The Groundsman August 2019

Page 1



AUGUST 2019 £4.00




Blowers, sweepers and vacs, plus artificial surface maintenance page 39

How Bath Recreation is providing sport spaces for everyone


Working together for community sport at Stanningley ARLC





05 Welcome

Passing on the baton

06 Update

Grounds keeping news

page 12

13 SALTEX news

Last year’s SALTEX College Cup winners enjoy their prize

14 GaNTIP update

Doubling usage at Trubshaw Cross Ladsandads’ ground

16 NGB update: ECB

Changes to junior cricket

37 In Action

Dennis and Campey Turf Care

39 Product showcase


Blowers and sweepers; artificial surface maintenance

47 In Action

Limagrain and Cub Cadet

48 In Action


Headland Amenity and Toro


50 Tools and guidance


AUGUST 2019 £4.00



Turf care advice for September


Blowers, sweepers and vacs, plus artificial surface maintenance page 39

How Bath Recreation is providing sport spaces for everyone


18 Technical update


Working together for community sport at Stanningley ARLC

A new, cleaner fuel



20 Best practice

Bath Recreation’s mission to rejuvenate the city’s grounds

24 Best practice



Crowds assemble at the Rec in Bath for the city’s annual half-marathon

Stanningley Sports and Amateur Rugby League Club

28 Technical update

Dry, cracked grounds

30 The IOG Board report A year of progress and reflection

34 Changing of the guard

Our outgoing and incoming independent chairmen




Editorial address: 28 Stratford Office Village, Walker Avenue, Wolverton Mill East, Milton Keynes MK12 5TW t: 01908 312 511 Managing editor Karen Maxwell e: t: 01908 552987 Features editor Colin Hoskins e: t: 07785 293077 Product editor Lizzie Hufton e: t: 01225 337777 IOG membership and general enquiries t: 01908 312511 e: Magazine subscriptions Jo Cornford t: 01908 312511 e: Subscriptions £72 UK, £82 Europe, £112 rest of world Publisher James Houston Head of design Simon Goddard Group ad sales manager Lee Morris e: t: 0203 859 7097 Published by James Pembroke Media

The Groundsman is published monthly by the Institute of Groundsmanship. All material is copyright of the Institute of Groundsmanship and may not be reproduced without permission. The publishers do not accept responsibility for any advertisement appearing in the journal and cannot be held liable for editorial omissions or errors. The views expressed in the journal are not necessarily those of the Institute of Groundsmanship.


Institute of Groundsmanship THE GROUNDSMAN 3



Passing on the baton

Karen Maxwell Managing editor

In this issue we feature two people who have played a vital role in the development of the IOG during the past decade. David Teasdale, the current and first independent chairman of the IOG, was elected in 2009 and has been a driver for change. He has played a pivotal role in the key strategic decisions that the IOG has taken over the past years, including the move of SALTEX from Windsor to the NEC. David also helped to review our structure and approach, and in doing so has modernised our governance structures. In September, he ends his tenure as the longest serving chair since the IOG was formed in 1934. As David Teasdale steps back, taking on the role of independent chair is David Carpenter, a serving member of the IOG Board for nine years and a person who has also played a pivotal role in our recent development. David has a wide-ranging background, including being the author of our ‘Groundsmanship – the Hidden Profession’ research – the first in-depth study of the turf care sector. Also, if you have ever purchased a Lottery ticket (or, indeed, won!) you may want to thank David as he was part of the team responsible for the launch of the UK Lottery, after touring the world researching lottery schemes when he was employed by Sport England. Talking of research, the results of our latest independent industry-wide research – ‘Groundsmanship: Sport’s Vital Profession’ – will be announced as part of the Learning LIVE education programme at SALTEX in October. What a wonderful summer of sport we have had, starting with the success of the lionesses in France and, in July, three more outstanding events: The Championships at Wimbledon – where the grass was so good that Novak Djokovic ate it!; Lewis Hamilton’s record-breaking F1 win at Silverstone; and the ICC World Cup win by the England cricket team in a final that will surely be remembered as one of the best ever games of cricket. We also had the British Open golf at Royal Portrush and let’s not forget Ascot which, as ever, was presented in all its finery. So, as we celebrate our champions we have to also highlight the expertise and skill of the grounds staff at every venue. Without them these momentous events simply would not happen. We must also celebrate the considerable expertise and experience of all the suppliers to these venues – be it grass seed technology, machinery or agronomy, there is a uniqueness and considerable depth to the talents of our turf care sector.

Colin Hoskins Features editor

Greg Rhodes Freelance writer

Kevin Duffill Regional pitch advisor

Alex Vickers Independent consultant

David Graveney OBE ECB national performance manager

Geoff Webb Chief Executive The Institute of Groundsmanship

Leigh Claridge KEEP IN TOUCH

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Certas Energy THE GROUNDSMAN 5




Read all the latest news and updates, and discover what members are entitled to


The survey is your chance to help improve our industry


BEST PARK 2019 FIELDS IN TRUST has launched its online public vote to find the nation’s favourite park. Visit before midday on Monday 19 August to vote for one of 364 parks and green spaces, and help to celebrate parks and green spaces’ contribution to health and wellbeing. The winner will be named the UK’s Best Park 2019.



Have your say on shaping the future of the IOG AS HIGHLIGHTED in last month’s issue of The Groundsman magazine, the IOG has embarked on a communications programme which is designed to educate the public and media about the important role grounds staff, and the whole turf sector, plays in enabling greater participation of sport at all levels. The IOG believes that getting the industry involved as much as possible in this communications programme is vital to its success.

“Understanding the views of members is vital to shaping the future of the IOG”

6 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

Can you please take just five minutes of your time to complete the IOG’s online survey and share your views on the profession and the IOG? This survey will close at the end of August and each participant will be entered into a draw to win a £100 Amazon voucher. We’ll report back on the survey findings and the IOG’s communications programme developments at SALTEX. IOG CEO Geoff Webb said: “Understanding the views of members, non-members and the wider turf sector is vital to shaping the future of the IOG. It’s an exciting time for us and I hope everyone will take this opportunity to complete the survey so we can make this programme a success.” The survey can be found here:

GROUNDS STAFF, AMENITY contractors and local authorities in the North West of England and Wales now have a new source of amenity supplies and technical support following the launch of Spunhill Amenity. Its portfolio will include LG Seeds and Momersteeg seed mixes, its own Marcher brand of fertilisers and ICL fertilisers, Aquatrols wetters, as well as linemarking equipment.


GOVERNMENT’S NEW PLAN FOR SCHOOLS THE GOVERNMENT IS creating a School Sport and Activity Action Plan to boost UK children’s physical activity. The plan will encourage schools and sports clubs to work together. It will include a series of regional pilots to trial new approaches to get children active. It will also allocate £2.5m to give extra training to PE teachers and help schools open their sports facilities at weekends and during holidays.




Social media sensation “blown away” by factory visit

IT’S BEEN AN exciting few weeks for Jimmy ‘jimmythemower’ Broadhouse. Not only did his tweet showcasing his mowing skills of a council field in Bilbrook, Staffordshire go viral, but he’s also been loaned a Ransomes Jacobsen Parkway 3 Meteor mower, in place of his Parkway 225, for a year. Jimmy, who runs Ditton Services, tweeted a picture of his work with the words: “It might only be a council field next to the tip, but to the kids round here playing football it’s Wembley. So I always cut it like it is.” His tweet struck a chord and quickly gained over 44,000 likes. One of the people who saw it was Ransomes’ sales manager John Quinton, who

NEWS Jimmy had the chance to stripe the turf at Ipswich Town FC

invited Jimmy to the firm’s Ipswich factory to see how the Parkway 225 stripes were made. Before the factory tour and a chance to stripe the turf on Ipswich Town Football Club’s Portman Road pitch, Jimmy cut the Ransomes factory football pitch with the Parkway 3 Meteor before finding out the machine would be his for a year. “I’m blown away by being invited down to Ransomes,” he said. “What an honour it is to be here and test drive a brand-new machine.” John said: “Jimmy’s made a real difference to those he’s cutting pitches for and this is our way of recognising that.”


NOTICE OF IOG AGM NOTICE IS HEREBY given that the Annual General Meeting of the IOG will be held at De Vere Staverton Estate, Daventry Road, Staverton, Northampton, NN11 6JT on Wednesday 18 September 2019 from 12 noon to 1.30pm; followed by a buffet lunch. Anyone wishing to attend should register by emailing or contacting the office on 01908 312511. Further information will be posted on the IOG website during August. Read the full annual report from the Board from page 30.


AMENITY FORUM LAUNCHES AWARENESS CAMPAIGN THE AMENITY FORUM is launching a new awareness campaign to emphasise the importance of amenity management for creating safe, healthy public spaces. The Forum is also planning to launch its new Amenity Standard at its conference in October. This standard, akin to the Red Tractor in the food sector, will provide assurance to all that operations are being undertaken to recognised assurance scheme levels.



Professor John Moverley, the independent chairman of the Forum, said: “We embrace all sectors of our diverse and essential sector, and have pushed forward standards as well as engagement and commitment to best practice. “We now seek to fully drive this forward and a key objective is to increase public awareness of the professionalism of our sector and provide the facts about what is undertaken – exciting times.” • The Amenity Forum’s annual conference and exhibition is on 10 October. This year the theme is 21st Century Amenity Management. Early-bird tickets for the event, at the Pirelli Stadium in Burton on Trent, cost £85 +VAT; contact

Institute of Groundsmanship


Students from Bridgwater and Taunton College – winners of the 2018 SALTEX College Cup, sponsored by Ransomes – were treated to a fantastic preWimbledon experience at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, thanks to head of courts and horticulture and IOG Board member, Neil Stubley. The full story is on page 13.

Neil Stubley (left), AELTC’s head of courts and horticulture, showed the winners around THE GROUNDSMAN 7

MOVERS & SHAKERS Meet the people taking on new challenges in the industry



STRI GROUP HAS opened a design and consultancy office in Hong Kong under the leadership of experienced turf industry professional Peter Rasmussen. STRI Hong Kong has already secured deals to provide turf for the new multi-purpose Kai Tak Sports Park and will be a design partner on the upgrade of the famous Yuen Long Stadium. STRI Hong Kong joins a global network of STRI Group companies, including China, Qatar and two facilities in Australia.

THE KEW GUILD – the association for alumni of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew – has elected soil and landscape consultant Tim O’Hare as an honorary fellow. Tim qualified as a soil scientist more than 25 years ago and has been instrumental in the successful delivery of some of the most iconic landscape projects in the UK and abroad, including the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the King’s Cross Regeneration and the Oman Botanic Gardens.



Peter Rasmussen


Sam Horner

LIMAGRAIN UK HAS appointed Sam Horner as its new amenity seed specialist covering the south of England. Sam has been involved in the sports turf industry for over 20 years and brings with him a wealth of experience. He studied sports turf at college and rose through the ranks at Tewkesbury Park Golf Club before accepting the position of golf course manager at Gloucester Golf Club. Five years ago he moved into a sales and marketing role within the amenity industry.



HEADLAND AMENITY HAS appointed Peter Blackaby as regional technical manager for the Eastern counties. Peter has held a number of greenkeeper and course manager positions throughout his career, building a wealth of knowledge on the tools and techniques required to maintain top quality playing surfaces. More recently, he has worked independently as a franchisee of a lawn care company, where he gained invaluable experience conducting site visits and working with clients on the structuring of grounds improvement programmes.

8 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

Tim O’Hare



JULIA CAMPEY HAS been appointed managing director of Campey Turf Care Systems, with former MD, Richard Campey, taking the position of chairman. Julia has been a key figure at Campey since 2004 and has been sales and marketing co-ordinator for 10 years. As part of the company restructure, John Campey and Lee Morgado have been appointed directors, and Neil Armstrong will become company secretary.

Peter Blackaby Julia Campey




RTM’S LIVE AND RUNNING TURF CARE SHOW RT Machinery will be hosting an outdoor turf care event for all turf care professionals and volunteers at Brackwell Farm Estate, Aylesbury HP18 0DS on 4 September from 9.30am to 3pm. More than 30 machinery manufacturers will be supporting the show – offering personal demonstrations plus ride and drive trials. This event is free to attend and includes a hog roast lunch. Please rsvp events@ or call 01844 299 037 for more information.


FOREST TO GROW PLANS TO REDEVELOP Nottingham Forest’s City Ground have moved a step closer after the Football League club was granted a new 250-year lease for the stadium site. The club wants to expand the stadium’s capacity from 30,000 to 38,000, in support of its long-term ambitions to return to the top flight of English football. The lease, granted by Nottingham City Council, replaces the current 50-year lease and will also give Forest more land to build on around the stadium.


WEBSITE RELAUNCH T H WHITE GROUNDCARE has relaunched its website. As well as a wealth of information on the full range of grounds and tree maintenance machinery on offer, the new site features the ability to request a free demo with a quick and simple form, as well as make online enquiries, or call your local depot. Visit

10 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

A Turf Science Lite event at Liverpool FC’s Academy site


Turf Science Lite events showcase industry innovations

MORE THAN 200 turf managers, grounds workers, agronomists, greenkeepers and course managers attended a series of Turf Science Lite events at Aston Villa FC’s stadium Villa Park, Slaley Hall Golf Club in Northumberland and Liverpool FC’s Academy facility in Kirkby. The series, organised by ICL and Syngenta, showcased the latest research information and technological innovations in turf agronomy. Syngenta technical manager Glenn Kirby highlighted the importance

of integrated turf management techniques to promote turf health, especially with the loss of important fungicide actives. He also revealed that there are exciting new fungicide options in the UK registration system, and that the company’s £1.4bn annual investment in R&D will continue to create new innovations. Dr Andy Owen, ICL’s international technical manager, talked about controlled release fertilisers and the technology which goes into developing each product.

he ra or C tea with their award



THE WINNERS OF GreenFields’ Northern Premier League Pitch of the Year awards in the Premier, West and East Division were revealed at an end-of-season awards ceremony in Blackpool last month. South Shields FC, Tadcaster Albion FC and Trafford FC were recognised for their tireless work ensuring their pitches look and feel the best they can, despite often having limited resources. They each received a trophy and £500 to spend on pitch maintenance materials or services from GreenFields. Northern Premier League chairman, Mark Harris, said: “The GreenFields Pitch of the Year

scheme has helped the Northern Premier League to focus attention on the quality of all pitches – grass and artificial. By recognising high standards, we encourage others to raise their own, which has to be a positive step.”



Read about artificial surface maintenance equipment on page 39

New mowers, a sturdy UTV and a waterer



THE ZENITH 60 is the latest zero-turn mower in the Ariens range. Powered by the Kawasaki FX730V 726cc engine, the Zenith has a forward speed of 8.5mph. Easy steering levers are all you need to drive, brake, steer and spin on the spot so negotiating objects has never been easier. At the end of the mowing row you can turn 180º so you don’t need to go over grass that’s already been cut. The Zenith has a large 152cm cutting deck built with 10-gauge steel. The foot-operated deck lift system provides easy adjustments between 15 cutting positions.

12 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019


THIS NEW WATERER has a 1,200-litre capacity tank, which is internally baffled to safely minimise surge during transport. The standard model has a choice between a petrol and an electric pump. The 12V DC electric pump has a flow rate of 18 litres per minute. The petrol option has a twoinch centrifugal Honda pump, with a flow rate up to 450 litres per minute.


MTD HAS LAUNCHED a new addition to its renowned Cub Cadet Infinicut range of mowers, the Infinicut SM34 Rotary Mower. It takes its mode of traction from the Infinicut reel mower and combines this with a deck designed on the back of MTD’s years of rotary experience. The Infinicut SM34 can be used to mow grass or as a stand-alone vacuum. In cut mode, it offers a striping effect usually only achieved with a professional reel mower. The 34in cutting width enhances productivity. The blades are made from premium grade high carbon steel for better performance and extended life, and come pre-balanced to reduce vibration. It can be specified with either an


The new SCH HBU1200ATE


The SM34 mower adds to the n�nicut range

engine generator or lithium battery as a power source. In battery mode, it is quiet, environmentally friendly and offers significant fuel saving compared to other rotary mowers.

The Zenith o ers the ability to turn 180 degrees

The Zenith frame is made up of large tubular frame rails and fitted with a Rollover Protection System (ROPS). The high-backed, ergonomically designed padded seat not only reduces user fatigue, but also helps to absorb the impact on uneven surfaces.

A NEW RANGE of utility vehicles is being launched in the UK by Spanish manufacturer Corvus, Europe’s first manufacturer of 4x4 side by side vehicles. The Terrain DX4 EPS, Terrain DX4 PRO EPS and TerrainDX4 CAB EPS make up the initial range of three UTVs. Corvus manufactures its own gear box, transmission, chassis and technology systems, and uses an inline three-cylinder 933cc Yanmar diesel engine. The engine is Euro 6 compliant and has great fuel efficiency and range, and can power the UTVs up to a top speed of 40mph. The range was previewed in the UK at agricultural shows in June and will be available to buy from newly formed British company Boss ORV from September. A new Terrain UTV



LEFT: Neil Stubley (left), AELTC’s head of courts and horticulture showed the winners – and the IOG’s Dan Prest, far right – around the complex


By Chris Bennett SALTEX press officer

SALTEX College Cup winners enjoy Wimbledon experience


FTER WINNING THE 2018 SALTEX College Cup, students from Bridgwater and Taunton College in Somerset recently enjoyed their prize of a behind-the-scenes tour at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), Wimbledon. Simon Cook, Jacob Camplin, Ryan Tate and trainer/assessor Cary Rawlings experienced an unforgettable day when Neil Stubley, AELTC head of courts and horticulture, provided them with an in-depth look at court preparations the week before the Wimbledon Championships took place. Sponsored by Ransomes, the competition took place at SALTEX 2018 at the NEC in Birmingham, where the three Bridgwater and Taunton students competed against other UK-based horticultural colleges in an in-depth test of turf care knowledge.


Commenting on being involved in this extraordinary opportunity, college student Ryan Tate said: “The experience was really educational. I was very lucky to get to see turf management at the highest tier and I’ll really benefit from it.” Fellow college student Simon Cook added: “It has been a real eye-opener, especially getting the chance to speak to and learn from someone like Neil Stubley.” “The attention to detail here at Wimbledon is incredible and I feel very lucky

to have been here to witness it,” said Jacob Camplin. “We’ll be back at SALTEX this year to defend our title and we’re going for our second win so bring it on!” Commenting on the SALTEX College Cup, Neil Stubley said: “I was fortunate to sit on the judging panel at the SALTEX College Cup in 2018 and it was a great experience to see up-and-coming grounds keepers with their key knowledge and their willingness to learn. I’ve enjoyed showcasing what we do to the winning team and explaining the challenges we have to work with to deliver exceptional surfaces for The Championships.” The Wimbledon tour follows brilliant SALTEX College Cup prizes in previous years. Since its launch in 2016, the winning teams have enjoyed and benefitted from experience prizes at Wembley (at the FA Cup Final), BT Murrayfield Stadium (for the Six Nations Championships) and now Wimbledon the year after their win. During that time, the SALTEX College Cup has grown each year both in size and reputation, and Cary Rawlings believes that even more colleges should enter the competition.


“I can highly recommend the SALTEX College Cup to all colleges that are involved in delivering sports turf,” said Cary. “It is a fantastic opportunity for students to challenge themselves and it provides them


Toro and Reesink are the new 2019 sponsors of the SALTEX College Cup. The 2019 prize will be a trip to Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium. with the opportunity to gain experience of delivering a presentation to industry professionals that will set them in good stead for future job interviews. It also gives a good overview of the knowledge that your students have taken on-board during their course and also highlights any areas that may need to be revisited. “We are looking forward to entering again this year and I implore other colleges to participate in this event. It is not every day that your students get the opportunity to experience life behind the scenes at a major sporting event. Once the seed has been planted for something like this, it will drive our future custodians of the industry on to bigger and better things.” Colleges interested in participating in the 2019 SALTEX College Cup should email Dan Prest at for more details. For more information visit www. Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_SALTEX and Facebook –


Better care has resulted in improved pitch quality and greater use


By Kevin Duffill Regional pitch advisor

The Trubshaw Cross Ladsandads’ pitches have gone from being waterlogged, to doubling the number of teams using them, and the grounds team has been named Staffordshire FA Groundsteam of the Year


he Trubshaw Cross Ladsandads football club was founded in 1967 by Doug Brown, a former Stoke Lord Mayor, with the aim of increasing opportunities for children who didn’t make schools teams to play football. Trubshaw Cross was the founding branch of the Staffordshire Ladsandads club. Trubshaw Cross consists of more than 10 pitches of varying sizes, located on two levels across the three-hectare facility. Historically, the pitches were maintained by Stoke City Council, which undertook limited mowing and marking. Postponements were numerous and the pitches were prone to

Maintenance carried out per pitch Cutting – �ve hours per cut

Marking out – �ve hours for all pitches

Drag mat/brush – three hours for all pitches

Aeration: star spiker – �ve hours for all pitches

waterlogging. In 2015, the council reviewed its sites and ‘offered out’ a number on a ‘selfmanagement’ basis, requiring interested parties to commit to maintaining the sites. As part of the process, in April 2015 I visited Trubshaw Cross and provided feedback to the council, the club and Staffordshire FA. The club saw this as a chance to improve pitch quality and, following meetings with the council and Staffordshire FA, it produced a detailed development plan that highlighted the need for advice and guidance, both in terms of pitch improvement and machinery. Staffordshire FA arranged for an initial Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP) visit

Total task

Hour per task

Hours worked




106 38 16

Aeration: earthquaking – eight hrs for full-size pitch


Rake/scarify – four hours for all pitches


Fertilising – four hours for all pitches

Collecting/sweeping – six hours for all pitches Oversoiling – 20 hours with two men Seeding – 14 hours with two men

Goal safety inspection – four hours

Setting out – 40 hours with two men Grass verges – one hour Tree pruning

Mole ploughing

Machinery maintenance

Total man hours

14 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019


11 1 1 1

5 3 5 8 4 4 6

20 14 4

530 114 80

208 16 4


40 28 4










1 6 2


by Andy Jackson, grounds manager at Stoke City FC. The PIP report highlighted a number of issues, including waterlogging and compaction. The quality of the grass sward was poor and infrequent mowing was contributing to a build-up of thatch.


In response, the club undertook a major fundraising programme and, as a result, in 2016 Campey Turf Care Systems supplied a Shockwave 155 deep aerator, a SISIS Twin Play and mowing was undertaken with a Trimax Pro Cut S3 rotary roller mower – all used with a Kioti Dk45S tractor. As a result of frequent mowing, regular aeration, turf nutrition, weed control and top dressing, the pitches have improved. Postponements are lower and the number of teams using the pitches has doubled. Site use is now 17/18 matches per weekend. There is a team of 12 volunteers, aged from 18 to 55, led by club chairman Andy Salt, who contribute around 25 hours per week to maintain the pitches. The work undertaken is shown in the table. The team’s knowledge was increased significantly through an IOG training course in September 2017, organised by Staffordshire FA and Stoke City Council. This was delivered by myself to the club as well as to volunteers from other Staffordshire Ladsandads branches. The club continues to develop its plans, which are regularly reviewed with the Staffordshire FA pitch advisors.




Visit for more details about the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme



By David Graveney OBE England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) national performance manager

The ECB has championed reform in junior cricket

JUNIOR CRICKET IS CHANGING This season, junior cricket at local clubs and schools has started to look slightly different The changes will help juniors progress at their own pace


s ECB’s National Performance Manager and former Chairman of England Men’s Selectors, I have championed reform in junior cricket, having observed that many of cricket’s junior playing regulations work for the top five per cent of the game, but they make the game difficult for the other 95 per cent, particularly younger players. To ensure children have an outstanding experience of playing cricket, the ECB – in partnership with Loughborough University – has spent the last three years engaging in extensive research looking at how to help boys and girls develop skills that will stay with them for life, alongside ensuring that they have fun while playing. This has led to new recommended junior formats intended to support children developing at their own pace, in games and activities best suited to their age and ability. ‘Marking and Maintaining Different Length Pitches for Junior Cricket’ is a new resource co-written with the IOG, created specifically for grounds staff and junior coaches. It provides top tips and videos to help: mark out appropriate length junior pitches and boundary lengths prepare and maintain different length pitches

16 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

manage junior games on squares and outfields understand how many junior games can be played on the square and/or match play pitch.


The junior pathway has been developed to help young players progress at their own pace and play in games which are best suited to their age and/or ability and signal a

fundamental change in junior cricket. More children are playing the game and, through All Stars Cricket, we have seen an influx of children taking up cricket. There are now new pitch and boundary lengths for junior cricket for boys and girls from under-nines upwards. To access the new resources and to find out more go to play/junior/junior-formats




Ipswich Town FC is targeting impressive reductions in nitrogen oxide levels and particulate matter emissions by using a non-toxic fuel that is also free of sulphur, metals and aromatics for its training ground machinery

I By Leigh Claridge Regional commercial manager, Certas Energy

pswich Town FC is committed to improving the air quality at its Playford Road Training Centre, and after having switched all its groundscare machinery from traditional diesel operation to the cleaner-burning Shell GTL (Gas To Liquid) Fuel, the club is now monitoring the fuel’s performance and measuring its benefits to the environment, grounds staff and local community. If successful, the initial off-road delivery of 2,250 litres may be increased to power the machines used at the club’s Portman Road stadium. Commenting on the switch, grounds manager Ben Connell says: “We believed that the club – and our neighbours – would benefit from adopting an odourless fuel with lower emissions that can reduce engine noise levels. Also, our grounds staff work with the machines all day and we were conscious of how regular diesel emissions may be affecting their health and wellbeing.

Grounds manager Ben Connell was keen to reduce noise and emissions

“In addition, because the training centre is surrounded by a number of residential properties, we felt a responsibility to minimise our environmental impact on the local community – and Shell GTL Fuel was an ideal solution. I think the highest praise we can give the fuel is the fact that we haven’t noticed it at all; it’s been business as usual since we made the switch with no operational issues or teething problems. The move has been seamless.”


Adoption of the fuel, which does not require any engine modifications, has been shown to reduce nitrogen oxide by up to 37 per cent and particulate matter emissions by up to 90 per cent – both of which are released from diesel combustion engines. GTL fuel is also free of unwanted components such as sulphur, metals and aromatics, making it non-toxic and therefore less harmful to the environment.

Grounds manager Ben Connell (centre) with Certas Energy’s Leigh Claridge (left) and Steve Smith (right)

18 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

Shell GTL Fuel is supplied exclusively in the UK by fuels and lubricants distributor, Certas Energy. Visit www. for more information




By Greg Rhodes Freelance writer

FIELDS OF FULFILMENT A new blueprint for sport and leisure is rejuvenating sport in Bath, thanks to a team that is creating acres of opportunity by providing top-class playing surfaces for a myriad of activities


omething exceptional is stirring in Bath. Sport and recreation is being reenergised as a group of once disparate public spaces come under the umbrella of a charity – Bath Recreation – dedicated to enhancing the scope of provision across the city, creating opportunities to host a wealth of sports and events, as well as boost access to green spaces.

The team fought off IOG award finalists Manchester City FC and London Stadium to lift the National Governing Bodies’ Professional Multi-Sports Ground/Facility Team of the Year accolade last year. Since then, the charity has improved provision even further. Its story is a tale of team efficiency, stakeholder co-ordination and an open-door policy with the public. Grounds manager Dave Cobb is on familiar territory with the charity – formed

in 2013 – overseeing three sites, two acquired since he and his team won the IOG award. Honing his skills as an apprentice in the sports grounds department of Bath & North East Somerset Council and acquiring an NVQ Level 3 from Cannington College, 36-year-old Dave was a regular visitor to the historic Recreation Ground (‘the Rec’). The council was contracted to manage the football pitches and cricket square by owners Bath Recreation Trust, so when the trust renamed itself Bath Recreation and took the groundscare function back in-house, Dave moved across to work for them. His role requires multi-level management skills; dealing with stakeholders, casual users, residents, bookings, events management teams, council employees, councillors and Bath Rugby directors and staff. “My experience working on a multiplicity of sports put me in good stead for this post. I have good mentors to thank for helping me to develop my skills at the council.”

“Plenty of contact [with stakeholders] before and after an event is vital” 20 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019



The Rec is home to Bath Rugby THE GROUNDSMAN 21


“Public interest in our three sites is high. A key factor is our open-door policy” He now also manages grounds contractors called in for seasonal and periodic pitch maintenance and renovations at the Rec and the charity’s new acquisitions, Broadmoor Lane and The Orchard, and the Glasshouse, with its two full-size football pitches, junior area and cricket square. “We’re in a transition period, moving cricket from the Rec to the Glasshouse, where I maintain the square.” The three sites are used year-round for a host of sports including rugby, football, cricket, quidditch, croquet, mini rugby, frisbee and schools coaching. Major recreation and sports events including the Bath Half, Bath festivals finale weekend, RFU tournaments and Bike Bath are popular attractions at the Rec. “The

charity has never had to cancel any event or fixture and aims to deliver consistently high standards for both professional and amateur sport,” says Dave.

PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE Looking back to the IOG Awards year, Dave says: “It was a massive achievement to be nominated, especially with the weather we had in 2018 – under four inches of snow in spring then virtually no rain all summer. With no irrigation on the Rec square or outfield, we have to pray for precipitation.” The 14-acre Rec is home to Bath

Rugby, which maintains its own first team pitch during the season. Local clubs and associations use the site regularly, as do schools and big-ticket athletics and event managers. Balancing the demands of a large festival audience one day with providing a sporting hub the next must present huge headaches. “We work closely with stakeholders to ensure their plans are met,” says Dave. “Plenty of contact before and after an event is vital. Most of the organisations hiring the ground are regular users now so the planning becomes easier.”

BATH RECREATION GROUND Major events May 2017 to May 2018: Bike Bath (2,000 participants) – July Bath Carnival (5,000 participants and spectators) – July RFU 7s (2,000 spectators plus players) – August Rotary Club of Bath fireworks (10,000 attendees) – November Bath Half (21,000 runners and spectators) – March Bath Taps Into Science

22 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

(2,000 attendees – March Bath Festivals finale weekend (16,000 attendees) – May. Regular users Bath mini rugby – Sunday mornings September to May – 180 players plus spectators Bath Quidditch Club – Sunday afternoons, September to May – 20 players Bath Croquet Club – 100

members, year round Bath Rugby Club – use outfield on home match days for activities, concessions and entertainment – 14,000 attendees Bath Rugby Foundation & Community programmes – schools coaching hub in term-time – 180 children a week. Summer activities Casual recreation by

charities, clubs and associations. Cricket, football, frisbee, running, rounders, sports days Glasshouse Playing Field Cricket, football, rugby, school activities Broadmoor Lane Play Area and The Orchard Children’s play area, recreational activities, local residents’ activity days.

From left to right: The variety of events held on the Rec includes Bike Bath, a mass cycling event; grounds manager Dave Cobb hard at work; Bath Half marathon attracts thousands of people to the Rec every spring

Acquiring the 16-acre Glasshouse ground in nearby Combe Down – not to mention bringing the Orchard green space in Weston, with its play area, wildflower meadow and paths, back into community use – has sparked still greater participation across the charity’s estate. “The Glasshouse ground is available for rugby, football and cricket for all ages, hosting 75 to 80 games of school and social cricket a season,” Dave says, “as well as for a local special needs school whose pupils are wheelchair-bound. Changing facilities have been built for them.” Disadvantaged youngsters come to the charity to gain invaluable work experience and apprenticeships, he adds. “Our hope is that their time with us can help them gain the confidence to get a job.” Each site has undergone grounds reconstruction and a facilities upgrade since the charity took charge. Major refurbishment of the Rec’s sports buildings, for example, is on top of outfield renovation that includes seed drilling, topdressing and aeration.

“Sport was on the wane in Bath but the charity is helping to rejuvenate it”

After taking over control of Broadmoor Lane play area and The Orchard, the charity is ensuring the conservation area continues to be managed and maintained for the benefit of local residents, while improving children’s provision by fitting new equipment. “A landscape and ecological management plan has been created, including wildflower planting,” says Dave, “and local residents have engaged with maintaining the area.”


Expanding provision has prompted staff appointments to help manage burgeoning demand. Alex Hull has recently started as operations co-ordinator for events liaison, health and safety and site users, working alongside the tight-knit team of chief executive John Flinn, office manager Irene Simms and sports development manager Kevin Adams. Dave praises the management team for creating the charity’s climate of success. “The trustees and chief executive appreciate the need for equipment to produce the quality of facilities we offer. I prepare a budget every March, including forecast expenditure for equipment, supplies and contingency estimates. They see what’s needed and act.” Regular planning meetings ensure required resources are ordered and available for preparing the grounds for events and activities. The budget includes

depreciation estimates and investments are in place for purchasing new kit as necessary. The charity also provides training: Dave attends regular health and safety training, as do other staff, and he has completed IOG Supervisory Management and IOSH courses; software refreshers; outdoor first-aid, covering key lifesaving techniques and life-threatening medical emergencies; plus playground inspection and maintenance. The Bath Recreation strategy is bearing fruit. “Public and stakeholder interest in our three sites is high,” says Dave. “Local residents are more confident in the management of the grounds and control of any disturbance. A key factor has been our onsite presence and open-door policy.” When Dave Cobb describes the Bath Recreation management model and operation as unique, he is justified. Backing him in his verdict is Simon Johnson, IOG South West regional pitch advisor, who works with Dave on the IOG-led Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme. “Sport was on the wane in Bath but the charity is helping to rejuvenate it,” says Simon. “What they are doing is really special.” The IOG Level 1 Winter Pitches – In Season course is hosted at Bath Rec on 13 November 2019





By Greg Rhodes Features writer

Stanningley ARLC is a community hub as well as a rugby league Mecca


huge stencil rests in the clubhouse of Stanningley Amateur Rugby League Club. Made by head groundsman Dan Connor, the 11m long tour de force was destined for the centre spot of the main pitch at the club’s Arthur Miller Stadium base in Leeds. The words cut out of the boarding and painted bright white on the pitch will proclaim: ‘Stanningley 1889 – 2019’, to mark its 130th anniversary. Dan, a rugby regular before injury ended his playing days, typifies the spirit running deep in the veins of a club justly recognised for its contribution to community sport. The first time an amateur rugby league club had been nominated for one of the IOG Awards and won, SARLC, the current NGB Community Sports Club Grounds Team of the Year, offers provision for bodies as diverse as Leeds Rhinos, British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA), schools, 24 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

universities, armed forces and the NHS. Splitting his time between Stanningley and Emerald Headingley Stadium, where he is one of head groundsman Ryan Golding’s team tending Leeds Rhinos’ playing surfaces, Dan holds a pivotal position in the sport regionally.

“[The ground] is busy every day. Something’s always happening socially”


the training ground, Dan, like many of his industry peers, does the time the job demands. “My allotted time is just an average – fewer hours in winter, far more in summer,” he says. This balancing act is the key to helping Stanningley deliver the professionalism to supply huge local demand for the league code, he notes. With four pitches in their care – the ‘main’, ‘pylon’, ‘school’ and ‘juniors’ – plus a 75m x 55m training area, the team has its work cut out serving that need. Mowing, marking out and aeration (slitting and Vertidraining) number among Dan’s

“I’m applying my professional skills learned at Headingley to the grassroots game,” says the 26-year-old, “by helping raise the profile of volunteer grounds staff and improving turf care at semi-professional level.” Dan isn’t the only die-hard advocate for the amateur game. He transfers the pride in his Headingley work to his home turf at Stanningley, imbuing his three colleagues with the same will to excel. Working eight hours a week at Stanningley on top of his full-time Leeds Rugby role, which sees him working on the main pitch on matchdays as well as regular care of



Head groundsman Dan Connor’s anniversary markings

Dan and his team ensure the pitch is match-ready

The main pitch hosts up to 130 matches annually

duties as the team performs a sterling job with a reliable fleet of machinery. The main pitch hosts 120 to 130 matches annually, serving as the home base for National Conference 1 side SARLC throughout the February to September season, while also staging cup matches (semi-finals this year).

“The great thing about working in rugby league is it’s a level playing field”

dugouts mainly,” says Dan. “We pre-germ the seed to get it chitted, and sheet up. This is our first year applying a Limagrain MM60 mix and it’s performing well.” Using the August break to renovate, the team scarify, 8in Vertidrain, seed and topdress, while fertilising up to four times between April and September.


Circle Irrigation installed a Hunter system, supplied through KAR, fitting 12 Hunter I40 sprinklers with turf tops through the centres of the pitch and 18 Hunter G885 electric valve in-head sprinklers along the perimeter, all controlled by a Hunter ACC2 irrigation controller, to give complete coverage.” That’s no licence to flood the surface though. “We’re careful to keep the water bill down, never irrigating before a game anyway as the ball becomes a bar of soap.” Given the importance of irrigation to pitch health and playability, the team will be decommissioning and recommissioning the system each year – draining it off and flushing it through, Dan explains. The tide of fixtures demands careful maintenance to keep the flow of games running smoothly. “The pitch wears at the centre spot and


Constructed in 2001, along with the clubhouse, when Stanningley moved to its present site with the aid of a £1.3m Lottery grant and the sale proceeds of its old base nearby, the pitch is laid on a gravel bed, which can be a double-edged sword, Dan explains. “The surface was draining quickly. It could become dry and dusty and feel like concrete. Our travelling sprinklers would be on from 7am to 9pm but the club decided to invest in a full irrigation system and raised £24,000 of the £30,000 cost over two years with member donations and lots of community activities. The remaining £6,000 was funded with a local authority grant.” Choosing a break in last year’s fixture list for the installation proved to be timely. “The dry spell had kicked in,” recalls Dan. “Over a two-week installation period, contractor Full


Dan entered the industry nine years ago from school. “I was taken on by Leeds Rugby, sent for qualification, gaining my Level 3 in Sports Turf Management, then, as part of my development, sent to Stanningley to gain practical education,” he explains. He played rugby himself until a cartilage tear ended his playing days.

Milder climate and year-round turf growth place ever more demands on the pitches for play. Aeration figures more prominently as the fixtures list mounts, Dan explains. “We’re mowing every day in spring and summer and have reduced cut height to 30mm from 35mm as this is more suited to the game.” Stanningley places great weight on delivering its fixtures and training programmes and will invest in the main pitch “to preserve and protect it”, Dan adds. “A couple of years ago, 18mm of rain fell on the Thursday and 25mm on the Saturday. We had handforked the main pitch but it had turned into a mudbath, so to prevent postponing a game we paid £350 to Vertidrain the surface. It was worth the money to keep the fixture.” In more than one sense the main pitch is always open to scrutiny. A gantry box positioned on a rise overlooking it is used by the Rhinos to film games for analysis and for posting on YouTube, official websites and live streaming. Open to anyone over 16, SARLC has built up a strong lasting legacy of community involvement. Past president Arthur Miller gave his name to the stadium, while league legends like Jamie Jones Buchanan, a THE GROUNDSMAN 25


MACHINERY MATTERS Kubota diesel B2410 Dennis G860 walk-behind John Deere 2653A diesel rideon (sharpened annually) Toro rotaries Charterhouse slitter Agri-Fab trailer Stihl strimmers Ryobi trimmers Billy Goat for collecting debris

The club invested in a full irrigation system last year

“My job is the most important factor. Rugby was always a sideline for me. Groundsmanship is my vocation” Leeds Rhinos stalwart of 20 years, is a regular with his three boys, who play here. Involvement with rugby league starts early in local lives, with skills training for four- to six-year-olds, then the open age category up to 16 and transitional teams beyond that. Links have opened up internationally too, with Stanningley players moving to clubs such as Albury Thunder RLC, New South Wales. The children’s play area and fitness stations positioned at one end of the main pitch testify to the club demographic. “It’s busy every day,” Dan notes, “something’s always happening socially.”

The club caters for players from age four and upwards

26 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

A typical week sees the first, second and open age teams competing, with women’s sides on Wednesdays and training and first team games on Fridays. At weekends, the ground can host another four fixtures, leaving manic Mondays as the grounds team’s full-on maintenance day.


Stanningley stalwart “since day one” Ken Smith is a mainstay of the grounds team. Here 34 hours a week – “more like 45-50 right through the year”, the 63-year-old focuses on the school pitch with the Kubota B2410 triple blade compact utility tractor, among a host of other duties that include mowing the banking at one end of the main pitch, a full Friday cleaning the changing rooms and putting out team kit and Saturday mornings sorting out the open-age teamwear. Newcomer Lewis Wilson, 17, arrived from college on five hours a week work experience and helps colleague Brian Sowden, 74, with cleaning and strimming around pitch perimeters. At amateur level, it can be all hands to the pump as occasion demands, Dan says. “When the Beast from the East hit us, players and staff mucked in to put the frost covers on [borrowed from Leeds Rhinos] then took six inches of snow off with a dragbrush in an effort to keep an Academy team fixture with Catalan Dragons but in the end bad weather grounded their flight.” In fact, it’s not unusual to see the two professional coaches of the open-age squads mucking in, he says. “The great thing about working in rugby league is it’s a level playing field. Nobody’s pulling rank. We have a strong community.” Player welfare is a priority for the club. Crowd funding has helped those prevented from playing through injury and the new Players Welfare Team is tasked with junior

players’ mental wellbeing. “Rugby league can destroy your body,” Dan explains, ”and being forced to stop something you love can have a profound effect on your mental state. There have been cases of suicides. The players’ welfare team includes qualified volunteers who are there to help juniors when needed.” Stanningley plans to tap into the opportunities the 2021 Rugby World Cup will present across the game. The heavily used training area needs a new solution to maintain functionality and thoughts have turned to a 3G option. “We’re applying for some of the funding available to improve rugby league facilities in World Cup year to convert the area to a synthetic surface,” Dan explains. “That’ll mean 10 to 12 hours a week maintenance work for us but it’ll be worth it and the pitch would last 10 years then be replaced with money built up in the sinking fund.” Does he miss playing rugby? “Sometimes. A damaged cartilage put paid to that. I’m fine now but my job is the most important factor and if I can make a difference to improve Stanningley’s playing surfaces, applying what I learn at Headingley here in the amateur game, that’s my major priority. Rugby was always a bit of a sideline for me. Groundsmanship is very much my vocation.” Where does Dan see himself in five years? “I’m content where I am,” he says modestly. “You want to progress but don’t want to push things. I enjoy working with Ryan and Leon [at Headingley]. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I work at a great rugby club that supports me well.” The 2019 IOG Industry Awards Dinner will be held at The Vox on 30 October. Download your booking form via:




The summer of 2018 clearly demonstrated the difficulties of managing sports turf where the soil type is a clay, which shrinks and swells on wetting and drying. While it is unlikely the UK will again experience such extreme weather over such a prolonged period, there are some actions which could help minimise the effects of such an occurrence

M By Alex Vickers Independent consultant

uch of England and Wales is covered by clay-dominated soils which have a moderate to high level of shrinkage associated with them as they dry. Clay soils with high amounts of 2:1 clay minerals such as Vermiculite and Smectite are especially prone to significant shrinkage on drying, which can lead to extensive, wide and deep cracks. Where shrinkage occurs near poorly designed buildings, it can lead to structural damage or even collapse of walls and structures. In sports turf, the issue is likely to result in cracks which are so large a surface becomes unsafe for use. In drained sites, as the soils shrink so the drain lines drop and the permeable fill drops into the trenches, leaving depressions at the surface which will need topping up. In 2018, conditions were so severe that even drain

“Clay soils with high amounts of minerals are especially prone to significant shrinkage on drying, which can lead to extensive, wide and deep cracks” 28 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

systems as old as 30 years dropped and required topping up. Clay soils which crack significantly are known as Pelosols and are described and classified in part by their propensity to crack and the degree to which they crack. In the absence of irrigation to keep the soils damp, it is impossible to stop these types of soil from cracking as it is a function of the chemistry and physics of the clay minerals themselves. Put simply, with no way to water such fields, as soon as they begin to dry the soils will begin to crack. As the drying continues, the cracks will become wider, deeper and more widespread. The cracks will only begin to close once it rains and the soils begin to wet again, swelling and closing the cracks as they do. In drains that have dropped, even when the soil wets and swells, the displaced permeable fill will wedge open the drain runs. In these cases, the drains will need topping up as the soil cannot push the dropped sand and gravel back up the sides of the trench to the original level.


Ideally install irrigation and manage the cracks that way. If you cannot water, then try the following:


Problems occur when cracks become so large they make a surface unsafe for use

Maintain as good a grass cover as possible with as deep a root system as possible. This may mean leaving the grass longer than you normally would in dry periods. This will help to remove water from a greater depth and volume of soil, thus drying it en-mass more slowly. Though the soil will crack, the roots will help to bind it together somewhat minimising the issues unless the dry period is prolonged. Soils shrink by a fixed percentage depending on the type of clay minerals in the soil. For instance, if your soil shrinks by up to 30 per cent as it dries, then if all that 30 per cent happens for a large block of soil along one crack line, it will be very deep and very wide. Using an Earthquake or Shockwave-type machine to cut additional lines of weakness into the soil will give more cracks but the cracks will be narrower and shallower. This is a risky approach, however, as some of the cracks you introduce may dry and open more than others – leading to worse surface levels. Work to maintain the best soil structure you can. This will aid in developing a strong sward with deep roots. As

“Maintain as good a grass cover as possible with as deep a root system as possible. This may mean leaving the grass longer than you normally would in dry periods” well-structured soils dry and shrink the shrinkage occurs at many scales, from the small intergranular scale to the gaps between blocks and prisms to the larger scale cracking in extreme events. As much of the shrinkage occurs between smaller structural units in the soil, the overall visual impact is much less and with far less surface disruption. This means regular spiking, slitting and decompaction works to offset compaction from use. Compacted, massive clay soils will have the biggest shrinkage cracks due to a lack of good soil structure.


In some cases, such as summer 2018, even with all these mitigation measures,

the conditions were so dry that most clay soil pitches suffered with dropped drains and cracking. In the soils that shrink the most on drying, this led to astonishingly cracked surfaces that were unsafe for play. Without the ability to water, grounds staff can do no more and cannot be blamed for this entirely natural process. Thankfully, the summer of 2018 was a once-in-ageneration event and unless climate change increases the occurrence of such exceptional summers, things should be easier this year. Alex Vickers BSc (Hons) Soil Sci, MRes, MI Soil Sci, is a technical consultant to the Institute of Groundsmanship




SALTEX reached 9,000 show visitors in 2018

IOG chief executive Geoff Webb presents his annual report

By Geoff Webb IOG chief executive


n 2008/09, the IOG commissioned research to provide an overview of the grounds management market in terms of its annual value, numbers employed and volunteers, as well as the attitudes towards and trends within the industry. This resulted in the first definitive report – ‘Grounds Management: The Hidden Profession’ – that suggested that in England alone there were 20,000 employed professionals and at least 20,000 dedicated volunteers addressing grounds maintenance in several different sectors. The report also revealed that the industry had an annual operating value in excess of £0.5 billion, plus capital expenditure. The report also looked at the status and trends of grounds management across the UK, collecting attitudinal views from both employers and from groundscare personnel. Last year, the IOG commissioned further research – ‘Groundsmanship: Sport’s Vital Profession’ – to enable comparisons to be made, with the aims of the research being: To identify overall trends within the grounds management industry in England at 2018/19; To provide an estimate of the overall economic impact annually of the grounds management industry in England in 2018/19; To provide an estimate of the number

30 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

of people working in the industry both professionally and as volunteers in England at 2018/19, and in which sectors; To provide empirical evidence of attitudes towards grounds management in England – this should include attitudes of employers towards grounds managers and grounds staff; attitudes of grounds managers and grounds staff towards employers; and attitudes of volunteers undertaking grounds management duties; To identify trends, attitudes and pressures within individual sectors of the industry in England at 2018/19. This research is ongoing and the results will be presented at SALTEX in October this year.

DEDICATED GROUNDS PEOPLE What we do know from previous research is that the groundscare industry is one that attracts dedicated, hard-working

“The industry attracts dedicated, hard-working professionals and volunteers”

employed professionals and volunteers, who are prepared to (and do) work long, and unsociable hours. The industry has an enviable global reputation, including individuals and companies known for their quality and innovation. UK groundscare professionals in a variety of roles are employed at top-class venues worldwide, advising and working at major events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games, FIFA World Cups, European Games, UEFA Champions League Finals, Rugby World Cups and all of the major events held annually in the UK. We also have outstanding volunteers who regularly put in a minimum of 12 hours per week and these are a dedicated and vital asset to community sport. Professional sports turf management has its pressures. First and foremost are the varying and rapid fixture and event schedules that are increasingly dictated by television rights holders, resulting in grounds management teams working almost 24/7, with social and working consequences. Major venues have to adjust to daily, midweek and weekend sporting events at differing times, alongside music and other revenueraising events. Club and ground owners are increasingly trying to ‘sweat their asset’ to the point where grounds managers are under continual pressure. No longer are modern day stadia built for sports only but also for


“We are working hard to elevate the thinking and culture around investment into the profession” entertainment and year-round activities. And all this is under the glare of the media spotlight, which today is greater than ever. One outcome from our industry research is to further review the recommended salary scales with a particular look at elite venues and their relative status on the global stage. The question being what, in this day and age, should a grounds director command as a minimum salary? This is something the IOG Board will look into during the coming year.


During the period 2008/09-2019, there have been significant changes within the industry. UK local government, in particular, entered a pronounced period of ‘austerity’, and discretionary services such as sport, leisure, parks and culture have suffered significant budget reductions with more to follow in the current 2016-2020 cycle. This has led to the retirement and redundancy of existing skilled grounds management personnel, as well as a down-skilling of the retained personnel, the lack of new entrants/apprentices to the industry and a new class of personnel who are regarded simply as operatives who have other duties such as ‘street sweeping’ within their remit. Austerity measures have resulted in disparities between individual local authorities and the regional picture, and some authorities and regions have been hit much harder than others. In many areas, local authorities are doing the minimum possible in the provision of natural turf pitches, perhaps providing grass cutting services and minimal annual maintenance and improvement – with line marking being undertaken either by volunteers or external contractors. Local government is trying to move the responsibility for grounds management and particularly fine turf provision out of the public sector towards voluntary organisations through Asset Transfer. Volunteer committees and grounds keepers will be key to future fine turf and higher quality pitch provision at community level. Increasingly, grounds maintenance in the

public sector is also being contracted out to external maintenance contractors or social enterprise trusts. Austerity measures have also had a similar knock-on effect at state education facilities and will undoubtedly have impacted on other public sector sports turf provision through, for example, the Ministry of Defence, Police and other public organisations. In the state education sector, the situation is particularly poor with the lack of investment in sports surfaces, particularly in natural turf, being compounded by lack of grounds management and maintenance skills and expertise. Notwithstanding the presence of Playing Pitch Strategies [PPS], in many local authority areas the public sector is lacking in applied longer-term management strategies for sports surfaces – natural and artificial.


The prolonged Brexit debate and the current political landscape make predicting the direction of travel for investment into sport rather clouded. Sport has over the past decade had to convince Government of how it can contribute to the health of the nation in order to bring in investment. It is no longer a case of sport for sport’s sake. At Government department level, sport has been diluted further with the change in structure of what was the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to what is now the department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport. It is the lowest resourced Government department and it fights for investment alongside every other department, all of which have their own priorities. For the profession of groundsmanship, we are working hard to elevate the thinking


NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Groundsmanship will be held at: De Vere Staverton Estate, Daventry Road, Staverton, Northampton, NN11 6JT on Wednesday 18 September 2019 from 12 noon to 1.30pm; followed by a buffet lunch. Further information will be posted on our website ( during August. Anyone wishing to attend should register by emailing or contacting the office on 01908 312511. If you do not have internet access and wish to receive a copy of last year’s AGM Minutes, please contact the IOG office and we’ll post them out to you.

and culture around investment into the profession – from volunteer to professional – across a range of sectors including the public sector, independent schools and universities, volunteers and those working in the many stadia and sports venues across the country. Grounds management does need a reboot and we are in the process of developing initiatives to achieve exactly that. It will require a fundamental shift in attitudes and outlook from within our sector and beyond it.

SALTEX provides a hub for industry networking THE GROUNDSMAN 31



Some National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs), notably the Football Association [FA] in England where more than 80 per cent of community-based football takes place on natural turf pitches mainly provided by local government, have until recently placed emphasis on synthetic turf pitches as an answer to future community football needs. In more recent years, the pros and cons of artificial surfaces have come under close scrutiny as public awareness of issues around the infill have raised concerns, which have been well documented in the media. While there are advocates for an outright ban (or halt) to investment in artificial surfaces primarily due to health, injury and environmental concerns, weighed against this viewpoint are the socio-economic and arguably health benefits that the provision of such surfaces provide. Various papers have been written and as would be expected, depending on which body of evidence you read, there is divided opinion on the positives and negatives of such surfaces. You could say it’s all to play for! It would seem at professional football level the happy medium is the use of reinforced (hybrid) pitches rather than a full 3G surface. The Football League and the Premier League have rejected calls for the introduction The IOG is working to improve natural turf using the Pitch Grading Framework

of 3G surfaces and, indeed, a recent poll of Professional Footballers Association members saw 95 per cent against the introduction of the surface into League competition. Rugby has allowed 3G into competition, but again player perception varies and some cite injury concerns. More recently, trials undertaken by Sport England at Regent’s Park and Bisham Abbey into reinforced (hybrid) surfaces are into a second season of data gathering and could provide a new alternative to a straight choice between natural or artificial pitches at community level. The benefits are that usage is significantly increased when compared to a natural turf pitch. However, this solution does not come cheap as an alternative. Of course, natural turf is not without its challenges either, as Europe-wide legislation on the safe use of pesticides impacts the grounds staff’s day-to-day armoury. So, as much as new technology has impacted and improved surfaces, a well-rounded approach to responsible grounds management is required to take account of more organic approaches and deal with today’s prevalent issues which include our impact on the environment, energy efficiency and, increasingly, the debate surrounding the use and application of man-made products. Future turf managers will need to demonstrate knowledge and understanding

“In recent years, the pros and cons of artificial surfaces have come under close scrutiny” of a range of skill sets and keep records and evidence of their working practices going forwards, so we have a duty of care to provide appropriate education and training to equip them for the future. One of the many skill sets required will be an integrated approach to management that will increasingly require a back-to-basics organic approach to grounds management. The IOG recognises this and reflects new thinking regularly within its portfolio of courses available to both the professional and volunteer sectors.


More recently for natural turf at community level, evidence gathered by the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (which is backed by Sport England and directly funded by the FA and the England and Wales Cricket Board [ECB], and operated by the IOG) has placed a much greater emphasis on refurbishing and ‘refreshing’ natural grass pitches with the aim of significantly improving 20,000 pitches over a 10-year period (2017-2027). Operated day-to-day by the IOG, the programme’s national director and nine regional pitch advisors have assessed more than 2,000 natural turf sites and made recommendations for improvement that are already having a significant impact on these natural turf pitches. The team is also collecting valuable data and identifying industry trends at a local level. Compaction is a key issue alongside a lack of awareness of the training available.


This past year, the IOG has also progressed ambitious plans to introduce a nationallyrecognised National Framework for Natural Turf by utilising a proposed pitch grading programme that is linked to the levels of education and learning required at each level. This pyramid approach will combine both technical and educational standards recommended to improve the playing experience for players from community grassroots level through to elite venue level. The ECB has placed a high priority on quality natural fine turf wickets and outfields

32 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019



ONLINE UPDATES Please note that any proposed changes to the IOG’s Articles of Association and details of any elections that are required will be posted on during August. Access to the relevant voting and proxy forms will also be posted onto the website. If you do not have access to the internet, please contact the IOG office on 01908 312511 to register to receive a voting pack by post.

The IOG fondly remembers the late Eddie Seaward MBE

since 2005 and now has a national network of accredited ‘pitch advisors’ operating across its county-wide network, and in Wales. Club cricket is very dependent on an army of volunteer grounds managers. Natural and artificial turf surfaces remain a priority for Rugby Union, Rugby League, golf, lawn tennis, horse racing, equestrian eventing and bowls, to name a few. Of course, key to all the above is to have good management of the venues, so providing education is crucial and promoting and developing courses fit for our times is something that requires continual progression. At the IOG we now offer what we call a ‘blended learning’ approach, combining online modules alongside the traditional in-person approach. Of course, further education has witnessed a downturn in funding and it’s not easy providing sports turf courses against a backdrop of austerity and funding cuts for the further education sector from central government.


The IOG has responded positively to the changing perspective. The institute has with some success provided a ‘voice’ for the industry; it has taken positive action to resolve individual issues; it has taken action to promote improved pay and conditions in the industry; to attract more young people through the Young IOG and its highly respected and valued Schools into Stadia programme, targeting GSCE science students using the power of sports turf management. Alongside this, we have published the IOG Prospectus and introduced a significantly revised training structure that provides an improved career progression structure.


Now at the Birmingham NEC, SALTEX witnesses continual growth and in 2018 broke through the 9,000 visitors barrier for the first time. SALTEX is the industry’s shop window and each year showcases the innovation and breadth of our sector, with added content including Learning LIVE, The SALTEX College Cup, Ask the experts, Lawn Care Legends Live and the Job Clinic, as well as outdoor demonstrations. The IOG Industry Awards is co-located with SALTEX and last year’s event reached a peak attendance of 650 people! Also, growth in our corporate membership has advanced significantly during the past year as has membership across all categories.


The IOG team (both office and field-based) is supported by a proactive Board which, for the past 10 years, has been led by our first independent chairman, David Teasdale. He has overseen many changes and bold decisions including the relocation of SALTEX from Windsor Racecourse to the NEC. We have this year to also thank retiring Board members Fred Hammond and Les Gibbs who have served with distinction over many years as members at Branch, Regional and Board Level. We also thank Pete Hussey, Kate Entwistle and Dougie Robertson for their contributions to the IOG Board. Peter Lee OBE retains observer status and moves to chair of the Grounds 4 Sport Working Group. This past year we welcomed Neil Stubley from the AELTC onto the Board as well as Carol Doran who, respectively, bring added experience having worked in sports stadia at elite level and sports administration. Our new incoming independent chair, David

Carpenter, has served as chairman elect and was appointed unanimously to take on the position of chair from September after the AGM. David joined the Sports Council in 1978 and among his career highlights has researched the possibility of a National Lottery to fund sport and it was this research that enabled Britain to compete on a viable basis on the world stage when the National Lottery Fund was created in 1994. During David’s tenure, the fund allocated £2.6 billion and over 29,000 grants to venues ranging from grassroots sites to elite performance. In 2012, he stepped up as a volunteer leader as a Games Maker, interviewing potential volunteers and working at the Paralympics to ensure the superb delivery of the event. David has been a proactive IOG Board member and led the ‘Hidden Profession’ research carried out in 2008/9. With this impressive CV and the IOG’s great team ethic, we have continued to build on solid foundations led by our outgoing chairman David Teasdale. See also pages 34-35 for an insight into David Teasdale’s chairmanship, and for David Carpenter’s views on what lies ahead.


At this point it would be remiss not to recognise the outstanding contribution of our former patron, the late Eddie Seaward MBE, who leaves behind an incredible legacy. He was a true statesmen of the industry and a champion to his peers and colleagues. We will forever treasure his memory. While the challenges we face today are significant, the opportunities and progression are equally evident as we strive to serve our membership throughout the seasons. THE GROUNDSMAN 33


David Teasdale: “A hard act to follow”


As David Teasdale relinquishes his position as chairman of the Institute of Groundsmanship, and David Carpenter picks up the reins, we look back – and forward – to what has been, and promises to be, in their eyes very significant times for the organisation By Colin Hoskins Features editor


David Teasdale was heralded at last year’s IOG awards for Outstanding Leadership of the IOG, and a host of laudatory comments highlighted his successes during his 10-year tenure at the helm of the organisation. But of all of them (see panel, right), David says it was his contribution to the IOG’s dogged determination to move the SALTEX exhibition to the Birmingham NEC, to make the show a success again, that he would point to as perhaps his, and Geoff Webb and the team’s, biggest achievement. “It was a very bold decision to move the event; the announcement caused ‘shockhorror’ throughout the industry,” he reflects. “But, in hindsight, it has certainly proved to be a wise decision. “The revenues from SALTEX effectively enable the IOG to pursue its many avenues of support for the industry, including continuing efforts to not only improve the image and recognition of grounds people but also to offer a raft of unrivalled

34 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

services, including training and education, to continually help upskill the people within it (professionals and volunteers). The IOG – a not-for-profit organisation – has enormous weight and relevance but its activities and relatively low-cost membership fees alone do not sustain it. “SALTEX had been on a downward spiral for a number of years, with falling exhibitor and visitor numbers, and it was clear that something had to be done to get the show back as a growing concern. We established a SALTEX working party – we needed to ‘complement’ the IOG’s passion for the event with people who would perhaps take a more objective, unbiased view of the existing show – and included a number of exhibitors. They told us what they really thought!

“It was a bold decision to move the event”

DAVID TEASDALE HAS ALSO... Played a key role in instigating change – change for the better – at the IOG by leading the IOG board with a clever blend of determination and focus Played a pivotal role in transforming the governance of the IOG Board to meet modern standards and expectations Opened many doors to key decision-makers Championed the IOG Young Board and the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme Been a driving force for ensuring that groundsmanship is recognised as a great and noble profession among sports governing bodies and national government.


“We need to promote the high skill sets that are required to maintain our sports surfaces” “Moving a show that had been held in the open at Windsor Racecourse for 37 years, and transforming it into an indoor event, was one of the biggest projects I’ve ever been involved with! But I’d like to think that I’ve played my part in helping, supporting and encouraging Geoff [Webb, IOG chief executive] and the IOG team in achieving such a bold and ambitious plan.” David makes his assessment of the importance of “the formidable number of roundtable discussions and negotiations” that went into the SALTEX project against a backdrop of years of high-profile ‘boardroom roles’ including, during his term of IOG office, additional chairmanships in both public and private organisations. “Looking at the big picture and setting and implementing strategy with clear objectives, has always been the thing I like best,” he continues. “But even with that in mind, moving SALTEX was a hearts-andminds job – especially for exhibitors. But David Carpenter wants to build on “the excellent work of a great Board”

since its relaunch at the NEC, the show has gone from strength to strength in both exhibitor and visitor numbers. I’m really proud of the SALTEX we have today.” Now, as David moves into a position as a non-executive Board member, he adds: “This is an industry I love and I deeply respect the people in it. And the IOG team has been one of the best groups I’ve worked with throughout my career. Together we’ve taken some big decisions and we’ve actioned them properly by coming together as a true team. I will always look back on being IOG chair as right up there as one of the most enjoyable and key jobs I’ve ever had.”


David Carpenter’s chairmanship “will be a case of evolution not revolution”, he says as he starts his three-year term of office. “David Teasdale will be a hard act to follow,” he adds, “so, really, I see my role as being one of continuity and building on the excellent work of a great Board. One of the ways forward, I see, is by utilising every aspect of market intelligence that the IOG has to continue to bang the drum for an industry that is highly valued – in the sense of both annual turnover as well as the worldwide reputations of those within it.” David, who has been a Board member for nine years, adds that much of the ammunition for this campaign will come from the IOG’s most recent Industry Survey [see below]. “The initial results not only reveal the value of the industry but, among other things, also highlight an important area that really needs to be championed – and that’s the fact that not enough young people are taking up groundscare. That’s something I really want to change. The Young IOG Board has been a fantastic initiative, but we


need to continue to lift the image and profile of a career in this industry, and work hard to promote the sector, especially to the younger generation.” With a pedigree of successful ‘image building’ in his former roles with the (as was) Sports Council and the Lottery Fund, David is certain he can make a difference. “It is clear that job satisfaction is high – once people enter this sector they tend to stay in it – but we must do more to address salaries at elite level as well as at community, entry and voluntary levels. Importantly, too, we need to promote the high skill sets that are required to maintain our sports surfaces. Today’s grounds professionals can justifiably be called turf scientists and their work is essential to the success of sport. That is a message that we must drum home again and again to the sports industry and to the general public.” He continues: “One of my main roles will be to champion IOG initiatives like the Pitch Grading Framework, the programme that highlights the skills needed to maintain every level of sports surface, alongside the appropriate education and training pathways. This framework is, I feel, the key to addressing the issue of salaries. The framework needs to be actively accepted by our partners, by sports clubs and especially by local authorities which in particular have been severely hit by a skills (and manpower) shortage.” Adding that UK grounds expertise is increasingly recognised abroad – “take the recent example of how the help and advice of UK grounds professionals helped staff at the various training grounds and stadia used for this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup” – we must do more to upsell what we’ve got, but not at the expense of developing the IOG and the industry on our home shores. “First and foremost, we have to improve the skills and knowledge of everyone involved in turf care. And we have to continue to raise the profile of the IOG and cement its status as the ‘go-to’ organisation for everything to do with turf care and playing surfaces. It will be a fiveto 10-year programme and I can’t wait to get started.” Look out for the IOG’s Industry Research document (Groundsmanship: Sport’s Vital Profession) which will be available at SALTEX this year



BUMPING UP THE FLEET Leigh Sports Village has added eight new mowers to its Dennis armoury Keith Porter, head groundsman at Leigh Sports Village in Greater Manchester, has added to his fleet of Dennis mowers by purchasing four G860 cylinder mowers and four PRO 34R rotary mowers. To cut and prepare the pitches for match days, Keith has long relied on the Dennis G860 cylinder mower. However, with games coming thick and fast, and armed with some rather ageing rotary mowers, Keith felt the time was right to add to his Dennis armoury. “Quite often, we will have back-toback games and have three games in a week – so we need good equipment for a quick turnaround,” he said. “Our

STONE NO MATCH FOR SHOCKWAVE Kyles Athletic Shinty Club has turned to the Imants ShockWave 100 from Campey Turf Care Systems to solve its drainage problems Kyles Athletic groundsman Tom Whyte and Campey product specialist Richard Heywood

he ne ennis eet at Leigh Sports Village

rotaries were about four years old and had become unreliable. “We had a PRO 34R on a demonstration and were really impressed with it, so we decided to go ahead and purchase four. It was also the ideal opportunity to bring in more G860s because they have always given us great results. “They are both light machines compared to competitors, so they are lighter on the pitch and therefore there is not as much compaction.” The new Dennis PRO 34R is a 34in

(860mm) rotary mower which has been designed to help groundsmen achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and the desired playing surface. It is ideal for sports pitches and lawns, producing the enviable ‘Dennis Stripes’ while a powerful vacuum flow collects debris quickly and efficiently. Keith believes the two mowers perfectly complement one another.

The club is based on the west coast of Scotland in Auchenlochan, with its facility at the edge of the Kyles of Bute – a narrow sea channel often subjected to heavy rain. This, combined with a drainage issue on the field, has meant games have been called off. Tom Whyte is the sole volunteer groundsman at the club. He said: “Two years ago, the committee decided to get a contractor in to install drains, but they weren’t a success, put down to the stone being too close to the surface. Because of the compaction, they couldn’t go further down without causing a lot of hassle to the field. We had to look at other ways of fixing the issue. “The council tried to use a tine aerator, but after covering about a seventh of the pitch, they said

it was too wet and never came back. I was recommended a ShockWave, and I spoke to Richard Heywood at Campey and he explained to me that when the ShockWave hits the rock, it rides it – it doesn’t try to break its way through, but it will go through the small stuff. “It was all down to money so I spoke to Richard Campey, and he did us a deal with the ShockWave, a New Holland Boomer 125 and a fertiliser spreader. I approached our district council and Clackmannanshire District Council. Both of them gave money towards the machines, making it affordable for the club.” The Imants ShockWave is the perfect solution because it is designed to decompact heavy wear areas by relieving soil compaction using 12mm-thick knives. This makes it the ideal aerator on fields that have stone near the surface because the blades will not break.



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Product showcase


IOG NEWS UPDATES Go to the IOG website



The Wiedenmann blowers excel on undulating ground


For sensitive sites

MAINTENANCE WORK OFTEN needs to take place in public places. Step forward two Wiedenmann blowers, which can work discreetly yet efficiently in noise-sensitive areas. The Mega Twister combines 230° of swivel with a 390m³ per minute blowing capacity. The Whisper Twister turns 180° and offers 200m³ per minute. Optimise output by easily attaching optional goose-neck

spouts, so the wind nozzles can be set parallel to the floor. You can also choose an electrical operation for the nozzle. Tractors with just one doublespool valve can operate the leftto-right swivel action hydraulically and the up-and-down motion via an electric ram, thus not requiring a second hydraulic service.

PELLENC The Airion 3 blower is battery-powered with a rapid connection system

LIGHT AND LONG-LASTING PROTECTED AGAINST DUST and moisture and 100% waterproof, the Airion 3 blower is designed to withstand the test of time. It and can be used for several hours without fatigue or tension. Weighing only 2.55kg and providing effective


thrust of 17.5N, it meets the needs of professionals in all weather conditions. Its speed controller and boost feature make it possible to manage the blowing power based on the surface to be

cleared. It benefits from several improvements over its predecessor: new materials for the air intake elbow and the outlet nozzle; and a new cable with high-fatigue resistance, which considerably increases the tool’s service life.

Institute of Groundsmanship

THE MAKITA BHX2501 MM4 Hand Held Blower is a compact petrol blower with a weight of 4.5kg. Easy to manoeuvre, the blower has electronic ignition for an easy start, and can be fitted with an optional vacuum attachment for disposing of leaves, hedge trimmings or litter. Its four-stroke engine means less fuel wastage and less pollution than with a two-stroke model. Utilising Makita’s patented oil circuit, the BHX2501 also offers 360° operation, providing users with flexible and efficient working.

The BHX2501 MM4 weighs just 4.5kg



C blower is powered by a 25.4cc Stage 2 compliant, twostroke engine. The rotational control design reduces the gyro effect on the wrist. Grouped controls, a throttle with cruise control and optional shoulder harness, to support its weight, make this blower easy to use and help reduce user fatigue. There is plenty of power with an air volume of 768m3/h and maximum air speed of 76.2m/sec. It has a double debris guard to reduce intake clogging providing more consistent performance.

The Echo PB-2520 has user-friendly controls THE GROUNDSMAN 39




MORE POWER THAN PETROL EGO SAYS ITS new LBX6000 is the most powerful handheld blower on the market. Aimed at professional users, it allows for more working time, more comfort and more power than its petrol-powered counterparts. It’s powered by one of EGO’s battery backpacks (sold separately), offering a run time of up to 350 minutes, and can blow up to 1,014m3/h of air per hour using its Turbo Boost mode. It’s ideal for use in noise-sensitive areas with

“We carefully considered its impact on user health, reducing vibration, banishing harmful fumes and reducing noise"


The unit runs with a separate battery backpack

an operational volume of just 80 decibels. Steve Roskell, marketing director, EMEA at EGO, said: “The excessive hand-arm vibration and fumes caused by petrol-powered blowers have long been a contributing factor to health problems. “It is a common misconception that battery-powered tools fail to provide professional gardeners and landscapers with the same, if not better, performance as petrol tools. “When we designed the LBX6000, we carefully considered its impact on user health, the environment and cost, reducing vibration, banishing harmful fumes and reducing noise levels.” The LBX6000 is available to buy for £229.




LAUNCHING THIS AUTUMN, the BR 800 C-E produces a huge blowing force of 41N. The STIHL 4-MIX engine provides fast acceleration, more power, added torque and lower noise during operation, to complete jobs quickly and easily. In addition, the engine offers reduced emissions and increased fuel efficiency. To make getting up and running even easier, the BR 800 C-E is designed with a convenient starting system featured on the side of the machine, allowing users to start the blower while wearing it. The BR 800 C-E also has a strong power-toweight ratio and comes complete with an ergonomic backpack


The BR 800 C-E is STIHL’s most powerful blower yet

The TS98 lawn sweeper has a large capacity catcher


carrying system for maximum comfort when wearing. Professionals can also rapidly adjust the position of the carrying handle and the blower tube without tools, and the anti-vibration technology can be used for extended periods of time. The ergonomic carrying handle on the BR 800 C-E is located above the centre of gravity, increasing the control and balance that the operator has when lifting and transporting the machine, while the handy slot in the backplate makes storage easier than ever.


THE TS98 LAWN sweeper is robustly built to withstand prolonged heavy use. A differential mechanism allows the sweeper to be manoeuvred in tight corners without the wheels scuffing. This mechanism also allows both ground wheels to drive the pick-up brushes giving it superior sweeping power. The height adjustment is simple, allowing it to be used on many different surfaces. The main drive is transmitted via strong metal gears. The large capacity solid plastic catcher is rot- and tear-proof, and simple to empty. Reversing onto the tipping heap can be difficult for some, but it is made easier with the TS98 as it only has two wheels in contact with the ground. THE GROUNDSMAN 41



The sturdy Terra Rake comes in �ve i erent i ths

Oscillating brush units make the sca especiall e ective


A SYNTHETIC SUCCESS THE SISIS OSCA is a tractor-mounted powered oscillating brush with a 1.9m working width and is equally effective when used on synthetic turf with sand or rubber infill. The two oscillating brushes stand up the carpet fibres and redistribute the infill, minimising compaction on the surface and improving its performance – giving consistent playing characteristics while preventing pile damage caused by reduced infill levels. A contributory factor to the reduction of compaction is that the Osca’s working width will use fewer passes than other more conventional drag brushes to complete a pitch. Its aggressive brushing action agitates the upper infill level of the surface from side to side as well as brushing forward, helping to reduce surface compaction and encourage the fibres to stand up straight. This reduces the risk of contamination and drainage problems, and leaves a consistent playing surface across the whole pitch.



WIEDENMANN UK’S TERRA Rake performs routine maintenance by loosening compacted infill. Decompaction assists pitch drainage and prevents moss and algae from establishing. Regular raking improves ball roll and helps redistribute the rubber crumb. Comprising a robust frame with four rows of spring tines, the Terra Rake has just 16mm between each row, the spring tines offset and their heavy vibrating action loosening sand or rubber crumbs. An

optional ‘load relief’ kit is available and can be retro-fitted. Mountable to the top of the frame, it features a spring assister, which provides a parallel load path to take tension away. With seven separate settings, it can easily be amended to suit. All Terra Rake purchases come with a five-year tine breakage guarantee. The Terra Rake has five different widths, from 1.7m, including an electric trailed option.


Campey cleans and decompacts CAMPEY TURF CARE Systems’ latest innovation, the Campey Uni-Scratch, is a new solution for the professional and effective maintenance of natural and synthetic grass surface. The Campey UniScratch can be used for organic matter removal on natural grass hybrid KEEP IN TOUCH

carpet pitches when carrying out annual renovations. When a synthetic surface is regularly used, the infill can become lodged and cause uneven hard and soft areas that eventually lead to drainage issues and flattening of the artificial fibres.

To prevent this, the Uni-Scratch has been developed to provide essential maintenance by de-compacting and redistributing the infill. The machine can also be used to evenly distribute the infill in synthetic carpets during installation. www.campeyturf

The Uni-Scratch provides easy and essential synthetic turf maintenance

Institute of Groundsmanship THE GROUNDSMAN 43




SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE THE SCH RUBBER DRAG Mat (RDM) is constructed from moulded rubber with a galvanised towing bar, and is ideal for use on both natural and artificial surfaces. The perforated rubber matting refreshes the surface and helps remove surface compaction. The mat leaves the surface looking neat and clean. The rubber matting reduces surface damage that may be caused by alternative heavier metal units. The drag mat can also be used for flattening worm casts and keeping a surface level.

“The rubber matting reduces surface damage that may be caused by heavier metal units"


The drag mat leaves natural and arti�cial surfaces looking neat

The mat is towed via chains, and is connected to a ring and clevis hitch combination. This allows the mat to be connected via a clevis hitch, or for the ring to be dropped over a ball hitch. The RDM can be towed

directly from the towing vehicle, or it can be attached to the rear of other SCH towed artificial surface care machines, to save time while achieving professional results.





CRICKET PITCH SPECIALIST TotalPlay has launched a new ‘natural’ colour artificial cricket pitch carpet option – offering clubs more choice when it comes to practice facility and match pitch design. The first supplier to be awarded the

The new carpet mimics the straw-like colour of a grass match wicket

England & Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) status of Code of Practice Installer for the Design and Installation of NonTurf Systems, Total-Play has been at the forefront of artificial cricket pitch development for almost two decades. Its latest addition offers clubs even

more choice when it comes to the aesthetics of non-turf installations, by offering a new ‘natural’ colour carpet that closely mimics the straw-like shade of a grass match wicket. This ‘Natural Pitch Colour’ (NPC) option is available on its tufted carpet system with a woven version undergoing ECB testing in summer 2019 to make it available on all three of the company’s ECB approved system designs. Managing director David Bates says: “For some time, we’ve been looking into developing a carpet that is more muted and closer to that of a ‘natural’ cricket pitch. The option is ideal for areas where planning may stipulate minimal visual impact such as near a listed building, or in a historic or particularly rural setting – but already we’re seeing clubs choose the NPC option for other interesting reasons.” www.iog.orgTHE THEGROUNDSMAN GROUNDSMAN 45





0203 859 7097


INFINICUT BOWLS OVER CLUB Galashiels Bowling Club has cut workload and costs with new buy Galashiels has joined a growing list of bowling clubs to purchase a Cub Cadet Infinicut mower. Club vice president Steve Currie is delighted with the switch to a 22in floatinghead version, and it has already made significant improvements to green quality and reductions in noise and fuel cost. Having taken over as the club’s green ranger two years ago, without a greenkeeping background, Steve turned to industry contacts and nearby clubs for advice – which is where he first heard about the Infinicut. “Our previous mower was costing the club more to maintain than the service it

Galashiels Bowling Club greenkeeper Tom Thorburn with the new mower

was delivering,” explains Steve. “We looked at all the usual petrol-powered models when Martin at Pro-Turfcare, our local contractor, suggested we looked at the Infinicut.” While Steve admits he was initially concerned about the new technology, a demonstration and a sums session quickly put his mind to rest. “The Infinicut was not only easy to set up and use, but in the long run it was going to be a good bet financially. The quality of cut it and finish it delivers is fantastic. With

it being battery-operated, we can now mow earlier in the mornings and later into the evenings, which we were previously unable to do due to the restrictions of being located in a residential area. In addition, the battery makes it inexpensive to run. The time and financial savings this will equate to, compared to sourcing fuel and storage insurance costs, we estimate will be significant.”


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IMPROVED PITCHES AT SHREWSBURY SCHOOL A change of supplier has led to excellent results Shrewsbury School prides itself on a strong sporting ethos and during term times, pitch usage is seven days a week. With over 800 pupils, the pitches are well used to say the least. It is for this reason that grounds manager Andy Richards is very particular in choosing a grass seed that stands up to the task. “Three years ago we made the decision to change to Limagrain’s MM60 on our football pitches,” he said. “We were experiencing a lot of disease,

Shrewsbury School’s improved pitches

especially on our first team pitch, and I think we sprayed four times to tackle fusarium. With this in mind, I thought it was worth trying something different to see if we could find a seed that was better for our site. “We trialled MM60 on one pitch against the seed that we were previously using over the course of a season – to see which one was the best. Results showed that there was a lot less

disease from using MM60 and it stood up a lot better to the really high usage that we have. The pitch that we trialled it on had 112 uses during a 12-week period and it felt like the MM60 provided a much more upright leaf, which seemed to protect the pitch more than our previous seed.”


For more information visit THE GROUNDSMAN 47


COMBATTING WEAR AT LEICESTER TIGERS RC The grounds team has achieved yearround plant health at Leicester Tigers RC

A new strategy has improved plant health The high usage at Leicester Tigers Rugby Club’s Oval Park training ground keeps head groundsman Ed Mowe and his maintenance team of three on their toes. Yet, despite this, the pitches are appearing to stay stronger for longer, which Ed attributes to Headland Amenity’s input into the club’s nutritional programme. “Along with two soil-based pitches, we have one Desso surface at Oval Park, which was struggling to cope with the rigorous demands of winter training,” says Ed. “Alex Hawkes, Headland’s sports turf specialist, came in and conducted some tests

and following this we structured an overarching feeding programme, along with looking at some specific products to target the problems we faced.” To strengthen the plant and root development on the Desso pitch, Alex recommended the Headland ‘20/20/30’ tank-mix. “This proactive approach has not only reduced our requirement for reactive fungicide applications, but together with aeration, has given us a noticeable improvement in wear tolerance and coverage. Where previously training would begin in November and the pitch would be

virtually destroyed by January, we can now train from August right through to the end of the season,” Ed explains. “While I hadn’t used Headland products previously, they have proved to be reliable and effective on their own or when used in combination with other products from the range. Alex has been a great help in formulating this programme and we will continue to work with him, fine-tuning the regime, to achieve the quality surfaces we’re looking for,” he concluded.


Newlands Holidays, a family-run caravan park near Charmouth in Dorset, has invested in a Toro Groundsmaster 3500-D to help keep its 23 acres of landscaped grounds in top condition. Maintaining the grounds to a high standard is vital, says business partner, Rex Ireland. “The appearance of the park is of the utmost importance for our business,” said Rex. “It’s a significant factor in customers choosing to holiday here and it’s essential the park looks its best.” Having briefed his local dealer on his requirements, Devon Garden Machinery brought in the Toro Groundsmaster 3500-D, among other models, to trial and despite tough competition the GM3500-D’s

performance won in the end. “The Toro machine was just great compared to the other brands,” said Rex. “It did really well on the banks, which was very important as we have a fair amount of undulating terrain. Overall, the GM3500-D showed itself to be a really reliable machine and it will be used for the bulk of the work here.” The combination of the machine’s ground-following design – each contour cutting deck is free-floating – and the unique parallel traction drive system means it can tackle the most challenging of terrain in all weathers without scalping. As a triplex rotary mower, the GM3500-D has the added benefit of producing the quality trimming you’d expect from a reel mower as well as the easy maintenance of a rotary mower, something which proved to be a key consideration for Rex.

Newlands invests in Toro to keep customers coming back

Newlands Holidays’ Rex Ireland, centre, is delighted with the Toro Groundsmaster 3500-D

48 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019



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o a vertise in the classi�e section of The Groundsman please contact: Lee Morris T: 0203 859 7097 E: lee.morris@



0203 859 7097 THE GROUNDSMAN 49



Managing multisport venues page 20


Hollow-tining a green can be readily carried out within a day using a suitable machine that may be designed to collect the cores or staff may be used to brush, rake and shovel up the cores as soon as the machine starts working. If the cores are dry, a litter blower vac can be used to blow most of the cores into defined areas of the green making it easier to remove them. Once the hollow-tining and clearing up has been completed, the green should be cut to provide a satisfactory playing surface. This hollow-tine operation can also be carried out a second time, at the end of the playing season.


With the season now closing, or closed, a thorough renovation of the square will be required. Mow the whole square to 5mm or so, to produce a fairly clean top surface. Scarify thoroughly: this could be from three to 10 passes/occasions. It is important that if the square is to be aerated, ideally with a punch action solid tine machine to 100-150mm depth, that sufficient irrigation is carried out beforehand to assist in tine penetration. Sarel spike the square then overseed at 34-50g/m2. Typically a pure 100 per cent perennial rye grass mixture is applied to the

50 THE GROUNDSMAN August 2019

whole of the square. A pre-seed fertiliser containing approx 5-8 per cent of nitrogen can be applied.


Now is the month to reduce the amount of mowing; also, height of cut should be raised to 25-35mm after the final game. The onset of winter sports games will mean that an application of fertiliser will help and assist in creating strong growth to help sustain the required usage throughout the winter.


The pitches should be in excellent condition by now. A few divots may have been made, and these should be repaired/replaced wherever possible. A light topdressing may be needed in a few places. Weeds can be a problem. This is the last realistic month for any selective herbicide application, although the grass should be growing well if an application is to be considered. Thin areas can be seeded and a germination sheet applied to help make the most of the remaining good growing conditions.


Mow at 30mm every day plus a once weekly cut at 25mm to remove annual meadow grass seedheads.

Vertidrain bi-weekly going down to a maximum depth of 12 inches with 4-inch spacings. Fertilise – generally using 12+0+9 or a 14+2+4, 12 x 25kg. Brush every morning – this will help stand the grass up and eliminate morning dew. Spray – an application of selective weedkiller will be required, plus liquid fertiliser. Irrigate as often as possible as time constraints and training times allow.


Mow – at 30mm everyday. Plus a once weekly cut at 25mm. Aerate – Vertidraining bi-weekly going down to a maximum depth of 12 inch with 4-inch spacings to aid drainage and root development. Fertilise – with a pedestrian cyclone spreader, generally using 12+0+9 or a 20+10+10 if a flush of growth is needed – 12 x 25kg. Topdress – generally not required but if needed then use mediumgrade sand or a 70/30 rootzone depending on drainage. Brush – every morning using a tractor-mounted dragbrush, this will help stand the grass up and also remove morning dew. Irrigate – irrigate as often as possible as time constraints and training times allow.


Commence renovation as soon as possible after the end of the last match. A typical renovation programme will probably include the following: – irrigation to soften the surface soil profile – initial aeration to penetrate the surface layer

– further irrigation to soften the lower soil profile – further aeration, this time at a greater depth – scarification to remove any thatch build-up and lateral growth – mowing to produce a clean surface – overseeding (especially important along the base line and service boxes) making sure to use the correct type of grass seed – topdress with a suitable loam, with 1-3kg/m2 being suitable depending on the degree of wear and aeration equipment used. If a fertiliser has not already been applied, now is the time to do so.


This is the main renovation period for flat racing courses. Where race meetings finish at the end of September, renovation will occur during early October. Typical renovation work will be: – scarification (or chain harrowing with the tines facing downwards) – deep aeration – mowing grass to a shorter length to expose thin areas –fertiliser application, if not undertaken at the end of August – overseed thin and bare areas – topdress thin and bare areas – light roll – irrigate, particularly seeded and thin areas.


Renovation of the greens will be a priority this month. Aeration of the fairways can be carried out before the soil becomes too wet. Traffic areas around greens and tees should be forked, or cultivated if relatively bare, then seeded or turfed.

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