Prestwick GC futureproof their fairways with new sustainable mix from Johnsons

While only launched in the summer of 2023, the new hard fescue J Sustain-Fairway mixture from Johnsons Sports Seed is already making a strong first impression at the birthplace of The Open Championship. Delivering quick germination and coping with the challenges of the undulating links course, Prestwick Golf Club have commended the blend of top-rated cultivars and the role they’ll play in futureproofing their fairways.

By name Dave Edmondson is Prestwick’s Head Greenkeeper, supported in his role by a team of 10, but by nature he considers himself merely ‘a guardian’ of the venue – rich in prestigious golfing history. “I very much follow the Old Tom Morris approach to maintenance, working with nature and continuing the methodologies of my predecessors to run the course in a minimalist way” says Dave. “We don’t use any pesticides, fungicides, hardly any fertilisers and very limited water.”

“My pursuit of traditional greenkeeping techniques led me to have a conversation with our golf course consultant about our fairways, and specifically any mixtures which could help to boost the hard fescue and sheep fescue populations which are proven to thrive in low-input and links conditions. That’s where I discovered Johnsons J Sustain-Fairway.

J Sustain-Fairway, available from DLF, has been designed to suit golf clubs looking to significantly boost the population of resilient varieties, providing a foundation of quality and strength with an increased tolerance to a broad range of turf stresses. “A chat with my DLF Technical Manager Stuart Yarwood made it clear that this mix would tick a lot of boxes, so we opted for this for our main annual fairway overseed.”

Sown at a rate of 7g/m2 in early September, germination was visible in just over two weeks, with the seedlings then under the stewardship of Dave to thrive and establish. “So far it’s been so good! The natural undulations here at Prestwick have often seen certain species struggle, particularly with coverage on the tops of the hillocks, so we’ve sown some additional J Sustain-Fairway here to help and, to date, it’s all working brilliantly.”

“The hard and sheeps fescue like a nice, settled environment and that’s exactly what we can give them.” Dave adds, “If we can keep building those populations with top-rated cultivars, then we will be much better placed to withstand environmental challenges and safeguard the course for the future.”