Bowood’s championship golf course near Chippenham is set in 2,000 acres of glorious parkland and is renowned as one of the finest courses in Wiltshire. To introduce some biodiversity into their greens, Course Manager Jaey Goodchild began an all bents programme on the courses 18 greens 3 years ago. To give them the best chance at success, Jaey put his trust in the highest rated cultivars, employing the J All Bent mixture from Johnsons Sports Seed.
“The decision to go for an all bent overseeding regime wasn’t one that was taken lightly” explains Jaey. “A huge amount of work went into solving any agronomic issues and preparing the ground before we could consider introducing the seed.” A dedicated aeration and topdressing programme was conducted to tackle issues with thatch, creating an environment which would give the seed the best chance to establish. “Once we were happy the ground was ready we looked into mixtures and cultivars. With it being such a commitment, we wanted a mixture with the highest rated cultivars.”
In addition to using the STRI turf grass booklet as a guide, Jaey used his first-hand experience to make his decision. “Prior to joining Bowood, I worked at Richmond Golf Club and there we built a USGA trial plot where we would trial various varieties. One variety that sticks in my mind is Manor – it performed very well, especially in the colour it produced. That, coupled with its high performance in other trials means it’s a must have for me.”
Johnsons J All Bent mixture contains 60% Arrowtown, the top rated browntop bent, and 40% Manor. “This year was our 4th year of overseeding with J All Bent and we’re all very pleased with the results it’s delivering. The main benefits for us are the performance characteristics, particularly early in the season when the poa is struggling, plus these varieties provide us with fantastic fineness of leaf and colour. The overseeding approach, together with our cultural management programme is helping the bent species outcompete the Poa annua, helping us achieve our goal of switching to bent dominated greens.”