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Improving sward composition at Beau Desert Golf Club

For our latest case study, Germinal Amenity expert Paul Moreton visited course manager Steve Mucklow at Beau Desert Golf Club to discuss how proactive seeding has benefited the maintenance of the course.

Improving sward composition at Beau Desert Golf Club article image According to Steve, the team initially overseeded lightly to repair seasonal damage, but now they aim to improve sward composition and sustainability after expanding the overseeding programme.

As a busy course, Steve explained that the maintenance windows are limited. Therefore, they prefer to spread their overseeding schedule to maximise every opportunity throughout the season.

"We view leaving out an overseeding as a missed opportunity, so we aim to seed from early spring," Steve explains.

"We will be targeting the poorer areas in early summer. These areas aren't as obvious over the winter, but once Poa annua starts flowering and then stressing, it's a good time to assess the greens and the areas requiring extra work visually. Further targeted seeding will generally take place throughout the season."

Golf green maintenance schedule

Beau Desert usually performs two intensive overseeds a year, in spring and late summer. However, this year the team has increased the frequency.

"We have seen such a continual increase in the bentgrass population, and it continues to impress us each season. Initially, it was a general spread, but now, the bent is crowding out Yorkshire fog and ingressing into the tight perennial Poa."

Steve revealed to Paul that they didn't always overseed this frequently at Beau Desert. "That was down to the greens not being ready, coupled with the course becoming so busy over recent years.

"As the golfing calendar increased, we were given constant restraints to our maintenance schedules which meant that for a few good years, we had to get to the end of the season trying to keep what we had while at the same time trying to remodel our entire process to make it work around the golfing calendar."

Bentgrass for golf courses is a proven success

Paul wanted to know what drove Steve's decision to expand their overseeding plan. He explained, "From 2016, when we added 007 Creeping Bent, it made the decision easier year after year. When you can see new plants establishing and thriving where oversown browntop bent has previously struggled to compete, it becomes a no-brainer." Improving sward composition at Beau Desert Golf Club "Since then, the sward conversion has just continued to amaze us. When Paul makes his first visit of the year, we are in awe at the number of bents established since the previous summer."

Preferred overseeding method

"We use a dimple seeder, it's ancient and not as accurate as it once was, but it still delivers the methods and results we desire."

Pioneer of ForeFront Greens

Steve was one of the first greenkeepers who demonstrated to Paul that a modern, low-input variety of creeping bentgrass could be managed alongside browntop bentgrass.

Since trialling the ’gateway’ mixture, which is now available as ForeFront Greens, Steve has seen impressive results.

"We had previously used AberMajesty with good results but never applied wholeheartedly. We found from day one with a mix of creeping bent and browntop that the initial results from the creeping were so outstanding that we changed to straight creeping for a couple of years.

"We then saw an increase in the browntop population, so we returned to the ForeFront Greens mixture. We added a spring seeding, so we needed the additional qualities browntop can offer us." Improving sward composition at Beau Desert Golf Club "We are on a heathland site, well above sea level at 660 ft, so the season is later for us anyway, so getting that early germination from the browntop is a bonus.

“Both plants can then work harmoniously together and act as nursery crops for each other, hence the establishment and survival success we are achieving."

Importance of proactive seeding for sustainable golf greens

"Given the restrictions on chemicals, maintenance, throughput golf and conditions on our site, it's now more important than ever to have the desirable and sustainable grasses on the greens to produce the high standards required."

To learn how proactive seeding can benefit your golf course, click here to visit our guide.

Or, if you want to know more which mixtures are ideal for your course, contact your local Germinal golf grass expert here.