The Groundsman November 2019

Page 1



NOVEMBER 2019 £4.00



How to sell yourself in the workplace page 32

THE 2019 FINALISTS The nominees for this year’s IOG Industry Awards

FIT FOR THE FUTURE? IOG survey reveals a skills and recruitment time bomb



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05 Welcome

Sport’s vital profession

Meet this year’s awards nominees page 25

06 Update

Industry and product news

18 GaNTIP update

Success against chafer grubs

34 GaNTIP update

Pitch improvement scheme makes good progress

38 In action

Dennis and Pitchmark


40 In action

Limagrain and GreenMech

43 In action

Headland Amenity and SISIS

45 Product showcase Drainage and estate management

50 Tools and guidance

Turf care advice for December

FEATURES 14 Amenity Forum update

The annual conference report

16 IOG Young Board

The Board’s latest campaigns



Read the IOG’s report on the state of grounds keeping, p20

20 IOG industry research Preparing for the future

25 IOG Awards finalists

The 2019 shortlist in full

32 Employment advice

How to get ahead at work

36 Training update

The IOG’s Prospectus and Pitch Grading Framework




Editorial address: 28 Stratford Office Village, Walker Avenue, Wolverton Mill East, Milton Keynes MK12 5TW t: 01908 312511 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 Adam Maflin 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



Karen Maxwell Managing editor

Sport’s vital profession In 2009, the IOG presented the results of its industry-wide research, Groundsmanship – the Hidden Profession. The findings enabled us to significantly raise the status and profile of the sector, including both the army of professional grounds staff as well as the extensive number of volunteers who support so many local sports facilities. The results – which also highlighted the economic impact of our sector and looked at the attitudes towards our profession – also enabled the IOG to instigate a number of strategies that have moved us forward as an organisation, too.

Colin Hoskins Features editor

Chris Gray IOG learning architect

A decade on and we are now able to compare the industry as it is today, after the results of our latest independent research, Groundsmanship – Sport’s Vital Profession. The results (see page 20) make fascinating reading – including a number of challenges that we as an industry must consider – and they will again inform the IOG’s future thinking as well as help with our continual quest to raise the standing of our sector. Indeed, the data and supporting evidence in our latest research will prove vital if the IOG is to continue to influence and educate, and to attract stakeholder investment to the industry.

Dan Prest IOG head of technical and learning

Our economic modelling suggests that the sector’s economic value (paybill and operating costs) is more than £1 billion and that it: Employs around 26,000 people Has over 37,000 part-time volunteers with an in-kind value of more than £120 million Has a direct staffing paybill (including on-costs) of around £588 million Has an operating budget (including grassroots and local government contractors) of around £478 million Has an indicative capital expenditure of around £600 million over the past five years Supports nearly 5,000 businesses which employ at least 37,000 people.

Julien Morris Regional pitch advisor

Frank Newberry

Among the challenges highlighted is the replacement of an ageing workforce, continuing efforts to recruit and retain young entrants, pay and conditions, and recruiting a more diverse and representative workforce. Opportunities also exist to develop and educate more volunteers and to upskill both the voluntary and professional sector.

Management trainer and consultant

Action is needed to avoid this ticking time bomb of lost skill and expertise. Anthony Facey IOG Young Board retiring chair

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

Institute of Groundsmanship

Amenity Forum chair THE GROUNDSMAN 5




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




Our industry needs better recruitment and training


IOG report shows action needed to keep Britain active INDUSTRY RESEARCH CARRIED out by the IOG reveals a potential decline in groundskeeping skills and manpower that will reduce pitch availability. Results of the IOG’s industry-wide survey, Groundsmanship – Sport’s Vital Profession, have been published. The report shows the scale of the contribution made by grounds staff to maintaining the nation’s sports and amenity grounds, from grassroots up to elite sport level. However, the report also highlights that if action is not taken, an ageing workforce and lack of resources could mean a decline in groundskeeping skills and manpower that would ultimately lead to fewer usable sports grounds in future.

“The report shows that two in five grounds persons are over 50”

6 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

The survey results show that the UK sports turf groundscare sector employs more than 26,000 people as well as 37,000 volunteers. Its value to the economy is a huge £1 billion a year. However, it also shows that two in five grounds persons are over 50, with 20 per cent potentially ready to retire in the next five years. Availability of training and cuts to budgets for grounds maintenance are also areas of concern raised by the research. Geoff Webb, chief executive of the IOG, said: “These are just some of the subjects raised by the survey – not forgetting the issues of diversity and pay discrepancy voiced by some respondents, as well as concerns over climate change and water management – that not only the IOG but the industry as a whole needs to address if we are to continue to produce grounds people and playing surfaces that are the envy of the world.” Find out more about the research in our feature on page 20.

COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S sport is set to ’skyrocket’ amid rising levels of investment in TV and digital coverage, according to an industry survey. Some 94 per cent of industry professionals are set to increase investment in the creation, production and distribution of women’s sport content, according to research from Imagen, the SaaS video management platform business. Its survey of more than 300 senior sports industry executives found that this development is motivated by commercial interests and new opportunities for digital distribution.


KNOTWEED HYBRID SCIENTISTS FROM SWANSEA University have discovered a rare Japanese knotweed hybrid in south Wales. Although this could mean further proliferation of the destructive plant, the scientists believe the discovery could help them develop new ways of managing its spread. The hybrid, known as Conolly’s knotweed, was discovered during a study led by PhD student Sophie Hocking. The research has been undertaken in partnership with Complete Weed Control and Advanced Invasives, a company that has grown from the research.

The new strain


Agrolanc marketing manager Krisztina Juhász congratulates winner Erik Czako, with his friend, Cserép Gábor


Premier League fan earns his stripes ADVICE FROM ENGLISH grounds personnel has helped Erik Czako of Hungary win this year’s Allett Creative Stripes competition. Erik, who watched Premier League football as a child, said he’d always dreamt of playing on a pitch of a similar quality, so decided to make his own. “In Hungary pitches don’t have such quality,” he said. “I decided to make a lawn like this one. Gardeners in Hungary told me it isn’t possible because of the climate. I got advice from English groundsmen and my dream came true. “I kick the ball on my pitch with my friends. It’s a little bit smaller than a

football pitch, but it isn’t a problem.” Erik used an Allett Kensington 14in to create his winning design. Runner up was Swedish garden service company owner and former groundsman Niklaus Andersson, who used an Allett Kensington 20K. England’s Andrew Wain, head gardener at Euridge Manor in Wiltshire, came third. The annual competition is run online on Allett’s social media channels. There were entries from 10 countries with the top six coming from Hungary, Sweden, England, Wales and the USA. The prize is an Allett Liberty 43 with all compatible cartridges and two cartridge stands.


NEW £5M FOOTBALL CENTRE CLS SPORTS HAS completed its most prestigious project to date. The Football Association of Wales officially opened its £5m Colliers Park National Football Development Centre, near Wrexham, on 22 September, a date that commemorates the 85th anniversary

The centre opened in September


of one of the world’s worst coal mining disasters. On that date in 1934, an explosion rocked the nearby Gresford mine, killing 236 colliers. The CLS Sports natural and synthetic pitch construction teams have laid a full-size FIFA Quality accredited 3G facility alongside two full-size natural turf pitches with full underpitch drainage and sustainable soakaway. CLS Sports also supplied floodlighting, camera gantries, mini grandstands, pitch perimeter fencing, maintenance shed, hard and soft landscaping, and pathways for the park.

Institute of Groundsmanship



COMMUNITY SPORTS GROUP WRITES TO GIVE THANKS BROUGHTON COMMUNITY & SPORTS ASSOCIATION (BCSA) has written to the IOG to thank the organisation for its part in bringing the group’s football pitches back into use, following historical neglect and a severe problem with chafer grub infestation. Sean Clixby, chair of the BCSA, wrote: “We have been part of the FA Pitch Improvement Programme for about a year. The initial report was damning (not to our surprise!). We only had one five-vs-five and one seven-vs-seven pitch in a fit state! “The PIP provided us with evidence, key recommendations and advice which we needed to prove things needed to change. “We took over the maintenance in April 2019 but prior to this we were proactive in organising several ‘volunteer repair days’. Since the delivery of the recommended machinery in August, and the implementation of a schedule of works, we have really started to make a difference. All of our football pitches are now in use. Visiting teams now congratulate us on the condition of our pitches. “We would like to thank all of those people who have helped us get to this stage: Lincolnshire FA, Football Foundation, IOG and particularly Julien Morris, our regional pitch advisor.” Find out more about the BCSA’s success story, and the role of GaNTIP, on page 18. THE GROUNDSMAN 7



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


SHERRIFF AMENITY HAS appointed Andrew Norman as an amenity specialist based in Kent and East Sussex. Andrew joins the company from East Sussex National Golf Club where he started as a seasonal greenkeeper before working his way up to deputy course manager. Andrew, who also holds an NVQ Level 3 in Amenity Horticulture Greenkeeping and Sports Turf Management, said that he is relishing the opportunity to learn and assist turf managers.



Andrew Norman



Clive Carter

CLIVE CARTER, GENERAL manager at Machinery Imports, has left the business after 13 years. Clive started with the Ferris and Wright brands while working at IPU Group, before transferring to the TH WHITE Group when the distribution of the brands was taken over in 2016. Head of machinery imports, Bill Johnston, said: “Clive will be missed by all of the machinery imports team. We wish him the very best of luck and are confident he will make a success of his future endeavours.”



THE ENGLISH PREMIER League (EPL) has appointed David Pemsel, CEO of Guardian Media Group, as its new chief executive. His appointment was approved unanimously at a meeting of shareholders on 2 October. Pemsel is seen as a digital specialist and has been credited with expanding and developing The Guardian into an international media brand. “I’m thrilled to have been offered this incredible opportunity,” Pemsel said. “The Premier League is the most-watched football league in the world and I am very excited to be a key part of that.”

8 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

David Pemsel

THE INSTITUTE OF GROUNDSMANSHIP (IOG) is urging the turf care sector – especially training providers, employers and apprentices – to take part in the consultation exercise announced by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education as part of its review of apprenticeships for agriculture, environment and animal care – which includes the Sports Turf Operative standard. The consultation runs until 4 December and anyone with pertinent views (good or bad) on the future of the occupations covered is invited to make comment by accessing: https:// InstituteForApprenticeships1/ routereviewconsultation2019. IOG chief executive Geoff Webb says the IOG “will, of course, be contributing to the debate”.



Service director Mark Woodward with Cheshire Turf Machinery’s Dealer of the Year Award for excellence in customer support.



TOWCESTER RACECOURSE has permanently closed, according to the British Horseracing Authority. The course went into administration with debts of more than £1.3m in August 2018. Administrators of the previous management company announced they had sold assets in November but racing did not resume at the course and its owners have sold its remaining 10 fixtures to Arena Racing Company.


Dealer awards recognise industry excellence REESINK TURFCARE HAS announced the winners of its annual Aftermarket Dealer Awards. The awards recognise outstanding performance in service, parts and skills, as well as an overall Dealer of the Year for excellence in customer support.

“Winning this award is proof of the great effort from our team”

This year’s winners are Redtech Machinery in Coventry for outstanding performance in service, Oliver Landpower in Hertfordshire for skills, and Revill Mowers in Gloucestershire for parts. Cheshire Turf Machinery in Stockport was named Dealer of the Year. Cheshire Turf Machinery service director Mark Woodward said: “Winning this award is proof of the great effort from our parts and service team, who have enabled us to achieve this award for the second year in a row.”


ENGLAND MORE ACTIVE THAN EVER A NEW SURVEY shows that one million more people have become physically active in England since the study began in 2015. The Active Lives Adult Survey from Sport England, which looks at the activity levels of people aged 16 and over, shows that the total number of active people (doing

10 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week) has risen to 28.6 million. Meanwhile, the number of people considered inactive – doing less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week – is down to 11.2 million, the lowest figure ever recorded by the survey.

APP DOWN UNDER PASSPORT365, A sport facilities management app developed in the East Midlands, has sold its Australian territory rights to synthetic grass specialist Tuff Group in a six-figure deal. The innovative mobile app allows all of those connected with sports surfaces across the world to book in jobs, record their daily activity and upload images from the sites they manage and maintain, which can be viewed by asset managers in head offices across the globe in real time.


SPONSORSHIP DEAL RANSOMES JACOBSEN IS to sponsor Suffolk FA for a seventh successive season. The Ipswichbased turf maintenance company will sponsor the Groundsman of the Year competition and the Suffolk FA Awards Ceremony. The Awards Ceremony takes place next month at Portman Road before Ipswich Town’s SkyBet League One fixture with Rotherham United.


T H E P E R F E C T C U T. E V E R Y T I M E . From the dynamic return floating head mechanism to the variable clip speed, height of cut adjustment, moveable bed-knife and swappable dual power source, the INFINICUTÂŽ provides more functionality than any other pedestrian mower - while providing


Fixed Head

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an unrivaled quality of cut. The Cub Cadet Professional Sports Turf range is proof positive of innovation through experience. @Infinicut



Estate management and drainage on page 45

The Stihl MS 151 TC-E

Irrigation, grow lights, a cassette system and a chainsaw



RAIN BIRD’S NEW ESPME3 irrigation controller for residential and light commercial applications has an in-built flow monitoring terminal. The controller is also WiFi ready and upgradeable to a smart controller by adding Rain Bird’s proven LNK WiFi module. This allows users to access, operate and monitor their irrigation system from anywhere at any time via the app. Compatibility with multiple sizes and makes of wired flow monitoring sensors will help users to save water by sending data to the controller for precise monitoring of water flow and flow rates. Plugging in the separate LNK WiFi module with its accompanying app gives users a complete, easy-to-use irrigation solution. Built-in notifications provide

troubleshooting access, diagnostics and operational information. The dial has large, colour-coded dial positions and the screen is backlit for clarity. Alarm notifications alert the user to any operational issues such as power supply, programming or high flow rates. Available with a three-year trade warranty, the ESP-ME 3 has a weatherresistant housing and comes complete with a factory-installed power plug ready for indoor and outdoor use.

2 PGC+


COUNTAX HAS INTRODUCED the PGC+, an accessory which transforms its C or B Series garden tractor into a multi-use year-round workhorse. The PGC+ is a cassette system which allows you to switch accessories, each designed for a specific task. It means you only need one machine to maintain lawns, driveways, paths and other areas. The Grass Sweeper cassette comes as standard and uses 51 brushes to sweep grass clippings, fallen leaves and debris into the hopper, even when the grass is wet. Installing the Scarifier

12 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

3 MS 151 C-E / MS 151 TC-E STIHL

The screen is backlit for easy reading

Installing the cassettes is easy

cassette into the PGC+ reduces the need for a separate scarifier. Additional cassettes, due soon, include a Hard Surface Brush cassette, which transforms your Countax into a heavy-duty powered broom for maintaining hard surfaces.

STIHL HAS LAUNCHED two enhanced versions of the MS 151 chainsaw. The MS 151 C-E and MS 151 TC-E both feature a new version of STIHL’s 2-MIX engine, which increases the power of the saw by up to 10 per cent and provides a 15 per cent increase in torque when compared to its predecessor, the MS 150 C-E. Additionally, fuel consumption and emissions have been reduced. The chainsaws also feature ErgoStart technology that enables effortless, reliable starting. Both chainsaws remain the same weight as the MS 150 C-E at just 2.60kg.


SGL IS LAUNCHING a new line of grow lights aimed at clubs and organisations with small budgets. The SGL Basic range uses materials as efficiently as possible, and is delivered as a self-assembly package, saving on shipping costs. The first product to come from the new line is the BU50. Its seven HPS fixtures promote photosynthesis by applying PAR light and additional heat, which enables and reinforces grass growth on all sports playing surfaces. The BU50 treats a surface of 50m2 and helps grass to recover after games and events. The BU50 will be unveiled at SALTEX, on stand G223.

Low-budget BU50 lights


The new Amenity Standard was introduced at this year’s conference

21st-CENTURY AMENITY MANAGEMENT The focus at this year’s Amenity Forum annual conference was very much on innovation and the practicalities of taking an integrated approach to weed, pest and disease management

A By John Moverley Amenity Forum chair

fter an opening presentation on policy matters, delegates at the Amenity Forum conference were treated to two informative and entertaining presentations. The first was from Professor Michael Eddleston, a recognised expert on human health monitoring. He addressed matters concerning pesticide exposure together with emphasising how important chemical use is in human health and combatting disease. It was a thought-provoking address. He was followed by Dr Dave Hughes, head of technology evaluation at Syngenta, who provided his thoughts on the future and introduced the audience to the many new developments in store, including drones and genome editing.


Then came a number of short presentations considering the range of approaches to weed, pest and disease management which might be included in an integrated approach. What emerged from the resulting panel discussion was the need to focus on prevention rather than cure. After the debate, the Amenity Forum launched two documents: a comprehensive introduction to integrated approaches and their relative merits and challenges; and a template for creating an integrated weed-management plan. Early in 2020, a third is to be published, specifically aimed at helping local authorities and similar organisations create policies for integrated management. All these documents 14 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

are or will be available to member organisations. In the afternoon, the conference heard individual views on 21st century amenity management from a leading contractor and a manager of a large urban local authority. The final section of the event showcased work by STRI on stadium design and its impact on playing surfaces, and Jim McKenzie from Celtic Manor spoke on ‘The pressures and challenges of creating and maintaining high-quality playing conditions and facilities for a major golfing venue’.


The conference concluded with an introduction to the new Amenity Standard, which is seen as a gamechanger in our sector and will be fully launched from January 2020. Those organisations able to show the logo and carry the standard must be members of an approved assurance scheme. There will be no extra cost to organisations, other than fees for being part of an approved assurance scheme. While it will take time, it is hoped that the standard will become as recognised as the Little Red Tractor in food production, providing assurance to all involved, especially the public, of the professionalism of amenity management.


More information on the Amenity Standard can be found at, and copies of the conference presentations will be available on the Forum website from early November.

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Board members on the Toro stand at SALTEX 2018

GETTING INTO GROUNDS The IOG Young Board of Directors is working hard to attract young people into our industry

T By Anthony Facey Young Board retiring chair

he IOG’s Young Board of Directors (YBD) was set up in 2011, when a group of talented young turf professionals were brought together to encourage young people into the industry through the IOG’s ‘Get into Grounds’ strategy. Many members of the Board entered the industry by volunteering at a local sports club and then, through practical experience and training, progressed towards a rewarding career in grounds keeping.

YOUNG BOARD OF DIRECTORS John Wright – Chair. Head groundsman at Southampton FC Anthony Facey – Director. Grounds manager at Colchester United FC training ground Joe Broadwood – Director. Owner of a garden and sports maintenance company Liam Balmer – Director. Groundsman at Fulham FC


We’ve developed a Guide to Groundsmanship pack for people considering a career in the sector. This is a comprehensive booklet that helps young people through every step of the career journey and gives advice on educational milestones and what salary you can expect to earn throughout your career. We’ve created a Get into Grounds video highlighting a typical ‘life in the day’ of a groundsperson. We also benefit from our support group, which allows groundsmen and women, as well as industry experts, to assist the YBD with promotional work and projects. Our aim is to increase support-group members and engage with them on a geographical basis to allow for more regional-focused opportunities to engage with young people.


Schools into Stadia: This has been a very successful initiative from the YBD. We have worked with grounds teams and community departments at some of the top sports grounds in the UK to encourage 14- to 16-year-olds to visit their local, high-profile sports grounds and learn the basics of what it takes to become a groundsperson. Every event has attracted around 30-50 school children and there’s always a couple of young people who ask for further information and ask to volunteer on match-day pitch preparation. So far, we have run events at Arsenal FC, Leicester City FC, Stoke FC, Liverpool FC and Southampton 16 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

Luke Russell – Director. Groundsman at Oud-Heverlee Leuven FC, Belgium Matt Jenkins – Director. Groundsman at Southampton FC Connor Collins – Director. Groundsman at Swindon Town FC Scott Humphries – Director. Head groundsman at Oxford United FC training ground Brad Jeffries – Director. Assistant groundsperson at Worcestershire County Cricket Club Sam Cain – Director. Owner of Cain Markings

FC, and we’re planning to extend this concept to other sporting venues in 2020. World skills 2019: We will be promoting groundskeeping at the World Skills event at the NEC later this month. This offers a fantastic opportunity to get in front of around 78,000 young people, teachers and career advisors, and we will be showcasing examples of pitch-maintenance technology and advising on career pathways. Can you help us engage with young people? If so we’d love to hear from you. Call 01908 312511 or follow the IOG Young Board on Facebook and Twitter @iogyoungboard


Funding enabled the BCSA to purchase essential machinery

CHEERS TO COMMUNITY SPIRIT! The GaNTIP team joined forces with Broughton Community Sports Association to reinstate its pitches


ormed as a collaborative association between Broughton Ravers JFC, Broughton Cricket Club and Broughton Town Council, north Lincolnshire-based Broughton Community Sports Association (BCSA) is targeted to lead improvements in all aspects of its facilities and provide a sports hub that the community can be proud of. The playing surface at the Phil Grundy Sports Centre has historic issues with chafer grub damage; the latest being in August 2018 when the damage was so severe that only two of its seven pitches could be used during the 2018/2019 season. On a community action day, however, a team of volunteers got together to repair

“The PIP report enabled us to work collaboratively with other users” 18 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

significant areas of the field with materials and machinery supplied by the council. But despite their considerable efforts, further support was required and today, in partnership with the Lincolnshire County FA and the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme, the remarkable turnaround of the field continues. BCSA won the tender for the maintenance of the field from April 2019 and, based on recommendations made after The Football Association’s Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP) visit in November 2018, the pitches were treated with selective herbicide, de-compacted and over-seeded with perennial ryegrass. Critically, a more frequent and appropriate mowing regime has also made a real difference.


Another key area for improvement was to equip BCSA with appropriate machinery for surface maintenance and to reinstate areas more efficiently should the chafer grubs return. Partnership funding of over

By Julien Morris regional pitch advisor

£20,000 from the Football Foundation in combination with more than £12,000 of funding generated by BCSA has enabled the purchase of a 36hp compact tractor, a rear roller mower, a turf combination grooming attachment, a tractor-mounted fertiliser spreader and a tractor-mounted disc seeder. The PIP re-visit in August 2019 reported that the pitches improved from ‘Inadequate’ to being graded as ‘Community 2’ in the IOG’s Pitch Grading Framework, in the space of nine months. Most importantly, all seven pitches are back in use for the 2019/2020 season. Sean Clixby, BCSA chair, said: “The PIP report has helped us produce a schedule of works and has enabled us to work collaboratively with other interested users of the site to further its improvements.” With big plans for the installation of a 3G pitch to complement the grass pitches, it looks like there’s an exciting future for recreational sport in Broughton.


See for more on GaNTIP and the Pitch Grading Framework



The all-new BLEC range is ready to deliver. With updated products, a streamlined range and new innovative equipment on the horizon, BLEC continues to impress.

See us at Saltex 2019 on Stand M080

Grading & Levelling Soil Preparation Seeding Soil Cultivation Renovation


AVERTING A CRISIS IOG research has unearthed a recruitment and skills time bomb that could reduce pitch availability for all

By Colin Hoskins Features editor


he footballing achievements of England’s Lionesses and the men’s ODI cricket team this summer have hopefully inspired the next generation of players and, with sports participation – by all ages and abilities – being encouraged on a national scale, the demand for safe natural turf pitches is set to increase. However, recent independent research by the IOG has identified concerning facts that will impact on the opportunities to play sport on wellmaintained natural turf pitches.

20 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

“The UK sports turf groundscare sector is worth more than a staggering £1bn a year to the economy”

The research highlights the fact that the number of young people embarking on a career in groundsmanship is in decline – a worrying trend when you consider that more than 40 per cent of the workforce is over 50. The report also reveals that investment in training and education is urgently needed to ensure groundscare professionals and volunteers are able to maintain safe, highquality pitches to allow for an increased demand for sports participation now and in the future. As a result of these findings, the IOG has launched the Grounds4Sport


“Local authority budget cuts have had a damaging effect on grassroots grass pitches” campaign, which calls on Government, sports bodies and the industry to work together to bring about change, and invest in natural turf pitches and the people who maintain them.


According to the findings of the IOG’s industry-wide survey, Groundsmanship – Sport’s Vital Profession, the UK sports turf groundscare sector employs more than 26,000 people, is supported by at least 37,000 volunteers, and is worth more than £1 billion a year to the economy. But the research also highlights areas of concern that, if not addressed, are a time bomb for the industry. “Local authority austerity and budget cuts have had, and continue to have, a damaging effect on grassroots grass



Head groundsperson/ greenkeeper Groundsperson/ greenkeeper




25% 19%






10% 0%



0% 1%

Under 20




pitches,” says the IOG’s chief executive Geoff Webb. “The steady deterioration in the quality and the overplay of many pitches is impacting on the playing programmes of some sports,” he adds. “The research findings show that two in every five grounds professionals are aged over 50, and 20 per cent of those could retire within five years. Fewer than one in five groundscare staff are below the age of 30, and our discovery that some employers are choosing not to recruit replacement staff when an existing member leaves or retires, means we have a crisis looming,” says Geoff.



60 or older

“The time bomb issue doesn’t just apply to professionals,” he adds. “Our research identified that more than two thirds of community grounds volunteers are over 60, and almost all are over 50. We applaud the commitment of these volunteers, and we are grateful for the support of our partners, The Football Association (FA) and the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), but volunteers need more help, support and training.” These are just some of the revelations from the IOG’s latest industry-wide research, which also reveals that the turf industry (in England and Wales alone)

Fewer than one in five groundscare staff are below the age of 30 THE GROUNDSMAN 21


“This highlights that recruitment, especially of young people, is a critical issue” plays a significant role in the economy, supporting almost 5,000 businesses and employing at least 37,000 people, with: • Direct staffing pay bills (including on-costs) of about £588m, plus the volunteers’ in-kind pay bill of more than £120m; • Operating budgets (including grassroots and local government contractors) of about £478m, and; • Capital expenditure of about £600m over the past five years. Conducted by Myriad Consulting and Doran Consultancy, the comprehensive survey involved desktop research (including Sport England’s Active Places database and information from sports’ national governing bodies), an online

Youngsters need goodquality pitches to play on

22 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

survey and one-to-one interviews across sports played on grass/artificial surfaces, as well as horse racing. It involved grounds staff/greenkeepers (professionals and volunteers) at all levels, from grassroots through to elite stadia. Responses were also attained from the education sector, including colleges and local authorities. Geoff Webb again: “The research highlights a number of issues which the sector – and the IOG – are already addressing. For example, some respondents, particularly those from the volunteer sector, raised concerns over the availability, accessibility and cost of training. “The IOG has recently published its Prospectus, which details all the costeffective options, including on-site and ‘distance’ learning routes. And the budgetary restrictions that are affecting the maintenance – and therefore the quality and carrying capacity [matches played on] of grassroots pitches – are being addressed not only by The FA’s initiatives, which include Parklife and the Pitch Improvement Programme, but also

The report will help keep UK grounds standards at a world-class level

by national governing bodies and local authorities, who are transferring the responsibility of more pitches to clubs and volunteers. Indeed, in some instances councils are offering rent relief if clubs take on maintenance responsibilities. “Of course, the IOG-led Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP) is also actively delivering pitch



Head groundsperson/ greenkeeper Head groundsperson/ greenkeeper (paid) Volunteer groundsperson/ greenkeeper





36% 29%



11% 3% 4%



Level 1


11% 2% 3%

0% None


Level 2


Level 3

Level 4

4% 3%


Level 5

14% 3%

Level 6


1% 1%

Level 7 or higher

HOW PEOPLE BECAME INVOLVED IN THE SECTOR Other 5% Other conscious decision 7%

Advertisement 4% Apprenticeship 14%

Very satisfied 45% By accident 6%

Satisfied 47%

Careers guidance/school 4%

Interest in sport 35%

Dissatisfied 2%

Family/friend 12%

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 7% Interest in horticulture 12%

“Almost a quarter of head grounds staff feel stressed or under pressure” assessments and training for volunteers (and professionals) at all levels, while the IOG’s Pitch Grading Framework will prove an indispensable educational tool for grounds staff, from grassroots sites to elite sporting venues. “The report highlights that recruitment, especially of young people, is a critical issue and while the IOG Young Board initiative is increasingly spreading the word among schoolchildren about careers in groundscare – especially through its Schools into Stadia programme – it is also clear that everyone in the industry must do more to ensure we have a ‘pipeline’ of competent

grounds staff to meet demand at every level.” Importantly, too, the research shows that almost a quarter of head grounds staff feel stressed or under pressure due to inadequate budgets, increasing commercial pressures and an unmanageable workload. Concluding, Geoff adds: “These are just some of the subjects raised by the survey – not forgetting the issues of diversity and pay discrepancy voiced by some respondents, as well as concerns over climate change and water management – that not only the IOG but the industry as a whole needs to address if we are to continue to produce groundspeople and playing surfaces that are the envy of the world.”

GROUNDS4SPORT The improvement and maintenance of natural turf and the maintenance of artificial turf surfaces are vital to sport nationwide. The IOG’s Grounds4Sport campaign is targeted to give natural turf sports provision the reboot it needs. The campaign will work to create: • Better pitches • More investment • More and better trained and qualified groundspeople • Raised status of the profession.

Contact the IOG for the full version of the report via email: or call 01908 312 511



Meet the finalists in the prestigious IOG Industry Awards 2019

IOG AWARDS 2019 FINALISTS Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student of the Year • Callum Allsop, Leicester City FC Callum has worked in the sports turf industry for 10 years and, as he continues his studies for accreditation to Level 3 in Sports Turf Management, he is putting all that experience to good use as head groundsman at Leicester City FC’s Belvoir Drive training ground, where he leads the site’s nine-strong grounds team.

golf courses, football and cricket pitches, and bowls greens. He complements that knowledge with the experience of being part of the match-day teams at The Olympic Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur FC’s White Hart Lane and at Wembley – to the benefit of the school’s sports pitches. He recently qualified with distinction for his Level 4 accreditation.

• Daniel Hill, Harlequin FC Working with the head groundsman at Twickenham Stoop, Daniel has developed an impressive set of skills including, he says, knowing when, where and why to carry out certain tasks, such as using a chosen piece of machinery to suit the soil and grass conditions at any given time. He is currently seeking accreditation to Level 2 Sports Turf Operative and Grounds Management and is planning to progress to Level 3.

Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Grounds Person of the Year • Pierre Bagot, Stade Rennais, France Pierre is a member of the six-strong grounds team at Stade Rennais and plays a key role in maintaining not only the stadium’s hybrid grass pitch – where he has been involved in preparing the playing surface for European Cup matches and Women’s World Cup games – but also the eight-hectare training centre where there are five grass pitches and two artificial playing surfaces. His sports turf career included a spell at the 45-hole Golf International Barrière La Baule course and he says his experiences have taught him patience, precision and teamwork.

• Lee Morgan, Arnold House School, London As head groundsman at Arnold House School in north London, Lee maintains

• Ollie Deeming, Northampton Saints Having completed his first full season at Northampton Saints, Ollie has been putting his Level 2 distinction in Sports Turf Maintenance and his PA1 and PA6 spraying qualifications to good use, as he works towards the completion of his apprenticeship by achieving his Level 3 in Sports Turf. His role as part of the grounds team is not just focused on maintaining a high-class stadium pitch but also on ensuring that the pitches for the first team’s training, and for the second, academy and community teams, are of a similar standard. • Nick Pepper, Gloucestershire CCC With a Foundation Degree in sports turf, and PA1 and PA2 knapsack spraying and PA2 tractor-mounted boom sprayer accreditations, 21-year-old Nick is currently working towards his BSc Hons. A key member of the grounds team at the Bristol County ground, he says that understanding the characteristics of the surface and rootzone has helped him to progress enormously and enabled him to play an integral role in this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup, producing net pitches for the eight nations that played there. THE GROUNDSMAN 25


IOG AWARDS 2019 FINALISTS Volunteer Sports Grounds Team/Person of the Year • Andy Cambridge, Foxton FC, Cambridgeshire Volunteer groundsman Andy Cambridge sets out to constantly maintain to a high level the five acres of sports surfaces across two sites where two senior football teams share one pitch and seven colts teams share three pitches. The site is also used (in the summer) by three adult cricket teams and four different age groups of colts, plus an ‘all stars’ squad, so Andy’s responsibilities also cover the cricket outfield. Over the past 12 months, improvements to the pitches include reduced compaction levels, and better grass coverage and quality. • Trubshaw Cross Ladsandads, Newcastle, Staffordshire The five volunteer groundsmen at the 11-pitch site are hoping to complement their 2019 Staffordshire FA Grounds Team of the Year award after making large-scale improvements to the ground over the past 12 months, which have resulted in a dramatic rise in the number of fixtures each pitch has accommodated – a 34 per cent increase on the 2017/18 season. In addition, the pitches are now also able to host training for 45 teams from April through to the summer, at no detriment to the playing surface. NGB Community/Grassroots Sports Club Grounds Team/ Person of the Year* • Harborough Town FC, Leicestershire Over the past 12 months, Harborough Town FC has doubled the size of its grass pitches and redeveloped its first team pitch as a full-size 3G playing surface to meet increased demand. Now with 11 pitches, including two 3G surfaces, six full-size pitches and three 9 vs 9 pitches, in season the site accommodates club football every weekend as well as community bookings from colleges and schools, and inclusive football programmes. • Norton Sports Charity, Stockton-on-Tees Norton’s grounds team has experienced an exceptional year. In addition to maintaining the playing surfaces and facilities at the sports club, they also, at

26 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

short notice, helped Stockton Cricket Club prepare and maintain its pitch to exacting ECB standards. With just three full-time grounds staff responsible for 55 acres and eight sports for 30,000 individual users, their efforts are regularly recognised by the many compliments received about the standard of the playing surfaces. *The NGB award is sponsored by the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club), ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), The FA (Football Association), LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), Premier League, RFU (Rugby Football Union) and RFL (Rugby Football League).

AMS Robotics Public Sector Sports Grounds Team of the Year • Prestige Grounds, Wiltshire Prestige Grounds’ sports surface and open space maintenance business has gone from strength to strength and the contractor now manages a range of sites for parish councils, private and state schools, as well as football, rugby and cricket clubs. According to Prestige, if there is a secret to its success “it’s because we pride ourselves on presentation; we do not have the ‘get it done as quick as you can’ attitude”. • Yeovil Recreation Centre, Somerset The four-strong grounds team at the Yeovil Recreation Centre is responsible for the maintenance of a 31-acre site that includes playing surfaces for football (four), hockey, athletics, croquet (two), golf (two), rounders (eight), hard court tennis, baseball, softball, cricket, volleyball (two) plus cross country and national park runs. When the team took control of the site, the overall condition of the pitches was unsuitable for winter sports, with a lot of fixtures being cancelled. Thanks to a new maintenance programme, that has now all changed. Bowling Grounds Team/ Person of the Year • Polly Bowls Club, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire

The 20-strong team of volunteers at the Sutton-in-Ashfield club not only maintain the bowls green, they are also responsible for all aspects of grounds maintenance at the site and for the function and changing rooms, kitchen and toilets. The bowling green is used by nine local league teams and this season will have hosted more than 70 home fixtures. It also accommodates Ashfield Bowling Association and Nottinghamshire Association representative games and end-ofseason finals, plus short mat bowls in the winter. • North Mymms Bowls Club, Hertfordshire In addition to maintaining the Burns Pavilion bowling green, the local council’s three-person grounds team is also responsible for three recreation grounds (including football pitches), a village green, community centre open space and allotments. The bowling green is used by the 101-member North Mymms Bowls Club and the quality of the greens receives many compliments from both home and away players. SCH Supplies Best Managed Artificial Surface of the Year • Ipswich Town FC After upgrading the 3G surfaces at its Playford Road training ground – which resulted in one full-size 3G surface reaching FIFA Pro grading – Ipswich Town FC’s maintenance routine on the artificial pitches not only keeps them in pristine condition but also provides high-class playing surfaces for all the academy teams as well as ‘outside’ rental users. • University of Warwick Over the past 12 months, the university has spent more than £1m on the replacement and purchase of new artificial surfaces – including a 3G rugby and football pitch, five 3G fivea-side pitches and a new water-based hockey pitch, as well as artificial grass cricket strips. The intention is to continue to provide “second to none sporting experiences for ‘outside users’ such as WASPS rugby, FA Women’s League and Premier League ‘Kick’ events, as well as for students”.

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IOG AWARDS 2019 FINALISTS Ransomes Environmental and Ecology Strategy Award • Cardiff University The university’s environmental project was designed to consolidate the site’s existing biodiversity value while also making the site more friendly to wildlife and wildflowers. The project had a number of components, including the creation of a meadow, with primroses and yellow rattle, between a hedgerow and a 3G artificial sports pitch; the conversion of an environmental area that regularly flooded into a rare wetland meadow; and the establishment of key wildflower species including bluebells, Welsh poppies and viper’s bugloss. • City Football Academy, Manchester The Manchester City Football Academy grounds team aims to improve different habitats, create new ones, and install appropriate conservation infrastructures, such as solitary bee and wasp nesting boxes, as well as adapt its maintenance regime to boost biodiversity. Transforming the site, formerly a heavily built-up industrial area and the site of a chemical treatment works, demonstrates just what can be achieved.

Headland Amenity Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year • Essex CCC The grounds team – four full-time staff at Chelmsford and one full-time plus an apprentice at the Billericay satellite ground – are charged with maintaining the match pitches, practice nets and outfield to first-class standards. And this they consistently do, ensuring the facilities meet user demands. The team is also involved in running educational courses for grassroots cricket, with a focus on clubs in London’s East End. • Sussex CCC The 11-strong grounds team is charged with the provision, planning, improvement and maintenance of all playing and practice facilities at the stadium, the Allfield Academy ground, Brighton Aldridge Cricket Academy and at Preston Nomads CC. The quality of the playing and practice surfaces are consistently outstanding, and the stadium site continues to have superb practice nets and outfield, in terms of both presentation and performance. Cub Cadet Infinicut Professional Tennis Courts Grounds Team of the Year • All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon

Winners of this award in 2016, the AELTC grounds team has a grass court season that runs from May to September when, in addition to The Championships, the site also hosts club matches, Inter Services Championships, the Under 14s Road to Wimbledon event and British Seniors’ Championships. The team also maintains clay and acrylic courts, as well as indoor courts for yearround use, and manages the AELTC’s Raynes Park site where there are grass, acrylic and indoor courts. • Devonshire Park, Eastbourne The relatively small grounds team (four full-timers) at Devonshire Park takes great pride in maintaining and continually improving the 24 world-class Championship grass courts and 1.5 hectares of lawns, borders and hedging at the Eastbourne site. Courts at two external sites are also maintained by the team, which has also taken over the management and maintenance of an 18-hole golf course. • The Queen’s Club, Kensington The Queen’s Club won the award for the best ATP 500 tournament this year – the fifth time in six years it has collected this accolade. The award is voted for by players, so it is a good reflection of their experiences. The club’s 4,000+

The Queen’s Club in Kensington has been shortlisted for an award THE GROUNDSMAN 27


IOG AWARDS 2019 FINALISTS members have access to 45 courts, 20 of which are grass (this excludes centre court, which is used only during the Fever-Tree Championships). The team also maintains six French clay courts, four artificial grass courts and five acrylic/hard courts plus, indoors, 10 hard courts and two clay courts, which are housed in a winter ‘bubble’ for six months of the year. John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year • Huntingdon Racecourse, Cambridgeshire Winner of this award in 2016, Huntingdon Racecourse is becoming increasingly popular among leading trainers. Its average field sizes are the third highest among the Jockey Club group for jump racing – due, no doubt, to the way in which the four-strong grounds team manages and maintains the racing surface. In addition to overseeing the racecourse’s formal lawns and flower arrangements, the team also looks after three on-site rugby pitches for Huntingdon Rugby Club, The Stags.

The team at Warwick Racecourse hopes to repeat its 2018 Racecourse Association award-winning performance

28 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

• Redcar Racecourse Redcar’s popularity among trainers – it’s the fourth highest in the country for the average number of runners per race and the second highest flat-only course – is directly attributable to the excellent conditions provided by the grounds team. The site was named the Racegoers’ Club Best Small Racecourse in Scotland and the North in 2018. As part of Redcar in Bloom, it has received three RHS gold awards from Northumbria in Bloom and was the winner of the Colleges, Universities and Sports grounds category for two years in a row.

Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team of the Year • Castleford Tigers, West Yorkshire The grounds team – previously one member and now two – has been a finalist in this IOG award for the past five years and won in 2017. Head groundsman Stuart Vause and his assistant consistently produce playing surfaces to meet demands; the main pitch was used 127 times this season – and Castleford was the only Super League club to stage all of its women’s team games at home.

• Warwick Racecourse The grounds team (five full-time members complemented by up to 30 part-timers on race days) is hoping to follow its 2018 success when it won the Racecourse Association Groundstaff champions award. This was secured largely as a result of the team’s extensive drainage project on the track’s back straight, coupled with the introduction of a watered schooling ground for non-race day use by local trainers. Keen to maintain that progressive momentum, a number of other projects have subsequently been completed.

• Leigh Sports Village, Greater Manchester With four full-time and 10 part-time/ volunteers, the grounds team is focused on the maintenance of the stadium pitch plus three full-size grass training pitches used regularly by Leigh Centurions and Manchester United Women FC for training and friendlies. The team rightly counts as a massive achievement the maintenance of the pitches to withstand heavy usage. Compo Expert Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team of the Year • Gloucester Rugby The installation of a state-of-the-art hybrid grass pitch meant a challenging 12 months for the grounds team at Gloucester Rugby, who had to learn how to maintain the new surface during a busy usage schedule and in a stadium where the pitch is in total shade for three weeks in December. However, the two-man team has mastered the pitch maintenance regime, and received compliments on the playing surface from fans, players and coaches. • Northampton Saints RLFC The four-strong grounds team not only maintains the stadium pitch and three training pitches, it’s also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the surrounding car parks, lawns, flowerbeds and hedgerows. The team had a tough start to the 2018-19 season when part of the stadium roof fell in and the pitch flooded after heavy rain – all on a day a stage was due to be built for a major concert. The grounds team persevered, though, and the concert went ahead.

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The young team from Colchester United FC takes pride in the pitch

Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year: English Leagues 1 & 2, National League, National League North/South, Scottish Championship & Leagues 1 & 2, Ireland & Wales Professional Leagues • Charlton Athletic FC, London With two full-time grounds staff, Charlton Athletic’s The Valley stadium accommodates its home fixtures – as well as ‘off-season’ activities such as concerts and corporate events – with a tried-and-tested pitch care regime, a holistic approach that combines groundscare experience with technology to achieve optimum pitch health and performance. The grounds team is also involved in the community, working alongside the mayor and a community trust to promote awareness of the groundscare industry, and encouraging youngsters to support the grounds team on match days.

• Colchester United FC, Essex What the Colchester United grounds team lacks in age – three of its five members are under 30 – it makes up for in terms of groundscare skills: one of its members was recently nominated for the FA’s Groundsman of the Year award. Pitch presentation and playability are key, and in November 2018 the JobServe Community Stadium hosted an England Women’s match. • Swindon Town FC A finalist in last year’s IOG Awards and winner of the 2018/19 League Two Grounds Team of the Year Award, the County Ground’s head groundsman, Marcus Cassidy, has an enviable record in Football League ‘pitch scores’. For the 13th year in succession the pitch has attained scores above the league average, making it the only natural grass soil-based pitch to be recognised as such in all four divisions. A measure of the calibre of the pitch is that it hosted an England Women’s International in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup.

MORE AWARDS SISGrass International Award is being contested by: • Andy Cole, iTurf Management • Alan Ferguson, FIFA • Dean Gilasbey, ProPitch

• The Ransomes/DLF Alex R Millar Award – chosen from the outstanding winner across all award categories – and the Grassmaster Outstanding Achievement Awards will be announced on the night. THE GROUNDSMAN 29


IOG AWARDS 2019 FINALISTS SGL Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year: Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League • Croke Park, Dublin Over the past 12 months, Croke Park has witnessed an unprecedented roll call of achievements, including hosting 65 adult matches, 14 juvenile days and five sponsor’s days (including matches, children’s activities and training sessions), as well as three concerts. The sevenstrong grounds team also manages the GAA National Games Development Centre where there are three full-size GAA pitches, a smaller juvenile pitch and an all-weather synthetic training pitch. • Leicester City FC The Foxes’ grounds team is hoping to maintain its superb record in the IOG Awards, having won this title in 2015, 2017 and 2018. Despite its undoubted skill and expertise at maintaining football pitches, though, the team’s greatest achievement this year must be the way in which members have helped and supported each other after the tragic helicopter crash at King Power Stadium in October 2018, which claimed the lives of five people including club chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. • Tottenham Hotspur FC Its main responsibility has been looking after the playing surfaces and landscaping at the club’s 77-acre Enfield Training Centre and the stadium in north London, but this year Tottenham Hotspur’s 46-strong grounds team (including 19 gardeners) has also witnessed the opening of its new world-class 62,062-seater stadium, fitted with the world’s first dividing/retractable grass pitch, a forced air ventilation vacuum system, ‘smart’ irrigation and heating systems, and integrated grow lights.

Redexim Charterhouse /Kubota University/ College Grounds Team of the Year • Cardiff University Overseen by a manager, the university’s grounds team comprises three full-time members who look after the 33-acre, 10-pitch sports fields and 2.5 full-timers

30 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

Croke Park in Dublin has hosted three concerts on top of dozens of matches this year

who are responsible for the maintenance of the student residences. In addition to consistently delivering excellent playing surfaces, the grounds team has undertaken an environmental project (see page 27). • Nottingham University The seven-strong grounds team – winner in 2016 of the IOG Best Maintained Artificial Pitch of the Year Award – has celebrated its most successful year. Between May 2018 and May 2019 there was a marked increase in delivery and quality across all areas of the sporting programme. The outdoor sports pitches – spread over five sites and across three campuses – provided 15,000 pitch hours of sport to the student community and over 17,000 pitch hours to the local, national and international communities.

Growth Products Independent School Grounds Team of the Year • Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh While the main responsibility of the grounds team is to present first-class playing surfaces for its boarding pupils, one measure of the consistent quality of its pitches is that in recent months the school has hosted five international rugby teams as well as the Pakistan and Afghanistan cricket sides. It has also staged its first ever ‘A List’ cricket game. The grounds team makes a conscious

effort to keep not only the sports pitches but the whole campus in the best possible condition. • Rydal Penrhos School, Colwyn Bay, Wales The three-strong grounds team is not only responsible for ensuring that the school’s sports surfaces are maintained to a high standard, but also that the 42-acre site – with, for example, gardens and borders requiring hedge cutting and leaf collection – is presented to a similar level. The playing surfaces include five rugby pitches, three training areas and a small football pitch, as well as an artificial sand-based pitch, four Eton fives courts, 11 tennis courts and a small golf area, plus an indoor sports hall for cricket, tennis and netball. The IOG Industry Awards acknowledge the passion, dedication and challenges faced by grounds staff, volunteers and professionals across all levels of sport. The 2019 winners will be announced at the IOG Industry Awards dinner on Wednesday 30 October at The Vox, located in Resorts World at the Birmingham NEC, on the evening of the first day of the SALTEX exhibition.

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By Frank Newberry IOG-approved management trainer and consultant

IS IT TIME TO SELL YOURSELF? You need to ‘sell yourself’ if you want to progress your career – especially when employers do not seem to be buying


owadays, it seems that if you want to get on in your career, you cannot simply wait for a job to come to you. Rather like the exhibitors at SALTEX, you need to market yourself. Sadly, though, your competitors in the job market are not waiting around to be hired. Your loyalty and patience in waiting for advancement may not be seen as a virtue but as a vice: a sign of apathy or an indication that you are not interested in making progress. Meanwhile, the proactive among your competitors have already raised their profile, and started networking and ‘selling’ themselves on their good points to make it clear that they want to further their careers.


The first thing to accept is that it is not about how you see yourself but how others see you. Your success is down to how well you can shape that image. The first question you might ask is: do you know how you come across to others? Research has indicated the factors that have an impact on your advancement in an 32 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

organisation. The research shows three main characteristics: ABILITY accounts for about 10% of your impact; VISIBILITY (how well known your ability is) accounts for 25% of your impact; IMAGE (whether you make a good first impression etc) accounts for 65% of your impact. These results are disturbing, but understandable when you consider that the people who make decisions about you in the workplace may know little about your actual work. These people may assume you know your stuff (ability) and, if they know you at all, it is perhaps only by reputation (visibility) but mainly by the impressions you give when you meet them (image). Where can you start? Clearly, a good first step is to ‘plus one’ your image. This means that you should dress to a standard that is one notch higher than your contemporaries would normally adopt. Instead of going to SALTEX in jeans

and a T-shirt, wear a crisp, smart shirt with clean trousers and footwear. Get a haircut and trim any facial hair. Learn to ‘work the room’, which means having something positive to say to people. Smile, shake hands briefly and make good eye contact (especially when listening). Take an interest in their day and nod while they speak to show interest and approval. Hand out business cards and suggest you meet up again soon – then move on with a smile.


When meeting someone you really want to chat to in more depth, ask if it is a good time or whether you could meet up later. Offer them a drink and have a topic to


discuss or get their opinion on. People are flattered when you ask for their input but keep your conversation short; you don’t want to take over their day. Maybe suggest a meeting at another time and place and give them a business card and/or get theirs. Make a note of when this first meeting took place and what you talked about, so that when it’s time to make the telephone call, the conversation comes straight to mind. As far as current jobs are concerned, you might consider putting it in writing that you want better work, more responsibility or more involvement in decision making. If your employer is nervous, suggest a trial period with a monthly review.


JOB CLINIC A direct approach to ‘proactive job searching’ – one that sidesteps agencies, job adverts and vacancy announcements at work – was the most popular Job Clinic session at last year’s SALTEX (learn more about the IOG Job Clinic and proactive job searching at watch?v=klLqUIGs4bc). This year, in addition to hosting the SALTEX Job Clinic, Frank is running two 30-minute Learning LIVE sessions:

Wednesday 30 October, 11.20am 360° Management Why you should be managing upwards and sideways as well as down. hursday 31 October, midday T Making an Exhibition of Yourself An introduction to self-promotion for turf care professionals. Why not book your 15-minute Job Clinic session at the IOG Hub and visit Frank? Bring your CV! THE GROUNDSMAN 33

RAISING THE GAME AT GRASSROOTS LEVEL Statistics show GaNTIP’s pitch improvement scheme continues to have a massive impact on football and cricket participation in England

34 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

By Colin Hoskins Features editor


he Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP), a joint initiative by the Premier League, The Football Association, the Government’s Football Foundation and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and led by the IOG, aims to raise the quality of natural turf pitches to enhance player experience and increase capacity and participation levels. Between April 2018 and March 2019 more than 2,890 football pitches were assessed, and the results continue to impress, having: Boosted pitch match capacity by 28% – from an average of 2.5 games per pitch to 3.2 ; Reduced postponements by 24%; Increased pitch quality levels – 83% of the 2,890 pitches assessed have improved; Engaged with 1,082 volunteers, 192 of whom have received training to boost knowledge and improve their pitch maintenance techniques. Indeed, the programme has engaged with volunteer



More than 2,890 football pitches were assessed by GaNTIP between April 2018 and March 2019

“GaNTIP is also providing the grassroots community with access to unrivalled education” GaNTIP has worked with the ECB to revitalise sports grounds across the country

time valued at over £3m (if their time/ value were calculated), based on minimum wage and average number of hours contributed (most volunteers work 6-10 hours a week). This, in turn, has enabled more than four million players to enjoy the game – calculated using nine versus nine pitches over a 40-week season; 18 players plus officials x 2,890 pitches and two games per week/weekend. In order to increase pitch capacity, GaNTIP’s work with grassroots football has also involved the development of The Football Foundation Groundskeeping Community – an app platform to provide expert advice to grounds staff – a digital pitch assessment tool and the implementation of online modules (via the IOG website) as well as ‘traditional’ attendance courses/modules to support Football Foundation funding criteria. Interestingly, GaNTIP’s inspections reveal that 82 per cent of the pitches tested had below standard levels of

compaction. “A common issue throughout GaNTIP’s history,” according to IOG director of technical & learning Jason Booth, who is responsible for GaNTIP. In addition, in collaboration with the ECB to develop and initiate a structured approach for local grounds staff, GaNTIP has: Serviced 38 County Cricket Boards and 38 County Grounds Associations/ support groups, working with nine ECB Regional Club and Facilities managers to develop and deliver plans locally; Revitalised the County Pitch Advisor programme by supporting more than 70 Advisors; Developed a ‘toolbox’ to enable County Pitch Advisors and County Cricket Boards to deliver a consistent approach to support; Trained 233 delegates (via the IOG’s online and day attendance cricket courses); and Assisted and developed the ECB’s new junior format for pitch sizes. GaNTIP, which is funded by the Football Foundation and the ECB, and monitored and supported by Sport England, is now in year three (April 2019-March 2020) of

Phase 2 (Phase 1 was 2014-2017) with two key account managers: Tom Rowley (football) and Ian Mather-Brewster (cricket). Jason Booth points out that the programme continues to increase awareness of the importance of the sustainability of natural turf pitches and hopes to invigorate more education and learning over the next 12 months. “The programme is successfully achieving its aims of improving grassroots pitch quality and the education of the people who maintain those pitches, enabling the national governing bodies (NGBs) of football and cricket to provide clear direction on their grass pitch strategies,” he says. “GaNTIP is making great strides and the programme and its regional pitch advisors are regarded as an integral part of the strategies of the NGBs currently within the programme. But the implications and benefits of GaNTIP could – and should – impact all grass sports and it is reassuring that other NGBs are monitoring our progress and showing great interest in what has been achieved and what GaNTIP could contribute to their sports. “Importantly, GaNTIP is also providing the grassroots and volunteer community with access to unrivalled training and education, which is proving indispensable in terms of pitch care. The programme is working hard with the NGBs and stakeholders to align volunteer training with the likes of coaching, because playing surfaces are equally as critical to participation levels,” he adds.


Visit for more details about GaNTIP THE GROUNDSMAN 35



The IOG’s Pitch Grading Framework will enable 21st century groundskeepers to maximise the potential of every playing surface

T By Chris Gray IOG learning programme architect

and Dan Prest IOG head of technical and learning

36 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

oday’s groundscare skill sets are as varied as the wide range of playing surfaces being maintained, yet the IOG has developed a training and education system comprising both short courses and longer, more formal qualifications to meet these diverse needs. Developing a suitable education system is challenging, even more so when the design needs to be carefully considered to provide a platform for courses that remain respected and appropriate in the long term. Supporting the wider health and welfare agenda is an embedded outcome for the sports surfaces which are maintained and prepared. Indeed, everyone can engage with a suitable learning programme that will be relevant to their needs in producing a certain type and standard of sporting surface. With this in mind, the IOG – along with other partners – has developed the Pitch Grading Framework (PGF).

One of the aims of the PGF is to provide a holistic baseline to which we can all relate: groundskeepers, employers, funding partners and so on. This will help to provide a foundation on which to achieve the desired minimum standards for playing surfaces that are safe to play on, where resources (physical input in hours, equipment and materials) are used effectively without wastage, and with appropriate education and training for the desired expectations. A significant benefit of the PGF will also be the support it gives employers, volunteermanaged organisations, funding agents and the governing bodies of sport to better identify what is a fit-for-purpose approach to getting the most out of what they have. The PGF also helps to identify appropriate levels of knowledge and skills, which can then be more specifically related to job descriptions and person specifications, further helping to




“A significant benefit of the PGF will be the support it gives employers, volunteermanaged organisations and funding agents” support the maintenance needs of different surface standards. For recruitment managers and budget holders, this can prove invaluable in targeting prospective employees to ensure that the right person is employed in a job role and that the correct education and training can be provided to help upskill or reskill existing staff where any gap in training needs has been identified. For funding partners, this will also help to better assure that funds are more wisely invested. The PGF will also help to better promote a sustainable management of the sports surface and continued delivery of user participation.

Trying to embrace and link these diverse strands and requirements is a key focus of the IOG’s learning programme. We have already produced our comprehensive Prospectus: 2019-2020, which identifies our professional development qualifications and our short (often one-day) training courses – all of which are very sports surface specific. Our existing progressive suite of qualifications and training courses ranges from Level 1, an introductory and general awareness level, up to and including Level 6, which provides for critical evaluative skills. Lifelong, continuous learning really is the essence of 21st century education

and embedding this through professional working practice with CPD (Continuous Professional Development) and reflective activities is a key process in confidence building and self-development. There really is something for everyone within the UK education system; often it is just a matter of pointing people in the right direction. As PGF grows and becomes the main benchmark for the turf care industry and those interested in joining it, the number of education and training opportunities will also grow. Visit for details on the IOG’s training and education Prospectus. Also, in the future the IOG will be signposting courses offered by other organisations, to better help the industry understand the extent of the ‘education ecosystem’.



DENNIS PRO 34Rs WORK WONDERS FOR WOLVES Fleet of rotary mowers helps to deliver superb finish Wolverhampton Wanderers FC’s deputy head groundsman Anthony Parker claims the purchase of seven Dennis PRO 34R rotary mowers has made a huge improvement to turf maintenance operations at both the Molineux Stadium and the club’s Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground. Since the club’s 2016 takeover by Fosun, a Chinese conglomerate and investment company, results on the pitch have been grabbing the headlines,

Wolves has purchased seven Dennis PRO 34R rotary mowers

but improvements are also being made behind the scenes. “We used to use six small rotary mowers, which did a decent job, but because of the additional pitch lighting we purchased, we needed to take more staff off the rotaries in order to have more help putting the lighting rigs out during the winter months,” says Anthony. “When we saw the PRO 34Rs, it just made sense to get a fleet, so we purchased four for the training ground and three for the stadium.”

Anthony and the team use the PRO 34R in conjunction with the Dennis G860, relying on the rotaries to cut down to 25mm before switching to the cylinder mowers for the final presentation cuts (23mm) in preparation for match days. “The finish on the rotaries is superb,” says Anthony. “You could even use them for a match-day cut because they provide the highest quality finish.”


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ECOLINE+ HITS THE MARK AT WATFORD FC A paint for all pitches wins praise at Vicarage Road

Ecoline+ is now used to mark all the pitches at Watford FC

Pitchmark’s Ecoline+ has become the line-marking paint of choice for FA Premier League club Watford FC. In 2018, head groundsman Scott Tingley set out on what was originally a cost exercise to see if the club could 38 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

find one paint for all marking. “We were using top-end paint for the stadium and bottom-end for the other pitches,” he says. “We wanted to make it one paint but of course the cost had to be taken into account.” The demand for a premium paint at the Vicarage Road stadium led to trials last season, since when Pitchmark has been further developing Ecoline+. Watford FC became the first to use the improved formula at the opening game of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion in August this year. Scott says: “We trialled Ecoline+ and had no issues, only benefits. We use a Pitchmark Hybrid marker, which gives us the quality of a spray marker without compromising the precision

and quality of a transfer marker. Fixture dependent, we can mark up to three times a week, and with the traditional wheel-to-wheel and four-wheel spray markers you lose ground cover and it’s too easy to transfer paint.” The Pitchmark Hybrid overcomes these problems with a threewheeled spray design, which is easily manoeuvred over wet lines. The cone nozzles give perfect deep leaf coverage, so you only need one pass. “It’s easy to use,” says Scott. “It feels like a normal wheel marker and you get premium quality.”


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MM60 IS A WINNER AT STOKE CITY Ryegrass formula wins approval of head groundsman When Andy Jackson, grounds manager at Stoke City FC, trialled a number of different seed mixtures eight years ago, he felt there was one in particular that stood out: Limagrain UK’s MM60. “We were very happy with what we saw,” he says. “Since then we have been 100 per cent MM60 and that’s from renovation to overseeding throughout the winter.” Limagrain’s MM60 grass seed is a 100 per cent ryegrass formula, which is ideal for renovation and divot repair and has high disease resistance.

MM60 has proved to be a good choice at Stoke City

“I believe the MM range really excels because of the products used on the seed such as Headstart GOLD,“ says Andy. “It is not a case of putting lots of nitrogen onto the seed and flushing it up, it is more a case of the seed being nurtured gradually and healthily, and I think that is where we do really well in the summer. “We used to have quite a lot of leaf spot, which is quite common in ryegrass situations in stadia and training grounds,” he continues. “The MM60 seed has helped us to cut that out by at least 60 per cent.”

After sowing MM60, Andy says the first cut is normally carried out 11 days after the seed has been applied. When it comes to overseeding in winter, Andy will apply three to four bags after every home game. “We still get great germination throughout the winter,” he says. “The leaf is finer than any of the other products we have used in the past which means we can get more plants per square metre.“


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GREENMECH SURE-TRAK REVOLUTIONISES EMBANKMENT WORK Machine performs in even the most challenging environments

The GreenMech SURE-Trak 19-28 is ideal for steep slopes

40 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019

GreenMech’s new pivoting track extension system has proven to be a real game changer for Scotland’s South West Arb. With an increasing number of rail-side de-veg projects demanding work on steep embankments, the SURE-Trak’s ability to perform in even the most challenging of environments saw owner Stewart Ball taking delivery of the first SURE-Trak 19-28 woodchipper in the UK earlier this year. “When I established South West Arb five years ago, the first thing I purchased was a GreenMech SAFE-Trak chipper,” explains Stewart, who now heads-up a team of 15. After adding a second SAFETrak to his fleet, Stewart then heard about the launch of GreenMech’s next generation track system, SURE-Trak.

“When I saw what the 19-28 fitted with SURE-Trak system could do, it was a complete game changer. It can get absolutely anywhere and the ability to tilt the body means it’s now even easier and safer for the operator to feed in material, no matter the embankment angle.” Stewart was delighted to take delivery of his SURE-Trak 19-28 in January 2019. “Not only can they reach any given location, but the actual chipping performance is second to none,” he says. “The powerful rollers will pull in even the most awkward forked material for the disc blades to process. Keep these sharp and they won’t skip a beat.”


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GRASS IS GREENER FOR GLOUCESTER RUGBY New nutrition and a moisture-management programme has given the pitch a boost WHEN HEAD GROUNDSMAN Stuart Lambert joined Gloucester Rugby in the summer of 2018, a brand-new hybrid pitch installation had just been completed at the club’s Kingsholm Stadium, and it needed a new maintenance programme. Top of the list was scrapping the existing nutritional regime and switching over to a full-liquid and granular programme from Headland Amenity. “I knew what I wanted to achieve so called on the advice of Headland’s Adi Masters, who helped me formulate a plan that would be able to work on the faster-leaching hybrid surface. To achieve optimal results, we’re using a combination of liquid and granular applications.” Because of the free draining nature, one issue they worked on was moisture retention.

WARWICK SCHOOLS LOVE SISIS An improvement in equipment is boosting the schools’ sports reputation

The team has started to build a top line-up of maintenance equipment

“Adi recommended TriCure Ad which we applied once a month throughout the summer to hold onto what little rainfall we received – this worked really well. “Coming out of that dry summer and into a wetter winter, we then had a few problem areas retaining water, mostly due to compaction from the installation process. For this, we applied Terafirm soil penetrant once every four weeks between October and February, which effectively moved the water away.” The club was also one of the first customers to use the 15-5-12 formulation of Headland’s new controlled release fertiliser, H-Cote Mini. “We’d had some games

DUNCAN TOON, GROUNDS manager at Warwick Independent Schools Foundation, believes that both his new SISIS Flexibrush and SISIS TM1000 have helped produce significant improvements to the schools’ sports surfaces. Duncan is nine months into his new position, and is responsible for the grounds at Warwick School, Warwick Junior School, King’s High School and Warwick Preparatory School. The schools are justly proud of their sporting success, including their national awards, and ability to provide all their pupils with the opportunity to play their chosen sport. The appointment of Duncan was part of the Foundation’s commitment to improve the grounds, alongside making additional investment in its grounds equipment. “Personally, I was looking for reliable and trusted machinery and that is why I chose the SISIS Flexibrush and the SISIS TM1000,” Duncan said. The SISIS Flexibrush is a tractormounted brush, which is equally effective at dispersing top dressing,

Stuart Lambert (left) and Jerome Vidgen from the Gloucester Rugby grounds team

back to back and I was looking for something to give the pitch a boost so we applied H-Cote and the colour response, in particular, was fantastic. It delivered results that transformed the appearance of the pitch, making it a staple in my summer feeding programme.”


Find out more at

removing excess material on natural turf and synthetic surfaces, dew dispersal and improving presentation. “For us it has eliminated the previously time-consuming task of dew removal,” said Duncan. “Everything gets hectic here on a school day but the Flexibrush gives us a big head start because we can start nice and early at 7am and knock all the dew off the grass before the children start classes. It has helped us to reduce disease and I also use it for presentation.” The SISIS Rotorake TM1000 is a tractor-mounted, heavy-duty scarifier and linear aerator and is unrivalled when it comes to removing and controlling thatch. “We mainly bought the TM1000 for in-house cricket renovations but it is also used for regular maintenance work on the squares,” Duncan explained. “It is great for verticutting and we also have the 2mm scarifying removal reel and the brush reel which we use for cleaning up.”


For more information visit THE GROUNDSMAN 43

Product showcase


IOG NEWS UPDATES Go to the IOG website



Andy Garland (right) with David Fisher of George Browns and the Verti-Drain


Sound investment

ANDY GARLAND, COURSE manager at Hertfordshire’s Centurion Club, is working on improving coursewide surface drainage with a little help from his new Verti-Drain 7521. Focusing on the fairways, his latest bit of kit from Charterhouse Turf Machinery will be fundamental as club preparations ramp up to host the 2020 UL International Crown event. Televised to millions, 2020 will be the fourth edition of the Women’s Professional tournament and the first time it will be hosted in the UK. Andy and his greens team of 12 are already well into preparations to ensure the course is fit for a worldwide audience. “When it comes to aeration, we have a small machine for use on the greens, but we had been hiring in a unit for work on the fairways,” he explains. “The trouble with that was the effectiveness of the work conducted was very much at the mercy of the weather and the resulting ground conditions on that day.” With previous experience of Verti-Drains, Andy spoke with his local dealer Browns and had a demonstration of the 7521 model. KEEP IN TOUCH

“You know what you’re going to get with a Verti-Drain – the ability to use different tines to work at good depths and build quality that can handle compacted soils,” he says. Andy took delivery of his new machine, complete with different head options, in August and the 7521 has been busy on the fairways, together with some deep aeration work on the greens. “We equipped the Verti-Drain with 1in tines and aerated all of the fairways which instantly improved surface drainage. Water dispersal has been so much better, which is crucial as we head towards the winter period. We hope to get one more round done on all 18 holes before the tractor gets put onto renovation projects over the winter. This should help us emerge in spring ready for full tournament preparation.” Andy concludes: “By having our own Verti-Drain we can be flexible around the weather conditions and the maintenance schedule to maximise its effectiveness. It will be a key tool as we get ready for our big event next summer.”

Institute of Groundsmanship

THE ARTIFICIAL SURFACE grooming rake is a small, basic machine to carry out routine maintenance on artificial playing surfaces with a sand base. The two rows of spring tines tease through the playing surface to remove the surface compaction and aid drainage. Applying a chemical algae treatment after the spring tines have opened up the surface will allow the chemical to penetrate deeply. This will further improve drainage by preventing a dense water-retaining layer from growing between the fibres. A weight tray is incorporated in the design so that top weight may be added to aid penetration on heavily compacted surfaces. The trailing brush will level and groom the play area; having completed the operation, the play area will be in a ready state for many hours of hard use. Each working row of tines may be lifted out of work individually to suit your grooming requirements, i.e. lift out of work the two spring tine rows and leave the brush in work. This simple grooming unit may be towed behind 13hp tractors and above. The groomer can be lifted out of work for simple and safe transportation to the storage area.

The unit aids drainage on sand-based surfaces THE GROUNDSMAN 45




DRAINAGE WITH A DIFFERENCE TURFDRY’S HYDRAWAY SPORTSDRAIN is used by hundreds of clients. Replacing conventional twotier plastic pipe and slit drain systems, Hydraway’s unique construction gives it three distinct advantages over traditional drainage systems: Rapid water-intake: Hydraway’s water-intake rate is three times faster than 80mm plastic pipe. The faster a system’s intake, the more responsive it is to rainfall and waterlogging – minimising damage to sports pitches. Hydraway’s rapid response to rainfall has caught the attention of Sport England and the RFU, following successful trials. A recent installation as part of improvements to Hanwell Town FC’s Perivale Stadium helped towards an elite grading for the


pitch under the IOG’s GaNTIP scheme. Proven clog resistance: Hydraway Sportsdrain’s geotextile surround has laboratory-proven clog resistance, safeguarding against blockages and ensuring longlasting drainage performance. This also allows Hydraway to successfully drain low-lying land in situations when plastic pipe drainage simply will not work. Minimum installation disturbance: Hydraway is installed in narrow trenches, minimising disruption

during installation. Narrower trenches also help reduce the potential impact of clay-shrinkage following any drainage installation. Find out more about Turfdry at SALTEX on stand A125.




MULTI-TASKING MASTERS GRASSTEX IS A family-owned business which has been operating for over 50 years. The business has a number of divisions encompassing

The Grasstex team can carry out a variety of jobs

estate management, highways maintenance, countryside services, sports turf renovations and grounds maintenance. Grasstex is ideally placed on the

West Sussex and Surrey border, allowing the company to cover a wide geographical area. It offers its services throughout Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and Surrey. The estate management teams at Grasstex carry out a number of operations including mowing of grass areas; verge mowing; hedge cutting; weed control, including invasive species; clearance works on the Public Rights of Way network; all types of fencing, including emergency repairs; and the creation and maintenance of wildflower meadows. Clients include county, district and parish councils as well as private landowners, property managers, National Park authorities and conservation organisations. Grasstex is a Corporate Plus member of the IOG. www.iog.orgTHE THEGROUNDSMAN GROUNDSMAN 47



LOW-IMPACT LANDSCAPING FAMILY-RUN FIRM Inverallan Landscapes, based near Stirling, has moved towards a more environmentally friendly way of working and says that using Pellenc battery-powered equipment is a big part of this. Managing director John Maxwell says that battery-powered tools are the future of groundscare. “We run quite a variety of battery equipment and Pellenc is a big part of that – it’s

“We run a variety of battery-powered equipment. They’re easy to use and there is a huge saving on fuel”


The Cleanion batterypowered brush clearing the way for tourists

easy to use, you don’t have any maintenance and there is a huge saving on fuel,” he says. The most recent addition to the firm’s range is the Cleanion batterypowered brush, which saved the day when the steep road up to the famous National Wallace Monument was covered in snow. The brush comes with a snow blade, but John didn’t

have that at the time, so decided to clear the snow using the standard brush. “It actually worked out very well and cleared the way,” he says, adding: “It was the battery factor which attracted me to the Cleanion and the fact that I can use the same battery on this machine as well as other tools in the Pellenc range.”



To advertise in the classified section of The Groundsman please contact:

Adam Maflin T: 0203 859 7097 E:



0203 859 7097 THE GROUNDSMAN 49



Check for disease activity and, if identified, spray with a propriety fungicide. Continue to brush as regularly as possible to allow sward to remain upright and to remove excess moisture/dew and, if any earthworm activity is noticed, try not to smear the casts. If possible, aerate using solid tines to a depth of 125mm. If climatic and ground conditions allow, mow sward by ‘topping off’.


Check for damage, especially if used for winter sports. If climatic and ground conditions allow, mow sward by ‘topping off’. If possible, aerate outfield to 125mm.


Earthworms may be a problem, so regular drag brushing – ideally daily when conditions are such that large amounts of earthworm casts are produced – and aeration to keep the surface open to improve surface drainage and drying, may help towards reducing the effects of the earthworm activity. Regular applications of sulphate of iron, say every 3-4 weeks, can help to minimise the effects of surface casting earthworms. If all else fails, then you may have to apply synthetic pesticides. Watch out for Fusarium patch during mild damp spells. Sulphate of iron applications can help to harden the grass against this

disease, or alternatively, have a suitable stock of contact fungicide available to spray, usually at the first signs of infection. Keep the grass topped at about 10-12mm high: this will also help to reduce the chance of disease attack which may be more prevalent with longer grass as it will retain a more humid and damp ‘atmosphere’ among its leaves. Finish off bank repairs if possible. Prepare your maintenance schedule for next year, along with a budget requirement.


Frost holes may be required in the early morning to protect against inappropriate wear. Slit tine aerate on a regular basis. Maintain green height in accordance with course standards – typically no higher than 8mm. Tees should still be topped, although the actual height will depend on whether they are rested for the winter or maintained in play. If artificial mats or carpets are used, ensure they are safe and secure, while sand-filled ones are properly topped up. Fairways – if topping hasn’t already ceased, then this might be the last occasion for a few months. Remove leaves to prevent the turf being smothered. Start, or continue, planning for next year’s requirements. A budget report/proposal may need to be submitted.

50 THE GROUNDSMAN November 2019


Divoting is a key task at this time of year. Repairs need to be made to maintain a reasonable surface for as long as possible. Brush and/or harrow. Overmarking should not be neglected. Consider the weather conditions and how many games have been played in determining a suitable overmarking programme. Slit tine aerate the pitch if smearing of the soil is not going to take place – be prepared to stop if conditions are found to be unsuitable, as more harm than good will be done by continuing. Sand worn areas as required.


Soil conditions may become unsuitable for routine aeration, so selective handforking might be the order of the day. Sanding of wet or bare areas may also be needed. A final topping of the grass may be required, but a little extra length at this time of year will help counter some of the wear. Machinery should be prepared for its winter servicing schedule.


The end of season should be here and all renovations completed. A light topping off might still be required if conditions allow. Constant switching or dragbrushing of the surface will be required. An autumn/winter feed should be applied – something like a 4-12-12 – before it gets really cold. Make sure the pitch is protected to the best of your ability to alleviate any damage from unwanted visitors.

All machinery should be looked at for end-of-season repair or servicing. If possible, aeration may be beneficial to the surface by way of handforking, vertidraining or slitting. With the growing season coming to a close, some training/ education courses may be looked at to aid personal and professional development. On the amateur side, constant pitch repair is essential. Any divots not replaced will lead to pitch deterioration. Chain harrowing could be used to aid the repair or presentation of the surface. Bare areas may be becoming apparent, so a light topdressing with sand will aid with playability and wear tolerance. Constant communication with coaches is essential for rotation of drills, as any damage inflicted now will not be able to be repaired before the winter.


Avoid the use of relatively heavy machinery over the winter months when ground conditions are generally unsuitable. Aeration can be carried out during dry periods, assuming the soil moisture content is not high. Continue to divot and repair after each meeting.


Continue to aerate, although ground conditions may now be unsuitable for most of the time. Dragbrush as required. Occasional topping of the grass might be required in the south. Machinery should be given an annual service over the next few months.

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