1. What is your organisation best known for and what does the company do which might not be well known?
TurfCare are best known for our sustainable approach to growing, cultivating, and managing natural turf playing surfaces, whilst assisting our clients to produce the finest conditions possible. We are also a relatively small company with fewer people on the road than most. However, our team are an extremely talented group of individuals who amass in excess of 200 years of industry experience. Each team member has extensive knowledge in soil chemistry, plant nutrition, moisture management and seed cultivar selection.
What probably isn’t known so much is the skill-set of each individual team member. Approximately 90% of the technical team have worked in either middle or senior management at golf clubs around GB, Europe and further afield, holding such roles as Superintendents / Course Managers, Spray Technicians or other important management positions. Personally speaking, I have been a Course Manager and Grow-in Manager at a course designed by a past member of the EIGCA organisation, and have also grown in several other courses too. So, we have a vast array of skills and knowledge to call upon when needed.
2. What are the biggest challenges your organisation has faced in the last ten years, and how have they been overcome?
I believe that not only our organisation, but other companies too will have experienced the same, or similar issues to ourselves. We have seen a significant reduction in both the efficacy and availability of pesticides in the marketplace.
TurfCare however, have always been on the front foot with regards to leading technological advancements for turf management. Right from the early days of the company’s inception in 1992, the primary objective has been to provide options to clients that don’t involve the use of pesticides. We have always strongly felt that this would be the way forward, and whilst some companies have aligned themselves with the industry over the years, we kept true to our vision and now the industry seems to be aligning itself with the TurfCare initiative.
Whilst mental health has played a significant factor in recent challenging times, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, we have always supported our clients above and beyond the responsibilities of producing quality playing surfaces. So much so, that we are embarking on a series of training for our staff to become, ‘Mental Health First Aiders’. An initiative which is fully supported by other industry partners such as BIGGA.
3. What advice do you have for golf course architects when it comes to selecting your organisation for their projects?
The future really is upon us, there’s no doubt about that. But we have, as an organisation, always been fully committed to the sustainable management of turf grasses. This is essentially embodied through our product portfolio which offers quality, research, data, and evidence to promote sustainable plant health excellence. The annual meeting in Reykjavik last year posed some pertinent questions of our industry, and yet again, we sincerely feel that we are ahead of the curve in relation to the challenges which were presented.
Please speak with us, communicate and feel free to ask for our advice. As indicated before, we have a vast array of skills, knowledge and solutions which can ultimately help in the growing in of golf courses / re-modelling projects, and yet be environmentally friendly, sustainable, reduce water and nutrient consumption whilst also reducing overall project costs.
4. What interesting environmental initiatives have your organisation been involved with, or seen installed, on a golf course?
Environmentally speaking, we are heavily involved with industry leading experts who invent, develop and research new sustainability products prior to them being launched into the marketplace. One such development led to the production of our premium soil amendment, ‘Leo-Zeo Turf’. This was selected as the soil amendment of choice for Regnum’s latest golf development in Ankara, Turkey. Designed by EIGCA member Tim Lobb, Regnum Golf Country is Regnum’s fifth, 5-star golf development and going by the stringent standards already implemented by the Regnum Group, there is no doubt that this latest project is also set to become a world class facility. http://turfcare.eu/leozeo-video/
Despite being a relatively new product, having been launched in 2018, Leo-Zeo Turf has already undergone significant research by European Turfgrass Laboratories and Dr John Dempsey. Proving it to be the leading and most researched soil amendment currently available to golf course architects.
5. What new or recent developments by your organisation should EIGCA members be aware of?
Working with the likes of Dr Stan Kostka et al, on the developments of new and novel surfactant technologies, such as ‘ProWet Evolve’, has led us to the conclusion that water truly needs to be greater appreciated as an actual commodity as opposed to an unlimited resource. Recent developments in such technological advancements will yet again assist in reducing the environmental impact of the anticipated global water shortage.
Irrigation wise, RainBird’s ‘Intelligent use of water’, and their approach to water management, will assist in more precise applications, and a reduction in the consumption of water to produce natural turf playing surfaces.
We also have strong connections with Tee2Green, who develop and produce bentgrasses which undergo years of rigorous research and development in order to have a resilient turfgrass cultivar that will thrive in the ever changing British and European climates. Penn State University developed the original ‘Penncross’ cultivar, which was further developed by Dr Joe Duich and led to the Penn A’s and G’s – ‘A’ Augusta & ‘G’ Georgia. Years later, and after said research and development, we now have the three premium cultivars; Pure Distinction, Pure Select and Crystal Bluelinks. These cultivars are proven to out compete less desirable invasive grasses such as ‘Poa Annua’ which are highly susceptible to both biotic and abiotic stresses.
Lew Sharpe is the Global Consultant Agronomist for Tee2Green. He spent his whole career building and growing in excess of 200 golf courses worldwide for the likes of Pete and Alice Dye. Lew is based in Indiana, USA but regularly travels throughout Europe to support and advise on relatively recent projects such as Adare Manor and Marco Simone.
Finally, a mention about plant health and nutrition. It is of paramount importance that the grass plant receives exact amounts of the correct nutritional inputs in order to germinate, establish, develop and exist. This will ultimately lead to a resilient turfgrass sward to fight off the onset of fungal pathogens, invasion of less desirable species and other biotic / abiotic stresses. At TurfCare, we have teamed up with world leading plant pathologists and researchers in order to develop grow-in protocols and sustainable nutritional management practices. Our primary concern is sustainable plant health, and our recent collaboration with Plant Food Company Inc really does mirror that objective. Plant Food Company are well established in the field of nutrition, but the difference is the amount of time they spend on research prior to taking a new product to market. Working with the likes of Dr Bruce Clarke from Rutgers University, Plant Food Company have developed new approaches and new products in order to fight off diseases such as ‘anthracnose’.
Scott Nightingale, Turfcare's Business Development Manager