The Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland, has reported successful results from regular applications of a range of ICL products to its two championship golf courses.
Surrounded by pine and silver birch trees, Blairgowrie’s Lansdowne course provides a challenging but pleasurable test for all levels of golfer. The esteemed course has played host to a number of major events, including the PGA Championship Final in 2014 and the Scottish Amateur Championship in 2013. The equally challenging Rosemount course is the older of the two courses and was designed by James Braid with influences from Dr. Alistair McKenzie, the renowned architect of the Augusta National course. It also hosted the Junior Ryder Cup last year and lays claim to being the venue of Greg Norman’s first European tour victory.
The men responsible for maintaining the two prestigious golf courses are head greenkeepers, Brian Scott and Craig Stewart who look after Rosemount and Landsdowne respectively. Brian has seven full-time staff working under him with two seasonal workers while Craig has six full-time and two seasonal, but together they share one budget which is largely used for ICL products.
Commenting on why ICL play such a big role in their maintenance procedures, Craig said: “We trust the products and we know we are always going to get the right results from them. We have tried products from other companies in the past but ICL seem to be the best by a long way. Working with them has been a big success.
“You know exactly what you are going to get from them and we get the backup whenever we need it. If ever we need advice they are always there and straight in to see us. We get better back up and advice from anyone we’ve worked with in the past.”
On hand to deliver his expertise is ICL technical area sales manager Jamie Lees, who has been working with Brian and Craig and visiting the Blairgowrie for the last seven years. It was his advice two years ago which led to an improved surface on the two courses after he recommended the H2Pro Programme.
The programme, which consists of using a range of products in the H2Pro range of wetting agents, plays a pivotal role in disease management. By drying out the soil surface but maintaining moisture in the rootzone for healthy plant growth, conditions are less conducive to disease and the plant is more resilient to environmental stresses, including disease attack. It is these kinds of benefits of the H2Pro programme that Brian has been extremely impressed with.
“We sat down with Jamie two years ago, had a talk and we told him what we wanted to achieve. He gave us lots of good advice and information and we decided to go with the H2Pro programme. With the programme we use two different products from the H2Pro range but one holds water through the dry periods and that’s the key. We started with this at the beginning of the summer then moved onto Maximise through the winter. It works excellently in pulling the water away and providing us with a drier surface – I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
For the last six years Brian and Craig have also benefitted from using Syngenta’s Primo Maxx – the UK’s number one plant growth regulator, and a wide range of ICL fertilizers.
“We start the year with Greenmaster Pro-Lite Cold Start 11-5-5 and I get fantastic results from it. It was recommended by Jamie and I’m always willing to try new products because I know how good they are. For summer I apply Greenmaster Spring & Summer 14-5-10 just to give us some good growth going into the summer and that keeps us going for four months. That is probably my favourite product because it really gets things going at the start of the year. After renovation work I’ll use Greenmaster Pro-Lite Turf Tonic 8-0-0 which works really well,” said Brian.
Echoing Brian’s thoughts, Craig said; “It’s just a combination of all the products working together and I’m also a big fan of the Sierrablen range of fertilizers. I actually tried another fertilizer this year from a different company and I definitely won’t be doing that again. It was a lot cheaper but I had to use twice as much and it didn’t last long at all.
“Brian and I have also been fortunate enough to visit the company’s fertilizer plant and have seen all of the processes and research involved in bringing these great products to market. It wasn’t just a selling exercise for ICL – they genuinely like to educate people on the technologies that are involved and we learnt a lot. It certainly gave us confidence because you know they are all rigorously tested products.”