Monday, August 24, 2009
The Green Greens
At Pohick Bay Golf Course we had reduce fertilizer use on the fairways to just 10% of the normally recommended levels. The key to this has been getting the soil chemistry just right. The soils are tested twice a year and kept in balance. According to Tony Blevins "we feed it only what it needs." Some of the side affects on using so little fertilizers is less fungus that would need to be treated and less demands on mowing. And because the soils are healthy the grass is very green, and the course looks and plays better than ever.
This year we also put in a new irrigation system at Pohick Bay that controls where and when the water goes much more precisely and as a result water and energy consumption is down significantly.
These are all parts of being an Certified Wildlife Sanctuary by Audubon International. All three of the courses owned by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority: Algonkian, Brambleton, and Pohick Bay are certified. These were the first publicly owned golf courses in the Mid-Atlantic region to achieve this status. It was a great deal of work to get these courses certified by Audubon International but it was the right thing to do. As a natural resource conservation organization we need to be in the business of demonstrating best management practices in all of our land management.
Another great example of the changes we have made over the last few years has been the Bermuda grass fairways we put in at Algonkian Golf Course. Because of the qualities of this grass we have virtually eliminated the use of fungicides at that course. Since all of our courses are on or near major waterways it is very important to use as little chemicals as possible to protect our water quality.
Next time you want to hit the greens, choose on of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority courses and know that your green is actually green.