Alternative ways to improve the air, light and nutrition on your golf course

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire January 5, 2019 16:38

Enhancing a golf course when legal and financial issues impact on the use of chemicals is not easy for a greenkeeper. There are, though, alternative products that get to the root of the matter.

Quality is vital in today’s amenity turf market because of the focus on the environment and demands on maintenance budgets.

Turf health is the goal of every greenkeeper in order to provide the best presentation of the golf course. At a time when chemicals are being scrutinised, there are alternative ways that can help your facility provide the healthiest grass to enhance both presentation and playability. These require optimal conditions of air, light and nutrition, which can be achieved through the right equipment and knowing how to use it.

Air, or the lack of it, is a major factor limiting turf health. For instance, in a pocketed green surrounded by trees, the grass may not transpire correctly. As a result, it will not be able to cool itself down, thereby reducing the plant’s physiological abilities to recover and increasing its susceptibility to diseases.

Wet, wet, wet

TurfBreeze fans have been developed to provide appropriate airflow on the surface of the grass. The wind helps the evapotranspiration process, cooling down the canopy and reducing soil temperatures, controlling humidity and removing excess moisture.

Excess moisture is a factor that many golf courses in Europe suffer from. SubAir systems provide vacuum and pressure modes, distributing water that has accumulated on the surface, pulling air and water down to the soil profile and pushing it out through the drainage pipes. In pressure mode, SubAir introduces fresh air into the plant, which assists with temperature moderation. Incorporating SubAir technology into your routine turf management will extend the life of the plant surface and simplify water management. It will also provide daily aeration to strengthen plant properties and reduce turf-threatening conditions.

Without disrupting the surface from having to put machines on the green, you can deliver one of the most effective aeration programmes. The SubAir system brings many benefits, including the ability to control the temperature of the root zone. It allows users to easily manage water usage while controlling water delivery to the root system. Excessive rainfall can also be dealt with by using the system to take the water down through the root zone 36 times faster than any other method. Being able to provide the optimum balance of oxygen and moisture to the root zone is integral to the growth and maintenance of world-class playing surfaces.

From light to shade

Other elements that affect turf health are shade problems and the lack of light. Lighting rigs will provide the plant with PAR (photosynthetically active radiation). It refers to all the wavelengths of light between 400nm (violet, blue) and 700nm (deep red), which is exactly the kind of light / energy the grass needs. HPS lamps also provide radiation heat. The most important factor in growth yield and plant health is the correct balance between soil temperature, air temperature and the PAR light.

Supplementary lights are able to distribute optimal light intensity. Increasing soil profile temperature and stimulating growth will result in a stronger root system and healthier grass with better year-round playability. The technique is used to treat turf areas that are suffering from the effects of lack of light.

When grass does not receive enough energy for photosynthesis, it will present thinner leaves, elongation of the blade, depletion of carbohydrate reserves and even depth reduction of the roots. Consequently, you will see an overall unhealthy and unappealing grass that is more prone to damage from wear and more susceptible to diseases.

A lighting rig works as a substitute for natural light, providing the plant with enough energy for its own maintenance.

Through the application of light alone, your greenkeeping team will prevent shade and wear and tear problems and considerably reduce the use of irrigation, chemical applications and maintenance resources – making it an economical, sustainable and healthy solution.

Keeping sharp

Sharpening lawnmower blades will ensure they deliver a cleaner cut, minimising the damage to turf and improving turf health, disease and drought resistance. Constantly having to repair and regenerate the plants requires a greater demand for chemicals, driving up costs and impacting budgets.

Agronomically speaking, a reduction in the use of water, fertiliser, fungicide and the correct use of top dressing is a benefit. With sharp blades, not only is the use of these expensive consumables decreased but also costs associated with handling of the materials, generating electricity to pump water and so on. Mechanically, trials at several training colleges have demonstrated fuel consumption reductions. Going a step further, fuel reduction can be translated into increased mower life, reduced engine wear and fewer replacement parts. It therefore soon becomes clear that the benefits are very attractive to your facility’s bottom line.

The advantage delivered by sharp blades was perfectly demonstrated in the playing conditions enjoyed at Le Golf National during the 2018 Ryder Cup.

A specialist in sports turf technology, Bernhard and Company is committed to providing leading turf care solutions to golf courses worldwide. From blade sharpening systems to sports surface air movement and moisture control solutions and supplementary lighting solutions, the Bernhard product portfolio is focused on providing its customers with world-class playability. Bernhard’s turf health solutions are used at top 100 courses and famous sporting venues around the world. Bernhard and Company prides itself in supporting your course and working with you to provide the best possible solution to your turf problem to achieve optimal long-term results.

Visit for more information on how your golf course can achieve the best playability


Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire January 5, 2019 16:38
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