Eoin Riddell, Course Manager at the Royal Dornoch Golf Club, has revealed how Syngenta’s Rescue herbicide, which is distributed in the UK and Ireland by ICL, has helped him to treat an influx of unwanted coarse grasses at the prestigious golf club situated in the picturesque Scottish highlands.
Wild, isolated and beautiful – the Royal Dornoch Golf Club has been the must-play venue for many wishing to test their game on a truly natural links course. Perhaps best known for its Championship Course in which the ridges, hillocks, dunes and undulating links land have all the characters of the best of links courses, it was ranked No.5 in the world and No.1 in Scotland by Golf Digest in 2016.
Tasked with keeping the course in immaculate condition is Eoin along with his fifteen members of staff. The team boasts exceptional standards, always aiming to exceed the expectations of the club’s frequent visitors and loyal members. However with the course dating as far back as 1877, Eoin and his team are not without challenges.
“Because Dornoch is such an old course we found that we had a real mixture of coarse grasses in the greens such as Yorkshire fog, ryegrasses and highland bent. With this in mind, we took the decision to trial Rescue on the worst green on the course so we could see the worst case scenario and the results were simply superb.”
Rescue is a powerful, selective herbicide designed to eradicate perennial ryegrass and other invasive coarse-leaved grasses. One of the main factors in trialling the product was that he was looking for a more thorough method than traditional cultural practices without causing any disruption to play. Following the successful trial, he decided to use the product more wide-spread.
“The members hardly noticed the areas had been treated, so with this confidence we decided to treat other greens. In 2012 we treated six greens followed by another six greens the following year. We treated the remaining five greens the year after along with the putting green and the surrounds.”
“Last year we treated all the greens and all the surrounds in order to keep on top of the past success we have had. We’ve had such good results that we don’t need to use it this year, but we would have no hesitation in using it again if we needed to.”
Eoin applies Rescue at 1 L/ha in autumn prior to overseeding – so that when the seed is germinating, it starts to work straight away. The effects of it on actively growing ryegrasses appear as if they are beginning to dieback naturally. In turn, enough space is left for the wispy, desirable fescue grasses desired by players which also goes a long way in enhancing the aesthetic appearance of the golf course.
As today's golfers are demanding faster rounds and becoming frustrated by delays caused by slow play, Rescue, is becoming a prominent solution to avoid such inconveniences. “After using it, the greens are now far better,” says Eoin. “This is due to less growth differences in grass species because we are predominantly fescue and there is more consistent growth. It’s really important to make sure you know your sward composition before you spray to avoid any surprises but it is well worth treating as it’s made a massive difference here at Dornoch.”
“It has also reduced the maintenance of the areas we have used it on - we now don’t need to verti-cut as much in order to get the course grasses to stand up for a better cut. We now just brush - in fact we’ve only verti-cut once this year and that is thanks to Rescue.”
Commenting on Royal Dornoch’s use of Rescue, ICL Technical Area Sales Manager Jamie Lees said: “Eoin and his team were involved in the initial trials back in 2011 and the results here at Dornoch have been fantastic. They had the confidence to apply Rescue to all the greens over the years and the treatments have produced a much finer, consistent sward. It’s really important to get the application timing and overseeding programme right, but the results should help improve areas of the golf course and promote more desired grass species”.