Lab analysis can be used to provide a valuable insight into the selection of the correct materials for golf course applications or constructions. Testing should not be seen as an unnecessary expense, but rather as an invaluable back-up to help golf course managers, architects and consultants make the right and informed decision.
European Turfgrass Laboratories (ETL) Ltd, based in Alloa, central Scotland, aims to provide the golf industry with a complete testing facility for all potential materials used in the construction and maintenance of golf courses. Having been at the forefront of testing materials from all over the world, ETL have a wealth of experience in the analysis of sand, gravels, soils, peat, rootzones and irrigation water for all aspects of the golf course, including greens, bunkers, topdressing, fairways and tees.
ETL is now in its 27th year of business and is 1 of only 8 accredited soil physical testing laboratories in the world, the others being mostly based in North America. In 1997, ETL was the first laboratory outside of North America to become accredited to the A2LA (American Association for Laboratory Accreditation) in the Geotechnical Field “Putting Green Materials”. A2LA-Accredited laboratories are recommended by the USGA. ETL’s clients include golf clubs, golf course architects, agronomists, material suppliers, contractors and course managers/superintendents from all over the UK, Europe and beyond.
Laboratories are used in obtaining results for maintenance and monitoring of existing courses, selecting the appropriate materials for renovation and new construction projects – these analyses are used by the decision maker to provide assurance and act as a reliable back-up to the decisions taken. Choosing the right construction materials is paramount to the completion of a successful project.
As well as providing laboratory analysis for materials selection, ETL now offer an increasingly popular Golf Green Health Indexing (GGHI) services for existing courses. Year round greens performance is pivotal to the success of any club. To achieve this requires a number of technical elements to be within desirable ranges. Golf Green Health Indexing provides key data characteristics to assist course managers. These include nutrient status, % incremental organic matter content (thatch), in-situ saturated hydraulic conductivity, total porosity, air-filed porosity, water-filed porosity and bulk density (compaction).
ETL provide various courier (postal)-based packages for between 3-18 Greens to suit all facilities. Sampling kits will be provided within the cost of packages. Testing packages may come with a technical report to support Course Managers in communicating with their clubs the necessary works along with benchmarking progress towards targets levels for their venues. Annual testing can help identify key trends in physical parameters, and all for a more tailored management program.