The Groundsman July 2019

Page 1



JULY 2019 £4.00


PRODUCT SHOWCASE Compact tractors and fertilisers page 39

ON TOP OF THE WORLD The British groundscare experts behind the FIFA Women’s World Cup

COMMUNITY CHAMPION Martin Maytum keeps Kings Hill Sports Park playing all year round





05 Welcome

Encouraging inclusion

06 Update

Grounds keeping news

page 12

13 SALTEX news

The Innovation Award is back

14 GaNTIP update

Success at St Day AFC

16 IOG Industry Awards update How to book your place

33 In Action

Charterhouse Turf Machinery and DLF

34 Award sponsor


100 years of Rigby Taylor

37 Award sponsor

MTD Speciality Turf Products

39 Product showcase

Compact tractors and fertilisers

47 Tools and guidance

Turf care advice for August

50 Grow with the IOG

Improving education access

FEATURES 18 Best practice

Devonshire Park’s tennis courts



22 Best practice

England captain Steph Houghton at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Kent’s Kings Hill Sports Park

24 FIFA Women’s World Cup

How British experts helped prepare world-class pitches

26 Career advice

Help for those who feel de-motivated

29 Technical update


Pitch construction



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



What a wash-out!

Karen Maxwell Managing editor

While much of Europe enjoyed extreme heat this past month, the jet stream seems to have had the opposite effect on the UK and our glorious sporting summer. In some areas of the country, a month’s worth of rain fell in two days. We take our hats off to all the grounds teams affected; they have faced quite a challenge, to say the least, and as we enter July let’s hope we can enjoy more seasonal weather. This is a good opportunity for me to remind you to act now and nominate your friend, colleague or team for a 2019 IOG Award. I am sure there are many who merit recognition – visit to see the categories of entry – and their hard work could be recognised at the awards evening in October. And don’t forget to book your tickets to the awards evening, hosted by the BBC’s Dan Walker, where we will be celebrating our industry’s successes. Talking of recognition, the IOG has entered into a partnership with Stand Agency, integrated communications and behaviour change experts, to lead our Grounds 4 Sport Campaign (see page 6). This shows how we are committed to raising the profile of our sector, and you will see and hear more on this in the future. Alongside this we have now completed our second comprehensive survey into the industry. The independent report reveals some interesting challenges while highlighting many areas where we as an industry can come together to tackle certain issues, including promoting the industry and its career opportunities to new entrants. The report also shows that we need to look at the diversity (or lack of it) within the industry and to showcase the many successes and people within the sector. A great example of how the industry is supporting growth and opportunity for the integration and development of young people is the announcement that Toro has renewed its sponsorship of the Young IOG Board and the SALTEX College Cup. As part of this sponsorship (see page 8), Toro has also agreed to work with the IOG on the wider issues of diversity and gender representation in the workplace. With the success in France of the Women’s World Cup – in which the IOG has played its part; see page 24 – it will be interesting to see if the progress made in women enjoying a much higher profile on a world stage will encourage more women to enter our profession. Our industry is male-dominated and we need to create opportunities for all.

Colin Hoskins Features editor

Frank Newberry IOG-approved management trainer and consultant

Simon Johnson Regional pitch advisor

Dr Tom Young STRI research manager

Richard Fry Marketing director, Rigby Taylor

Geoff Webb Chief Executive The Institute of Groundsmanship John Coleman KEEP IN TOUCH

Institute of Groundsmanship

Head of UK, MTD Specialty Turf Products THE GROUNDSMAN 5




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


The campaign will highlight the vital work of grounds keepers


TROWBRIDGE RFC SUMMER TRADE SHOW SUPPORTED BY THE IOG, Fleet Line Markers and Ecosol Turfcare, this free-to-attend event will take place on 25 July in Hilperton, Wiltshire, BA14 6JB. Other exhibitors include DLF Seeds, Stihl, ICL, Sherriff Amenity, Trimax, New Forest Garden Machinery, Headland Amenity, Advanced Grass Solutions and many more.


IOG leads drive to promote grounds keeping THE IOG is planning for the launch of a bold new communications programme designed to educate the public and media about the important role groundstaff play in improving user experiences and making sport possible across the country. Responding to the findings of recent independent research commissioned by the IOG into the views of the sector, the three-year programme will also give natural turf a much needed boost by highlighting what is possible with the right expertise and tools in place. Working with behaviour-change and communication experts, Stand Agency, the IOG is currently developing the first phase of the campaign which will see a range of groundstaff featured in the national and regional media to educate new audiences about the role. At the same time, a consultation will be held to inform the second phase of work which will address out-of-date perceptions of groundstaff and the IOG itself. Geoff Webb, chief executive of the IOG, said: “It is time to build on what members have told us and ensure


those outside our industry understand what we do. Not only will this drive investment in natural turf provision and encourage more people to play sport, but it will also attract new talent to the join the sector.”

GET INVOLVED! No one knows more about the groundscare industry than IOG members, so the IOG is calling on you to help bring this campaign to life: Look out for an email from us providing more information and seeking your input into the consultation We are looking for case studies of groundspeople willing to be featured in the media and help us educate audiences about what you do Look out for a full update on the campaign at SALTEX in October 2019


FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN A MAJOR NEW Sport England campaign has received the support of Prince Harry. The Made By Sport campaign will champion the role sport can play in changing lives and raise up to £40m to create sporting opportunities in disadvantaged communities. Prince Harry said this would save “hundreds of millions of pounds” in treating the problems of young people.



PERENNIAL, THE CHARITY that supports people working in horticulture, is offering extra support to parents and carers worried about the additional cost of the school holidays. Perennial can support people with childcare costs, holiday activities and help meet the costs of additional food required over the summer break. If someone you know works in horticulture and needs support over the summer break, contact Perennial on 0800 093 8543.






Honda mower sets record

HONDA’S MEAN MOWER has re-entered the record books after setting a new Guinness World Records title for the fastest acceleration (0100mph) for a lawnmower. Driven by Jess Hawkins, a stunt driver and kart and car racer, at the Dekra Lausitzring, near Dresden, Germany, the Mean Mower V2 averaged 0-100 mph in 6.29 seconds. The Mean Mower V2 is powered by a 999cc four-cylinder unit taken from Honda’s CBR1000RR Fireblade SP motorcycle – producing 200bhp at 13,000rpm.

Honda had to prove the Mean Mower could still cut grass

As well as hitting this blistering straight-line speed, Mean Mower V2 also had to look like a lawnmower, and demonstrate that it could cut grass. The original Mean Mower became the world’s fastest lawnmower in 2014, when it hit 116.87mph. But this time Honda and its British Touring Car Championship partner, Team Dynamics, took the development to a whole new level, using CAD, bespoke parts, advanced materials and even 3D printing.

THREE MEMBERS OF the grounds team from Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club say they were unfairly dismissed after details of team selection were leaked. The staff say they were questioned about the leaks but weren’t given reasons for their dismissal in early June. The workers have appealed against the decision.


TRIBUTE TO KIYAN QPR’S LOFTUS ROAD Stadium is to be renamed after murdered teenager Kiyan Prince, a promising footballer in the QPR academy. The 15-year-old was stabbed to death as he broke up a fight outside his school in 2006. Loftus Road in Shepherd’s Bush will be renamed The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium from next season.



Executive chairman, Stephen Bernhard (second from left), launched the Academy


BERNHARD LAUNCHES ACADEMY SPORTS TURF TECHNOLOGY specialist Bernhard has launched a training academy at its factory in Haverhill, Suffolk. Working with Mow-Sure Training, the Academy aims to train customers, technicians and distributors’ sales teams to improve turf health, cutting precision and playability. The accredited training will be delivered through a mix of formats; in person at the purpose-built facility at Haverhill, and through theory-based and online training. KEEP IN TOUCH

It will include modular and short courses, and the two signature courses will be a Turf Technician’s Course and a Turf Manager’s Course. As well as working with UK turf specialists, the Academy will also develop a training programme for Bernhard’s distributors from across the US, Asia and Europe to improve their knowledge of turf health solutions. For more information on the Academy and the courses, visit

Institute of Groundsmanship

DAVID DIXONS HAS been appointed as a new Etesia dealer and will be distributing Etesia’s product range throughout the North East of England. Meanwhile, Pellenc UK has welcomed Terra Firma and Greenlay to its dealership network; both will be distributing the full range of Pellenc battery-powered kit.



PLANS TO BUILD a new carbon neutral ground for EFL League Two club Forest Green Rovers have been rejected by Stroud District Council due to concerns about noise, traffic and impact on the landscape. The 5,000-seater ground was due to be part of a £100 million Eco Park development. The club is still deciding whether to appeal. THE GROUNDSMAN 7





David Cole, managing director of Reesink Turfcare


Toro extends sponsorship of IOG Young Board THE TORO COMPANY and Reesink Turfcare have agreed to continue a yearon-year sponsorship deal with the IOG to support the activities of the IOG’s Young Board of Directors (YBD). The YBD is leading the IOG ‘Get into Grounds’ strategy by encouraging 14- to 16-year-olds, school leavers and young people to consider a career in groundsmanship. This also includes funding for programmes to enhance opportunities for women and BME groups to advance careers in the industry. The YBD is currently updating its strategy for the next three years, which will include an aim to engage with activities that attract a wider diversity of people into the industry. This ongoing sponsorship will allow the Board to do this.

“Our sponsorship demonstrates our commitment to education and raising awareness of the great careers available in grounds management”


Commenting on Toro and Reesink’s ongoing support, YBD chair Anthony Facey said: “Toro’s support has been fantastic over the last three years and I’m so pleased the company is willing to commit long term to the Board. Without this help the YBD would not be able to achieve its aims and objectives.” David Cole, managing director at Reesink Turfcare, said: “Our sponsorship of the YBD demonstrates the commitment of Toro and Reesink Turfcare to education and raising awareness of the great careers available in grounds management. We are proud to play a small part in supporting the hard work of the Board.” IOG chief executive, Geoff Webb, added: “We are grateful to the Toro Company and Reesink Turfcare for their support for this crucial area of developing opportunities for young, capable grounds staff. The IOG’s latest independent research has highlighted a lack of women working in sports turf as well as a lack of BME groups.” Find out more about the IOG Young Board at

WOMEN IN SPORT has appointed Stephanie Hilborne OBE as its new chief executive. Hilborne, who is currently CEO at The Wildlife Trust, is an experienced campaigner for change, as well as driving developments in both policy and government legislation. She has worked in nature conservation for more than 20 years and was instrumental in the introduction of the Marine & Coastal Access Act 2009 and the Natural Environment White Paper 2011.



SALTEX REGULAR KARL Wiedenmann has retired. His remit was heading up worldwide sales for Wiedenmann Gmbh, but Karl made it his business to visit as many UK trade shows as possible. For the past two-and-a-half decades, he has helped expand the Wiedenmann fleet beyond Terra Spike aerators into other areas such as collecting, sweeping, seeding and artificial turf maintenance. At a special farewell at Wiedenmann UK’s HQ, David Rae, Wiedenmann UK’s managing director, said that Karl’s influence was everywhere in the Wiedenmann brand. “Dealers and customers up and down the UK got to know him and valued his opinion. Every business needs a Karl.”




GROUNDSMAN’S MEMOIR OUT NOW IAN DARLER, HEAD groundsman at Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium for 40 years, has published his autobiography, Life’s a Pitch: The Groundsman’s Tale. Throughout his career, Ian has won awards, crossed swords with the odd manager and coped with his share of catastrophes. The book is available for £12.99 through bookshops and online stores.


SMART PITCH MANAGEMENT AT SPURS TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR’S NEW stadium features two lighting systems that are fully integrated into the stadium architecture. The first is a fully automatic and remote-controlled HPS grow lighting system, integrated into the stadium bowl. The second is a 100 per cent LED system that illuminates the total pitch when it is placed under the stand. Growing conditions are measured 24/7 by SGL analysers and real-time data is displayed on the SGL Portal. The data and advice not only help the grounds team to keep their pitch in top condition, but also to reduce running costs.

The New Road ground also 01


Flooding causes fixture switch

WARWICKSHIRE AND ESSEX County cricket clubs will swap their home and away fixtures in the Specsavers County Championship after the recent flooding of the Blackfinch New Road ground in Worcester. Warwickshire had reached an agreement with Worcestershire to make use of the New Road ground as its usual home ground, Edgaston, is in use for the ICC Men’s Cricket World cup. However, following floods at New Road, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has agreed that Warwickshire and Essex can swap their home and

away games, so that the game due to be played on 13 July will now take place at The Cloudfm County Ground in Chelmsford. Neil Snowball, chief executive at Warwickshire CCC, said: “We were looking forward to holding our home match against Essex at New Road in July and Matt Rawnsley and his team have been extremely accommodating. However, as soon as we saw images of the flooding we knew this would be a challenge. We’re very grateful to the ECB and also to Derek Bowden and his team at Essex for their support.”












PRODUCT UPDATE New mowers, new eco-friendly grass mixes and a smart app


A NEW TYM MOWER with the capabilities of a tractor is promising to transform the way customers maintain their land. The innovative T194 has the features of a ride on mower with the additional functionality of a tractor. Equipped with a 54in mid-mounted deck, mowing height can be adjusted from the seat via the on-board heightof-cut lever, which is easy to use and intuitive to set. Its tractor credentials hinge on the category one threepoint linkage and 540rpm rear PTO, which allows for many rear-mounted attachments to be fitted and enables

Being cordless, the MSA 161 T is quiet in operation



Read about new compact tractors and fertilisers on page 39

The new TYM T194 mower has the capabilities of a tractor

it to be used for numerous tasks, such as winter sweeping and clear-up, and spring aeration.



STIHL HAS UPDATED its cordless arborist saw, the MSA 161 T. As well as boasting a 40 per cent higher chain speed (16m/s) than the MSA 160 T, it delivers a 15 per cent increase in engine performance, making it ideal for removing deadwood, crown maintenance and light reductions. It also has three trigger combinations that can be used with the new ‘trigger switch lock out’ feature.



THE NEW SF224 outfront mower from ISEKI has been designed to meet new engine regulations, due to come into place soon, with a Stage V compliant 22.5hp diesel engine and a host of features offering efficiency and user comfort. The engine allows users to save on fuel, while the unit itself is competitively priced. It is also economical in use, with the new ISEKI 60in outfront rotary deck ensuring that no grass is left uncut even during tight turns. The cutting height can be adjusted from 25mm to 125mm and a mulching kit can be added separately. The mowers are equipped with easy to use two-pedal hydrostatic transmission and automatic or

3 MSA 161 T

RIGBY TAYLOR’S new Carbon4Grass seed mixtures combine increased levels of carbon sequestration potential with desirable amenity characteristics – enabling grounds teams to reduce their carbon footprints while maintaining high-class surfaces. The Sports Field Renovation and Super Root mixes can sequester double the amount of carbon over comparative mixes.


selectable 4WD. To ensure efficient engine cooling, the radiator is fitted with an automatic reversing fan so preventing the blockage of the grill. Operator comfort is factored in with a spacious platform, ergonomic controls, an adjustable steering column and great visibility.

THE STRI GROUP has launched a new sports surface performance tracker, TurfSync, to help grounds staff, coaches, management and venue operators stay connected to every aspect of the playing surface and training facilities. It sends important data to an easy-to-use online interface so that conditions can be monitored closely and problems avoided. It is already in use by a number of professional sport clubs.





By Chris Bennett SALTEX press officer

SALTEX INNOVATION AWARD RETURNS FOR 2019 The latest developments in groundscare will be showcased at SALTEX again



EC 0 1 Since its launch at SALTEX 2017, the Innovation Award has helped to highlight some of the most ground-breaking, innovative products and services within

“Since its launch, the Innovation Award has helped to highlight groundbreaking products”

the groundscare industry. All of the submitted entries are evaluated by an independent panel of judges before a final shortlist is devised. The finalists are then given an opportunity to impress judges and visitors in a seminar theatre on the first day of SALTEX as representatives from each company take to the stage to deliver product presentations.


Entering the award is an unmissable opportunity for exhibitors as every innovation will be featured on the SALTEX website and in the official show guide. Being shortlisted as a finalist offers even more exposure as they will be given dedicated time to showcase their product or service in front of industry giants, judges and influencers and can draw even more of a crowd to their stand. The worthy winner will be presented

with the coveted award at the exhibition and will receive a dedicated news article in post-show reports. The winner of the SALTEX 2019 Innovation Award will join previous winners: Rigby Taylor’s Intelligent One autonomous robotic line marker and Fleet Line Markers’ MAQA line marking machine were joint winners of the first ever SALTEX Innovation Award and, in 2018, Sherriff Amenity’s ground-breaking new app, PrecisionPro, picked up the top prize.

To enter the SALTEX 2019 Innovation Award, please visit For more information visit www.iogsaltex. com. Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_ SALTEX and Facebook IOGSALTEX


THE CHANGING VIEW FROM THE BALCONY St Day AFC’s Vogue Park (Cornwall) site was constructed from landfill and it is rumoured to have been levelled using brick dust! Perhaps that contributed to its terrible waterlogging problems…

By Simon Johnson Regional pitch advisor


St Day AFC


ince joining The Football Association’s Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP) to rectify the waterlogging problems caused by drainage issues, St Day AFC has transformed its playing surfaces – it’s gone from suffering more than 20 cancellations per season, to playing 143 games in the 2018/19 season. I visited the club in February 2018 as part of the PIP programme and, after extensive tests on the playing surfaces and substrate, concluded that the structure of the ground had become very compacted, possibly due to the original landfill make-up. A schedule of maintenance activities was advised, which included: Vertidraining pitches at the end of the season, during renovations and again during the autumn Overseeding using a perennial dwarf ryegrass mix to increase the desired grass species Topdressing using a recognised sports sand to improve the rainfall percolation rates through the soil profile Applications of fertiliser through the year to improve the health and density of the grass sward.

Assessment Criteria



1 2

Length of grass mm Total ground cover %

5 6 7 8

Pests & diseases Thatch Root depth Growing medium

3 4

9 10 11 12 13

Desirable grasses Weeds

% %

% mm mm mm

Visit 2

40 90

Goal Centre PQS Grade mouths circle Community 3 35 35 High 95 95


5 50 200

Elite High Inadequate Elite

0 2 170 200


20 2

Inadequate High

14 Pitch debris Standard Performance quality standard 1st visit: Performance quality standard 2nd visit: Pitch advisor: Date of 2nd Assessment

Realising the benefits of the programme, the club has now substantially increased its pitch-maintenance budget and employs a contractor for end-of-season renovations. In-season tasks continue to be completed by club chairman Dave Searle and vice chairman Mark Leah, both volunteers, who work constantly at the ground to improve the pitches. Commenting on the improvements,

A new maintenance programme means no more waterlogging

Indicative Grading Results

Visit 1

Pitch surface levels mm 25 Community 1 Compaction Below Standard Goal posts Compliant Line marking Standard Surface debris Standard


These were strictly adhered to over the following months, and when I revisited the site in May 2019 there were dramatic improvements in several areas. The desired grass species in the pitch had increased from 20 per cent to 70 per cent and the root depths have gone from an average of 50mm to 170mm.

Pitch Location

70 1

80 1



0 2 180 200

0 2 150 200

Community 3 High Simon Johnson 31 May 2019


PQS Grade

50 1

70 1

Community 3 High



Community 1 Standard Compliant Standard Standard

35 96

35 95

0 2 170 200

High Elite

Elite High Elite Elite


Dave says: “We completed last season with minimal disruption from inclement weather, and as a club we are deeply indebted to the invaluable advice given to us by PIP and the GaNTIP pitch advisor.” Daniel Greenough, senior football development officer at Cornwall FA, adds: “PIP is having a massive impact on football pitches across Cornwall. The support from the regional pitch advisor has been outstanding in providing professional but simple advice that has resulted in improved pitches. St Day AFC is a great example of the benefits of following the correct procedures and instigating a ‘little and often’ approach to pitch care.” Visit for details of the IOG-led Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme



By Colin Hoskins Features editor

The BBC’s Dan Walker will host the awards

BBC’S DAN WALKER HOSTS 2019 IOG INDUSTRY AWARDS Tickets are on sale for this year’s Awards – and nominations are still open, so get yours in today!


ickets are available for this year’s IOG Industry Awards, so book now to secure your place at the event – hosted by the BBC’s Dan Walker on October 30 at The Vox, in Resorts World at the NEC, Birmingham, on the evening of the first day of the SALTEX exhibition. The awards recognise the passion, dedication and challenges faced by grounds staff at clubs of every size and from all corners of the UK. BBC sports presenter and BBC Breakfast anchor Dan Walker will bring a new dimension to this year’s event. He hosts BBC One’s award-winning Football Focus, regularly presents Match of the Day, and has covered Wimbledon, The Grand National, Royal Ascot and the Six Nations. It’s not too late to nominate an individual or team for a 2019 Award: visit awards. This year’s categories include: IOG Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Grounds Person IOG Volunteer Sports Grounds Team/ Individual IOG NGB Community/Grassroots Sports Club Grounds Team/Individual IOG AMS Robotics Public Sector Sports Grounds Team 16 THE GROUNDSMAN July 2019


To secure your seat – which costs £95 each for IOG members and £190 each for non-members – contact the IOG by email ( or call 01908 312 511 where you can also find out details of how to become an IOG member.

IOG Bowling Grounds Team/Individual IOG SCH Supplies Best Managed Artificial Surface IOG Ransomes Environmental and Ecology Strategy IOG Headland Amenity Professional Cricket Grounds Team IOG Cub Cadet Infinicut Professional Tennis Courts Grounds Team IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team IOG Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team IOG Compo Expert Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team IOG Professional Football Grounds Team For English Leagues 1 & 2, National League, National League North/South,

Scottish Championship & Leagues 1 & 2, Ireland & Wales Professional Leagues. IOG SGL Professional Football Grounds Team For Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League. IOG Redexim Charterhouse/Kubota University/College Grounds Team IOG Growth Products Independent School Grounds Team IOG SISGrass International Award IOG Grassmaster Outstanding Achievement Award. There is one additional award for which nominations are not sought: the IOG Ransomes/DLF Alex R Millar Award – to the person chosen as the outstanding winner across all award categories. The NGB Awards are sponsored by the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club), ECB (the England and Wales Cricket Board), The FA (Football Association), the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), the Premier League, the RFU (Rugby Football Union) and the RFL (Rugby Football League) For information on how to sponsor an award, please contact Karen Maxwell on 07866 736 597 or email:



Danny Negus (left) with his deputy Andy Bacon



By Colin Hoskins Features editor


EASTBOURNE’S DREAM TEAM The work of a small band of dedicated and committed grounds professionals underpins the continuing success of Devonshire Park’s renowned international tennis courts, says head groundsman Danny Negus


ncluded in Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park’s winning submission for the 2018 IOG Cub Cadet Infinicut Best Professional Tennis Courts Grounds Team of the Year Award were details of how head groundsman Danny Negus and his team constructed an additional show court 12 months ahead of schedule. “The new court was completed on 20 April 2017,” says Danny, “and because it was urgently needed for the 2018 season, was brought into play 13 months later! In an ideal world we would have left it for an extra year, but at an increasingly popular venue with ever-expanding tournaments, it had to be used. Given the circumstances, however, I think the surface held up quite well and played satisfactorily.” The increasing success of Devonshire Park – an impressive venue a stone’s throw from the seaside town’s coastline – continues unabated. It will witness another two new Championship courts being added this year. Work on the area for these (formerly occupied by a building) began in September

“The increasing success of Devonshire Park continues unabated”

2018; court construction started in earnest in January 2019 and seeding took place in April.


All three new courts are to All England Lawn Tennis Club specification, sitting on 75mm lateral and 100mm main drainage above 150mm of stone (20mm-40mm washed angular aggregate), a 50mm layer of 7mm-10mm washed pea gravel topped by 275mm rootzone (23 per cent clay) then the Limagrain MM50 grass seed. Together, the three courts cost over £500,000, and this includes a six-figure irrigation system, completed just four weeks before the 2017 tournament programme. “Liberal amounts of regular topdressing meant any depressions or sinkages from the new drains were dealt with promptly,” adds deputy head groundsman Andy Bacon. The work is part of a £60 million investment by Eastbourne Borough Council into the ‘Devonshire Park Quarter’, in which the tennis venue is sited alongside two theatres. This year’s fixture list again reflects the high playing-surface standards achieved by Danny and his small team – four people including Danny. They are charged with maintaining the 4.2-hectare Devonshire Park site with 24 (soon to be 26) established grass courts all maintained to international standards including more than 1.5 hectares of amenity lawns, beds and

EDUCATION IS MORE THAN JUST ABOUT CERTIFICATES While Devonshire Park is committed to succession planning and apprenticeships – and last year began working with Plumpton College to run ‘master classes’ – Danny clearly also thinks outside the box in terms of the development and progression of his team. In addition to insisting that practical, craft-level groundscare skills are instilled alongside official accreditations, Danny says: “I have a wide circle of friends outside the industry – people from a number of different backgrounds – and I do occasionally tap into this resource in an attempt to transfer some of their life skills and worldly knowledge. One example saw a Serious Fraud Officer presenting an enlightening session to the team on decision-making.” THE GROUNDSMAN 19


“We each complete more than 226 hours of overtime during a 60-day stint” borders. The team also maintains two off-site practice facilities comprising a total of seven courts, and there is a separate twoman greenkeeping team at a nearby 18-hole golf course, which was added by the council to Danny’s remit 18 months ago. Thanks to the team’s work, the course has gone on to secure memberships and increased green fees and, as a result, been saved from closure.


Devonshire Park – “which must have one of the longest running grass court seasons in the country” – will again this year host a number of major tournaments: 21-29 June Nature Value International – WTA Women’s Premier and 250 ATP Men’s 22-26 July Summer County Cup doubles 2-4 August GB Seniors Women (35s Inter County Championships) 5-10 August South of England Open Championships 23-25 August GB Seniors Men (35s Inter County Championships) 26-31 August The British Open Seniors Championships. Danny continues: “Maintaining the courts to such a high level to meet these demands is all down to the team’s commitment and

Danny says he’ll always use liquid over granular feed for superior control

dedication. We each complete more than 226 hours of overtime during a 60-consecutive working day stint to maintain the tennis venues and the golf course, and to complete this while also receiving high-level praise from some of the world’s top players and the venue partners is a real credit to every member of the team.” He adds: “The courts are consistently in use between tournaments by members, schools and holiday coaching groups, and many events see more than 550 matches played over a six-day period. Indeed, at last year’s International, the centre court saw over 54 hours of uninterrupted play.” The August schedule, in particular, presents unique demands in terms of turf recovery – and that includes areas (practice courts) that for periods are ‘replaced’ by temporary stands and marquees. “We do not cover these areas with any sort of protective tracking,” says Danny. “The fact is that the surface will be ‘destroyed’ whatever we use for, say, a 14-day period, and any sort of cover can encourage fungal problems. So, instead, we tend to prepare the affected areas by

ABOUT DANNY NEGUS Aged 43 and part of the Devonshire Park team for 14 years – including this year, his third year as head groundsman – Danny says he’s almost always known groundscare because, since his early days, he spent a lot of time with his father who, now retired, was a successful golf course greenkeeper and course manager. As a schoolboy, he worked with his dad every summer as a casual and, aged 17, became a fledging greenkeeper. His turf care education started when he was aged 18 and has


continued since, with intermittent breaks – including one when he successfully gained a diploma in engineering. He is currently accredited to Level 4, plus holds NPTC and Lantra certificates “in spraying and in probably every piece of equipment a groundsman may need”. Interestingly, he adds that his role as a team leader embraces so much more than groundscare: “It’s also so much about helping people build their characters and when the need arises, being compassionate and being a shoulder to cry on.”

simply letting the sward grow a little longer (than the usual 8mm for Championship play).” Danny’s outlook on turf recovery is also based on a concerted maintenance regime that includes a pre-tournament mini renovation involving scarification and ultragrooming with both stationary and rotating brushes. “If this tillering is not enough then I’ll put more plant in,” he says. The regime also revolves around the use of liquid feed, sprayed twice a month – one for foliar and the other for the rootzone, which is ‘drenched’. “I never use granular applications,” he says. “I’m a control freak and liquid gives me the control over exactly what the plant needs.” This year, Danny has taken feeding a stage further, using it to regulate the peaks and troughs in sward (cool season plant) growth by accurately monitoring growth in tandem with air temperature (using 6°C as the base), rainfall and soil temperature. “I’ve been doing this since 2014 with a level of success, though I have switched to a new set of products in recent times, using products from Consolidate Turf Growing Solutions, Sea Nymph seaweed products and some Headland Amenity brands.” Immediately after the last event, the team embarks on the annual renovation programme, which is normally completed by the middle of October and involves hollow tining and heavy scarification – Danny points out “I reckon we remove at least 80% of the vegetation”– rather than Koroing, which budgets often prohibit.” Combined with an established daily and weekly maintenance regime, it’s a programme that has proved successful – even if high-budget treatments like Koroing aren’t possible. But, as Danny quips: “There is truth in the adage of ‘the less resources you have, the more resourceful you become’.” There is still time to make your nominations for the 2019 IOG Industry Awards – visit



Martin Maytum, head groundsman at Kings Hill Sports Park


KING OF THE HILL The community use of the football pitches at Kings Hill Sports Park in Kent continues unabated, thanks mainly to head groundsman Martin Maytum

A By Colin Hoskins Features editor


measure of the popularity of the grass pitches at Kings Hill Sports Park is the fact that during season 2017/18, Kings Hill Football Club’s 40 teams played 388 games between them on the four pitches at the West Malling site in Kent. The site’s grass surfaces are also used regularly for training (four days a week) by Dover Athletic FC, as well as other local community sides. There’s even a floodlit 3G surface that is in constant use during weekends and evenings

for training by Kings Hill FC, which has more than 300 players from under-sixes to veterans, and for rugby and fitness classes and soccer schools. Head groundsman Martin Maytum brings 30 years of groundscare expertise to the parish council-owned facility. He started his career as a 16-year-old apprentice at Crystal Palace FC, followed by spells at Maidstone United, Kent Police sports ground and Queens Park Rangers’ training ground. He is also a volunteer pitch advisor for the Rugby Football Union. “If there is a secret to enabling natural grass pitches to



THE HISTORY OF KINGS HILL SPORTS PARK The Kings Hill Sports Park site was used as a landing area during the First World War and then opened as a private landing ground. In 1930, then known as Kinghill, it was home to Maidstone School of Flying before being renamed West Malling Airfield then, in 1932, Maidstone Airport. During the 1930s, aviators such as Amy Johnson and Alan Cobham took part in air shows and displays, taking off from a grass runway.

As the Second World War approached, the airfield became RAF West Malling. It saw further service after the war, first with the RAF’s first jet squadrons, then as a US Naval Air Station. After closure as an operational air station in 1969, the site acquired a civilian guise and hosted a number of Great Warbirds Air Displays during the 1970s and ‘80s. The sports park was established six years ago. The 3G surface is popular at evenings and weekend,

“The council recognises how improved pitch maintenance has led to increased usage” withstand such heavy use, then it must be aeration and the use of plenty of sand, then more spiking,” he says.


Vertidraining, combined with a well thought-out and established maintenance regime, plus, when possible, a thorough annual renovation process, has made a big difference to the quality and playability of the pitches. Steve Foy, the park’s duty manager, who is responsible for direct liaison and bookings, agrees: “Before Martin’s arrival, each year the pitches

seemed ‘worn out’ within two months of the start of a season. That is certainly not the case now.” The pitches were constructed on the former airfield (see panel), mainly from the clay spoil from the neighbouring Kings Hill housing development. “Thankfully, all four pitches were constructed with proper drainage,” says Martin. Regular applications of sand – this summer, the budget allows for 100 tonnes to be applied to two of the pitches – plus, when finances allow, annual renovations (by a contractor) followed by topdressing then overseeding (with Rigby Taylor’s R140 tetraploid and diploid perennial ryegrass blend), have helped the surfaces to improve. “The council recognises how improved pitch maintenance has led to increased usage and it has sanctioned changes in the budget that allow me to not only redirect funds into those maintenance activities that I consider vital but also into investment in new machinery,” explains

Martin. “For instance, a Baroness LM 2400 mower with 2.8m cutting width, a Sisis 1.2m Multitiner aerator and a Sisis Quadraplay having a mounted frame for up to four implements such as grooming rakes, slitters, rollers and brushes. The use of all this equipment has brought benefits to the surfaces.”


As housing development continues in Kings Hill, demands on the sports park team are increasing - with a new play park constructed at the end of 2018 and being maintained by Martin - and now there are plans for another phase of sports fields.


For more information, visit THE GROUNDSMAN 23


The women’s team proudly representing their country, just like the FIFA and UK-based grounds experts


WORLD IN MOTION Alan Ferguson, FIFA’s senior pitch management manager, is on a mission to bring British expertise to grounds teams around the world, leaving a legacy of improved pitch care after each FIFA competition

T By Colin Hoskins Features editor

The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has played a key role in the success of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, working closely with FIFA’s senior pitch management manager, Alan Ferguson, and bringing together a small band of UK professional groundsmen to help upskill and educate the group of grounds people responsible for the stadium and training pitches used by the 24 squads for the competition. Complemented by the expertise of Andy Cole’s iTurf consultancy, as well as mower tuition input from Dennis, “the result has been a tremendous success,” says Alan, “and is a fine example of how ‘the best of British’ groundscare skills and technology can have a major impact not only on FIFA competitions now and in the future but also on how we can help raise the standards of pitch care overseas for the longer term.” As part of Alan’s remit to ensure all pitches reach


the standards required for FIFA’s elite football tournaments, his first event last year in the United Arab Emirates, the Club World Cup, enabled him to see what was typically expected – and accepted – at the various training centres (and stadia) used for FIFA tournaments. “After initial pitch inspections for the Women’s World Cup, I instigated a strategy for pitch care that would address those areas identified for attention and I brought together a set of partners who I consider are the best in the world at what they do.” Contact was made with the IOG and Dan Prest, head of member services, learning and consultancy, put together a programme involving IOG tuition and a group of UK groundsmen to offer on-the-pitch practical workshops based around, for example, pitch repair (divoting), line marking and the correct use of mowers (in conjunction with Dennis). The sessions were held on different dates at two sites – in Clairefontaine (Paris) and in Lyon, and

SPECIAL REPORT A pre-competition workshop in Clairefontaine, Paris

ELITE FOOTBALL Manchester City’s Craig Knight with a volunteer

Stoke City FC’s Andy Jackson on line marking

included the 40 or so grounds people from the 37 training centres – and Dan enlisted the help as trainers, manning the various workstations, of Stoke City FC’s Andy Jackson, Leicester City FC’s Callum Allsop and Graeme Farmer, Manchester City FC’s Craig Knight and Richard Eastham, and Nick Phillips from Tottenham Hotspur FC. “The feedback from delegates was that these workshops were invaluable,” says Dan Prest. The two-day sessions held in February – with translators on hand – also saw the delegates involved in hour-long sessions with Alan Ferguson and Andy Cole, who discussed their expectations of the playing surfaces, as well as with Dennis’ Toby Clarke whose indoor presentations covered mower maintenance. All paperwork and presentations were also available in French.


“Before this new training and education strategy, it was common for the grounds people involved in FIFA events to have much shorter sessions on pitch care – and these often also included aspects like training ground security,” says Alan. “But we’re asking these people to prepare, maintain and present pitches for elite level football so it is essential that FIFA gives them as much help as possible.” That level of support, in the case of the Women’s World Cup, not only involved regular monitoring of pitches and their pitch care skills (by iTurf) but also a telephone

”My intention is to ensure the work put in results in a legacy of improving groundsmanship” hotline where iTurf’s French-speaking experts could offer help and advice for any problem or questions that may have arisen over the pitches. “Once the tournament in France is over, we’ll have a wash-up to determine what worked and perhaps what didn’t, but on the evidence so far it appears the strategy is sound,” says Alan, as he now focuses on forthcoming competitions in Brazil, Qatar and India. But it is clear that, for Alan, his FIFA role is not all about what’s happening today. “It’s all very well working hard to ensure the pitches are up to scratch for each competition,” he adds, “but my intention is to ensure that the work that is put in during every competition – by everyone – also results in a legacy of continually improving groundsmanship (and pitch) standards across the world.” Visit for more information about IOG training and education


OLAN – T E FIR T TE T Alan Ferguson’s training and education strategy for the Women’s World Cup mirrored that put in place for the Under 20 [Men’s] World Cup in Poland, which started before the competition in France (and overlapped it). The IOG was also involved in supplying tuition and trainers to Lodz: Leeds Rhinos’ Leon Pearson, Jon Mantripp from Tottenham Hotspur FC and Leicester City FC’s Graeme Farmer, with Bojan Jovanovic from Askham Bryan College representing the IOG. In total, Alan Ferguson and iTurf were effectively involved with 61 grounds during this period!

(l-r) Jon Mantripp, Graeme Farmer, Leon Pearson and Bojan Jovanovic THE GROUNDSMAN 25



With many suggesting that turf care professionals have to adjust to a ‘quick to criticise, slow to praise’ management style, we focus on what you can do to motivate yourself


Are you ‘external’ referencing? Do you need the regular praise of others in order to feel confident that you are doing a good job? If you do not get regular recognition, do you start to lose confidence in yourself and in the value of your work? Or are you ‘internal’ referencing? Are you less interested in what others might think? Are you confident that you know what constitutes good work and whether you have done a good job?


Whether you have the ‘higher maintenance’ needs of the externalreferencing person, or are the ‘low maintenance’ internal-referencing person, you will need to communicate your




By Frank Newberry IOG-approved management trainer and consultant


Recognition – I once had two very competent people working for me. One was high maintenance and wanted a little recognition most days I saw him, and the other was low maintenance and only wanted praise when his work or effort had been exceptional. By meeting both their expectations I was able to get good work from both. Perhaps you need to set a goal to ensure that you get the recognition you need to maintain a good standard of work?

3 expectations to others. For example, being high maintenance myself, I told my boss that I loved the work but that I needed him to give me feedback and recognition on a regular basis. My boss readily agreed and stipulated just one condition, which was that I, in return, give him regular feedback and recognition. No problem! Now, if you are low maintenance and a little embarrassed by praise and recognition, tell others – but make sure to point out those occasions when you feel recognition is appropriate. Nobody likes to feel taken for granted.


If you are feeling lethargic and down in the dumps, it might not be your motivation at

“Research has shown that most people are motivated if they find the work that they are doing meaningful”

all. The bad news is that it could be stress or one of a range of undiagnosed illnesses in their early stages. If you suspect you may be ill, be warned. Deterioration can be so slow that you barely notice and you may tend to assume it is something else. So, get down to your GP and have a full check-up, blood tests and all.


There may be wisdom in you taking time to set and review some goals to do with the following ‘no cost’ and ‘low cost’ motivators. These are some of the key things that cause people to work well. NB: It must always be acknowledged that people can be happy and work really well, or unhappy and work just as well. The four ‘no cost’ and ‘low cost’ motivators are:


Meaningful work – research has shown that most people are motivated if they find the work that they are doing meaningful, they are getting the training they need to do a good job and they are seeing results at the end of the day.

Feedback – Research has shown that most people are better motivated when they know where they stand at work. If they know their work is satisfactory or unsatisfactory, they can do something about it. If nobody says anything, they may not know the difference. They tend also to work better if they know what their colleagues think of their work. They work better if they know how well the department is rated by other departments. They even work better when they know how the organisation itself is doing in the marketplace or the wider world.


Choices and processes – It is important to note that most people are better motivated if they have the right level of supervision. Do you work better if you are left alone – even when doing completely new tasks? Or do you prefer closer supervision with clear procedures and processes? Finally, you may need to set yourself a goal to communicate your expectations to your boss and perhaps help him or her to become the best boss they can be. I suspect that they will not be able to manage this feat without your help. You can catch up with Frank Newberry at SALTEX 2019. He will be hosting the popular Job Clinic for two days coaching people one-to-one on CVs, job-seeking ideas, interview techniques and salary-negotiation skills.



A drone picture of STRI’s hybrid turf tennis trial with drainage layer and stitched systems visible

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE With the construction and maintenance of sports surfaces continually evolving, we look at some of the latest surface technologies and construction techniques

O By Dr Tom Young STRI research manager

Image 1: An individual Permavoid tile – tiles can be attached together to form large rafts

ne of the most exciting products tested at STRI in recent years has been a new method of installing a rootzone drainage layer. The product, known as Permavoid, has been used in civil construction for a number of years and allows the modular construction of large subsurface tanks, which act as both a drainage layer and water storage area (image 1). New urban constructions are required by law to have enough capacity to store rainfall onsite before releasing it to the drainage and sewage system. This helps to prevent urban flooding by retaining water at source and not allowing the problem to move further downstream. STRI has run a number of trials pioneering the use of this system as a direct drainage layer replacement in sports turf constructions (image 2). Rootzone can be placed directly above a Permavoid raft, reducing the need to import thousands of tonnes of gravel and allowing instant access to a solid base from which to work. The system

has provided good drainage under a football pitch for three UK growing seasons and drainage values were comparable to the traditional gravel-based profiles tested.


Such a system can also provide irrigation water to the rootzone through passive capillary wicking cones. Trials at STRI’s research site in Australia have shown that providing water to turf grass solely via sub-surface irrigation resulted in water savings of around 30 per cent, and up to 60 per cent under optimum conditions compared to standard surface irrigation. In addition, despite having less irrigation applied, rootzone moisture content in plots with Permavoid sub-surface irrigation was

“New urban constructions are required by law to have enough capacity to store rainfall onsite” THE GROUNDSMAN 29



“The latest pitch reconstruction at Anfield stadium includes Permavoid” consistently greater than standard surface irrigation plots. Research in STRI UK trials has also demonstrated that the depth of rootzone installed above the system can comfortably be reduced from 300mm to 200mm with no adverse effects – even down to 100mm if the turf is appropriately managed. STRI has been engaged on many projects where the use of a Permavoid tank system

below the pitch will allow the storage of storm water from the whole stadia site. This removes the need for large, expensive water-holding tanks. The latest pitch reconstruction at Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium includes Permavoid as a drainage layer. As well as the system’s use in golf courses – where new permanent or even temporary tee beds could have a Permavoid base – an additional use could be for temporary pitches in unusual situations, for example in city centres, laying turf directly onto Permavoid and shock pad base.


For more details of STRI activities and services, visit

Hybrid turf systems comprise of either: A carpet of open weave artificial fibres laid on top of a standard rootzone into which a shallow layer of rootzone is brushed into and seeded Artificial fibres that are stitched into the rootzone to a depth of approximately 200mm. Hybrid reinforcement systems have been installed into football pitches for some years and STRI has been involved in many trials, including a trial of these technologies for tennis surfaces, with several stitching technologies installed into a tennis rootzone with a Permavoid drainage (above).

Image 2: A schematic of Permavoid installed into a sports pitch rootzone as a drainage and water storage layer



A Palau Turf hybrid system being installed on an STRI trial in 2016


PERFECT PAIR FOR PARKERS A new Redexim Verti-Quake 2516 works with Parkers Pitches’ existing Verti-Drain 7316 to cope with any compaction Suffolk based sports turf contractor Parkers Pitches is now well equipped to deal with even the most heavily compacted surfaces, thanks to the purchase of a Verti-Quake 2516 from Charterhouse Turf Machinery. The investment last October by owner Will Parker complements his existing Verti-Drain 7316. Parkers Pitches offers a variety of maintenance services, along with consultancy and reporting to sports facilities throughout East Anglia. “By conducting Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP) site visits on behalf of Suffolk FA, I was finding that compaction was a major issue at

The newest addition to the A using the new Verti-Quake 2516

many sites,” explains Will. “While we can structure an effective aeration programme with our Verti-Drain, I decided that with an increasing number of football clubs coming to us for help, adding a linear aerator to our fleet would be the next logical step. “We spoke to our local dealer, Adrian Brown at Tomlinsons, who showed us the Verti-Quake and it was just what we needed. The wave action of the Verti-Quake gives us a different way of relieving compaction on the most heavily compacted grounds.” For football pitches, Will now recommends two passes with the Verti-Drain and two with the Verti-Quake each year.

However, the Verti-Quake will also come into its own as Will approaches end-of-season renovations for football and rugby. “Fitting the Verti-Quake with 20mm blades will create grooves for sand dressings, letting sand down into the soil profile while keeping drainage channels free and open. “It’s a great machine that makes what could be a difficult job, quite a relaxing one to do. It’s well-built, quiet and easy to use – we trained our new team member Alfie on it and he was away in a matter of hours!”


For more information visit

TRIED AND TESTED When Ian Lucas joined AFC Bournemouth, he saw no reason to change the club’s existing choice of seed

J Premier Pitch is used year-round to keep the club’s grounds playing well

Sometimes, new head grounds staff choose to completely overhaul the seeding programme when they join a new club. For Ian Lucas, who joined AFC Bournemouth as head of grounds 18 months ago, there was no reason to swap from the club’s preferred Johnsons J Premier Pitch seed mix.

“I had not used it previously so when I inherited the seeding programme of my predecessor, it was my first experience of the Johnsons Sports Seed mixture,” says Ian. “It hasn’t disappointed!” Ian oversows with J Premier Pitch at a rate of 45g/m2 during renovations in April/May then at 15g/m2 in October, depending on conditions. During the season, he uses pre-germination to speed up recovery in hard-worn areas. “We fill a bucket three-quarters full of Premier Pitch, then top it up with water and place it in a heated container for three to four days until it pops, before applying it to areas such as goal mouths and corner spots. This method shaves up to two weeks off germination, giving us a real advantage, especially during the colder months.

“We’ve achieved good wear tolerance, disease resistance and the germination we need throughout the year. The colour is one of the main things for us, and the J Premier Pitch is unbeatable for this, backed up by the respective cultivar ratings in the STRI listings.” Ian will discuss requirements with his local DLF technical support advisor Ian Barnett, who keeps him up to date on new developments and provides guidance on seed selection. “He’ll always pop in at key times, such as renovations, and advise us on current supply to ensure we get delivery in time – vital to keeping us on track.”


For more information visit THE GROUNDSMAN 33


By Richard Fry Marketing director, Rigby Taylor

RIGBY TAYLOR’S 100-YEAR CELEBRATIONS As Rigby Taylor this year celebrates its centenary anniversary, executive chairman Chris Clark is adamant that all customers will continue to benefit from the company’s ethos of continual improvement Executive chairman Chris Clark


e will not be resting on our laurels as the company enters the next 100 years,” says Rigby Taylor’s Chris Clark. “We will always seek to offer effective turf solutions based on value-for-money products that are supported by a team of turf professionals who offer unrivalled turf care technical knowledge and expertise, all underpinned by superb levels of delivery and customer service.” The executive chairman continues: “Irrelevant of the volume and frequency of the orders placed, every customer will always be treated the same. Every customer is important, whether it’s a volunteer cricket groundsman who orders a few bags of grass seed each year, or an elite stadium where, for example, we work together on integrated turf-maintenance programmes with all the products and expertise that will entail. “Going forwards,” he says, “the end result has to always be the same – first-class products offered at the most cost-effective rates, delivered on time and backed up by a highly experienced, professional team.”


In the eight years since Chris picked up the company reins and instigated a number of strategic, across-the-board improvements – “not least by addressing the historical view that Rigby Taylor is a company that deals only with the ‘top-end’ of the market” – he reflects that the ‘hearts and minds’ process 34 THE GROUNDSMAN July 2019

of the company ‘re-inventing’ itself included a complete appraisal of the product range. “The industry [customers] have diverse needs; the demands of a village bowls club are different to those of, say, a Premier League ground. They will all have differing agronomic requirements and, of course, different budgets. What we had to do was to ensure we could provide highly effective solutions for all possible situations that would continually exceed our customers’

“We must always be in a position to satisfy users’ needs” expectations – a one-stop shop for turf solutions, if you like. “Indeed, while our product development – and brand and product additions via acquisitions or commercial partnerships (see box, right) – is an ongoing process, sustainability is increasingly to the fore. With certain products and chemicals being withdrawn, it is vital that sports turf is fitter and stronger to fend off the problems. Prevention is always better than cure, and this is where our product development and applications expertise come in. The demand for these attributes will only increase and we are ensuring that we are best placed to meet that, now and in the future.”

Importantly, too, Chris says, customer expectations are increasingly growing: “Gone are the days of across-the-board advance ordering; many users now request products on a weekly basis, partly to enable them to respond to the weather (with an application of wetting agent or fertiliser, perhaps) and to enable them to better manage their budgets. So, we must always be in a position to satisfy users’ needs.”


While improvements in technology are impacting Rigby Taylor’s end-to-end procedures, starting with the 100,000ft2 central warehouse (at Stallingborough, Lincolnshire) and the use of industryleading, next-day delivery parcel and pallet carriers, as well as the recent, significant investment and revamp of its customer service operation, Chris adds that “nothing can replace the human touch”. He continues: “You can buy everything you want via the internet, including our products, but we are certainly not ‘box-shifters’. We place great store in our nationwide team of 50 technical representatives. These people are supported by five dedicated product managers covering all sectors, including fertilisers, grass seed, chemicals, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, line marking, wetting agents, biostimulants, soil improvers, flower seeds and more. “Crucially, this dedicated, well-trained and focused team is highly knowledgeable


Grass seed breeding trials at Les Alleuds research faclity

and competent, and the majority are from practical greenkeeping and groundsman backgrounds. Their aim is to create effective partnerships with customers to consistently provide appropriate solutions to continually improve turf quality – and to add value to the products with their expertise. Partnerships are a two-way thing based on trust and an understanding of each individual site in terms of its microclimate and usage. For

example, it’s all very well looking at online photos of turf diseases, but a personal visit offers so much more – not least a fresh pair of eyes, which can often quickly identify the symptoms and the cause of a problem. “We are problem solvers; we fully understand the synergy of how each product interacts with another and with the turf. At many sites there are many variables that will impact product efficacy and it takes


Identifying problems and providing solutions

a lot of knowledge to deliver the correct maintenance programme. As a company, we will continue to ensure our people have that expertise,” he concludes. For further information contact your local Rigby Taylor area manager or email, visit or call 0800 424 919


RIGBY TAYLOR – A CENTURY OF INNOVATION From its incorporation in 1919, Rigby Taylor has been at the forefront of providing products and services to the sports and amenity turf industry and is now the largest national turf solutions provider in market share and in the number of nationwide technical sales representatives. Originally serving horticulturalists and gardeners in the north-west of England, the company launched its first ‘Taylor’s’ fertiliser in 1930 and then quickly became the leading supplier of sports turf products in northern England. Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, it established branches in the Midlands, southern England and Scotland.

Rigby Taylor was the first sports and amenity distribution company to introduce its own range of branded turf protection products, and it entered into long-term supply partnerships with major international research-based organisations which saw Rigby Taylor as the perfect conduit for promoting and supplying products. Many of these partnerships continue to operate today. Innovation is what sets Rigby Taylor apart from its competitors. As a seed agent in its own right, the company works closely with its seed breeding partner, Top Green, to develop technologically advanced grass seed mixes. The company also leads the

way in introducing super granulated fertiliser formulations as well as its unique Impact paint formulations, which have received the Queen’s Award for Innovation and Enterprise. The company was also the first to introduce autonomous robotic and GPS pitch line markers to the industry. Most recently, Rigby Taylor was selected by Bayer to launch the new fungicide active Exteris Stressguard, and by Rain Bird as its authorised UK irrigation products distributor for golf, landscape, sports pitch and domestic systems. It also became exclusive UK distributor for Bionema’s NemaTrident nematode solutions for the control of chafer grubs and leatherjacket larvae. THE GROUNDSMAN 35


MOWING KEY TO PLANT HEALTH Changes in pesticide legislation mean turf managers are having to shift their emphasis to a proactive approach to plant health – not just in terms of nutritional programmes but also in mechanical maintenance


e’re all familiar with the disease triangle where the plant acquires disease due to three interactive components – the host plant, the environment and a pathogen. Disease susceptibility can be reduced by changing any one of these three aspects, for example, by making the host plant less prone to pathogen attack by reducing pathogen entry points. We can also look to alter the plant’s immediate environment to make it less favourable for the pathogen to prosper. Simple mechanical techniques can reduce pathogen entry points, maintain plant vigour and improve the surrounding environment.


Mowing is the most routine task employed in the maintenance of sports turf. It can have either positive or negative consequences for plant health depending on mower performance. Attainment of correct cutting to minimise leaf-blade damage and maintain good plant health on sports pitches, will include, but isn’t

limited to: a good sharpness of cut; choosing the appropriate attitude angle and behind centre distance (BCD) of the bedknife; and the correct frequency of clip for the conditions present at the time. Poorly sharpened mowers tear and shred grass blades rather than cut them cleanly, increasing the plant’s vulnerability to disease. Setting the mower with an attitude angle that is too aggressive can weaken the plant during times of plant stress, allowing the pathogen to more easily ‘take hold’.


Frequency of clip (FOC) is important in ensuring the correct quality is achieved for the specific height of cut – an incorrect FOC can mulch the plant, leading to an unclean cut and an increase in plant pathogen entry points. The maintenance of correct organic levels is also paramount to minimise the environment that harbours pathogens. A thatchy surface is moisture retentive and as a result has less O2 present and does not promote good air movement. A good tactic to maintain low thatch levels is to employ a vertical

By John Coleman Head of UK, MTD Specialty Turf Products

mowing programme combined with an approved top-dressing regime. The Cub Cadet Infinicut has been specifically designed to handle the numerous variables that modern day sports venues encounter. Its ingenuous ability to alter geometry and working parameters ensures sward consistency is attained regardless of the time of year or the conditions. Plant health can only be augmented by choosing the correct equipment set-up for the circumstances that prevail at any given time.


For more information, visit THE GROUNDSMAN 37

Product showcase


IOG NEWS UPDATES Go to the IOG website



The new DK6010 tractor


Spoilt for choice THE KIOTI RANGE of compact tractors now includes a lower horse power sub-compact model. Powered by a Schbaura three-cylinder diesel engine, although the CS2220 is compact, the flat driver’s platform is still spacious enough for operators to feel as though they are not squeezed in. There are six forward and three reverse gears and lift capacity is an impressive 715kg at the link arms. Also recently added is the CK3310. This model has a chassis and frame similar to the already highly successful CK2810, but is powered by the larger 1647cc three-cylinder

diesel engine. Cruise speed, engaged by a simple easy-to-reach lever, comes as standard. The new CK4020 tractor has replaced the mechanical CK4010 model, with extra gears now available. The 60hp DK6010 tractor is available either with mechanical transmission (16 forward and 16 reverse gears) or three-range, twin-pedal HST. Power comes from the Stage V three-cylinder Kioti engine, which is quiet and economical to operate. A four-year manufacturer’s warranty provides peace of mind.

ISEKI COMPACT TRACTORS are small, light and manoeuvrable, ideal for maintaining sports turf by adding your choice of scarifiers, aerators or other implements to these machines. The most compact tractor in the range, the 23hp TXG237, has hydrostatic transmission, independent rear and mid PTO, auxiliary valve with optional front loader, mid mount decks and collector making it the ideal multipurpose groundscare tractor. Stepping up is the TM and TH range with 15hp to 35hp models available and a three-point linkage lift capacity of up to 1100kg. TM and TH models come with a choice of either hydrostatic or mechanical transmissions to allow ease of use and ultimate control. Completing the range are the premium economy TLE models; and the high spec TG tractor, with hydrostatic, IQ Dual-Clutch or PowerShuttle transmission for ease of use.

Iseki produces a wide range of compact tractors



(l-r) TYM’s Steven Haynes, head groundsman Kiel Barrett, Reesink Turfcare’s Mike Turnbull and Russell Groundcare’s Ian Waddington


AFTER ENJOYING SUCCESS with a TYM T503 at Leeds United Football Club’s training ground, head groundsman Kiel Barrett decided to invest in a TYM T393 for the club’s stadium. Kiel arranged a

demo of the T393 with local dealer Russell Groundcare. Kiel says: “This proved the T393 could deliver the same quality of work at Elland Road, although in less heavy-duty roles. Its user-friendly operation

Institute of Groundsmanship

impressed me as well as the cab, which is comfortable to work in. It’s a productive all-rounder and we use it to help move equipment, carry out drainage, aeration and spraying." THE GROUNDSMAN 39


CO M PAC T T R AC TO R S Kubota's B2 Series models are user-friendly


VERSATILE VENTRAC THE 110-ACRE grounds of The SAS Institute at Medmenham, Buckinghamshire are challenging to manage, including formal gardens and lawns, a three-hole pitch-and-putt course, five-a-side football pitch, river frontage to the Thames and staff allotments. For landscaping manager George Reeder, finding the right equipment for the estate is essential so he was pleased to add a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor to his fleet recently. “Our mid-mounted rotary mower was nearing the end of its working life,” he says, “and we were in the market for a replacement. We attended our local dealer, RT Machinery’s open day and saw the Ventrac with its Contour deck. It looked very innovative so we organised a demonstration on site. It worked exceptionally well, producing great stripes and has now replaced our


KUBOTA The Ventrac 4500 copes well with slopes

cylinder mower as well. “As well as the Contour deck we have also purchased a further two decks – a Finishing deck and a ToughCut deck. We can now access and maintain areas on banks where previously we could not get machines on. Its compact nature means we can get under branches. All in all, it’s a great addition to our fleet.”


KUBOTA'S B2 SERIES tractors take compact tractor capability to the next level with user-friendly operation and outstanding productivity. Equipped with high-quality Kubota engines and transmissions, they deliver the extra durability and reliability you need for a wide range of jobs. With the deluxe integrated cab and ROPS, the B2 Series tractors bring more comfort and luxury to any task. The deluxe integrated cab delivers spaciousness and an expanded field of vision for luxury that's beyond their class. The B2 cab is designed for comfortable operation and usability. All levers, controls and compartments have been carefully laid out for the best ease of use and accessibility.





MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS AAR A TDISCIPLINARY landscaping contracting firm with a head office in Hasselager, Denmark. Its clients include housing associations, local authorities, institutions and business parks. Its 2019 investment programme included a Major Winged Swift Roller Mower. One of the sites that the Major 5.4m Swift Roller Mower maintains is the seven-hectare site at Tusindårsskoven, the famous concert venue in Odense, which plays host to the Tinderbox festival amongst others. "It takes us just under 1.5 hours to complete which is impressive," said Helge Opsand, an operator at OKNygaard. “Following a demonstration of the Major Swift, it was clear that it could give a cut as good as many cylinder mowers - with


the added bonus of completing the work much faster,” he said. The Major 5.4m Roller Mower at Tusindårsskoven has eight rotors with 16 blades cutting at 75m/s. The cutting height can be adjusted from 10-130mm and the transport width is 2.4m. The mower is equipped with brakes and LED lighting for safe highway transportation. "The Major Swift gives us additional capacity and we can take on more work now," says Helge.

The Major Swift cuts down mowing time

SMALL YET PERFECTLY formed, John Deere’s 26hp 2026R and 36hp 2036R compact tractors feature a host of innovative features. The 2026R is ideal for operating in more confined spaces, while the 2036R has a wider footprint and longer wheelbase, combined with increased tractor weight for better stability. Both models feature ergonomic controls, a tiltable steering wheel and cruise control. The tractors are also available with a choice of open operator station or cab, offering good all-round visibility. The 2R Series tractors improve productivity through features such as the 2036R’s CommandCut system, which gives quick and accurate cutting height adjustment at the turn of a dial. THE GROUNDSMAN 41



Richard Quelch



A TANK MIXTURE from Sherriff Amenity is helping Richard Quelch, groundsman at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club, Devon, to improve the health of the 11 lawns at the club. Although the venue is considered by many to be the ‘Wembley of Croquet’, that doesn’t stop Richard from continuing to make improvements. “I’m trying to boost the overall health of the lawns and I would like to get more roots into the ground,” he said. “Ultimately it is a case of trying to make the grass as strong as possible to combat hot weather and disease.” Richard felt he needed a ‘cocktail’ of nutrients which he could apply to the lawns on a regular basis. After taking advice from Sherriff Amenity he applies a monthly tank mix of E2Pro Liquid 12.0.12 (at 60 l/ha), E2Pro PhosRite (at 10 l/ha) and SeaVolution seaweed liquid (at 20 l/ha) and noticed an immediate improvement. “I trialled a few different products,” said Richard. “These products from Sherriff Amenity were the best for me.”

Gavin Fisher (right) has won awards for the grounds at Hamsworthy Sports Club


Winning formula

GAVIN FISHER, HEAD groundsman at Hamsworthy Sports Club, has been named Dorset FA Groundsman of the Year and Dorset Cricket Groundsman of the Year – and credits his success in part to the products and specialist advice he’s had from Headland Amenity. “Headland’s sports turf specialist Alex Hawkes understood that we needed versatility from the products, that could perform across different playing surfaces, and adapt to weather conditions and other environmental pressures,” says Gavin. Gavin and his team apply Headland’s ‘20/20/30’ Enhanced Plant Health tankmix across the golf and cricket surfaces every month. He explains: “It is used in conjunction with various analyses of

Xtend slow-release fertiliser which we can tweak as the seasons change and TriCure AD Granular on our golf greens, which has delivered more uniform water distribution and helped us cope without an automatic irrigation system.” They also use Xtend on the football pitch, together with Multigreen temperature-controlled release fertiliser. “Though the programme has largely remained unchanged for the last few years, we have the flexibility with Alex’s knowledge to make minor adjustments if we think we can achieve even better results. We are reaping the rewards of our investment, having made strides with the health, appearance and playability of our sports surfaces.”


MICROFINE-TUNED RIGBY TAYLOR’S MICROFINE range of fertilisers has evolved over 35 years to ensure it continues to meet the needs of turf managers in different conditions. The range now consists of seven analyses, from pre-seed fertiliser to high potassium for increased drought tolerance. The latest change to the range


was to introduce six lowsulphur analyses; although sulphur is important for soil health, it can lower the soil pH with regular use, which can interfere with nutrient availability. Excess sulphur can also exacerbate black layer – the deposit of metal sulphides in poorly aerated soils in conjunction with anaerobic bacteria. Each analysis in the

range shares certain characteristics that make Microfine stand out from other fertilisers. The mixes are compound fertilsers, with advanced granulation technology, where all nutrients are present in each 1-2mm granule, ensuring uniform application across the treated area.

Institute of Groundsmanship

T range gives lasting nutrition THE GROUNDSMAN 43




SPRAY AWAY THE PS22 IS a versatile sprayer for applying fertilisers to both large and small areas with ease. The tank is mounted on a robust tray chassis, which has two pneumatic leading wheels and a rear castor wheel which acts as a line marker. The sprayer is fitted with a height adjustable break back boom. Its four nozzles give a spray width of 2400mm (96�), and the two outer nozzles of the boom can be turned off to give a narrow spray width if required. This also allows the sprayer to be easily transported in a van or a large boot. The 12 volt diaphragm pump has a flow rate of seven litres per minute, with higher flow rate pumps available. A high capacity 22Ah battery is fitted, which gives an average spray time of approximately five hours for continuous spraying. With tank


The PS22’s four nozzles give a spray width of 2400mm

refilling and on/off time, a longer working duration is to be expected. A brass hand trigger lance, complete with quick and simple twist connectors, is supplied with each sprayer. The lance is invaluable for spot spraying weeds and for around trees and shrubs.





GERMINAL HAS LAUNCHED an organic based phased-release fertiliser which provides up to five months’ worth of nutrients and trace elements from a single application at a budget-friendly price point. GSR Tri-Phase is an 18-3.5-8 NPK fertiliser which also supplies one unit of MgO plus trace elements including copper, zinc, boron, manganese and molybdenum. Richard Brown, Germinal's amenity sales manager explains: “We recognise that, for many landscapers, local authorities and golf, rugby and football clubs, grass and groundcare budgets can be very tight. We have therefore developed our own phased-release fertiliser which is as good as anything else on the market but at a more affordable price. It can be used either as a base feed as part of a wider fertiliser

programme, or, where budgets are severely restricted, as a standalone, single application product." Recommended for use on all fine grass swards including golf greens, tees and fairways, sports pitches and all amenity areas, GSR Tri-Phase’s mini-granular (1-2mm) formulation delivers a cost-effective and consistent supply of nitrogen and potash over a period of 16-20 weeks. GSR Tri-Phase contains three forms of nitrogen to provide three phases of nutrient release into the rootzone: an initial hit of quick release nitrogen gives way to methylene urea which is subsequently followed by a final release of organic based nitrogen. In addition, potash is also released slowly throughout the growing season to regulate water uptake and to ensure nutrients and

The TriPhase mix is cost

trace elements remain mobile and available for uptake. “This not only reduces plant stress throughout the growing season, but also enhances the sward’s ability to withstand drought conditions,” says Richard.

The complete organic package Organic based fertilisers for golf courses and winter season pitches C-Complex® is an organic mineral fertiliser that features aerobically composted manure, enriched with humic acids to help stimulate microbial activity and create a strong, healthy sward.

C-Comple CComple omple omplexx ®

CalciComplex® is an organic mineral fertiliser containing calcium and magnesium alongside humic acids, to enhance natural growth and maximise plant health.

Calci Complex

C-Complex® Sport Designed for coarse turf, featuring extended release organic potassium.

SPOR C-Comple Complex Comple omplexSPORT

01223 491090 www.iog.orgTHE THEGROUNDSMAN GROUNDSMAN 45



Expert advice on staying motivated page 26


Irrigation will be a key component in ensuring good playing surfaces are maintained, but be careful not to apply too much otherwise the surfaces will still be wet for the morning start of play. Continue to mow at 5mm and include a double cut for important matches. When conditions allow, aerate and irrigate first. Good green speeds can be achieved by consistent mowing at 5mm. Rotate rinks and sides regularly to accommodate high levels of use, ensuring wear is spread as evenly as possible over the green. An application of fertiliser will invariably take place this month. Typically this will be an 8-0-0 (inorganic nitrogen) product applied at 34g/m2. P and K will depend on soil analysis and sward assessment results. Plan so that work does not interfere with play. Consider an evening application with a good watering in; then it has all night to wash into the surface and aerate beforehand.


The ends can be lightly forked over to a depth of 50mm or so to produce a fine seed bed and a suitable grass seed applied. The body of the renovated wicket can be scarified, aerated and spiked with a sarel spiked roller then oversown with a suitable grass seed mixture. The mixture



Continue to mow as required, removing the clippings. If the outfield surface is dry or there is a prolonged dry spell, lift the height of cut slightly to reduce sward stress. The standard height of cut will be 12-18mm. Ensure the outfield is checked regularly for worn areas and, if required, carry out repairs.

The playing season has been going on for seven months so the pitch may be getting tired. Communication with the coaches is vital as bare areas can appear if the rotation of drills is not advised. Mowing – at 30mm every day, plus a once weekly cut at 25mm to cut off the annual meadow grass seed heads. Aeration – vertidrain bi-weekly to a maximum depth of 12 inches with four-inch spacings to aid drainage and root development. Fertilising – generally using 12+0+9 or a 14+2+4, 12 x 25kg. Brush every morning using a tractor-mounted dragbrush: this will help stand the grass up and eliminate morning dew. Spraying – an application of wetting agent will be required. Do this just after a vertidrain then water in afterwards. Fertiliser could also be applied.



content will depend on the level of cricket being played. Apply a suitable fertiliser to those wickets which have been taken out of use, to aid seed germination and sward establishment.


Keep moisture levels up to encourage good growth. Feed the pitch with a liquid nitrogen fertiliser to help improve sward density. Thin areas may also benefit from a light seeding and topdressing, though care will need to be taken if a herbicide is being applied. Keep up aeration to encourage moisture penetration into the soil profile; this will also reduce the chance of surface rooting. August is also a good time to apply a fertiliser. An 11-6-9 or a similar type at 34-50g/m2 could be considered. For local authority pitches, a 20-10-10 or similar fertiliser is just as effective and will be cheaper, too.

Mow at 30mm every day plus a once weekly cut at 25mm to remove annual meadow grass seed heads. Aeration – vertidrain bi-weekly down to a maximum depth of 12 inches with four-inch spacings. Fertilise – generally with 12+0+9 or a 20+10+10 if a flush of growth is needed, 12 x 25kg. Brush every morning to help stand the grass up and eliminate morning dew. Repairs – walk over and divot every day. Spraying – an application of wetting agent plus liquid fertiliser. Irrigate as often as training times allow – higher temperatures mean more water.

Now is typically the time that a fertiliser with a lower percentage of nitrogen is applied, especially on more lightly used courts. Continue with routine maintenance, which will include mowing, grooming, brushing, irrigation and overmarking. Where there are multiple tennis courts on site, try and take some out of use and renovate them prior to September.


Routine maintenance work over the summer months will include: Artificial/specific use of irrigation will be more frequent to produce a suitable firmness of ground for a race meeting. Continue to divot and repair after each meeting. Continue to mow regularly. Don’t neglect mowing on courses that are rested over the summer. A fertiliser application might also be given to all, or part of, the course, dependent on need and following a nutrient analysis.


A fertiliser application will most likely be given during this month. Typically one would be an 8-0-0 @ 34g/m2 nitrogen only. A gradual process of renovation can start now. The extent of the work will depend on matches, but operations such as microsolid-tining, with 6mm diameter tines, should be considered. This results in a minimally affected playing surface for a short period of time. Make use of this month to do some renovation because after September the soil and air temperatures drop rapidly. THE GROUNDSMAN 47



T section of The Groundsman please contact: Lee Morris T: 0203 859 7097 E: lee.morris@



0203 859 7097 THE GROUNDSMAN 49



WHAT IS DYSLEXIA? Dyslexia is a hidden disability thought to affect around 10 per cent of the population; 4 per cent severely. It is the most common of the specific learning difficulties. Dyslexia is usually hereditary. A student with dyslexia may mix up letters within words and words within sentences while reading. They may also have difficulty with spelling words correctly while writing; letter reversals are common. Source: British Dyslexia Association


IMPROVED ACCESS TO TRAINING MATERIALS The IOG is developing access to training courses by including audio resources and enhancing the range of dyslexia-friendly PDFs

T By Chris Gray IOG learning programme architect



he IOG’s quest for continual improvement is reflected in the availability of audio descriptions and explanations for its training and education courses. We have so far completed most of the modules for the Level 3 Technical Diploma in Turf Surface Management qualification and have recently started on improving the availability of material for the Level 2 Technical Certificate in Turf Surface Maintenance. Once these are completed, we will then focus on our higher-level qualifications, with the cycle of continuous improvement evolving and developing over time. For the audio soundtracks, the use of digital conversion software does, however, result in a ‘voice’ that isn’t as smooth as a natural human recording – but the result is still clear and readily understandable. The next move will be to investigate the use of even more naturalsounding speech. One added benefit of having

“Users can download and replay recordings on a range of devices” audio versions (mp3 files), is that users can also download and replay the recordings on a range of devices – including mobile phones – at their leisure. We have also addressed the needs of those with dyslexia, creating text in Word using the special OpenDyslexia font, then creating new PDFs. We have followed the style guide produced by the British Dyslexia Association: font size 14; 1.5 paragraph spacing; and Corn (RGB 255-248220) as the page colour background.

Institute of Groundsmanship


Visit www.iog/org/training for more information

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