Head Greenkeeper, Roger Hillborg, has worked at the Carlskrona Golf Club since 2001. He started work as a seasonal worker for two years and then assumed the role of club manager in 2003. His predecessor had held the role since 1962, making it clear that Carlskrona are good at keeping their staff for a long time. Since then, Roger has attended every imaginable training course available for course managers and greenkeepers, ”the club has really prioritised staff training” says Roger.
Roger’s enfactuation with golf began in 1989 at Niklastorp Golf Club after a salmonella-tainted ice cream in Benidorm. As part of his rehabilitation, he was advised to try golf. Roger himself says “I was completely hooked, it was just eating sleeping and playing golf”.
Then Roger ended up at Carlskrona Golf Club where he sat for a time on the greens committee, which eventually led to him starting to work on the green. “An ice cream in Benidorm led to me sitting here today”, he told us.
Carlskrona golf course was originally built in 1949 as the first golf course in the Blekinge region, Sweden. In 1989, Almö, on which the course is located, became a nature reserve, which creates special conditions. “You get to have a different mindset thanks to the fact that the County Administrative Board ultimately decides what you can and can’t do, but at the same time it’s a fun challenge,” says Roger.
Since 2008, Carlskrona Golf Club has been gradually upgraded. The work has mainly been the rebuilding green areas, tees and bunkers, but they have also carried out a total overhaul of the course layout when it comes to playability, the so-called “Sunkheit Project”. “The course had come to a standstill, nothing had really been maintained or developed for many years,” says Roger. Carlskrona invested in their staff and trained them to carry out all of the work themselves. The continual improvement has been carried out methodically and to a high standard. Above all, care was taken to strengthen the workforce “more hands in care”, as the club manager jokingly called it. From three greenkeepers workers, they grew to seven in order to be able to do the jobs that were required. “All of a sudden, you could do a lot more in all parts of the care while at the same time you could do the renovations that were required”, Roger told us.
Collaboration with Indigrow
For the past four years, Roger has collaborated with us at Indigrow. We started by using our QMP methodology to find out the conditions in the plant profile. “That was actually what was decisive for me switching over completely to Indigrow,” says Roger. Through the use of QMP, we constantly get facts to relate to that help us create a tailored care program. “After some adjustments, we have found a very good concept to work with”.
Since last year, Roger has started using Humik NPK 14-5-14 as basic fertiliser, which he then tops up with a liquid program. “The Humik products creates a stable foundation in the program, you avoid big dips in the quality of the greens”. At the same time, Roger find that is very easy to see the benefit to the greens when using the Humik product which is “good from a work environment point of view so you know that the product is doing the job is was designed to do, which is also important” says Roger.
There are a large number of bio-stimulant products in the application programme to help avoid plant stress. Compass Start and Compass Bio-Active are included together with wetting agents and RePhlex LS. Roger feels that the general state of health on the greens has definitely improved “fairy rings, which used to be a huge problem, have basically disappeared, and we don’t have to talk about dry patch” says Roger. The combination of Compass seaweeds and Magnum wetting agents has proven to be great for dry patch problems that often lead to other issues later in the season.
To further strengthen the greens against disease, Roger has included Diamond Green in his application programme this year. The product will be used in a programme of 10lt/ha applications every two weeks during the summer with an increase to 20 lt/ha during the autumn months. “It will be exciting to see what it can do for the green quality during the year”, said Roger. Considering the course’s location in the middle of a nature reserve, together with increasing restrictions on fungicides, this addition will hopefully help Roger reach the quality goals.
Continual flooding of sea water causes issues at Carlskrona Golf Club, so Roger uses RePhlex LS in programmes throughout the season to keep his greens clean of salts and carbonates that can inhibit nutrient turnover. You want to keep the nutrients free for uptake by the plant, especially calcium, so adding RePhlex LS in the tank mixes ensures this.