Jim Evans GCS, has groomed and maintained the 18 holes at Turnberry Golf Club in the Village of Lakewood IL for the past 30+ years. During his tenure, the course has played host to several USGA, CDGA and PGA events including the Illinois Open, and US Open Qualifying. Professionals and amateurs alike have commented on the condition of the course and its’ consistent greens.
Recently, Jim was interviewed by Xavier Dupoux, the USA National Golf Course Sales Manager for Soil Tech Corp. The following are Jim’s comments about Soil Techs’ biological product, Bac-Pack.
“I know that since we started using Bac-Pack on greens we’ve lowered the amount of fungicide we’re using. Last year, I think we did six apps of fungicides on greens for the whole year and we used to do 8 or 9 or 10. So it’s definitely reduced our fungicide usage, but we’ve also seen an improvement in the quality of the greens.
"When we had a nematode infestation, like 4 years ago, we started using Bac-Pack and within a month we started seeing the greens healing up. It started greening up and filling in all the areas. And then we started taking root samples to determine that the roots were regenerating. Before that we were getting roots where the nematodes were, at one inch. After the Bac-Pack apps we started seeing more root development. The greens just started healing up and filling in. It took all the stress off of them.
"Before the Bac-Pack apps we were doing wetting agents and hand-watering, anything we could do to try to get water into the greens and try to get them to heal up, and that wasn’t working! So, we used the Bac-Pack and they just started healing up. And for the last 4 years or 5 years, whenever we’ve used it, we’ve been doing it every 3 weeks and we haven’t seen any more problems with nematodes or severe thinning areas. It’s just healed up.
"I see the quality of turf is just so much better. The density is better, the overall health of the grass is just greener, healthier, thicker. The density has improved tremendously. The uniformity has improved. Golfers will say, “all these greens are the same….they all putt the same”. Because they’re so uniform, every green is just basically the same. They all look the same, they all putt the same.
"Golfers have noticed. The Chicago District Golf Assn. came out last week and rated the course and they noticed how uniform, they were all putting at 9.0-9.5 uniformly. It’s made managing these greens so much easier. Less input, less work, and just made it easier. It’s been a huge benefit for us.
"And disease control too. I think we’ve seen, before we started using this product, we we’re having trouble with anthracnose. In these areas that were thin, we were seeing a lot of anthracnose infections in the summer, we haven’t seen any of them in 4 years. We don’t treat for anthracnose any more. I don’t know what happened, where it went, but the turf is just healthier and maybe it’s just being able to fight it off more readily.
"Initially, we started doing it every 2 weeks at a pint per acre. And I think it took probably a good 4-5 weeks before we really started noticing how much better the greens started looking. The 16th green was always our worst green and it ended up being our best green. It just turned around within a month. We were trying to figure out why this was happening. We didn’t change anything else in the program other than Bac-Pack. I talked to my son one day, we were driving around, and I said I think this Bac-Pack is what’s providing us this quality turf. I didn’t have any other answer for it.”
"So, then we just continued to use it every year, we put it in the program with Bio-Mega and some wetting agents to try to get it to go down more readily. That seems to really helped get it into the soil more readily. It’s been easy to incorporate into our program, because we are going out every 2-3 weeks anyway. We just put it into the tank. That’s the primary thing we’re doing now: Bio-Mega, Bac-Pack, a wetting agent, and if we need a fungicide, we’ll put it in there, but if we don’t, we just leave it out. That’s why we’ve reduced our amount of fungicide apps over the years.
"It fit in with our budget, in fact it helped reduce our budget. As far as the amount of chemicals we’re using. To me it was a no-brainer. It’s providing some real benefits at a lower cost. That’s the way I look at it. It’s saving us money. We’re definitely saving $5000, maybe $10,000 in a year.”