SPONSORED CONTENT: Greenkeepers choose TOPSOIL products for tees, bunkers and repairs
British Sugar TOPSOIL's bunker renovations at Northwood Golf Club
Encouraged by STRI research, feedback from scientists and industry case studies and testimonials, greenkeepers and golf course consultants are choosing the next generation of soil and soil‑based products to construct, refurbish and maintain tees, bunkers and greens surrounds.
Two head greenkeepers explain how they’ve recently completed reconstruction projects.
Middleton Hall, Norfolk
Head Greenkeeper James Raines and his team repositioned and returfed three tees on the 10th hole, two on the 11th and the white tee on the 18th hole after they were particularly badly hit by summer drought.
The damaged turf was stripped off and six inches depth of old rootzone removed before the tees were re‑positioned and more sprinkler heads added. Forty tonnes of British Sugar TOPSOIL’s Sports&Turf was used by the team to backfill up to the existing level of the grass on the tee backs. Once it had been trodden in and levelled, the tees were returfed.
The Sports&Turf mix is 90% sand and 10% BS 3882:2015‑compliant topsoil and was also used to overseed and topdress the remaining tees across the course. The greenkeeping team is now using it as an effective divot mix to repair worn areas.
Wes Walker is in his 10th year as course manager at Northwood, which dates back to 1891. Earlier in his career he was a part of the Ohio State Program and worked at Gleneagles.
During his tenure as course manager, Wes has used his wide experience to push the boundaries of turf management, trying new methods, equipment and products to deliver a course that meets the expectations of a vibrant and demanding membership.
As part of an ongoing programme of course development, Wes instigated the construction of three new tees – the ladies’ on the 6th and 17th holes and a winter tee on the 11th. Utilising the on‑site material for the sub base, Wes chose British Sugar TOPSOIL’s Sports&Turf to a depth of 300mm to finish off the tees and provided an effective medium with excellent drainage for turf establishment.
Wes’ team also use Sports&Turf as the key component of their divot mix and it is their go‑to medium for course repair.
Wes was first introduced to TOPSOIL products by agronomist Peter Jones, who has been instrumental in encouraging greenkeepers to explore turf management methods that use alternatives to sand‑based products as a means of reducing water use and moderating the use of inorganic fertilisers.
When it comes to shaping bunker edges, Wes utilises TOPSOIL’s Landscape20, a sandy loam topsoil that is a blend of sand, silt and clay. This holds moisture in the drier summer months, reducing the need for irrigation, and is free draining in very wet conditions.
“We selected this soil because of its moisture and nutrient retention properties and its structural capabilities. I wanted to move away from the stacked turf method of building the bunker edge so we’ve used the properties of the topsoil to shape the edge. We then turfed over the lip and that’s allowed us to maintain a grass edge to the bunker and prevent it drying out.”
A new video in which Wes explains how British Sugar TOPSOIL products have impacted his management of the course at Northwood can be viewed on the TOPSOIL website at www.bstopsoil.co.uk