Essendon Golf Club near Hatfield, Herts boasts two courses but before Ecosol’s intervention this spring, neither had greens which really matched head greenkeeper Craig Gibson’s high standards.
The grass never grew well and years of poor drainage had left a major thatch problem. “The turf had shallow roots even in the summer months when you’d expect growth ,” said Craig who has been at the club for six years. “This was mainly due to excess winter water not draining away from the surface properly.”
The courses are very different in construction, but neither had healthy turf. The Old Course, built in the sixties with clay push-up greens, is open to the public. The New Course was built in 1992, for members only, using a sand base, but still did not drain well due to bad early management
Over the years Craig and his team chipped away at the thatch but there was still a significant layer remaining on both courses. “What we lacked were the funds to really tackle the cause of the problem.”
Fortunately, earlier this year, new owners took over the club and they were ambitious – they wanted two new annual competitions, including the Jamega Tour and they released the funds for course improvement.
“Following a conversation with Lee Carter of Rigby Taylor I immediately called in Ecosol Turfcare, “said Craig, “ who were able to provide two solutions for the two different courses.” Ecosol's Sand Filler linear scarifier went to work on the Old Course, ripping out thatch in a horizontal channel and injecting DA30 sand. “ Now roots go direct into soil and there are many resulting benefits : greens feel firmer, there’s a better quality and density of grass and we had a reduced incidence of winter disease.”
For the sand-based new course, Drill n Fill was the answer. All 18 greens were Drill n Filled using 20mm diameter drills to a depth of 310mm and backfilled with straight DA30 sand. “Despite having had loads of rain ever since,” said Craig, “ we noticed a vast improvement in drainage. As soon as the rain stops, we can get on the greens and they feel firmer underfoot.” There is also stronger root development and strengthened soil structure.
“The aeration was something I’ve wanted to do for the six years I’ve been here, “ added Craig. “Now the investment has made it possible. I couldn’t be happier with Ecosol’s work and will carry on using both processes when necessary.”