Neil McLoughlin, course manager at Deeside Golf Club, has been in the industry for over twenty years. For the entirety of his career he has been using products from ICL, and claims that the stunning course you see today is, in part, thanks to the products.
Nestling on the banks of the River Dee, Deeside Golf Club boasts both an eighteen hole course and a nine hole course. The eighteen hole Haughton Course, a traditional Scottish parkland, is considered one of the best in Scotland and hosts a number of prestigious events throughout the year. Also available for play is the Blairs course, which offers an enjoyable nine holes for the whole family, while still challenging the lower handicap player.
While the course provides stunning panoramic views of mature trees and beautiful Royal Deeside scenery, the River Dee has caused Neil a few problems over the years. Last year the River caused the courses to flood six times and this year the same problem has occurred four times already. Luckily for Neil and the members of Deeside, the flooding mainly happens in the off-season so it doesn’t affect the club too much. However, the flooding certainly takes its toll on maintenance procedures but Neil has a secret weapon in the form of Primo Maxx, the grass growth regulator manufactured by Syngenta.
“We do use a lot of Primo Maxx for the greens, tees, fairways, approaches and on some rough around the greens. Keeping on top of Primo Maxx applications has prepared us for when we flood because I can afford to skip a cut. Before Primo Maxx, we’d have to cut after a flood and we would make an absolute mess and ruin the mowers - so with the Primo Maxx there is not as much pressure.
“One year we sprayed the fairways on the Haughton course with Primo Maxx but we didn’t on the Blairs course. During a period where we had heavy rain we went out to cut the Blairs fairways and there were grass clippings everywhere.
“When I haven’t used Primo Maxx I’ve gone out and cut the greens in the morning and by the following day I’d be out there taking off maybe four boxes of grass – now I don’t even fill half a box. The greens must have been a hell of a lot slower in the afternoons than they were in the mornings before we were using Primo Maxx.
“I’m a big fan of it and it’s the one I use most consistently.”
Neil sprays his greens every two weeks with Primo Maxx and in addition to applying the growth regulator he applies two granular feeds a year to the greens and one at the start of the season on the tees. With Deeside hosting the Scottish Seniors Amateur Championship earlier this year, he decided that he needed an upgrade on the previous granular fertilizer he was using, and this led him to SierrablenPlus Stress Control 15-0-28.
“We used SierrablenPlus this year – which is the first time we’ve used it. We were looking for a product that would give us a good slow release without a flush of growth. Coming out of a very hard winter we were frozen for a long period of time and the green surrounds were in a very poor condition. We had the challenge of trying to grow grass in May last year when there was no soil temperature and we had the Championship in the middle of June too. So we urgently needed something that would colour them up and thicken the sward without that top growth. We tried the SierrablenPlus Stress Control 15-0-28 and it worked incredibly well, so I’ll definitely be sticking with it going forward.”
Other products to also feature in Neil’s ICL inventory is Greenmaster Liquid Spring & Summer 12-4-6, which is ideal to use during the main growth periods; Qualibra – a premier wetting and water conservation agent and Medallion TL fungicide – a product which Neil believes offers long-lasting control in winter conditions.
“We’ll generally spray the greens with Medallion TL as a precaution going into early October, and then we’ll give them another hit going into early November. This way, the greens receive two applications before we get snow. The product is great - it gives us excellent protection and keeps the greens disease-free throughout the whole winter.”
To assist Neil with his ICL products, Jamie Lees – technical area sales manager, is always on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly. According to Neil, this customer service simply adds to the overall ICL experience.
“Jamie is a great representative for the company and is always available to talk to about products or any recommendations.
“Even before I was here, the previous greenkeeper used to use ICL products so it’s always been ICL at Deeside – they must be doing something right.”