Biodiversty boost

Biodiversity boost at Woolley Park Golf Club

After witnessing good results with the Johnsons J All Bent mixture, Woolley Park Golf Club are now enjoying similar success with new eco-friendly areas created with DLF’s Pro Flora range. The project to enhance habitats and encourage diversity of wildlife has gathered pace in recent years under the stewardship of Head Greenkeeper John Rowbottom who, with the help of DLF’s Stuart Yarwood, has not only boosted biodiversity but brought new life to previously unmanageable areas.

The West Yorkshire club are longstanding users of seed mixtures from DLF. “We’ve used many different mixtures over the years, and specifically J All Bent for the last five. This just seems to really suit our conditions” explains John, who has worked at Woolley Park since its inception in 1995. “We’ve got USGA spec root zone and we’ve found that the bent grass thrives here, the benefits of which are two-fold – improving the quality of the sward and helping us in the constant fight against Poa, with the Bent outcompeting fescues and other varieties.”

Oversown twice a year during spring and autumn renovations, the reliability and results of the J All Bent programme on the greens is ongoing, allowing John to turn his attention to the viability of other areas. “During the COVID lockdowns we had the time to fully appreciate the rich abundance of wildlife that returned to the site while the course was closed. This really kickstarted our trials with wildflower areas, and since then we’ve worked on another patch of land each year with the results getting better and better! It’s been great to see that, as a result of this work, much of the fauna that returned over that time has stayed.”

“For me, it is essential that whatever we do on the course is sympathetic to the environment around it” he adds. So, when a major renovation project two years ago left a large area of ‘unmanageable’ land, it was then that John consulted with his DLF Regional Technical Manager Stuart Yarwood for advice. “I didn’t want bright, bold colours, instead something more subtle and in keeping with the surroundings that would provide some cover and habitat for pheasants and ground nesting birds.”

Stuart recommended Pro Flora 13, delivering a species-rich mix of UK native origin wildflowers and fine leaved low growing grasses. “This has given us exactly what we wanted from an ecological perspective and, visually, blends in brilliantly beside our in-play areas.”

“I believe it is our responsibility as custodians of land to ensure we are doing what we can to protect the environment, and this is something both Stuart and I are keen to continue developing with our wildflower projects. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to look after 150 acres of land and seeing golfers and wildlife out there enjoying what we craft is priceless.

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