The Course Manager at Fairhaven Golf Club claims that the advanced technology behind ICL’s H2Pro TriSmart wetting agent, has worked wonders on the dry, sand dominated course.
For nineteen years Joe Barnes has been progressing through the greenkeeping industry. In 2021, he saw an opportunity to become a Course Manager, but it had to match his ambitions.
“I wanted to be a Course Manager, but I wanted to maintain a level of greenkeeping that I had been used to and I felt that I would be able to that at Fairhaven Golf Club,” he said. “The club is well placed within the rankings, has a thriving membership, and can provide me with the tools required to do the job.
“My aim is to take Fairhaven to the next level.”
Joe was offered the job at the start of 2021 but had to work a three-month notice period before starting at Fairhaven. In starting work at such a crucial period in the greenkeeping calendar, Joe felt it was important to hit the ground running.
“In my first year I wanted products that I could trust completely,” he said. “I felt that ICL were leading the way in terms of products, innovation, and research. I have always found that no other brand gives the end user as much information about their products. That is what really drew me towards them.
“When I first started, I sent Phil Collinson (North West Key Account Manager for ICL), my ideas behind what I wanted to achieve, what I wanted to use and where I wanted to use them. Phil then started working behind the scenes and sent me back a full planner including products he felt I would deliver what I set out.”
Fairhaven Golf Course has all the characteristics of a traditional links course and being a sand dominated course can make moisture management particularly challenging. Therefore, one such product which Joe reported excellent results from using was H2Pro TriSmart which is a high-quality wetter and water conservation agent. It is formulated with three water management surfactant technologies to provide great water penetration, even water spread through the rootzone and to improve the water holding capacity of sandy rootzones.
Joe had previous experience of using the product as he explained.
“At my last course, we were using a wetting agent from another brand, and I felt that the technology was slightly showing its age. We had a particularly bad season where it didn’t perform – so we switched to ICL’s H2Pro TriSmart. I saw first-hand the improvements it made and so it was a no-brainer for me to use it here.”
Joe and his team apply TriSmart monthly on the greens and tees through the growing season but must work with Mother Nature when it comes to applying it on the fairways.
“It is a very strong product in terms of helping me maintain consistent moisture levels across the surfaces and we don’t see greens showing localised dry spot,” he said. “I also like the varying application rates that we can use. Generally, we start with a low application rate of 10 L/ha, but if I feel like I need to put a bit more on then I’ve got no qualms in going up to 20 litres.
“On fairways we rely on rainfall,” he continued. “We are not blessed with fairway irrigation, so we must wait on a weather window that allows us to apply TriSmart when the rain is coming.
“The technology behind the product is excellent – it really is a premium wetting agent, but you have come to expect that from ICL.
“Everyone I speak to says the same. As well as Phil you have the likes of Henry Bechelet and Dr Andy Owen, who are driving forward some great research. Providing all this data for everyone to see just gives you even more confidence in the products.”