The Scandinavian Turfgrass and Environment Research Foundation recently published its ‘Research and Development Yearbook 2013’, which outlines STERF’s research priorities and reports on the projects they sponsored through the year.
The STERF R&D programme sets out four priority areas for work; multifunctional golf facilities, sustainable water management, winter stress management and integrated pest management. Proposals received for 2013 and 2014, approved by STERF’s advisory committee, amount to funding of nearly £1.8 million. Much of the financial support for STERF’s turfgrass and environment research comes direct from golfers through the golf federations in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. There is also support from a number of industry partners.
A STERF report on multifunctional golf facilities has already been featured on this website. Highlights from the 2013 programme are publications on precision fertilisation and irrigation of turf on golf courses, which provide technical information that is presented in a way that facilitates practical application; fulfilling one of STERF’s primary goals in providing “ready-to-use research”. Although targeted at Nordic greenkeepers, the information contained in these publications will be of benefit to those caring for golf courses around the world.
These two publications give extremely useful background theory to their subjects before going on to provide greenkeepers with a guide to efficient and effective practice in the key areas of feeding and watering turf. The feeding manual discusses strategies for the use of fertiliser, the implications for physiology-driven feeding and the importance of getting late autumn feeding right in the Scandinavian situation as a means of improving the chances of winter survival. The irrigation manual gives advice on irrigation scheduling, water balance calculations, measurement of soil water content and plant drought stress, and how to successfully operate under deficit irrigation. The maintenance strategies outlined in these two publications aim to optimise fertiliser and water use; giving the best results for playing quality with the minimum use of resources.
The way STERF operates is an excellent model, showing how golf can directly support relevant research that has a practical application for the sustainable development and management of golf courses.