Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Knocking Back Succession

During the winter of 2016/17 we scheduled a renovation project to enlarge the men's 12th tee complex. Being a par 3 the original tee was too small to sustain excess wear and over time had become uneven and bumpy. In addition to this the tee complex was still on the old irrigation set up of 360 degree heads. These heads had over many years been watering the surrounding areas of the tee complex which in turn led to the open dune land becoming over vegetated with thick rank grasses and scrub. 

View from the 12th tee complex

Over vegetated grass and scrub
With plans in place to enlarge the tee and install an irrigation set up to just water the tees surface a decision was made to revert the scrub to the front and side of the tee back to its natural state. This concept derived from annual visits from Bob Taylor and Sophie Vukelic who are ecology consultants for the Sports Turf Research Institution. They advised that to knock back succession in many over vegetated areas of the course we could adopt a practice of removing scrub completely, scraping back to bare sand thus restoring many areas of our sand based course back to their natural state.

Through their advise and support we had already successfully carried out a number of small trial areas along the 8th carry, these were met with such positive feed back from members that we had no hesitation in deciding to carry out the ecological reversals required around the 12th tee complex.

Open vista over natural dune land

Returned to natural dune land

It wasn't until the project had been completed that our intentions turned to entering the Golf Environment Awards. This is something that the club has been involved in for a number of years with our aim being to improve the ecological value of the course.

The greenkeeping team had done such a fantastic job of not only rebuilding the entire tee complex but successfully and sympathetically returning the area back to it's native dune environment. Even though everything we do is a team effort a special mention must go to Deputy Head Greenkeeper Richard Le Moignan and Mechanic/Greenkeeper Gary Denton who led the entire project from start to finish, thier dedication and enthusiasm in poor weather conditions is to be applauded.

Their hard work and commitment over the winter months was rewarded when news came through from the Golf Environment Awards that we had made the long list in the category Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year. Following the judging process which is carried out by industry leading professionals, we were informed we had made the short list and were finalists invited to attend the awards ceremony held in Harrogate during the British Turf Managers Exhibition.

Unfortunately we were not bestowed the honor of outright winners but the fact we were one of four finalists in a nationally recognized award, and is attended by the industry's leading professionals and supported by the R&A has to be a feather in the cap for La Moye Golf Club.   

The Golf Environment Awards Finalist Trophy

Receiving the trophy on behalf of the club, Phil Bowler DHG, Andrew Ricketts HG and Richard Cutler GM

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