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INSIde ThIS ISSUe Walton Golf Club halves their fertiliser application


Case Study: New Judgeford Golf Club


Pirongia Golf Club – Success with Poa annua removal


Even snow can’t stop a Ranfurly Shield match!


A new surface for Mount Smart Stadium


Success with Agrichem fertilisers at Muriwai Golf Club


Look how far we have come


PGG Wrightson Turf NZGCSA Environment Award


PGG Wrightson Turf Movember


Walmsley’s Word


Staff changes at PGG Wrightson Turf


Welcome to the autumn edition of Turf Clippings. I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable break over the Christmas and New Year period. This is my first Turf Clippings since moving over from Australia in early January after spending the past ten years looking after the PGG Wrightson Turf Australia business. I have been out recently with PGG Wrightson Turf Representatives Mark Shaw, Jason Weller and Brandon Parker to visit some of their South Island clients. What has impressed me most is the consistently high standards achieved in this region despite limited available resources.

that are members of the NZGCSA. This is a great opportunity to be recognised for your environmental management and ingenuity and I encourage all those eligible to apply. We hope you enjoy this issue and we wish you all the best for the upcoming autumn.

Kind Regards, Cameron Henley.

I am thrilled to be leading such a dynamic and enthusiastic team and I look forward to the challenges that are ahead of me and meeting many of you in my travels. The New Zealand seed harvest is completed on the Canterbury plains which has meant a busy time for everyone involved in seed production. Weather has been kind with good amounts of rain followed by long dry spells which is vital for seed head development. Yields are about average compared to previous year’s harvests which is good news. There are many exciting things on the horizon for PGG Wrightson Turf. The PGG Wrightson Turf NZGCSA Environment Award is in its first year and applications are now open to all golf courses

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Walton Golf Club halves their fertiliser application

Walton Golf Club

Walton Golf Club have in the past used agricultural grade fertilisers and this has presented many challenges in terms of greens management. The poor quality and prill size of agricultural fertilisers created the “leopard spot” effect and uneven growth patterns. An additional concern was having to put large quantities of water on the greens or trying to guess when it was going to rain. This led to either scorched greens or very spongy soft greens. Overall, they were disappointed with the performance of the greens. The Course Superintendant, along with many others, was invited to a PGG Wrightson Turf and Andersons International Fertiliser Technical Field Day held at Matamata Golf Club. This was the first ever New Zealand release of a new technology, Andersons Nutri DG, for dispersible granule specialised fertiliser for turf. Rich Christ from Andersons USA travelled to New Zealand to run the forum. The Course Superintendant was impressed by the concept of the fertiliser and its potential to be able to help Walton improve the quality of their greens. Subsequently he booked an appointment with his local Technical Turf Representative Julian Holden to go through in detail how the programme would help to improve the course. Armed with the TNT programme, a specialised programme for greens, a plan to suit the club’s needs was developed. Walton Golf Club have been following the TNT programme for 15 months now and this has seen them through two summers with fantastic results. The Course Superintendant said that “With Andersons Nutri DG I have been able to reduce my fertilising from 10 – 12 times per year to 4 – 5 times per year. Then I only need to top up as required instead of having to put a heavy



Excellent quality greens

application on like I used to”. He commented that the club has been able to reduce the amount of fertiliser they use by a huge 50% by utilising the technology that is in the Andersons Nutri DG which provides a ‘nutrient blanket’. The Course Superintendant and Julian Holden regularly meet to inspect the quality of the greens as the season progresses in order to monitor the results. Walton Golf Club have noticed many improvements with the greens including the cover they have been able to achieve over the summer months. The greens are also denser and have a better uniformity than they have had previously and this can be seen year-round. These improvements can be attributed to the ‘nutrient blanket’ that the Nutri DG granule technology offers. Walton Golf Club have also been able to reduce their fungicide usage by at least 30% by using the consistent controlled release of the Nutri DG fertiliser. This has enabled them to be utilise a more programmed approach to the turf on the greens over the high stress period of summer. The Course Superintendant has been able to control the health of his turf plant and reduce the stress which has aided in less disease than previous years. Despite the pressure on the turf due to

Transport used to get to Walton Golf Club

extreme weather patterns, there have been minimal disease outbreaks. Another advantage of the Nutri DG fertiliser was the easy application of the prill and its ability to not leave leaf scorches on the temperamental poa as you can get with liquid applications of technical grade SOA. The olive prill colour is a bit of a challenge to see but Andersons have listened to their clients by upgrading the colour to a high visible granule to rectify this. There is also a huge saving in the number of tank mixes, water and time using Nutri DG as opposed to spraying technical type fertilisers. The Walton Golf Club President Mark Begovich said that the greens are now consistently performing with excellent density and you can’t even notice when they have been fertilised. He also commented that with the performance of the Nutri DG, the club has been able to work on other areas of the course. This has resulted in comments from visitors and new members that the overall course presentation is amazing and a credit to the club. Word has spread around the golfing community and now people fly in by helicopter to Walton just to play this country gem!

Case Study: New Judgeford Golf Club

Shaping the greens

New Judgeford are a progressive club who realise that running a golf club is like rowing a boat upstream. It takes continuous work just to hold your position; it takes effort and focus to move forward. Their focus came last year to the 12th green. The green was surrounded by tall poplars with a drain on the right that was difficult to maintain and it was always giving the Course Superintendant problems with waterlogging, disease, wear and tree roots were coming up into the green. The 15th hole (on the other side of a drain from the 12th hole) was also a problem and had been built 15 years before as a temporary green. Golf course architect Tommy Cushnahan was contacted and it was decided to rebuild both the 12th and 15th holes at the same time as this would have many logistical, scheduling and financial benefits not to mention the improved design possibilities.

Construction commenced on the two new greens on Jan 11th 2009 with the trees having already been removed. Where possible Kevin and his staff would handle the work, then shaping was carried out by Tommy himself and a few contractors were enlisted to cope with everything else. The programme of work followed the usual pattern; • Site clearance • Shaping • Drainage and irrigation • Gravel layer • Rootzone instillation • Spreading topsoil on surrounds • Cart path instillation • Finishing • Seeding (Hydroseed) Rain was predicted so careful attention was paid to protect a nearby stream to prevent siltation. While green construction was underway, a local

landscaper erected small dry stone walls down both sides of the drain between the greens. This allowed the slopes to be lessened to a point where Kevin could mow them (a great improvement). Local Technical Turf Representative Matt Kidby advised on the best seed varieties for reduced maintenance and year-round performance for these areas. Jasper II (creeping red fescue) and Silhouette (Chewing’s fescue) surrounds and Manor (browntop) greens were chosen. This project had a tight schedule and a tight budget. Despite the numerous challenges, the project came in on time and under budget. This successful team effort created two new greens for Judgeford for under $40,000 each. The quality of the surfaces has made the job of maintaining this area a lot easier and members are more than satisfied.

New Judgeford Golf Club greens

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Pirongia Golf Club – Success with Poa annua removal Ashley Smith, the Course Superintendant at Pirongia Golf Club, has been making some real changes over the last two years by taking up the challenge to eliminate Poa annua from the greens in order to improve the putting surface. Ashley is in the process of re-establishing the browntop dominant greens through a process of feeding the browntop without feeding the Poa annua by using the herbicide Desicate. The method he uses to re-establish the browntopdominant greens involves spraying the greens to thin out the Poa annua, spinning seed into the greens, spiking the greens with 8 mm solid tynes with a brush mounted on the back of the corer, and finally giving the greens a light dusting of sand to fill in the holes. He also tries to hold out the cutting height in order to not disturb seed germination and establishment. Ashley has now almost perfected the rates of chemical application however he admits there

have been some challenges along the way such as trying to find ways to reduce the Poa annua in the greens without ruining the quality of the surface; establishing new browntop seed in the putting green; and discovering the best way to sow the seed into the green without excessively disturbing the playing surface. Ashley has used both Egmont browntop for quick establishment, and recently Duraturf® Colonial Blend with the browntop cultivars Sefton, Troy, Egmont and Manor which provide genetic diversification to maximise the appearance of the greens year-round. Application rates for both seeds are 1 kg per green on a regular basis. Ashley has found this project very satisfying and worthwhile as he was able to find the right chemical to selectively remove Poa annua and also comments “What a difference making the choice to use a quality browntop seed has made to the end result”.

Ashley Smith, Course Superintendant at Pirongia Golf Club

Even snow can’t stop a Ranfurly Shield MaTCh! Saturday the 18th of September 2010 saw Rugby Park Stadium in Invercargill unexpectedly covered in snow. Uncannily it fell one year exactly to the day before Argentina and Romania play their World Cup match at the ground. A practice run or pure coincidence; no-one can be sure! Between 10 - 20 cm snow fell throughout Southland and this also covered Rugby Park Stadium. The field had to be back in play immediately otherwise the Southland - Auckland Ranfurly Shield game on the following Thursday would have had to be moved to another venue; NZRU originally tried to have the game moved to Eden Park Stadium in Auckland or the second

Snowfall at Rugby Park Stadium in Invercargill



option was Carisbrook Stadium in Dunedin. If either of these options was to eventuate, Southland would have lost vital home ground advantage. The clean-up began on the Monday following the snowfall and the field was cleared that evening due to the support from volunteers in the community. Due to exposure from TV3 and Facebook, seventy-five volunteers armed with wheelbarrows and shovels showed up ready to lend a hand. Russell Thomas, the groundsman at Rugby Park Stadium, and his team worked tirelessly throughout Monday and had to shovel the snow to the side of the field which was then pumped off; 160,000 litres were pumped off

every twenty-four hours in the lead-up to the Shield match on the Thursday night. Their efforts paid off as the match was able to be held at Rugby Park Stadium as originally planned and Southland retained the shield by beating Auckland 9-6. Russell had this to say about the quality of the Stadium’s turf; “The Colosseum ryegrass stood up beautifully to the conditions, with no discolouration come game day”. Russell and the team at Rugby Park Stadium now at least know that they can have the stadium up and running in no time should snow decide to fall before the Argentina versus Romania match at the same time this year!

The team shovelling the snow off the field

A new surface for Mount Smart Stadium During January and February of this year Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland, also known as home to the Warriors Rugby League team, in conjunction with TIC Contracting began the process of renewing the existing surface. The ryegrass surface had become Poa annua infested, contaminated, and had poor irrigation resulting in a deteriorating surface as the season progressed each year. Bermuda grass (couch), transitioned with Duraturf® Sports Oval ryegrass for the winter, was used which provided a clean, Poa annua free, stable and hard wearing surface. The project was challenging as the work on the surface could not begin until after The Big Day Out concert, where flooring, stage and rubbish, had to be removed. The timeframe for the turnaround of the new surface was tight; The Big Day Out was held on the 21st January and the renovated surface had to be in play and ready for the second New Zealand Warriors game on the 27th March. TIC Contracting were chosen to undertake this project as they were able to design and build the new surface in a timely manner and to a very high standard. TIC Contracting took over the ground on Monday 24th January just days after after The Big Day Out concert. The process actually began back in November 2010 with an upgrade of the irrigation system. This included a bigger bore, a higher capacity pump, new pipes and more irrigation heads. The irrigation is now more uniform in coverage with much better pressure. In January, once they took over the ground, TIC Contracting removed 40 mm of the existing surface and dug out the ends of the field, over the old Mt Smart running track, to the base volcanic scoria surface (approximately 150 mm depth). This area has never performed well as the depth of growing medium over the old track was thin and the grass growth has suffered as a result. At the same time the irrigation laterals, that were not able to be completed in November, were installed in these areas of the ground. The base was also scarified to assist in the laser levelling process. The whole area was then laser levelled and 90 cubic metres of Enviro Sand 1000 was replaced over the surface. 200 kg/ha of D.A.P. (starter fertiliser), 150 kg/ha Sand Aid (to assist in root growth and initial knit-in of the sod turf ), and 250 kg/ha of Greenkeepers Secret (pelletised Blood and bone) was blended into the surface, and evenly incorporated to a depth of 50 mm. From the 1st to the 3rd of February, 23 staff cut and laid the superior bermuda grass (couch) onto the new surface. This bermuda grass had been grown in South Auckland from about

The newly laid turf surface on the 16th February 2011

March 2010 and pushed along over the winter using Cover Master germination cloths that were moved every three weeks to ensure continuation of growth over this cooler period. The whole area then had its first mow, with catchers, on the 4th of February at a height of 26 mm. After this, 300 kg/ha of Duraturf® Sports Oval ryegrass seed (as a transition grass for the winter) was broadcast and the area was covered with 92 cubic metres of Enviro 1000 Sand from Mercer in a bid to weigh down the new sod and to assist in levelling the surface. The surface is now mowed every day (at 21 mm) with the catchers on and irrigated approximately three times per day with about eight minutes per station in the middle and four minutes on the sides of the field. The Warriors commenced their first training on the ground on the 16th February including fitness training, such as “ladder training”, with very little surface disruption and this was only 14 days after the first sod was laid! The fertiliser programme that was carried out from the 16th of February was to apply Andersons 32-1-8 with 30% slow release fertiliser

Don Phillip, Turf Manager Mt Smart stadium (left) and Dion Lawson from TIC Contracting standing on the newly laid superior couch and Duraturf® Sports Oval surface at Mt Smart stadium (16th February 2011)

at the rate of 300 kg/ha immediately. The surface was verti-drained and rolled in the next fortnight (to further level the surface), and two applications of Emerald Isle Stadium programme foliar fertiliser is now being used both three weeks and one week prior to the first Warriors game on March 27th. This will assist in root growth, colour and surface wear performance. Further slow release fertilisers will be applied as the season progresses. Seed will be applied at rates of approximately 100 kg/ha every three weeks while the bermuda grass goes into dormancy in order to replace dormant plants with hard wearing winter ryegrass. The greatest benefit the new surface has brought is the removal of the contaminated soil and the associated seed bank of Poa annua. At the same time, upgrading the irrigation system means that re-establishment of the turf surface (annually after the Big Day Out) is more reliable and will be able to be achieved quicker. The turf surface, now containing bermuda grass (couch), will be more stable and wear-tolerant in summer and ryegrass transitioned in for the winter (and the removal of the Poa annua) means the winter grass cover and soil surface stability will be greatly enhanced. Don Phillip, Turf Manager at Mt Smart Stadium says “I have found working with TIC Contracting throughout this process has been excellent; they have kept to timelines, kept me informed and involved, and so far, the end result looks good. I like the matrix of both couch, for stability of the surface, and Duraturf® Sports Oval winter active ryegrass to improve the winter look of couch; it will be very interesting following this through the autumn/ winter period to see how it pans out”.

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Success with Agrichem fertilisers at Muriwai Golf Club Muriwai Golf Club is a true links course situated on the West Coast of Auckland. The encroaching sand dunes have forced some major changes to the course over the last ten years as new holes have had to be created to replace those lost to the fast shifting sands. Last year Muriwai Golf Club was chosen to host the northern leg of the Charles Tour; one of New Zealand’s major golfing events. Course Superintendent, Frank Redman was set the challenge of preparing the course for this major event. The greens at Muriwai Golf Club were a mix of Poa annua and bentgrass, with Poa annua being the predominant species. With a steadily rising pH, Frank realised running with a pH 6.5 to 6.7 would be very difficult to promote browntop into the predominatly Poa annua greens. After a series of soil tests, a meeting took took place with PGG Wrightson Turf Representative, Brian Griffiths and Agrichem New Zealand territory manager, Gavin Subritzky. A programmed approach was agreed on, using products out of Agrichem’s comprehensive range of foliar fertilisers. Frank was clear what he wanted to achieve - improved putting surfaces without increasing fertiliser inputs. The

programme included acidic based fertilisers to help with pH levels, but also products that would not stress the Poa annua so that the putting surface quality would not decline. The programme tackled the issues of plant stress brought on by high traffic, coastal conditions, and tournament preparations. Over time there has been a significant increase in bentgrass conversion without compromising the putting surface. Frank has also included oversowing with Duraturf® Colonial Blend at renovation time.

Muriwai Golf Club on the West Coast of Auckland

He says the programmed approach has been a big success; “I have been using the Agrichem products for 12 months, and after a recent soil test the pH is dropping, the bentgrass conversion has been rapid without the putting surface declining, even with lower nutrient input. The support and service received by PGG Wrightson Turf and Agrichem has been greatly received by all at Muriwai Golf Club”. This year’s Charles Tour event will be held in early May.

Frank Redman, Course Superintendant at Muriwai Golf Club

Look how far we have come Millbrook Country Club in Queenstown commenced the construction of 13 new holes in 2007 in order to expand to a 27 hole golfing complex. The new Millbrook West Development has come a long way and the end result is visually stunning and of a high standard. The golf course design has been carefully integrated with the property development, with infrastructure and roading construction working in combination with the golf course construction. Sections have building platforms to maximise golf course views and surrounding

Photo 1


mountain vistas. Section sales were initially very successful, and have remained very steady over the last two years. The new golf holes have been well received by both members and green fee players. Apart from the usual golf cart wear and tear the new holes have handled the high amount of play they are receiving very well. All the Millbrook staff involved with the project are extremely proud of what they have achieved in what is proving to be a very successful golfing resort development.

Photo 2


The first photo of the Coronet 3 hole (Photo 1) was shot just under three years ago, and is one of four holes that were prepared for play early, so that four of the existing holes could be shut and redesigned to accommodate the Arrow 9 and Coronet 9 finishing holes near the clubhouse. The existing Remarkables 9 has remained virtually untouched, apart from a comprehensive bunker redesign some four years ago. Photo 2, taken in mid-January 2011, shows the same hole early one morning, having been in play now for two and a half seasons.

PGG Wrightson Turf NZGCSA Environment Award

Applications for the 2011 PGG Wrightson Turf NZGCSA Environment Award are now open. All golf courses that are members of the NZGCSA are eligible to apply. This is the first time the award has been offered and the winning Golf Course will be judged as having the most environmentally sustainable practices and management plan. The winning Golf Course will receive a NZD3,000 cash prize and recognition from fellow industry members. In these times of increased environmental awareness and regulation, and with turf and amenity landscapes under increasing public and legislative scrutiny, environmental management and responsibility has become paramount. Winning the 2011 PGG

Wrightson Turf NZGCSA Environment Award will set your club apart by elevating awareness of your innovative and creative environmental practices. PGG Wrightson Turf and NZGCSA wish to recognise New Zealand ingenuity at its best, where many solutions are found through innovation, often by thinking outside the square. This ingenuity is driven by the desire to understand the constraints each venue imposes and the desire to find solutions through careful planning, and the use of outside consultation where necessary. The goal of the PGG Wrightson Turf NZGCSA Environment Award is to promote sustainable turf and amenity management within New Zealand Golf Courses. Key objectives of the award are to: •

 rovide leaders of change and the P participation of all industry stakeholders in environmental stewardship across New Zealand Golf Course facilities

Improve public confidence in turf and amenity environmental management

Initiate industry self regulation (the voluntary association of stakeholders to control their collective action)

 rovide an annual award to the golf course P that achieves outstanding environmental performance

All forms must be completed and returned to PGG Wrightson Turf by 28th March 2011. Application forms can be found at or email

Improve the environmental management of golf course facilities across New Zealand

PGG Wrightson TURF MOVEMBER The month of November last year saw three of the PGG Wrightson Turf team sporting moustaches…and not just for the good looks! Mark Shaw, Matt Kidby and Jason Weller spent 30 long days and nights tending to their facial hair all for the good cause of Men’s Health. After fundraising for a month, the three lads were proud to be able to donate $250 to be shared between the Cancer Society of New Zealand and also the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Many thanks to all those who

donated to our efforts, especially the Manawatu/ Wanganui and Wellington Turf Managers Association. Hopefully we can get some more backing from all you turf managers out there next year when we take to growing the Mo!

From left to right: Jason Weller, Mark Shaw and Matt Kidby

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WALMSLEY’S WORD Understanding Browntop cultivars bred in New Zealand Browntop (Agrostis capillaris) is the predominant turfgrass found on most golf greens, golf fairways, croquet greens and quality fine Bill Walmsley lawns throughout New Turf Agronomist Zealand. It is not to be Kimihia Research Centre confused with dryland bentgrass or highland bentgrass (Agrostis castellana) which is an inferior type and forms a poor turf. Up until now the browntop cultivars fell into two types: • Egmont and Troy are examples of a medium green colour, high quality browntop. • Sefton and Manor are examples of a lighter green colour and finer and denser type of browntop. However, a new cultivar, Arrowtown browntop, represents a marked improvement on currently available browntop cultivars, having greater density, fineness and overall quality than current cultivars. It is a light green colour that is slightly darker than Sefton and Manor. Arrowtown is exceptionally fine and dense with good year round quality that makes it a superb choice for golf

greens. It is also ideally suited to closely mowed greens, as well as tees and fairways. It has natural vigour to recover quickly from renovation and has less of a tendency to brown under drought stress, and retains its green colour for longer. Arrowtown was bred from remarkably fine and dense plants collected from greens at Arrowtown Golf Club by Dr Alan Stewart. The breeder’s code for Arrowtown is CT3003, and it is currently in trial in the UK under this code. In trial data, including seasonal density trials, seasonal fineness trials and seasonal quality trials, Arrowtown has constantly been the best performer almost everytime.

A recently sown Arrowtown browntop green at Pegasus Golf Course.

Density Fineness Quality Arrowtown












Trial data from Kimihia Research Centre

Arrowtown looks to be an exciting option for greens, but it is also performing well on tees and fairways. The first commercial harvest of Arrowtown will take place in autumn 2011, and seed will be available from early spring 2011.

Arrowtown browntop plot at Kimihia Research Centre in April.

Staff changes at PGG Wrightson Turf Brandon Parker Brandon took over the Southern South Island and West Coast region as Technical Sales Representative from Aaron Grose in August of 2010. Brandon has been employed in the turf industry since leaving high school at the end of 2003, first at the Kaiapoi Golf Club working for

Turf Contracting where he completed his apprenticeship and Level 4 certificate in Sports Turf Management. He left in mid 2007 to join the Waitikiri Golf Club as 2IC Green Keeper, before joining PGG Wrightson Turf in April 2009. He is currently studying Level 6 Sports Turf Management.

PGG Wrightson Turf Stores and Staff Contacts Christchurch 03 372 8719 Auckland 09 570 2570 Palmerston North 027 487 4002 Auckland Brian Griffiths 027 430 2992

Auckland George Tothill 027 430 2972

Coromandel/Waikato/Tauranga Julian Holden 027 289 2244

South Waikato Karen Crake 027 430 2995

Palmerston North Matt Kidby 027 487 4002

Christchurch Mark Shaw 027 499 8327

Upper South Island/ Christchurch Jason Weller 027 596 3974

Otago/Southland/West Coast Brandon Parker 027 596 3565

Fruitfed Supplies – Turf Champions Hawke’s Bay Peter Roberts 027 244 4163

Gisborne William Heggarty 027 443 9061

© PGG Wrightson Seeds 2011. This information has been checked for accuracy and published in good faith. However PGG Wrightson Seeds accepts no responsibility expressed or implied for misuse of information in this publication. This information is not to be reproduced without the expressed written permission of PGG Wrightson Seeds.



Turf Clippings Autumn 2011

Turf Clippings Autumn 2011