Overseeding golf greens with Jamie Blake of Broadway GC
Amenity grass seed expert Alex travelled to the majestic Cotswolds to get the inside track on overseeding golf greens from Broadway GC head greenkeeper Jamie.
Why overseeding golf greens makes sense
When asked why he has started overseeding, Jamie had a couple of reasons: “One reason is to fill in damage and wear. Another is to also add other turf species to the sward and strengthen it to make it more resistant to issues such as disease.”
Alex also asked about the frequency of Jamie’s schedule, finding out that two overseeds were conducted in the previous annual schedule. However, Jamie has since increased to three by adopting a proactive seeding strategy that requires seasonal overseeding.
“We do several overseeds at different times of the year,” Jamie explains. “Trying to fit in several overseeds is difficult with a busy fixture list. Recently, I added cold-seeding to the spring when the temperatures come up, and autumn overseeds. Cold-seeding has been added, mainly, to help early season recovery.”
Jamie also confirmed to Alex that this strategy enables him to maximise the quantity of golf grass seed he can get into his greens, with 100-150kg of bentgrass seed being the yearly target.
When asked for the benefits of his overseeding schedule, Jamie explains he’s hoping to see more success from “trying to get as much seed in at different times”. And by not “just doing two [overseeds] when the weather might not be with us.”
Golf course overseeding process
“We’ve used pot seeding with blunt tines, following up after aeration by broadcasting seed. We’ve also gone for sorrel rolling, dimple seeding and slit seeding. We use lots of different methods at different times of the year to try and get results. They’ve all been successful, to be fair.”
Digging deeper, Alex found that timing and weather conditions must be considered: “Yeah, that’s exactly it. We use a method depending on which time of year it is. Whether we have a lot of golf on, and things like that – disturbance, really,” Jamie explains.
Preferred grass seed
Asked for his preferred grass seed for golf greens, Jamie was willing to share. “We started overseeding with Browntop bent seed, but now we’ve moved on with Creeping bentgrass seed.
“This is mainly because we’ve done our research. Creeping bent has been pretty successful in the UK now with new cultivars. And its establishment is more competitive and the more modern varieties are more disease-resistant.
“I’ve used a few different blends,” Jamie answered when asked if he uses the same bentgrass seed mix. “One reason is to trial different ones. The other is that using different blends will help the diversity of the species within the sward.”
While cold-seeding in February 2022, Jamie used AberMajesty ForeFront Greens, though added 007 Creeping bentgrass to help with diversity.
The importance of proactive seeding to UK greenkeepers
“With disease prevention products being less effective, and with the climate, getting the sward stronger and more disease-resistant, with a good surface, is important. We also need to move forward before we’re made to move forward.”
You can learn more about the benefits of bringing proactive seeding to your golf course by watching Germinal Amenity expert Richard Brown explain the process.