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Innovative products for quality turf at Avondale Golf Course

Golf
15.11.2016
David Warwick - Avondale Golf Club

A range of innovative products is assisting Superintendent David Warwick, at Avondale Golf Club, Pymble, New South Wales to meet the challenges of creating a high quality golf course in this hilly and forested area of Sydney.

Mr Warwick said the location of the golf course posed a lot of challenges in the management of high quality turf grass with the lack of air movement and shading causing issues.

“Our biggest disease problem here is pythium,” he said. “Pythium at Avondale is incredibly difficult to control. Our back nine is surrounded on three sides by trees so we have very, very heavy shade, particularly through winter when the sun is low and that has a dramatic impact on the root system development. You go into summer with a reduced root system and then you have high humidity, high temperatures and no air movement.”

Mr Warwick said they relied on a preventative program that involved a multitude of products to control Pythium on the golf course.

“I found SUBDUE MAXX to be one of the better products, particularly with high pressure, high humidity. Unfortunately, this year we were pushing the greens through for two big events that we had and we were just putting them under too much pressure and pythium came in. We’d put SUBDUE MAXX out and that tended to control it overnight. It shows great knockdown, definitely one I rely on very, very heavily.”

While pythium is the major disease issue, the golf course also has challenges from insects.

“Our main insect problem is Argentine Stem Weevil which seems to be getting a lot worse over the last couple of years. The stem weevil can do a huge amount of damage in a very short space of time.” 

Originally stem weevil was an issue across summer but now they are finding the insect from late winter through spring, summer and autumn and back into early winter.

“I can look back over the years and I can recall spraying for stem weevil probably three or four times in a season. The season has extended to almost triple what it used to be from four months to almost twelve months. You can certainly find adults even in mid-winter. We’ve got a very stringent insect count that we do every Monday and we sample the same greens each week. The insects are counted as adults and larvae so we can see what is peaking and that will determine our insecticide program with larvicides or adulticides.”

He said SPINNER Turf Insecticide was being used in rotation with other products on the course as a larvicide option and had produced very good results.

“When the larvae number increase, from doing the count, we go out with SPINNER. We always find when we do the count the following week, a dramatic result. That has a dramatic impact for the next few weeks on the amount of weevil that we end up getting. It certainly minimizes the damage. It really does get in and control the larvae that are in the plant. When people think they are treating stem weevil, a lot of the larvae is inside the plant and you are not getting contact with the insecticides that you’ve applied, so that is the huge advantage of SPINNER. It is being translocated through the plant and you are getting the larvae before it emerges. That’s where it is doing its damage, once the larva has emerged, the damage is done. It has done all its eating in the plant and it is ready to pupate and turn into an adult, so that is where SPINNER has been a huge advantage, stopping the damage.”

“SPINNER is vital. It is so good because it gets into the plant. It attacks the larvae while it is feeding so it minimises damage and it is just another tool to interrupt the lifecycles. So if you are killing the larvae before they emerge and pupate and turn into adults then you are interrupting the egg-laying cycle again. There’s no one answer but definitely SPINNER has been a great addition for us.”

Avondale is a private 18-hole course with more than 50,000 rounds of golf per year.