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Will Sports Turf health recover

A latest summary of the sports turf health status is shown below. The recent cold and dry weather in much of the country will have helped grass health very little. In a normal year we would expect some of the biggest advances in grass health through March and April. However, as the chart below illustrates, this year may turn out yet to be surprising. 2021 is on a knife edge and could still be surprisingly good or surprisingly bad. The next month will be critical indicator because we will get better clarity of how high the spring health peak may get to.

There is a lot of information available free on this website and if you are interested to start to get the benefits of Precision Sports Turf at your club you can also sign up for a free, no commitment trial at your course or club here.

Join the Precision Sport Turf Revolution today.

Mike Heisig


Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace with last year

FairWay Awards has been monitoring the health of sport turf up and down the country using a satellite-based system that reads the amount and wavelength of light being emitted from vegetation. The ratio of different light wavelengths from vegetation gives an indication of the vigour or distress of the grass canopy: more red light is emitted when grass is under stress.

Having analysed satellite data from 50 golf courses across Great Britain from 2018, Mike Heisig from FairWay Awards comments on recent findings: “We have been looking at the health of grass by tracking exactly the same areas of sports turf from 2018 to today. This gives good insight into actual changes on the ground. What we have seen at the end of March 2021 is that grass health is gradually lagging further and further behind the levels that we saw at the end of March in 2020. Historic data shows that normally in March we should expect to see a major up lift in grass health as it comes out of the winter period.”

“This year however, much of that did not happen and UK grass health slipped back around 5% lower in March 2021 compared with March 2020. Much of this downturn can be attributed to the South East, which seems to be struggling more with grass health levels than any other part the country.”

“Looking ahead at this time of year we expect to see increasing grass health through March and April, leading to a peak in May. It remains to be seen how far grass will recover through the year and what the knock on effect will be for autumn grass management”

The good news is that there is plenty of time for greenkeepers to fine-tune the agronomy to help close the gap. Satellite grass health data is easily accessible and simple to use with huge benefits for turf management.

2021 may be the ideal year to join the Precision Sports Turf Revolution.

Want to find out more about Precision Sports Turf?

There is a lot of information available free on this website and you can also sign up for a free, no commitment trial at your course or club here.

The Wembley turf few have seen before

Think about the TV cameras streaming football matches from Wembley to the world over the years and you can imagine, maybe just maybe, that some people have noticed the grass under the players feet.

Here is view of the Wembley turf that few people have seen, its from a satellite and its measuring the vitality of the grass using KDVI.

Ahead of the England : Poland football match on the 31st March the image above was taken last week. With very little direct overhead sunlight the winter months can be very stressful for grass which needs additional lighting to assist growth.

The image below shows the difference between late winter turf condition (right) and the turf at its absolute peak in June (left).

Of course on TV the grass will look emerald green but this type if technology is able to detect changes in grass vitality that are not obvious to the human eye.

Want to find out more about Precision Sports Turf?

There is a lot of information available free on this website and you can also sign up for a free, no commitment trial at your course or club here.

On final question, I wonder how the health of grass affects the role of the ball?

We are bringing you two ways to become part of the precision sports turf revolution in 2021

We have teamed up with Research Engine, a specialist market research company focussing in amenity and sports turf research, to bring you an opportunity get into the precision sports turf revolution for your self.

There are two ways you can be a winner:

1: Every person that completes the survey gets a free chance to trial the latest satellite technology on your own golf course. The trial will allow you to examine 20,000m2 of your sports turf using the latest satellite imagery and grass health algorithms for 3 months through the critical spring growing period.

2. In addition to everyone getting a free trial ONE LUCKY PERSON will be the winner of a full 12 months subscription to 6 hectares of satellite mapping sufficient to map an average 9 hole course  – worth £510.

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY CLICK HERE: Find out how take advantage of this free offer

Science of Space Greenkeeping

In December 2020 Greenkeeper International, the official magazine of BIGGA, the British and International Golf Greenkeeper Association, included an in-depth article about about precision sports turf management using satellite data to interpret grass heath and to support management decisions.

The extensive article provides an overview of how satellite technology is starting to change the way in which greenkeepers can understand the grass under their feet.

The article focuses on what the technology is and how it is applied in decision making and in terms of integration with machinery on the ground.

Download a PDF version of the article now: Precision Sports Turf GI

Mike Heisig

Just out – post lock down grass health reports

In the UK we had the wettest February on record earlier this year but this quickly over shadowed by Covid-19 and lockdown.

Just released are early indications of the health of golf sports grass at the end of June 2020.

The results are courtesy of satellite passes taking readings each week and delivering an enhanced NDVI.

Three things stand out

1. Regionally there is a lot of variation in grass health

2. It is now possible monitor and benchmark grass health by satellite which today gives an insight into what grass health looked like going into the COVID-19 lock down and what it looked like coming out.

3. The concept of precision agronomy has been established in agriculture for over 10 years, but the concept of precision sports turf management is on the horizon in the golf sector.

WE aim to provide updates each quarter so look out for Q3 later this year as well.

Are we are stating on a fascinating journey – let me know what you think?

Mike Heisig

In these days…..

In the current global COVID-19 pandemic many of aspects of our lives have been challenged and changed. Our concern is focussed in other directions.

Sport is in lock down, Golf England has announced that golf courses must close.

We look towards a return to normal life at some stage in the year.

In the meantime presented here are some statistics on the state of the health of golf grass as it was left in March 2020.

We invite you to look through the results of the satellite data which I hope will give you an insight into a new way of understanding grass health.

The best place to start is to understand the science of satellite NDVI measurement.

Then to look at the trends for 2018 and 2019 before considering where we have got to in Q1 2020.

In the near future we are looking at a phase when the main priority for golf courses is “maintenance”.

At a financial level this will be be a severely challenging time for the golf courses business, and difficult decisions will have to be faced.

I wonder, when play resumes, where will we be in terms of grass health?

Fortunately satellite measurement will be able to tell us and it will also show us where we are in relation to where we might have been.

New perspectives on golf grass health

Satellite imaging is an advanced sophisticated tool that can give a precise reading of the many natural features such as clouds and ice and also problematic phenomena such as pollution. One of the beneficial aspects of satellite measurement is in the development of the NDVI metric which measures the health of vegetation, whether natural or managed.

Source: NASA

There are an estimated 1,200 satellites circulating round the globe which means that there are NDVI reading available nearly every week. The only thing that gets in the way are clouds!

Have a look here for the science of NDVI that is revolutionising precision farming across the globe. Farmers are using this technology because it has the potential to spot problems before they can, not only because it provides remote measurements but because it sees what the human eye cannot. What applications are there for this technology in the golf sector?

To give an insight into this question and to start a discussion please have a look at the Satellite NDVI results for 2018 and 2019 focussing on golf grass – it might give a new perspective on what you see growing around you.

At the end of March 2020 we will also have a first look at the vitality status of golf grass in Q1 2020.

Also there is an explanation of the use of NDVI measurement in precision fertiliser applications.

Please have a look though the website and let me know what you think about the use of NDVI measurement in the golf sector. You can make comments on most pages.

If you have any burning questions about the data shown here or about the applications of this technology just contact me using the details below.

Mike Heisig 07775 666916

FairWay Awards 2020

FairWay Awards is delivering new insight into grass health on golf courses in Great Britain.

The aim is fuel a discussion about grass health and how golf green keepers can use the latest technology as part of the continual drive for improvement.

FairWay Awards uses empirical, objective scientific data.

Satellite monitoring of grass on golf courses can:

  1. Help golf course owners know instantly how well they are doing – and how their competitors are doing
  2. Enable golf green keepers to set improvement targets for the club and provides a means to measure whether those targets are met
  3. Help create a persuasive argument to build a case for more budgets
  4. Provide diagnostics that can help deliver better fertiliser precision and response across the course

Literally, an out of this world insight that reaches to the grass roots of the golf sector.

Mike Heisig: 07775 666916