LJN Blog Posts

PRO Supplier

Less is more for Leigh Golf Club

Robert Ainscough, Head Greenkeeper at Leigh Golf Club in Warrington Cheshire, is perhaps one of a few greenkeepers who boasted clean, disease free greens during a particularly difficult winter period last year.

This was achieved by adhering to a preventative programme using a range of Syngenta fungicides from ICL, which saw him applying less product than he was previously when working on a more reactive basis.

It is fair to say that Robert is passionate about his craft and the young Head Greenkeeper at Leigh Golf Club has had an interesting career in his quest for personal development. As an ambitious 18 year-old he moved to Scotland in order to start his greenkeeping journey at the highly prestigious Loch Lomond Golf Club. He admits that cutting that position fairly short was one of his few regrets in life but he was young, had a girlfriend and in his words he ultimately missed ‘mum’s cooking.’ However, he quickly landed a position at Leigh Golf Club in Warrington, and soon displayed his qualities.

Three years later he was promoted to Deputy Head Greenkeeper but Robert felt that he needed to continue his development further. With this in mind, he emailed Royal Melbourne Golf Club, which is considered to be the pinnacle of golf in Australia. He was offered a two week trial and without hesitation he packed his bags. His trial was quickly extended but unfortunately his visa only entitled him to work for one company for a period of six months. This limitation didn’t stop Robert, and he spent a further year working at Manly Golf Club and Royal Sydney Golf Club.

Upon his return to the UK, Leigh Golf Club contacted him to ask if he would return as Deputy Head Greenkeeper, which he accepted, and then two months later, at the age of just 25, he was promoted to the position of Head Greenkeeper.

Keen to put his own stamp on proceedings, Robert started devising his own maintenance programme which included using a range of new products.

“I had learnt a lot on my travels and I felt I could really help the course,” he says. “At first I wanted to keep things fairly simple and I continued what the previous Head Greenkeeper was doing except I adapted it slightly based on what I had learnt in Australia. I changed the products around and it was at this point that I started using ICL and Syngenta products, such as the growth regulator Primo Maxx and Greenmaster Pro-Lite Cold Start and Sierraform GT fertilizers.

“They made such an improvement that at the start of last year I sat down with Phil Collinson (ICL Technical Area Sales Manager) to devise a full ICL iTurf programme on the greens, tees and approaches and this included a combination of fungicides to help keep disease at bay.

 “This site can get hit really hard with disease,” he continues. “Over the years we have had too many scars throughout the winter and even in April. As a result, we ended up taking a reactive approach and applying products to get rid of the scars but I wasn’t completely satisfied. My whole approach to solve this was to go down the preventative route.”

Last year, Robert started his preventative approach with an application of Banner Maxx just before annual maintenance work on the greens in September. This was followed by an application of Instrata four weeks later and then finally he sprayed the greens with Medallion TL in December.

“The three applications worked incredibly well and the greens were clean and disease free – I even had comments that they were just as good as they are in the summer. Because ICL and Syngenta products are so good it gives me peace of mind as well. I know that I can have the odd weekend off in winter and relax. Now I know that if I go on holiday, I will have confidence knowing that I will be coming back to clean greens without disease.

“This year I plan on sticking to the same programme but with the addition of Instrata Elite. I’ll apply this after the initial application of Instrata before I spray Medallion TL in December.” 

Commenting on the success of the programme, Phil Collinson said: “Robert now has a programme in place which means that he doesn’t have to spray fungicides every three weeks. When people got hit badly with disease, Robert was stood there in February with clean greens – and he actually applied less fungicide than others who were being reactive. He’s a forward thinker who understands that the preventative approach results in clean greens throughout winter.”

Robert admits that it took a while to adjust to the preventative approach, but the results have made it all worthwhile.

“My members want clean greens. The demands to attract new members is also high, so if our greens are clean with no disease then it all helps the cause. Because there were courses in the area who were hit hard with Microdochium nivale, we actually saw an additional 80 members join our club as a result.

“It can feel strange spraying greens that appear to have no disease – but it’s just getting into that mentality. There seems to be a lot of pressure out there and it seems to be a competition as to who has sprayed the less fungicide.

“Obviously you want to put a minimal amount down but we are actually finding we are using a lot less fungicide through the preventive route than what we were previously using when we were being reactive. It’s all about adhering to a well-thought out programme and applying the products at the right time.”

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland. 

You need to be a member of Landscape Juice Network to add comments!

Join Landscape Juice Network

Highlighted blog posts

Open forum activity

Andrew Betteridge replied to Rob's discussion Trouble with lawnmower, or just bad time to cut grass?
"A comment to me today was, that mowers bought in boxes without a PDI at a dealership are often adjusted in the factory to run slower due to emissions, then when they finally get taken in for a service after a couple of seasons to the dealership the…"
22 minutes ago
Scott H replied to Roy Bretton's discussion Why I Won't Be Using Yellow Pages!
"Yellow Pages used to be a great service.Back in 2006 to 2008 I was running an IT business and using the YP to pick up perhaps 50% of my work.
I moved on, YP shrunk to a almost a magazine size, and Yell.com became their main product. I found the YC s…"
1 hour ago
MJC Garden Services liked MJC Garden Services's profile
2 hours ago
Ian Kenyon replied to Roy Bretton's discussion Why I Won't Be Using Yellow Pages!
"id be intersted to learn about the directory listing for a one-off payment
2 hours ago
Roy Bretton’s discussion was featured
Back in October, I had Yellow Pages contact me, as to regard advertising with them. The local representative gave me a call and was very helpful and I decided to take out a yell ad on yell.com with a link to my website and the "Connect package" that…
3 hours ago
Ian Kenyon’s discussion was featured
Does anyone know any other manufacturers of pedestrian top-dressers sold in the UK please
3 hours ago
Ben Carter replied to Rob's discussion Trouble with lawnmower, or just bad time to cut grass?
"I've done a couple of lawns this year but its still very wet, i've also bought a new mower which is heavier than my old one so that has marked the lawns, I would have left them until it dries a bit but the clients were desperate to get them cut.  In…"
4 hours ago
Mark Heeley replied to Mark Heeley's discussion Hydro box oil change Etesia pro 53
"Hello Neal
Many thanks for your reply. As I don't have a vacuum pump, it looks like a visit to the dealership where it was bought. I thought that it would be more complicated than my Iseki SG and SXG to change the transmission oil. 
I see now why it…"
4 hours ago
Neal Barker @ Etesia uk replied to Mark Heeley's discussion Hydro box oil change Etesia pro 53
"Hi Mark
the oil is sucked out using an oil vacume pump and then refill with HV46
you MUST ensure the area around the filler plug (highes hex head on the unit) is compleatly clear of any dust or dirt mecause this is an extreamly sensitive unit and th…"
4 hours ago
Tony @SM replied to Tony @SM's discussion Turf versus Seed?
"Cheers John. I'm snowed off today and have prepared prices for both seeding and turfing. With labour, timed AM delivery etc. the turf is massively more expensive. Although this customer has never previously been price sensitive, I think the professi…"
6 hours ago
Russell Cobley replied to Ian Kenyon's discussion Alternative to Bannerman Top-dresser
"Good question Ian and one I have been pondering recently too - just busy with other things. Be interersted to see what may come up.
I know there is a Sisis truspred and this wheel barrow type machine Harvester Top Dresser.
Both larger/more cumbersom…"
6 hours ago
Mark replied to Ian Kenyon's discussion Alternative to Bannerman Top-dresser
"Powered or push? What's your budget?"
6 hours ago
John Powley replied to Harry@VWGS's discussion Weibang Pro 48 BBC roller mower review.
"The 56 pro I bought just keeps plodding along happily, couple of daft little quirks on it that I shouldn't let bug me but they don't affect it's performance.
Quality of cut etc never waivers and it stands up well to lots of use, on and off trailers…"
7 hours ago
Dan Frazer Gardening replied to Harry@VWGS's discussion Weibang Pro 48 BBC roller mower review.
"Which lighter mower? I use a Kaaz pro 21" which is in the region of 60kg and I do use it all day. Tempted by the lighter 19" honda roller machine that's around 42kg, but if it can't be sped up it'll be no use."
7 hours ago
Ian Kenyon replied to Daniel Johnson's discussion Tipper loading ramps?
"i bought some ramps off amazon, galvanised and about £40 I think. pleased with them"
9 hours ago
Benedict Simmons replied to Daniel Johnson's discussion Tipper loading ramps?
" We used to use a home made one. A 60cm wide ply top with 3 rails underneath for strength. It was covered in chicken wire, {well stapled down}. We then used batt as foot grips/steps either side and left a gap up the middle for the barrow wheel. Work…"
9 hours ago