Meet the Swedish head greenkeeper: Andreas Bergqvist

By Alistair February 24, 2024 08:18

The head greenkeeper at Linkopings Golf Club in Sweden, host of the 1980 Scandinavian Enterprise Open, won by Seve Ballesteros, takes us through his average day.

What time do you arrive at the club and what is your morning routine?

I start my day between 5:00am and 5:30am. My routine is probably just like many other greenkeepers – checking tee sheets and working out what needs to be done during the day ahead.

How many people are there in your team and do you share tasks?

We currently have a team of five, including myself. If I am lucky, I will get a couple of students join the team for a few months between June and August.

How do you motivate your colleagues?

As a team we are pretty motivated in general, but I always try to include them in everything I do, so they learn how to do a variety of jobs.

What aspects of your job give you the greatest satisfaction?

Personally, I take great satisfaction in transforming the golf course from snow cover in the winter and early spring to a healthy, green golf course during the season. Course improvement in general is satisfying for me and the whole team!

And the least satisfaction?

It can be frustrating when we are waiting for the go ahead to do certain renovations that require funding. The weather can also be very difficult, especially when it sets our schedules back – ice hitting the greens for example…

Have you attended any courses recently, and if so, what did you take away?

Unfortunately not. The course has been very busy, but hopefully I’ll be able to get some education into the calendar later in the year.

What’s your favourite season of the year and why?

Summer. It’s the time when you get the chance to maintain your course properly.

Are you witnessing evidence of climate change and, if so, how has your job had to adapt to changing weather patterns?

Yes! We are definitely seeing evidence of climate change here in Sweden, with drier and cooler springs, drier and warmer summers, and wetter and warmer autumns. We are responding to this challenge by adopting an overall plant health strategy to give us more resilient plants that can better withstand these types of stress.

Have you had to overcome any course issues with disease and / or pests?

Historically, we have had problems with anthracnose and snow mold. Anthracnose is no longer a problem because my plants are healthier, thanks to an overall better soil structure and microbial community.

Do you have a feeding programme for your fairways?  How do you ensure your greens have good colour?        

I keep the feeding programme on my fairways very simple. I apply a granular feed and top that off with a couple of applications of ammonium sulphate. On my greens I use Suståne 5-2-4+Fe organic fertiliser, applied four times a year between April and September. On top of this we use a selection of liquid feeds to encourage ‘mother nature’s chlorophyll’ on our greens.

With a growing focus on sustainability, do you deploy any sustainable practices in the management of your course?

Since starting a more biological approach to greenkeeping I have been able to dramatically lower our usage of synthetic fertilisers and chemicals during the growing season. In my opinion, the only time we need to use fungicides up here in Scandinavia is in the autumn when we lose sunlight and temperatures, as it is then much harder for the plant to defend itself.

What do you do to support wildlife?

We have a beautiful pine forest on the course, as well as pollinating bees.

What are the technological developments that you feel have been the most important in your career to date?

Analytical tools such as moisture meters, soil and plant sap testing are giving us more objective information which, in turn, allows us to make better and more informed decisions.

Do you use social media professionally and what do you think this contributes to the industry?

I don’t use social media personally, but I know from other members of the team that it can be a great tool for learning what is going on in the industry.

How would you improve the greenkeeping industry?

We need better information and formal education that reflects the current challenges that we have, namely with the climate and regulatory changes.

What advice would you give to a young greenkeeper starting out today?

My advice would be to take every opportunity to learn and get as much, different, work experience as possible!

How do you spend your leisure time?

I play a lot of padel, which is a racket sport. I also enjoy travelling and socialising with my friends.


By Alistair February 24, 2024 08:18

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