As the only club in Essex to make it onto the England Top 100 list, Thorndon Park in Ingrave has a reputation to uphold for its putt-perfect greens and feature fairways. A combination of two years of drought, combined with some extensive leatherjacket damage, had done its very best to scupper that, but a switch in seeding strategy – from fescue to perennial ryegrass from Johnsons Sports Seed – has seen a recovery of the fairways that Course Manager David Byron can only describe as amazing!
When David took over as Course Manager in September 2020, tackling the loss of coverage on the fairways was his first major task. “It’s no exaggeration to say that what we were faced with was really just mud and dust” explains David, who heads up a greens team of nine. “Craig Spooner from DLF came in and conducted a course walk and we decided upon a switch to a bespoke Perennial Ryegrass mixture – featuring Dickens, Chardin, Clementine and Monroe – to give us quick, strong growth and recovery while we rebuild the soil profile – with the aim of later down the line, re-introducing fescue species.”
Ideally suited for the renovation of high traffic areas, perennial ryegrass delivers improved drought tolerance, high disease resistance and excellent year-round colour, and importantly for David, fast recovery. “We first sowed the Rye fairway mix in September so we’re less than a year into the programme and we have recovered all our fairways – in fact, coverage across the whole course is currently fantastic.”
“We’ve been using Johnsons’ J Tee on our tees for the last few years and that always performs well, and on the greens it’s J All Bent which was last sown at the end of May and this has given us a great initial strike.” While David is delighted with results course-wide, the club’s determination to rise even higher in the ranks means mixtures are always being reviewed and assessed with the STRI ratings. “We can be assured with table-topping cultivars that with Johnsons, we’re going to be getting the tolerances and resistances we need to always be improving.”
David concludes, “The Johnsons mixtures are also backed up with fantastic technical support, both from Craig and Richard Lewis at our distributor Indigrow. The support network and after-care advice we get is worth more to me than saving a few quid here and there on product. Buying into Johnsons you get the complete package.”