Oswestry, England: Gary Barnfield, Head Greenkeeper at Oswestry Golf Club, has no hesitation in saying the SISIS Flexibrush has proved an ideal solution for controlling worm casts.
Oswestry Golf Club is a mature parkland 18-hole course set in the Shropshire countryside and Barnfield has been working at the club for 31 years, after joining as an apprentice. Over the years he’s worked his way up through the ranks and six years ago he was promoted to the position of Head Greenkeeper.
Since taking over that role, Barnfield has implemented a number of changes to the maintenance regimes, reinforcing the club’s reputation for being in excellent condition year-round.
However, over recent years Barnfield says he’s faced arguably his biggest challenge after a number of chemicals were removed from the turfcare market.
“With the ban of certain chemicals, we have not been able to use what was once in our armoury,” he said. “This proved to be problematic, as it no doubt did for every other greenkeeper. The biggest loss was Carbendazim. Unfortunately, the worms came out and more and more casts were appearing so we had to come up with a solution.
“An STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute) advisor visited us and recommended we apply some sand to top dress to the areas and also to brush the worm casts and level them off before we cut. We needed to find ourselves a reliable machine that would give the worm casts a rigorous brush and we trialled four brushes from four different brands. The SISIS Flexibrush was the standout machine.”
The SISIS Flexibrush is a tractor mounted brush which is equally effective to disperse top dressing and remove excess material on natural turf and on synthetic surfaces. The versatile Flexibrush can also be used for dew dispersal and striping for improved presentation. It has a 5.35-metre working width, its brush sections float to follow ground contours and the outer sections fold for transport and storage.
“It’s not only great for brushing the worm casts, but it also stands the grass up before we cut – which improves the quality of the cut and gives us better presentation,” said Barnfield.
“In fact, the Flexibrush has got multiple uses because we use it for knocking dew off in the mornings and also in the winter months. When the turf is not growing so much, we will brush instead of cutting to keep the presentation to a high standard.
“Ultimately, we had to do something about the worm casts and the Flexibrush has done a brilliant job. I think it is a great alternative to spraying the worms and I think more greenkeepers will go down this route.
“It has been a cost saving exercise for us, too, because we used to have contractors come in and spray the worms. But the SISIS Flexibrush was a one-off payment and we get to keep it for us long as we like.
“It’s such a well-built machine and nothing can really go wrong with it. I think it will probably even outlast me!”
SISIS is a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.