus appears to have passed, and most countries have returned to outdoor activities, including golf, reports Dr Christian Spring, STRI Research Operations Manager.
Golf clubs have also moved past the ‘essential maintenance’ phase of Covid 19 restrictions and, for the most part, are back up to full strength greenkeeping teams.
Low intensity management is no longer appropriate to restore quality demanded by players. Golf courses are now coming under a different, and more welcome, type of stress – lots of play.
In response, greenkeepers are increasing management intensity: applying nutrients; growth regulators; increasing number of cuts and rolling greens etc.
The ‘Lockdown Trial’ has raised some interesting points and demonstrated that appropriate use of Primo Maxx II will regulate growth effectively and improve turf evenness. Effects of Primo Maxx programmes are clear to see on all mowing regimes (below).
It has also shown that good plant health can be achieved mowing once a week, if height of cut is relaxed and there is no play. But at lower height of cut turf quality struggled with reduced intensity mowing.
It has also highlighted that the Growing Degree Days model on Greencast is valuable tool for the greenkeeper.
The trial is eight weeks old and is scheduled to be reviewed. Results from the trial have been very positive, as has feedback from the industry in general.
Watch Mark Ferguson's review of the trial results this week
With this in mind, the trial is poised to move into a new phase where the GDD model will continue to be examined, within an increased management intensity programme and a simplified mowing structure.
There is potential to add simulated golf wear treatments, to reflect the current intensity of play on the golf courses.
Watch this space for further details.