Analytics is becoming increasingly involved in the world of sport. Golfers have their swings analysed to the Nth degree, footballers and rugby players have their every action compiled into statistics in order to improve performance, and it’s that focused attention to detail that’s being used at Gerrards Cross Golf Club.
For recently appointed head greenkeeper, Adam McColl, the first six weeks of his job at the Buckinghamshire based private members club involved scoping out areas for improvement.
In doing this he identified issues with dry patch and thatch. Adam, who spent five-and-a-half-years as head greenkeeper at Cruse Hill Golf Club, now has a bigger budget at his disposal to deal with these issues. This has meant he’s able to apply his thorough approach to its full extent, and as he explains, use the data he collates for himself and the greens committee to everyone’s advantage.
“I think the data side of things is important, but I think most greenkeepers have an eye for the job. However, that doesn’t mean the people you’re reporting to do, they need data and facts,” Adam began.
“For me, it’s important if I’m using something new that I have the data to back it up.
“At my last greens committee meeting I told them I’d be purchasing wetting agents/surfactants in the form of OARS PS and OARS HS from AQUA-AID, something they’ve never bought on a consistent basis here.
“Because I’m in the early days of the job it’s important for me to justify where I’m spending their money and how I’m spending it. That’s why it’s important for me to take moisture readings of the greens before and after, and have scientific data to prove what we’re using is working.
“I’ve used wetting agents before from other companies, but I haven’t had much confidence in their ability to deal with severe cases of fungal dry patch. I felt that they’ve worked short-term, and if you have money to apply them every 30-days then there’s no issue.
“At my last job we didn’t have that privilege, and I felt they wore off quite quickly. So the reason I’m interested in AQUA-AID’s product is not only because it’s a wetting agent, but because it’s got the 3D OARS technology in there.
“This provides the mechanism to strip the organic acid and remove the hydrophobic condition from the soil rather than just coat it and contain the problem as I know some other products do.”
Adam’s use of a GPS enabled moisture meter has allowed him to view the full extent of the dry patch issue, but he isn’t interested in just managing it. He’s decided to use OARS HS and PS, to implement a programme which he believes will ultimately eradicate the problem.
This drive to embrace new ideas and always look for better solutions is a philosophy that he believes very strongly in. It is one that has seen his successful career continue at Gerrards Cross, with a positive approach to new and innovative products and data collation always playing a part throughout.
One of the first things Adam did at the course was too tackle an issue with some parts of the courses rough. In some areas it was growing very quickly, prompting an extra cut a week, using time he and his seven staff could spend elsewhere.
So, the answer was to identify the grass species, revealing some were renowned for quick growth, with a plan to remove and replace with a fescue already in position.
In the long-term Adam hopes that the meticulous tracking of products and their effect on the course will help produce streamlined plans that offer little space for waste.
By doing this his budget will be pin pointed on exactly what the course needs to maintain a high-standard befitting of such a picturesque course, and continually raise those standards through knowing exactly what is needed to do so.Leave a reply