A range of Sherriff Amenity products have improved the overall health of the turf on the fairways at Hampton Court Palace Golf Club, according to course manager Richard Hill.
Set within the royal grounds of Home Park where King Henry VIII once hunted deer and with the beautiful Hampton Court Palace looming in the background, there could hardly be a more regal setting to enjoy a round of golf.
The acclaimed 18-hole course is a 6,513 yard, par 71 parkland and inland links course which dates back to 1895. It was later re-modelled by Willie Park, who was also the designer of Royal Birkdale and Sunningdale, leaving the course beautiful yet demanding.
Richard Hill has been at the Club since May 2008 and was promoted to the position of course manager in 2013. Throughout his time Richard has maintained the course to an excellent standard despite some obstacles such as the huge 16th century lime-trees which surround the course and a bizarre lack of rainfall – as he explains.
“This site is an absolute anomaly when it comes to rainfall,” he says. “It can rain at the nearby Heathrow airport, it can rain on the M4 motorway but just not rain here at Hampton Court. I have my theories on why but that is another matter!”
As a result, the lack of rainfall tends to apply more pressure on the fairways at Hampton Court and Richard admits to embarking on a lengthy search for a winning formula which could help to relieve some of the stress.
“I was always looking at options that could make an improvement to the fairways and I tried so many different combinations of wetting agents and seaweeds – believe me, I must have tried all of them. The best results by far has been from Goemar seaweed and Excel wetting agent from Sherriff Amenity. When I first applied them, the fairways went from brown to green in just a week.”
Goemar is a high quality liquid seaweed extracted using a unique cold process that removes unwanted alginates and cellulose to leave a 100% seaweed juice. It is harvested in Brittany where they have some of the strongest tides in the world and these extreme tides lead this seaweed to experience high exposure to sun and heat at low tide. To counter these stresses the seaweed produces high amounts of the active ingredients required for plants to survive long stress periods. The cold extraction process then concentrates these ingredients in the finished product and Richard explained just how unique it is.
“Quite simply, it mixes perfectly,” he said. “You get all of the benefits without the organic matter and therefore the plant responds a lot quicker. It is full of beneficial sugars that combined with the Excel wetting agent, helps the grass to hold on to the nutrients. It is perfect for fairways.”
Its tank-mix partner Excel is a multi-purpose, low dose wetting agent which is ideal for use on larger areas, such as golf fairways and sports pitches. For the tank-mix he applies Excel at 1 L/ha and Goemar at 3 L/ha but due to the weather conditions Richard believes that timing is key.
“I don’t have a set time to apply the products, instead I spray when I feel it is needed and when we have the correct weather window. Historically I used to have everything all in one tank - the fertiliser, the wetting agent and the seaweed but now I do it separately. So, I will apply my feed one day and then the seaweed and wetting agent another day.”
For his fairway feed, Richard relies on Sherriff Amenity’s Evolution Xtra Soluble 46.0.0 and feels that he now has the ideal products in place.
“I will always get an application of the Evolution Xtra out so that it is sitting there waiting to take all the nutrients in. It washes it down to the roots and then away it goes. It might be six weeks from when we spray the feed to when the Goemar and Excel go out and you can really see the benefits. The colour is great and you can see the Poa still hanging on which you normally wouldn’t see.
“I remember when we first applied this combination and they looked like different fairways.
“I will continue with this method because I want to encourage more water to go down to the roots and these products are doing the fairways a world of good.”