Turfectionists: Interview with Peter Watts
Peter is the first star of our new Turfectionists Series: checking in with professional turf managers who are in pursuit of the perfect turf. Syngenta went out to Muirfield Golf Club in Sydney to talk all things turf with Peter. He shares his experiences around the work that was involved in the 2017 ASTMA Claude Crockford Award; the restoration of Rifle Creek, the Forest Floor regeneration, consolidated tee complex, native regeneration of Turpentine canopy with Muirfield volunteers, facilitating native fauna habitats, water collection management, and his amazing team.
The ASTMA Claude Crockford Environmental Award recognises golf course superintendents for their commitment to sustainable land management, long-term environmental planning, community involvement and overall environmental stewardship of their golf course. Syngenta have sponsored the award for many years, and are delighted to be able to put the spotlight back onto past winners, and take a look at the projects that they won the award for, as well as find out what they are up to these days at their club.
Peter diligently maintained and improved Muirfield Golf Course with a focus on sustainability and environmental best practice. While course aesthetics and playability were his main KPIs, he embraced his responsibility to improve biodiversity and landscape management practices for the out-of-play areas and the surrounding bushland and greenspace.
On commencing stewardship of the golf course, Peter initiated a general assessment of the Course including an overview of all maintenance practices, playing surfaces, a comprehensive audit of tree species; a survey of animal habitats and a review of the local Council vegetation map. Key areas of concern were identified as: the prevalence of introduced plant species and also the presence of invasive species in bushland areas; the loss of aquatic connectivity in the creek due to manmade diversions and interruptions to the natural creek line; the presence of rubble and other tipped material at various points on the course and the cumulative effects of some traditional course maintenance practices.
Peter was instrumental in gaining grants and managing bush regeneration and rehabilitation of the interference to the waterway. In so doing there was a significant improvement in the water quality and flow that feeds Rifle Range Creek which then runs into the Bidjigal Reserve and on into Parramatta River catchment.
Do you know a professional turf manager who would be an excellent candidate for the ASTMA Claude Crockford Sustainability & Environmental Award? Why not nominate them by clicking here.