La gestion éco-responsable du Golf Bastide de la Salette

The controlled use of products at Golf Bastide de la Salette in Marseille

Caring for the environment is a core concern for Golf Bastide de la Salette. We do this by controlling the use of products on our golf courses and preparing for the introduction of the zero pesticide policy. Our teams on the ground have been working towards this goal for several years.

The controlled use of products

A few years ago, the soil was not a major concern of ours.
Simply put, we wanted to have the greenest grass possible at specific times of the year and we were developing a fertilisation programme based on this. For some time now we’ve been taking the opposite approach: we analyse the soil and try to make the grass as strong and self-sufficient as possible.

The idea is to restore the soil and its natural fertility by constantly working it to make it easier for the grass to take root. This ties in with what Simon Valmy, our superintendent, has been doing for the past two years: managing without pesticides and making this process sustainable. This requires an active cultivation practice and great commitment from the entire field team.

Simon is very proactive on the greens, which are the golf club’s biggest asset. He is knowledgeable about the techniques required, so does not hesitate to take major action if it is needed on the greens, tees or fairways. There can be a few nerve-wracking moments when major action is first carried out, but the results speak for themselves: all the grass has become thicker and the quality has improved.

Simon is also very specific about what he puts on the grass and only works with 100% organic products. And we don’t talk about fertilising the soil, we talk about improving it: we offer help rather than telling it what to do. We feed it rather than drugging it.

L’utilisation contrôlée de produits - La gestion éco-responsable du Golf Bastide de la Salette
L’utilisation contrôlée de produits - La gestion éco-responsable du Golf Bastide de la Salette

We are fortunate enough not to have very large greens. The risk of disease decreases with the size of the green and it is also easier for us to plan what regular mechanical operations are needed. Simon and his team have identified the “at risk” areas for disease that suffer from occasional problems with air circulation or insufficient light.

We are also fortunate enough to have quite well ventilated land with frequent winds from the sea side of the site. Whether it’s the Mistral, Tramontine or an easterly, there’s always a wind to help the plants simply “breathe”.

The Golf Bastide de la Salette course is steep, which makes it difficult for some machinery to be used. So there’s a lot of manual work to be done. However, clearing the playing areas is limited to two or three metres at the entrance to the undergrowth.

The rest is left in its natural state to encourage biodiversity. We want to protect these areas and allow biodiversity to flourish.

Could footbaths be the answer?

La gestion des maladies sur les greens - Golf Bastide de la Salette

Even through we are confident about the post-2025 period and the ban on pesticides, we will continue to face attacks from disease. And it will be up to the players to adapt if we maybe have to close part of a diseased green or even install footbaths so as not to transfer the disease to another part of the course or to a different course.

Communication is key here: if we have to prohibit access to a green or part of a green, it is not to annoy players or steal their balls, but to prevent the whole golf course from coming under attack.

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