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TURF CLIPPINGS AUTUMN 2012

WELCOME TO THE AUTUMN edition

INSIDE THIS ISSUE The NZGCSA Environment Award Proudly supported by PGG Wrightson Turf

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Movember 2 PGG Wrightson Turf 2011 Study Tour

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Big changes at Victoria Square in Westport

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Journey to the Presidents Cup

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Straight from the pitch

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Airbus A380 Introduction allows Harewood Golf Club to redevelop

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Regal Staygreen® for summer sport

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Quake rebuild at Waimairi Beach Golf Club

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Getting to know the Turf Team

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Walmsley’s Word

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Now that summer is almost behind us most Turf Managers are thinking about renovations of some sort, whether it’s topping up football grounds with a little seed or fertiliser after the cricket season or getting their golf course ready for the winter ahead. We have been very busy over the summer months harvesting and dressing hundreds of tonnes of turf-type perennial ryegrass. It’s amazing the amount of co-ordination required to get all of this done, as well as bagging and testing, ready for the Turf Managers only a few weeks later. Buying locally has never been more relevant in New Zealand than it is now, with literally thousands of Cantabrians busy planting, growing and harvesting seed, not just for turf but agriculture in general. It’s the backbone of the economy in Canterbury, with all of New Zealand benefitting in some way and I strongly encourage everyone to think carefully where your seed originates from and the flow on effects of buying locally bred and grown seed. New Zealand is the world’s third largest producer of seed and it’s something we do very well – it’s definitely worth protecting!

Whilst visiting the Wellington area, PGG Wrightson Seeds Group General Manager John McKenzie and General Manager of New Zealand Seeds David Green visited Westpac Stadium with PGG Wrightson Turf Regional Manager Matt Kidby to see for themselves our grasses in action. They are pictured here along with Westpac Stadium Turf Manager Brett Sipthorpe and Carolyn Mitchell, Executive Assistant to the GGM. In other news, we farewell Chelsea Gurr, Logistics Coordinator, from our Christchurch office. Phillip Rosslee and Joe Johnson in our Auckland office are now handling all customer orders. We wish Chelsea all the best in the future. Best of luck for the coming season. Cameron Henley

Contact info@pggwrightsonturf.co.nz or visit our website pggwrightsonturf.co.nz


The NZGCSA Environment Award Proudly supported by PGG Wrightson Turf Key objectives of the award are to: • Improve the environmental management of golf course facilities across NZ

Applications for the 2012 NZGCSA Environment Award supported by PGG Wrightson Turf are now 2012 open. All golf courses that are members of the NZGCSA are eligible to apply. This is the second time the award has been offered and the winning Golf Course will be recognised as having the most environmentally sustainable practices or management plan. The winning Golf Course will receive a NZD$3,000 cash prize, recognition from fellow industry members, and the Award will be presented at the 2012 North Island Fine Turf Conference at Palmerston North in June. 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 a paramount. Winning the 2012 NZGCSA Environment Award supported by PGG Wrightson Turf will set your course apart by elevating awareness of your innovative and creative environmental practices.

 rovide leaders of change and the P participation of all industry stakeholders in environmental stewardship across NZ 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 NZGCSA or PGG Wrightson Turf by 30th March 2012. Application forms can be found at www.nzgcsa.org.nz and www.pggwrightsonturf.co.nz

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 NZGCSA Environment Award as supported by PGG Wrightson Turf is to promote sustainable turf and amenity management within New Zealand Golf Courses.

MOVEMBER With only three team members taking part in Movember 2010, Movember 2011 saw the team swell to around 10 members – not including the few Mo Sistas that jumped on board this year also. With the passing of one of our Turf Managers due to cancer late last year, the cause took on a new meaning for some. After fundraising for a month, the team were proud to be able to donate a whopping $1,000 that will be shared between the Cancer Society of New Zealand and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. A huge thanks to all those who donated and helped out with our effort. Hopefully we can get some more backing from all the Turf Managers out there next year when we take to growing the Mo!

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Some of the NI Turf Team (Phillip Rosslee, Joe Johnson, Craig Johnston and George Tothill)

Jason Weller and Mark Shaw


PGG Wrightson Turf 2011 Study Tour

PGW Turf Study Tour group 2011

PGG Wrightson Turf hosted its inaugural Study Tour in November 2011. The tour visited Christchurch, Ashburton and then headed to Central Otago to take in Wanaka, Arrowtown and then finished at the spectacular Jack’s Point Golf Course in Queenstown. The idea of the Study Tour was to bring together a small group of Turf Managers from throughout New Zealand to show them what PGG Wrightson Turf actually does behind the scenes to produce turf seed. The location also allowed us to see our grass varieties and products in use at some of the country’s best golf courses and to hear what projects or challenges those Turf Managers are currently dealing with.

us to evolve with the constantly changing demands of turf management. After our tour of the Kimihia Research Centre we headed to Pegasus Golf and Sports Club for a course walk with Adam Jones. Adam spoke mainly on the fescue fairways and the Arrowtown (browntop) green but also gave a great overview of what’s going on at the course. From there it was onto the redeveloped Harewood Golf Course where Colin Posa shared some of his challenges with the project. Dinner was in Ashburton where we had a great presentation by PGW Seeds long term

employees Graeme Jones (Arable Business Unit Manager) and Murray Kelly (Senior Production Agronomist). Graeme and Murray provided some really relevant points on pesticide options. The following morning was spent in seed production paddocks in Ashburton where we visited a browntop and ryegrass site. It was impressive for the group to see not just the region their seed comes from but also the farm and the actual paddock where it was grown and then harvested from.

As PGG Wrightson Seeds breeds and produces many of its own turf grasses, it was an ideal opportunity to showcase our Kimihia Research Centre. Keith Saulsbury (Plant Breeder) and Bill Walmsley (Turf Agronomist) both gave presentations to the group along with a tour of the trial plots and the research centre. There was some great discussion had by having Turf Managers and research staff in the same room. This was followed by a quick tour through our new seed store and distribution facility at Rolleston. One of the highlights of the tour was the interaction and the information sharing that went on within the group; I am sure that everyone picked up some useful information from someone else’s experience. We also took this opportunity to listen to what challenges our customers are facing and any new techniques they may now have to use. This will help enable

The Hills Golf Course

Contact info@pggwrightsonturf.co.nz or visit our website pggwrightsonturf.co.nz

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PGG Wrightson Turf 2011 Study Tour continued We carried on with the road trip south to Wanaka Golf Club where NZGCSA President Grant Bunting hosted a course walk and spoke on the maintenance of his soil greens. We were also lucky enough to see the new 4th hole that has been constructed. A weary bunch had an early night bedding down at the pristine Millbrook Resort. A clear morning followed with a hint of frost (in November!) that saw the North Island locals pile on the jumpers. Blair Dibley gave an in-depth review on the work he has carried out on the course with Amitrole applications; the pure surfaces he has ended up with shows that they are well and truly on the right path. A course walk was joined by Golf Course Architect Greg Turner who gave a commentary on the new holes as we were walking them.

Rolleston Seed Store

Seed production paddock Ashburton

We then went across the fence to The Hills Golf Course (another gem in the Central Otago region) to see Ian Douglas. Ian has hosted some major golf tournaments so we thought he was well qualified to speak about green speed on browntop greens. Green speed always starts a hearty discussion so we continued the debate while Ian showed off some of the finishing holes on the course. The view from the 15th tee never fails to impress. Another short trip and we pulled up at Arrowtown Golf Club where Rick Machray had the place looking sharp and we got to see some of Arrowtown’s best holes. Rick entered the club in the NZGCSA Environment Award supported by PGG Wrightson Turf in 2011 and came runner-up. Rick has a lot of local knowledge of not only the course but also the Arrowtown area and he explained how he has managed the course in more of a “partnership” with the surrounding area.

There was much anticipation for our last course visit. Jack’s Point Golf Course which sits at the base of The Remarkables looked picture perfect. Simon Forshaw organised a convoy of golf carts for the group so we could enjoy the full course experience. Simon has a wealth of knowledge in turf but we asked him to specifically share some of his management techniques on fine fescues and his browntop greens. It was a great place to end the tour but fitting also. A world class golf course in a world class location using local products that were grown only a few hours up the road. PGW Turf hope to continue with these types of study tours and who knows, the next one might head to the North Island to see how Turf Managers do things up there.

Big changes at Victoria Square in Westport Over the course of 2010 and 2011 Victoria Square in Westport has undergone some big changes in order to improve poor turf cover, recover from severe insect damage and to rid the ground of the invasion of the weed chamomile. The main motivation for the improvements at Victoria Square was the poor condition of the ground for last season’s Heartland Championship. Kevin Croker at Westreef Services (Buller District Council Contractors) was assigned the project. He found that the main challenge was that it was a very sensitive area to work with in terms of spraying as Victoria Square is in the middle of the township with gardens surrounding the park, and it is a popular recreation area used by the public which made it difficult to close off.

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The project was based on recommendations from PGW Turf Agronomist Bill Walmsley and the programme began in October 2010. During renovation of the ground, Duraturf Sports Oval was broadcast at 20 g/m2 along with Andersons 19-11-4 Starter fertiliser (19-26-5 Oxide) at a rate of 200 kg/ha which was then followed by a topdressing of sand. In December 2010 they began applying Andersons 28-1-8 Nutralene (28-3-10 Oxide) at a rate of 200 kg/ha with subsequent applications at 8 weekly intervals. Soil tests were drawn in January 2011 and a fertiliser and spraying programme was then developed based around Bill Walmsley’s recommendations. The chamomile was sprayed out using Tordon™ Brushkiller XT with great results. In May 2011 two

Victoria Square

and a half tonnes of lime was applied per hectare to raise the pH to ensure favourable conditions for ryegrass. Kevin is very happy with the results and the programme provided to assist him with the renovation of the ground and says “the proof is in the pudding”.


Journey to the Presidents Cup Joe Johnson, Customer Service and Sales Representative When I left Royal Melbourne Golf Club prior to joining the team at PGG Wrightson Turf it was always my intention to head back there to join the greens team again for two weeks during the preparation of one of the world’s largest golf tournaments – The Presidents Cup. Late last year my intentions quickly turned into reality when I arrived at Royal Melbourne Golf Club on the morning of the 7th November. Three other New Zealanders had also made the journey across the Tasman to join the greens team as well. They were Mike Wilson (Cape Kidnappers Golf Course), Phil Gould (Royal Auckland Golf Club) and Sam Keats (Royal Wellington Golf Club). We joined a small army of 65 (30 full time and 35 volunteers) with the objective to provide the best possible playing surfaces for the world’s best golfers. The course had come a long way in the 7 months since I last worked there. Signs and television towers were on every hole, 9000 grand stand seats had been erected and huge corporate tents lined the 10th and 16th holes. The fine fescue surrounds had really thickened up, the couch fairways now had full coverage and the greens were completely Poa Annua free. Considering the Suttons mix was developed at Kimihia Research Centre in Christchurch, the plant survives incredibly well in the Melbourne climate. Temperatures soared to 35°C on the Saturday of the tournament. The first week of preparation consisted of routine grooming to all playing surfaces to get them tournament ready. On Wednesday the weather decided to throw a curve ball at us by soaking the course with 42.5 mm of rain overnight. Fortunately, due to Royal Melbourne being on the famous Melbourne sand belt the course is very free draining. However, the heavy downpour caused many of the bunkers to severely wash out. One of the tasks assigned to me was to reinstate the revetting that had been

Joe pedestrian-mowing the fescue surrounds

washed out of one of the bunkers on the 11th hole. We were in there with a front end loader pushing sand back up the face. On the Saturday prior to the tournament starting, the fairways had a liquid fertiliser application of nitrogen, iron and magnesium to add colour and to also stimulate growth. The greens cutting height was also lowered to 2.8 mm. Tournament week had just begun and after Fred Couples’ (USA team captain) first walk of the course his comments were that it was “absolutely awesome” and “there’s not a blade of grass out of place” which brought satisfaction to all the greenkeepers. From then on the greens, greens surrounds, fairways and tees were all double cut up and down on the same line to eliminate any stripes. In my opinion this was a cosmetic look well suited to Royal Melbourne. On Monday the greens got an application of liquid fertiliser with silicon, iron, manganese and magnesium to harden and colour the plant. To maintain firmness of the greens the irrigation was

never turned on. Staff were sent out to hand-water dry spots when and where needed but the greens were kept lean, firm and fast. Come Thursday (which was day 1 of the tournament) the greens were double cut and rolled which meant the green speeds were 14 ft plus. The next day (Friday) we faced another challenge with high winds being forecast in the afternoon so this meant the greens needed to be slowed down to prevent any balls being blown off the putting surface. So for the morning set-up the greens only got a double cut and there were also staff watering on each green ahead of play. This slowed the green speed down to 12.5 ft. There was also a team with backpack blowers directly in front of play blowing off any debris that may have come onto the putting surface from the wind. The next morning Richard Forsyth (Course Superintendent) read out Phil Mickelson’s (USA Team player) comments in the media praising the course conditions in the high winds to all the greens staff. Sunday – the final day of The Presidents Cup 2011. Before I knew it I was at the end of my two week trip. For the final day my morning set -up job was to double cut greens on holes 10 and 16. As these greens were right by the club house it was quite a surreal feeling cutting them with a large gallery of spectators watching. Plywood boards were used for the mower to turn on at the end of each run to avoid wearing the fine fescue surrounds. By now the greens mowers cutting height had been lowered to 2.5 mm. Following the USA win over the Internationals by 19 – 15, the members of the USA team came and shook all the greenkeepers’ hands and gave us huge praise for the condition of the course at the closing ceremony. This was the perfect way to close off what was a great tournament. Overall, it was an overwhelming experience working at this tournament. The staff at Royal Melbourne were so welcoming and everyone knitted in perfectly. The Presidents Cup is easily the best tournament I have ever worked at and it is so great to see the course come to fruition after the efforts the staff had put in over the last couple of years. I would like to thank PGG Wrightson Turf for allowing me the time off to attend The Presidents Cup and also Richard Forsyth and Royal Melbourne for the amazing opportunity. To see Joe’s blog he kept during his time at The Presidents Cup visit our website.

The grounds team at the closing ceremony

Photos courtesy of the Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association (AGCSA).

Contact info@pggwrightsonturf.co.nz or visit our website pggwrightsonturf.co.nz

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Straight from the pitch In this section you can find out more about some of New Zealand’s top sporting venues and their Turf Managers and maybe even pick up handy tips along the way!

Maclean Park, Napier Turf Manager: Phil Stoyanoff 1) What internationals fixtures do have at your venue this year? I have 1 Test match and 2 ODI’s. 2) What clay do you work with on your block and why? I use Hatuma clay in the block at Mclean park and also at Nelson park. The clay gets very hard and I can get a good shine with it. 3) Which grasses do you use on your blocks and outfields and why? We use Colosseum ryegrass on the wickets and outfields. I like Colosseum because it’s a nice fine ryegrass - great for wickets. It also grows well in the winter when rugby is played on the park.

Seddon Park, HAMILTON Turf Manager: Karl Johnson (KJ) 1) What internationals fixtures do have at your venue this year? February 14th T20 Zimbabwe vs Black Caps. February 19th T20 South Africa vs Black Caps. March 15 - 19th Test Match South Africa vs Black Caps. 2) What clay do you work with on your block and why? Waikari clay used on the 9 match strips and the 13 practice strips.

 aikari was chosen back in 2005 which W replaced the previous Naike clay which was becoming increasingly difficult to find.

3) Which grasses do you use on your blocks and outfields and why? Centurion ryegrass used on the pitches. This is the first time I have chosen this variety. Have traditionally used Nine-O-One in the past. Arena 1 ryegrass is used on the outfield. I like this variety because of its lighter colour and it assists in hiding any Poa Annua. Also with the concerts held during the V8s in late April the repairs and renovations are completed usually in May so the winter activeness of the Arena 1 helps with quick establishment.

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4) How has your pitch performed in the past? Maclean park is well known for its very hard wickets with good bounce the ball comes onto the bat creating good batting conditions. 5) How many hours of rolling does it take to prepare your pitch? 8 - 12 hours does us just fine with the type of clay we use. 6) Size of your rollers? I use a ride on roller that’s about 500 kg for a lot of my preparation then graduate to a 4 tonne single barrel roller. I also use a 13 tonne roller. 7) What programmes do you follow pre-build up to game day, e.g. fertiliser, fungicides etc? I use fungicides every 2 weeks as we get a lot of disease here in Napier. Two weeks out from an international game I will fertilise the park and just prior to the game I will colour the park with bit of iron. I use Andersons Extend 26-0-10 and Iron N.

9) Biggest challenge you face with build-up preparation? The hardest thing that I’m going to strike this season is preparing a ODI wicket while the test match against Zimbabwe vs New Zealand is being played. 10) Weirdest thing that has happened at your ground? Watching a guy run onto the wicket when we had the covers down during an ODI and diving along the cover and knocking himself out on the wicket. Last we saw of him he was being carried out by the police. Also driving over a homeless guy with the tractor that had fallen asleep between the cricket covers we had left out overnight. He was fine and I actually got him to help me with moving the covers in the end. I gave him a cup of tea and he was on his way.

8) Is there one thing that makes your build-up a little bit easier? Making sure that I’ve applied a fungicide. 4) How has your pitch performed in the past? The pitches normally perform with medium pace and medium bounce. This has been good for one day and T20 cricket, but my main objective is to have consistency with the pitches prepared i.e. limiting the variable bounce on short duration matches. 5) How many hours of rolling does it take to prepare your pitch? 10 - 14 hours is a guide but it does depend on the weather during the preparation. I work on a 10 day prep period which does allow a couple of days of rain to be safe. 6) Size of your rollers? Use a 7 tonne roller for the bulk of the compacting period of the preparation. Then I use a 4 tonne roller for the surface and bruising of the grass. Over the past few years I have used a bowling green iron to finish off the ‘sheening’ of the pitch. 7) What programmes do you follow pre-build up to game day, e.g. fertiliser, fungicides etc? Normally run a monthly fertiliser programme on the outfield, and look to use foliars leading into matches. Televisions games will use products to trick up the outfield for presentation. Fungicides are applied on the outfield on a monthly preventative

programme. At times of high disease pressures extra applications are often used. The main and practice blocks are sprayed with fungicides every 2 weeks! This is due to Hamilton’s high humidity and also the fact that we cover these areas for most of the summer. 8) Is there one thing that makes your build-up a little bit easier? Having a fantastic bunch of guys on the team is paramount for me. 9) Biggest challenge you face with build-up preparation? It’s always the fickle Hamilton weather. Putting the covers on and off a dozen times a day during the preparation period drives you crazy! The MetConnect Radar is our friend during the summer. 10) Weirdest thing that has happened at your ground? Gee where do start there has been so many! Won’t go into too many details but try these:

- C  rator in pitch! Remember the South Africa Test match vs the Black Caps in 2004.

- R  oller stolen during the night and found parked outside the local strip club!

- Shane Warne hating the ground.

- Light tower caught on fire whilst a game on!

There have been many weird things happen over the years and some of these I need to keep quiet!!!


Westpac Stadium & Basin Reserve, WellinGToN Turf Manager: Brett Sipthorpe 1) What internationals fixtures do have at your venue this year? I have a 20/20 and ODI v South Africa at the Stadium and the 3rd Test Match v South Africa at the Basin. 2) What clay do you work with on your block and why? We use Patamuhoe Clay on our block and the stadium portables. It’s perfect for us as you can get the clay nice and hard without hot temperatures. 3) Which grasses do you use on your blocks and outfields and why? We use Colosseum on the pitches and Centurion on the outfield. The Colosseum is quite easy to brown off. We have started using Centurion because of its darker colour which is great with mowing patterns. 4) How has your pitch performed in the past? The Basin pitches are generally quite quick and

University Oval, DUNEDIN Turf Manager: Tom Tamati 1) What internationals fixtures do have at your venue this year? Zimbabwe ODI 3rd Feb and South Africa Test Match 7 - 11 March. 2) What clay do you work with on your block and why? Kakanui Clay because it is most suited to the climate conditions that we experience down here. 3) Which grasses do you use on your blocks and outfields and why? Colosseum ryegrass. This grass is quite an easy one to prepare with. Holds its form throughout preparation and then when it comes to do the finishing touches with bruising the plant, it doesn’t take much to get it to the state that I desire. Some grasses down here in our climate take a lot longer to ‘go off’. 4) How has your pitch performed in the past? My block is a new one and was only laid in April/May last year. We had a couple of late games on the wicket at the end of last season and for a new block the results were very promising. This year we got given two

bouncy. They usually do a bit early then flatten out well. They retain their bounce throughout the match keeping the bowlers interested. The Stadium pitches are drop-ins and vary quite a bit depending on when we get to move them out to the middle. Quite often we move the pitches out when they are already prepared which is not ideal. 5) How many hours of rolling does it take to prepare your pitch? Anywhere between 10 - 14 hours. 6) Size of your rollers? We normally use 4 tonne rollers except during preparation for a test match where we will bring in a 7 tonne for a few hours. We finish the pitches off with a little ride-on to brown the grass off. 7) What programmes do you follow pre-build up to game day, e.g. fertiliser, fungicides etc? We heavily groom each pitch 3 - 4 weeks before we use it and follow this with an up-front fert. That way the grass comes back nice and fine but quite soft. This way it makes it easier to roll into the surface. We will use fungicides when we know we will be covering consistently. Generally we early season games in which the grass was only about 5 ½ weeks old before we had to start rolling, so it knocked over really quickly and the decks didn’t give up much pace, but the last couple of wickets have played really well. The block will only get better with age. 5) How many hours of rolling does it take to prepare your pitch? With the first couple of wickets this year the hours were quite high because we couldn’t get any cross rolling done due to RWC trainings, so they took a total of about 15 hours to get the densities up to an ‘all right’ number. Normally we would look at about 8 - 12 hours, with 3 different size rollers, and a decent amount of cross rolling done. 6) Size of your rollers? 1, 4 and 7 ½ tonne. 7) What programmes do you follow pre-build up to game day, e.g. fertiliser, fungicides etc? I have fert schedules that I adhere to pretty closely, the main thing is having your block in a good state so when it comes to making the individual wickets, your job is a lot easier. Fungicides go on when needed, we don’t tend to get much disease down here, so pretty much just a preventative for when we have to use covers when the weather looks dicey. Mowing is done every day first thing, with the groomers just touching to give the grass a bit of a tickle up. Watering is done when needed.

get little disease to worry about but covering certainly can bring it on. The outfield is fertilised every 8 weeks with a granular and will get foliars before TV games. 8) Is there one thing that makes your build-up a little bit easier? The combination of the grooming and fert makes it far easier to finish off pitches. 9) Biggest challenge you face with build-up preparation? Heavy scheduling is the biggest challenge. When you have a load of games before a major match it makes it difficult to get moisture deep into the profile. You need moisture to go deep into the profile to ensure a good result come game day. 10) Weirdest thing that has happened at your ground? Where do I start with the Basin. From the homeless guy that we nicknamed Ewok who screams at people to the guy who sat on the bank and wrote himself off before having a leak on our roller and walking straight out the gate into oncoming traffic. The Basin has something weird happen everyday.

8) Is there one thing that makes your build-up a little bit easier? A nice whiskey.......good weather is the most important thing down here and also having the right staff. It’s ok having 20 staff members but if they don’t know what they are doing then it makes it a little harder. 9) Biggest challenge you face with build-up preparation? Weather, expectations of the players, employers, customers, media and myself. Oh and the weather. 10) Weirdest thing that has happened at your ground? Streakers. We seem to attract them down here. We have had a couple of incidents. A few years back a steaker ran on and hurdled the actual stumps, but while he was doing that he grabbed one of Evan Watkins bails and jumped over a barb wire fence to freedom. (Just a side note to that Evan placed an ad in the local paper and the bail was returned). Then we had a streaker for a 20/20 match and he came running towards where we sat with the security in tow. He must have looked like he was going to get away because the security guard took a running dive at him. The streaker managed to jump over us while the security guard took out a mother and her daughter in a pram…

Contact info@pggwrightsonturf.co.nz or visit our website pggwrightsonturf.co.nz

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Airbus A380 Introduction allows Harewood Golf Club to redevelop An update on the ‘Snapshot of changes at Harewood Golf Club’ article from our spring 2011 edition

Close-up of a hole

With a staggering 80 m wide wingspan, allowing the new Airbus A380 (the world’s largest commercial aircraft) to land in Christchurch has meant the need for a larger runway and the resulting purchase of extra land that is currently used by the Harewood Golf Club. With the purchase of this land by the Christchurch Airport back in 2009, the Harewood Golf Club has forged ahead with a redevelopment plan that has seen them with a brand new 18 hole complex and the chance to redevelop another 18 holes into a championship 9 hole course and practice area for members. In 2009, TIC Contracting were awarded the contract to begin the redevelopment; a Turner-McPherson designed course was proposed which would eventually take two years in the making. TIC Contracting commenced construction in early spring 2009, and the first green (no.12) was sown down on 28th October. Three more greens followed closely after. In the early stages of the project, TIC Contracting Project Manager Grant Saunders, Harewood Golf Club Superintendent Colin Posa and some of his team visited the Kimihia Research Centre in Lincoln to see first-hand the seed cultivars that would eventually be chosen for the project. With the help from PGG Wrightson Turf Representative Jason Weller, a construction and grow-in programme was drawn up to provide the new greens with the essential nutrients needed for a successful and rapid germination. The new greens were constructed in a Californian manner with flat pipe drainage laid on a base course profile. Dune sand to a depth

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Undulating contours of new No. 5 green

of 450 mm was placed on top and then the final shaping took place to develop the green contours. Once the shaping was completed, an amendment blend of PGG Outfields Mix, Organic Bioboost and tech grade DAP was applied and worked into the top 50 mm to provide essential nutrients to the new seed. The seed mix chosen to use on the greens was a certified Colonial Blend of 50% Egmont browntop and 50% Troy browntop was chosen. Both cultivars complement each other ideally and will provide good genetic diversity in the new greens. A new challenge for TIC Contracting was the managing of the grow-in stage (with the watchful eyes of Colin) which has turned out to be a first for them. Grant’s team were continuing to manage the new greens until they were handed over to Colin to manage them when both parties were happy. The main fertiliser used in the early stages was Andersons 13-1-10 ammonium sulphate where the need for a complete fertiliser to help promote the browntop was required. The biggest challenge Colin has had from here was to work with contractors on site for such a long time, although they did get on together which helped. “I can still picture all of our furniture on the roof of our shed after the lads from TIC Contracting pulled a great April Fool’s prank on us – we got ours back though!” says Colin. The other challenge faced by the club was having to close the whole Woodlands Course for the two years which forced members and green fee players onto the Plains Course. “Hopefully the members will see the benefits of having a brand new course when we open in October this year” says Colin.

After undertaking this huge project, Colin is pleased he has now inherited pure browntop greens which were once dominated by Poa annua. “The biggest issue before was the amount of water, nutrients and physical management required by the Poa annua; now with browntop we can reduce our inputs and with the help from PGG Wrightson Turf, manage them accordingly”. The club has also benefited from a new irrigation system providing them with greater irrigation uniformity, and also allowed them to extend their fleet of gear to include a greens iron, walk behind corers and also a Dakota topdresser. Turner and McPherson Architects did a great job in keeping the members of the Harewood Golf Club up to date with the project as time went on. The course has been built with the same number of bunkers as they previously had, but the overall appearance has taken on a British links look with many grass swales located around the course to fool the average player. Around 500 trees have been cut down to allow more sunlight and airflow around the course which will help to lessen the onset of disease. Overall the course has now been extended to be approximately 6,500 m from the black tees and 5,500 m from the blue. The average size of the greens has gone from approximately 360 m2 to 500 m2 – an increase of around 35% in size. Around 70% of the each green is available for pin placement. The tees, fairways and surrounds were sown down in a blend of Silhouette chewings fescue (46%), Jasper II creeping red fescue (47%) and Egmont browntop (7%). They


Drainage construction on the 14th hole - Before

are currently in the process of introducing Governors creeping red fescue and a hard fescue mix into the rough. The newly identified Artillery fungus (Sphaerobolus stellatus), has also reared its ugly head during the past few months, however with help from PGG Wrightson Turf, Colin was lucky to diagnose this early in the project. An application of OARS at 10 L/ha saw the disease disappear within 36 hours. With the assistance of PGG

Drainage construction on the 14th hole - After

Wrightson Turf Agronomist Bill Walmsley, Jason has developed a full nutrient management programme for the Harewood Golf Club based on soil tests drawn from the new course. With the last green being sown down in November 2010, Colin’s next goal is to successfully manage the course into the great spectacle that it can be. The next step is to develop some of the Plains course into a championship 9 hole course in the next year or so.

The overall project has been an eye opener for both Harewood Golf Club and PGG Wrightson Turf Representative Jason Weller. “It’s been great to watch the course develop over the last two years under the watchful guidance from Colin and his great team” says Jason. “I look forward to furthering the relationship between ourselves and the Harewood Golf Club to help them achieve their goals”.

REGAL STAYGREEN® FOR SUMMER SPORT Auckland Grammar is one of New Zealand’s leading schools for academic and sporting achievements. With high requirements expected of students in sport, an eye for detail is required to provide a top quality sporting surface. Head Groundsman Brett Goodchild arrived at Auckland Grammar in February 2011 and soon realised some of the turf quality on the bottom cricket fields was not performing to its full potential. The fields were predominantly ryegrass with some areas of native kikuyu. There definitely seemed to be an inconsistency in ball roll and the ryegrass struggled with drought, disease and wear stresses, where the kikuyu area performed well with little input. After a series of meetings later that year with Turftec’s senior manager Aaron Hutton and PGG Wrightson Turf Representative Brian Griffiths, a plan was put in place to add more of a kikuyu sward into the existing turf using Regal Staygreen® kikuyu seed. The work took place in

the last week of November 2011. The project started when the fields were cut down to the minimum. The fields were then scarified and swept, a seed bed was then prepared and the Regal Staygreen® seed was then sown at 6 g/m2 (60 kg/ha). A top dressing of sand was then lightly rolled to press the seed into the seed bed. First signs of the Regal Staygreen® appeared within 2½ weeks and an application of 12-5-14 (PGW Outfields mix) was applied at 200 kg per hectare. After 7 weeks full coverage was virtually achieved. Brett says he couldn’t believe how good a strike he has had and the fields already look ready to handle the rigours of summer sport when the school re-opens in February. The future plan is to oversow with Duraturf® Sports Oval for winter sport. In preparation for next summer, transitioning will begin back into a predominantly warm season surface by dropping mowing heights and managing irrigation applications. This transition is painless with little or no disruptions or costly

chemical applications that can sometimes occur with other transitional processes. Turftec has now carried out this process at a number of leading Auckland schools and colleges with great success. Aaron says this is a great option for facilities that have struggled to provide consistent summer surfaces and another benefit is that the process can be carried out with little disruption.

Auckland Grammar

Contact info@pggwrightsonturf.co.nz or visit our website pggwrightsonturf.co.nz

9


Quake rebuild at Waimairi Beach Golf Club

Before

Waimairi Beach Golf Club in Christchurch has been dealt its fair share of blows over the last 12 months. After both the February and June earthquakes, the course took a big hit and sustained major damage. Andrew Grimes (Course Superintendent) and the team at Waimairi Beach Golf Club have worked hard to rectify the damage each time but several other factors have affected the rebuild such as tight time frames, poor weather conditions (such as the steady snow fall in July 2011) and not to forget the on-going shakes. However, every cloud has a silver lining and the team at Waimairi Beach Golf Club identified that the chance to rebuild the fairways would actually allow them to use grasses that were better suited to their course and to rebuild their shed and clubhouse.

A five stage plan was used for the rebuild at Waimairi Beach Golf Club: 1. The removal of unsafe pine trees – 2,000 tonne was taken off the course 2. Irrigation installed on the front 9 holes 3. Repair of damage to the front 9 to make them ready for play 4. Irrigation installed on the back 9 holes 5. T he rebuild of the back 9 holes and complete grow-in to make them ready for play The rebuild was going to provide better grass cover on fairways and rough areas, increased air flow and also increased sunlight on the course from the removal of the pine trees. However, a recent setback has been the magnitude 6.0 earthquake on the 23rd December. The clubhouse is now unsafe to use but the course is still open for the front 9 holes played twice for 18.

After

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TURF CLIPPINGS AUTUMN 2012

The latest update from Waimairi Beach Golf Club is that “the repair of the damaged holes depends on our grass growing season. We would need to start earthworks now to be able to sow grass in late February or early March. That’s too soon for us, as we want to ask NZ Sports Turf Institute for their input and we need to let these earthquakes subside. Therefore our plan is to start earthworks in June and be ready to sow grass in September, ready for an opening in mid-December 2012. The last two times after the February and June earthquakes we have pulled out all stops, only to be defeated at the last minute. This time it seems prudent to wait”. Note: Waimairi Beach Golf Course has suffered more damage since these photos were taken.


Getting to know the turf team Matt Kidby, Regional Manager, Lower North Island •

 ow long have you been in the turf industry H and where have you worked prior to PGG Wrightson Turf? I have been in the turf industry for about 9 years - 7 years with PGW Turf and 2 years as a Turf Champion with Fruitfed Supplies.

conference within view of my customers, to call them and see if they’ve remembered to switch off their phones or put them on silent! Be aware next time guys! •

 areer highlight so far? The relationships C and friendships I have made within the turf industry. Even if I left the industry I’m sure they would still remain.

I f you were in traffic and your CD player was stuck on repeat what CD would you choose to be playing? Fat Freddys Drop – BIG BW.

 hat do you enjoy about working for PGG W Wrightson Turf? Definitely the professional environment that the team brings and the on-going training that is provided to us.

 hat are your favourite New Zealand sports W venues? Westpac Stadium Wellington / Pukekura Cricket Ground / Mahunga Golf Course.

 hat sports have you played? Rugby at Rep W level, squash at Rep level – winning a National Title when I was a young fella, touch rugby … and I’ve tried practically everything else.

 ho’s your favourite sports teams that you W follow? Manawatu Turbos, Tottenham Hotspurs and the Hurricanes (though becoming harder to support the Canes these days).

L ast words… Like I tell my kids “there is no such thing as can’t”.

 escribe yourself in three words. D Competitive, easy-going, optimistic.

 obbies: Sports mad (rugby, surfing, touch, H squash, cricket). Family. Mountain biking. Thursday night beers with mates at the local.

 hat PGG Wrightson Turf product appeals to W you the most and why? I love CPR and Breakthru® Gold because they never fail.

 hat is your favourite food? Mum’s roast W lamb for sure.

 hat do you like to do in the weekends? W Most of my weekends these days involves following my two boys around with the sporting codes they play (touch, soccer, rugby, golf, swimming lessons, Kung Fu twice a week). I love watching them though. They are full on with their sports.

 eirdest moment at work? Brakes failing on W the Wellington Motorway in the company vehicle.

 hat is your funniest moment at work? W There are too many funny moments to tell – and a lot I wouldn’t want to tell. Some of the stories I’ve heard from clients have been so funny they’ve had me in tears! One of my favourite pranks is while sitting in a

Brian Griffiths, Technical Turf Representative, Northland and North Auckland

 escribe yourself in three words. Happy, D easy-going, positive.

 obbies: Any sport, particularly football and H squash.

 hat is your favourite food? Spaghetti W bolognaise.

 hat do you like to do in the weekends? Play W football and socialise with teammates and friends – preferably with a beer. Spend time with my wife and children.

 ow long have you been in the turf industry H and where have you worked prior to PGG Wrightson Turf? Turf industry in NZ for 10 years but more recently at Gulf Harbour and PGW Turf.

 areer highlight so far? Working at two NZ C Opens.

 hat do you enjoy about working for PGG W Wrightson Turf? It’s very diverse – no two days are the same.

 hat PGG Wrightson Turf product appeals to W you the most and why? I really like my initial impression of the new Seaspray seashore paspalum – stunning.

Weirdest thing you have seen at work? A golfer falling in the lake while trying to retrieve a golf ball.

 hat is your funniest moment at work? W Trying to cut the tees with the wheels still on the hand mower.

I f you were in traffic and your CD player was stuck on repeat what CD would you choose to be playing? Dean Martin.

 hat is your favourite New Zealand sports W venue? Stanmore Bay Field One (Home of HBCFC – Hibiscus Coast Football Club).

 hat sports have you played? Most, but love W football, squash and golf the best.

 ho’s your favourite sports team that you W follow? Manchester United.

Last words… Don’t stop smiling.

Contact info@pggwrightsonturf.co.nz or visit our website pggwrightsonturf.co.nz

11


WALMSLEY’S WORD Browntop – a popular option Its coming up to 35 years since Egmont and Sefton browntops were first bred in New Zealand. The breeder was Bill Rumball of DSIR (now AgResearch) at Bill Walmsley Grasslands in Palmerston Turf Agronomist North. He selected parent PGG Wrightson Turf material from all over New Zealand as well as from Royal Melbourne Golf Club. These cultivars have served us well and they still perform well in trials, especially in Europe. Egmont is still a good choice for most general purpose turf areas where a high quality fine bentgrass is required. Before the arrival of Egmont and Sefton, golf courses sowed their greens with New Zealand browntop, a common type. On some greens the different plant textures and colours have segregated out resulting in a patchwork appearance, while Egmont maintains a uniform fine appearance. Arrowtown is a breakthrough cultivar that is noticeably finer and denser than other browntops currently available. Arrowtown is an excellent choice for greens where the highest quality is desired. A browntop seed industry is only possible in New Zealand because of European exports, since the amount sold in New Zealand is quite small. PGG Wrightson Seed’s browntop breeder Keith Saulsbury has bred a number of browntops that are exclusively for export. Breeding in New Zealand allows us to select well adapted breeding material from throughout the country. Advanced breeding material can be trialled in challenging climates so cultivars should be better adapted to the climate and diseases. In recent years the hype around creeping bentgrass has made people loose sight of how well browntop is adapted to our climate and

Plant Breeder Keith Saulsbury planting browntop plugs

management inputs. The recent trend towards sustainable greenkeeping has helped to reverse this perception, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat a few truths. Firstly, good quality browntop cultivars are finer and denser than their equivalent creeping bent cultivars. This has been shown in our own trials as well as in BSPB trials carried out at Bingley in the UK. Creeping bent is dormant and often goes off colour for several months in the winter. This is more pronounced further south where its active growth season can be as short as 4 - 5 months. Creeping bent requires higher nitrogen inputs than browntop and more renovation effort to control thatch. Browntop is best maintained using traditional greenkeeping methods involving predominantly ammonium sulphate fertilisation and acidic soils. Under these conditions Poa annua can be

discouraged, provided other fertility is also low enough. Creeping bent is intolerant of soluble aluminium associated with low pH. Liming is seldom, if ever, required on browntop. Poa annua control in creeping bent is dependent on the use of herbicides and growth regulators. At PGG Wrightson Seeds we work hard to support our customers who use browntop by breeding even higher quality cultivars that are better adapted to our climate. We can also provide management advice through our Representatives on how to maintain browntop. At Kimihia Research Centre we are working to provide our customers with more solutions to everyday problems, especially Poa annua control. Plant breeding and other work is long term and takes time, but the payoff is well worthwhile.

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

Auckland George Tothill 027 430 2972

Auckland Craig Johnston 027 344 6439

Auckland Joe Johnson 027 477 0096

Central North Island/Bay of Plenty/Waikato/Coromandel Julian Holden - 027 289 2244

South Waikato/Taranaki Karen Crake 027 430 2995

Lower North Island/ Wellington/Hawke’s Bay Matt Kidby - 027 487 4002

Upper South Island/ Christchurch Jason Weller - 027 596 3974

Otago/Southland/ West Coast Brandon Parker - 027 596 3565

International/Christchurch/ Queenstown Mark Shaw - 027 499 8327

Fruitfed Supplies – Turf Champion Gisborne William Heggarty 027 443 9061

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© PGG Wrightson Seeds 2012. 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.

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TURF CLIPPINGS AUTUMN 2012

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