The Groundsman September 2017

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SEPTEMBER 2017 £4.00


The dream team Continued success for Leeds Rugby


How to stand out in the groundscare industry’s hidden jobs market page 30

ON THE BALL Rugby Town Juniors FC creates an awardwinning football hub




September 2017 AHEAD OF THE GAME

REGULARS 05 Welcome

Insights into Leeds Rugby’s grounds team’s awardwinning work page 16

Women in sport

06 Update

The latest industry news

15 SALTEX 2017

Education events at SALTEX

27 Member benefits

Discounted noise and vibration testing from Earlsmere

30 CV clinic

Negotiating the hidden job market with Frank Newberry

37 Product showcase


Topdressers, spreaders and brushcutters

45 Tools & guidance

Maintenance and weather

FEATURES 16 Best practice

The award-winning grounds team at Leeds Rugby

20 COVER: Rugby Town Juniors FC


How a new football hub has helped the club grow

25 In action


Pitch preparation and mowers

32 Facility overview

Rugby Town Juniors FC is thriving thanks to a new football hub

A brand new sports complex at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate

43 In action

Grass seed you can rely on

50 Grow with the IOG

The role of online training in educating grounds staff




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: 01634 832 221 Product editor Marianne Rawlins e: t: 01225 337777 IOG membership and general enquiries t: 01908 312511 e: Magazine subscriptions Sue Fernandes t: 01908 312511 e: Subscriptions £72 UK, £82 Europe, £112 rest of world Publisher James Houston Head of Design Simon Goddard Advertising Parminder Sangha e: t: 0203 859 7097 Published by James Pembroke Publishing 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



Sisters are doing it for themselves

Karen Maxwell Managing editor

Reflecting on a packed summer of sport – we’ve witnessed a fantastic effort by our sportswomen. From individual sports such as tennis, golf and athletics, to team sports with a World Cup win in cricket and a semi-final appearance in the European Championships and the Woman’s Rugby World cup with England as defending champions – the on-field performances have grabbed the world’s attention and will have a considerable impact on influencing the next generation of females to take up sport. It also will impact on the day-to-day management of sports surfaces – as with increased participation we look to create surfaces that can take any increased carrying capacity to support the growth across sport participation.

Colin Hoskins Features editor

With the rise in media coverage, the viewing figures are also impressive, with four million switching on to watch the lionesses play against the hosts Holland in the European semi-final. All this success is excellent and campaigns such as Sport England’s massively successful ‘This Girl Can’ campaign is creating new outlooks and opportunities for women and girls to get into sport. Alongside this, under new governance codes as a best practice recommendation, the representation of women in the boardroom has also been accelerated for sports governing bodies.

Chris Bennett SALTEX press officer

So as the 1985 hit by the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin states, “Sisters are doin’ it for themselves” is certainly an anthem for the on-field successes witnessed this summer. Reflecting on this success, how are we as an industry developing opportunities for women in the turf sector? What barriers exist and what should be done to dismantle them? With this in mind we will be holding a Women in Turf forum at SALTEX to start the debate and look at how we can truly represent women who want to develop a career in sports turf management.

Tim Gray IOG director of business and membership

This year’s SALTEX Learning LIVE education programme will offer grounds and open space practitioners across all disciplines, volunteer as well as professional, male and female - a daily feast of FREE knowledge-gathering sessions. Featuring industryleading experts and some of the top names in Europe and the US, the presentations are set to educate and entertain SALTEX visitors from all sectors of the industry. Find out more on page 15. Frank Newberry

This year we are opening up pre-registration for all sessions across the two days, alongside the ‘turn up on the day’ option to ensure you get to see what you want at the show. Visit for more information.

Management trainer and IOG careers counsellor

Geoff Webb Chief Executive The Institute of Groundsmanship


Dan Prest IOG head of member services

Institute of Groundsmanship THE GROUNDSMAN 5




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




Andy on his trusty X750


Lawnmower man drives the distance

Andy Maxfield aims for Guinness world record by driving the length of Britain on a John Deere mower PRISON OFFICER ANDY Maxfield from Inskip in Lancashire has completed his epic journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End on a John Deere lawn tractor, raising several thousand pounds for Alzheimer’s Society. The Driving the Distance for Dementia Challenge saw Andy and his

support team travel 874.3 miles in five days, eight hours and 45 minutes on his own unmodified X750 tractor. “It was a fantastic team effort all round – we certainly raised awareness for Alzheimer’s Society and we all had some fun along the way,” he said. To donate, visit www.justgiving. com/andrew-maxfield.


SUPER LEAGUE GOES DOWN UNDER WOLLONGONG IN Australia will be the first city outside Europe to host a regular Super League rugby fixture next February when Wigan Warriors take on Hull FC at the WIN Stadium. A week later, both teams will face

MORE THAN 160 delegates attended St Albans School in Hertfordshire for the Dennis and Sisis Cricket Pitch Renovation Day, when indoor seminars were mixed with outdoor practical demonstrations which highlighted scarification and aeration renovation techniques for those on a tight budget. The delegates also heard presentations on end-of-season renovations from consultant Alex Vickers and Rob Kendle of ATB Sports Solutions. All delegates had been invited to bring soil core samples which were examined by Sussex County Cricket Club's head groundsman Andy Mackay and Keith Exton from Perfect Pitches. Angus Lindsay of idverde UK, who attended with two colleagues, said: “I think we’ve got the best groundsmen and greenkeepers in the world in the UK and that is why a lot of them go abroad. However, if we don’t look after the home pitches – whether it be through lack of budget or lack of knowledge then we’ll encounter problems. The more days like these and the more people get to see what can be done then the better.”

Wigan Warriors will head to Wollongong

Australian National Rugby League teams in a double-header at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney. The matches have been organised to promote club rugby league on the national and international stage. Delegates saw outdoor demos

6 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017




ALBERT FRANCIS MBE Students experienced a variety of work on the programme


STUDENTS EXPERIENCE THE WORLD OF WORK AT RANSOMES YOUNGSTERS HAVE been getting a taste of what it is like to work for a global business as part of a work experience programme at Ransomes Jacobson. The 15 students spent a week working in various departments at the Ipswichbased firm, including operations, engineering, marketing, IT, customer care, sales and HR. All the youngsters were given a thorough overview of the company and shown around the manufacturing facility before spending the week learning the processes involved in running a global business.

Alan Prickett, senior director at Ransomes Jacobsen, said: “A large percentage of our workforce has been employed here for many years, and we are delighted that their skills and experience are now being passed onto students, apprentices and graduates who, we hope, will also enjoy long careers with the company.” • Ransomes has also been recognised for its record on safety in the workplace with a Gold Medal from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).


Distributor deal

PLATTS HARRIS, the groundscare equipment dealer with depots in Tuxford and Darley Dale, has been appointed the Baroness UK distributor for an area that includes Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire,


YORK GATE GARDEN VISIT Platts Harris and Baroness UK are working together

Derbyshire and south Yorkshire.



ATTENDEES OF THIS year’s Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Groundsmanship will be given a free tour of the National Football Centre facilities at St George’s Park. The IOG AGM will be held at The Hilton Hotel, St George’s Park on 20 September. The meeting will be followed by lunch and the tour. To attend, register by contacting the IOG by calling 01908 312511 or email


MORE THAN 300 people, including famous names in rugby, cricket and sport administration from a past era, attended St Mary’s Church in Carmarthenshire for the funeral of Albert Francis MBE, who died recently aged 89. Albert moved from west Wales to become head groundsman for Cardiff Athletic Club, at Cardiff Arms Park. He quickly integrated into the Welsh groundsmen’s community and the IOG. He moved to Fisons, where he worked his way up to a senior management position, before going back to Cardiff to take charge of the new complex including club and county cricket at Sophia Gardens. He then became a senior administrative figure at the Cardiff Athletic Club. He was also awarded an MBE for his long involvement in charitable affairs. David Hart and Peter Gillard were proud to represent his friends in the IOG, and recalled a remarkable man who will be fondly remembered.

Institute of Groundsmanship

YORKSHIRE BRANCH members recently visited the one-acre York Gate Garden located in Adel, Leeds which is one of a small number of gardens maintained by the horticultural charity Perennial. The garden was originally owned by the Spencer family from 1951 – 94. Sixteen branch members and guests were treated to a tour of the garden, ending in a visit to the old farm house, where refreshments were laid on by the Perennial volunteers.

Branch members at the York Gate Garden THE GROUNDSMAN 7





LANDSCAPE SHOW returns to Battersea Park on 19 and 20 September. The event promotes the latest products, technologies and innovations to, for example, architects, contractors, groundsmen, facilities managers and local authority landscaping professionals. Admission is free to the show and seminar sessions. Apply for your ticket by visiting



WORK TO BUILD a new stadium for York City Football Club and York City Knights Rugby League Club is due to start in October. The York Community Stadium, which is expected to take about 16 months to build, will hold 8,000 fans. The project also includes leisure and community facilities, including a Cineworld cinema, five restaurants and a leisure centre with swimming pool, gym, dance studio and climbing facilities.

The complex will also hold leisure facilities

Justin Merritt (Oxford City director of football); Matthew Streeter (SIS pitches contracts manager); Paul Lyon (Oxford City FC director); Matthew Hodgson (SIS pitches site supervisor)


RECORD CROWD FOR LOCAL DERBY ON NEW PITCH OXFORD CITY UNVEILED its new SISTurf 3G pitch at a pre-season friendly with local rivals Oxford United and attracted a record crowd of 2,276 to Marsh Lane. Director of football, Justin Merritt, commented: “To have a record crowd on the first game played on the 3G surface is unbelievable. The players turned up for the first time a few weeks ago and were amazed at how it looked.”

8 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

“To have a record crowd on the first game played on the new surface is unbelievable”


Making its mark FLEET LINE MARKERS is going to spend £3 million expanding its paint chemistry and software departments. The expansion, which is due to start in December, will enable the line marking firm to advance its innovations in both line marking paint and machines. The firm has manufactured and released four new machines in the past


Are you making the most of your IOG membership? We have membership packages to suit all sectors of the industry, and there are fantastic benefits, from bespoke training to discounted rates for events. Find out more at: membership/packages

Oxford City FC has also announced that SIS Pitches, which installed the new pitch, will be the club’s main partner in the 2017/18 season.

Fleet Line Markers’ paint chemistry team ill o si ni�cantl over the next 12 months

six months, including the new Kombi range and GNSS guided line marker, MAQA. It has also released a new range of cheaper paints.



AELTC gave behindthe-scenes insight

THE ALL ENGLAND Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) hosted a two-day workshop for staff working in tennis court management. Head groundsman Neil Stubley and staff gave a great insight into the work behind The Championship courts. Delegates had on-court demonstrations by The Queen’s Club head groundsman Graham Kimpton.





Attendees were given an overview of Edgbaston


INDEPENDENTS DAY FOR ICL FIFTY GROUNDSMEN FROM independent schools throughout southern England and the Midlands attended the latest ICL seminar at Edgbaston Stadium. Gary Barwell, head groundsman at the Edgbaston Stadium, home to Warwickshire CCC and the Birmingham Bears, started the day with an overview of the facilities and an insight into pitch preparation and

his team’s trials of an SIS hybrid pitch. There were also presentations on root development technologies from Henry Bechelet, ICL’s technical sales manager; an update on the latest fungicide regulations from Daniel Lightfoot of Syngenta; and a discussion on the recent STRI trials of the Sisis Javelin Aer-Aid from Robert Jack of Dennis and Sisis.


STRI Group announces Research Day dates STRI GROUP HAS announced the dates for its free annual Research Day events, hosted at its facilities in West Yorkshire. Greenkeepers, grounds staff, course managers, stadium managers and other sports turf professionals are invited to attend the open days on September 20 and 21. The events will include a guided tour around the STRI research grounds and presentations on the latest trials and technology. The event is supported by Farmura,

THE IOG SUPPORTED the British Crown Green Bowls Association – Senior Merit Event last month. Attended by nearly 1,000 people, the event offered turf care advice to greenkeepers – as well as the Mayor of Nuneaton and Bedworth!



RT MACHINERY is hosting its annual machinery demonstration day at its headquarters at Brackwell Farm Estate near Aylesbury from 10am to 4pm on 6 September. Supported by 20 companies – and the IOG –members are invited to meet the manufacturers, check out the latest in product innovation and to book up on-site demonstrations. Lunch and refreshments are included. Email events@ or call 01844 299 037 for more information.

TURF CARE The open days are free to access

Bayer, ICL, Syngenta, Sherriff Amenity and StadiaPitch. To book your place on either day, please contact



SCH SUPPLIES DELIVERY driver Vince Cook made the news after helping to rescue a Ferrari driver from his crashed car. Vince dragged the driver to safety just before the car went up in flames. He waited for the emergency services before getting back in his van to make his final two deliveries.


TWO NEW VENTRAC dealers have been appointed in the UK – Frank Nicol Farm & Garden Machinery Ltd in the Scottish Highlands and Cheshire Turf Machinery. Rupert Price, managing director of Price Turfcare, the UK and Ireland distributor of the Ventrac 4500 compact tractor, has been busy building his dealer base since taking over the franchise in early 2017. David Nicol, sales and service director at Frank Nicol, said: “The Ventrac 4500 is a very well made piece of equipment. It’s also very versatile.” THE GROUNDSMAN 11




SHOWCASE Find more products in our Showcase section Page 37

The latest developments in draining, chipping and disease control


KORO HAS RELEASED a smaller version of its TopDrain 1500 designed specifically for sports pitches and golf course fairways. The TopDrain 1000 is 1m smaller than its big brother and 1,000kg lighter, so it causes less compaction and requires less tractor power to operate. The reduction in size hasn’t compromised on performance

The TopDrain 1000 in action


though, and the 1000 still trenches, removes spoil, injects sand and re-compacts the surface all in one operation. The sand grid created by the TopDrain is meant to complement existing drainage systems, and has had success on football pitches, rugby pitches and horse racing tracks. • Campey is taking the new machine on a tour of the UK and Ireland. To see the machine in action visit www. for a full list of dates and venues. The machine will also be on display at SALTEX 2017 at the Birmingham NEC in November.


REESINK TURFCARE has launched a range of tractor attachments for use with its TYM tractors. The new finishing mowers, flail mowers, wide area mowers and rotary tillers include two types of rotary tillers - the BH to suit a 15-30hp tractor and the RC to suit a 30-55hp tractor. Both are ideal for typical soil conditions thanks to the six curved blades per flange which are mounted in a spiral line. There are also two types of flail mowers to suit both 15-30hp (TA) and 30-55hp (TE) tractors. The FA series


FROM 2019, new European emissions legislation means that all diesel engines over 19kW (26hp) will have to include a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). The new rules are expected to push up prices of diesel-powered units so GreenMech has launched a petrol-engined version of its top-selling chipper the Arborist 150. The Arborist 150p is fitted with a 37hp Briggs & Stratton petrol engine, which can offer almost the same performance as the higher horse-powered diesel engine, but at a much-reduced cost. The firm will continue to produce the Arborist 150 fitted with a 26hp diesel engine which meets the new legislation requirements.


finishing mower is available with cutting widths from 1.2m to 1.8m and the three-deck WGM wide area mower has an overall cutting width of 3.6m. e se ies �nis in mower is available with cutting widths from 1.2m to 1.8m

12 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

BAYER’S NEW TURF fungicide Exteris Stressgard, which claims to protect plants before disease strikes, is now available from Rigby Taylor. Containing the new active ingredient fluopyram, Exteris targets microdochium patch and dollar spot. It penetrates plants through the roots, shoots and leaves, forming a protective barrier. • Literature is available on Rigby Taylor’s tank-mix programmes for autumn turf disease control now. Call 0800 424 919.



By Chris Bennett SALTEX press officer

LEARNING LIVE IS BACK The SALTEX 2017 free education programme is set to inspire visitors at the NEC on 1 and 2 November

SALTEX 2016 Learning LIVE delegates


ith the full Learning LIVE programme set to be revealed in the coming weeks, the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has released a few teaser seminars. The programme will inspire and educate visitors from a range of sectors within the turf care industry. Now in its third year, the SALTEX free-toattend education programme has gone from strength to strength. Last year, Learning LIVE featured 53 unique seminars, 99 high-profile speakers and many key topical issues explored. For 2017, the programme will follow the same successful format developed over the past two years situated within four purpose-built seminar theatres on the show floor with state-of-the-art sound systems and screens. A number of influential speakers will provide updates and key advice. Mark Pover, facilities investment strategy manager at The Football Association (FA), will be participating in a panel debate entitled 'Funding the future of natural turf.’ With so much money being invested into artificial turf, SALTEX visitors will have an opportunity to ask the funders if there is a danger of natural turf being left behind. Commenting on the panel debate, Mark said: “We haven’t forgotten the fact that the majority of football matches in this country are played on natural grass. We have just shy of 800 artificial pitches on our 3G register suitable for affiliated matches and we are continuing to invest in these, but there are approximately 23,000 natural grass pitches. Clearly these are very important, as is the quality, so we will continue to improve and

use natural turf pitches to keep people playing and also attract new players. “We are currently spending £2 million a year on natural turf pitch improvements and I believe that SALTEX is the ideal place to update the industry so that visitors understand exactly what we are doing and the targets we have set. It is also a good opportunity to address some of the negative rumours that are circulated annually and reinforce our commitment to natural turf.”


For those visitors looking to progress their career, the ‘Career development’ seminar presented by Steve Chappell, head greenkeeper at the PGA Centenary Golf Course at The Gleneagles Hotel, should not be missed. Steve will be focusing on how volunteering can improve job prospects. “The thought process behind the session is to provide more of an understanding of how volunteering can help improve and embellish your CV,” says Steve. “It can help you stand out from the crowd and be more employable to a prospective employer. “The seminar would be beneficial for younger people in the industry, and maybe for those who feel stuck in a rut.” Additionally, the seminar ‘Making your move’ will be beneficial in helping a visitor along their career path. Wayne Billing, head groundsman at Northampton Saints RFC; Stuart Kerrison, head groundsman at Essex CCC; and Danny Beckley, head of estates and grounds at Harrow School, will all be on hand to reveal the secrets behind making it to the top within their respective fields. For further inspiration, John Ledwidge

will be documenting his rise from starting in an apprentice position through to being the grounds manager at Leicester City FC in ‘From apprentice to grounds manager’. In a separate seminar John will also be joined by the rest of his grounds team in a session entitled ‘Building a team for success’. By attending any of these seminars within the programme, SALTEX visitors have the opportunity to enhance their CV as IOG and Basis CPD points are available for all Learning LIVE sessions. Attendance at the seminars can be recorded by picking up a CPD form from the IOG Hub (Stand C180) and can contribute towards the minimum requirement of 35 hours in 12 months in order to qualify for the IOG’s Certificate of CPD Achievement. After being motivated by the Learning LIVE seminars, visitors can also visit SALTEX 2017’s new feature – the Job Clinic. Industry expert Frank Newberry will host one-to-one sessions covering CV writing to interview techniques. To book an appointment with Frank, go to the IOG information desk on the IOG Hub as early as possible on the day. The NEC is incredibly easy to get to by car, rail or air. No matter what route you take, one thing is certain – opportunity awaits on 1 and 2 November at SALTEX 2017. The full programme of SALTEX events will be regularly updated via Visitor registration to SALTEX 2016 is free. To confirm your attendance visit Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_SALTEX and Facebook –



DREAM TEAM In 2016, the expertise and dedication of the Leeds Rugby grounds team saw them win the IOG Mansfield Sand Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team of the Year Award for the second successive year, plus the award for IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Groundsman of the Year


Ryan joined Leeds Rugby from school in 2002 as a 16-year-old. In 2012 he was appointed assistant head groundsman then, in 2014, head groundsman. In 2013 he won the IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Groundsman of the Year Award.

16 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

By Colin Hoskins Features editor


he groundscare skills of the Leeds Rugby grounds team were fully tested earlier last year after the Abbey Fields training ground was severely flooded – the River Aire burst its banks and ruined the gym, training rooms, medical centre as well as two first team pitches, four Kirkstall Academy ground pitches and a full-size 3G surface, plus 30 acres of surrounding land. “The remediation work didn’t start until March,” says head groundsman Ryan Golding, “which meant we were effectively carrying out major renovations in the middle of winter and with rain hammering down. “It was a tough period and I learned a lot, but I have a great team – Lewis Pattinson, Dan Connor and Leon Pearson – and they are lads I can trust with any task on either the stadium pitch, the training ground surfaces or on the pitch at Stanningley ARLFC, which is home to the amateur Rugby League club – in total, 35 acres.”


Having a reliable team is especially essential nowadays, Ryan says, as the team continues to work around the latest phases of reconstruction at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium. The ongoing improvement works have seen the south stand demolished and replaced by a new stand which will adjoin Headingley Cricket Ground’s north stand, while the stadium’s main stand will also be rebuilt. Both new stands will be higher than those they replace, which will undoubtedly create shade issues. Ryan adds: “Our initial analyses show that shade will encroach 40m onto the pitch in the summer months. This is something I am keeping the club fully aware of, probably to the point of annoying the head of operations, Sue Ward!” THE GROUNDSMAN 17


An artist’s impression of one of the new stands at Headingley Carnegie Stadium

Ryan (second right) and his team (from left, Leon Pearson, Dan Connor and Lewis Pattinson) constantly innovate to keep their pitches in top condition

The rebuilding project is scheduled to be completed by spring 2019 and, in the meantime, Ryan and the team continue to ensure the pitch is presented in a first-class condition for the games staged on Friday evenings and Sundays, plus the training sessions on Thursdays and Saturdays, for the two codes of rugby hosted there: Rugby Union for Yorkshire Carnegie and Rugby League for Leeds Rhinos. “Aside from removing and repositioning the pitch irrigation and undersoil heating tanks and systems, the pitch has been relatively unscathed by the major upheavals, despite the influx of cherrypickers and diggers,” continues Ryan. “One of the main issues with removing the stands has been the need to prevent relatively large amounts of dust settling on the pitch. We’re using ‘water curtains’ and sheets to minimise the effects.” But the disruption doesn’t seem to faze Ryan, who was promoted to head groundsman in February 2014 at the age of 27 (he joined the club from school in 2002, aged 16). “We are carrying on with our usual pitch maintenance regimes,” he says, adding, interestingly, “and now I am older and hopefully wiser, my priority is to ensure that the pitch plays well – even if that means it doesn’t necessarily look 100 per cent all

The pitch is an important asset for a club and its quality can be a key factor in attracting top players

18 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

the time.” He continues: “The standard and expectations of pitches is increasing all the time and with lots of games here that’s challenging to maintain, especially with no artificial lighting – though we are looking at this. But we do manage to give the players the surface they want, and to consistently enable that we are constantly evolving the things we do. “For example, we no longer roll for a Rugby League match; we dragbrush on the day of a game because we want the grass to stand up. We want it to ‘play’ well, as well as give the players a certain degree of ‘cushion’. Rugby League players want a fast surface; Rugby Union want the sward thicker, fuller and denser, and both codes want it dry.


“This is a Fibresand surface and I’m very confident in it. We know what it can take and we know how to look after it. The pitch is an important asset for the club – it can be a major influence in attracting (and keeping) top players and it can help us in winning games, hence my quest to keep it playing well all year round.” Not only are heavy demands placed on the pitch during the playing season – a normal 12-month period could involve 20-22 home fixtures for each first team, plus academy ‘curtain raisers’ before every first team match – but it’s also used for events during the gaps, which this year have included filming for a Bollywood movie. In the past, the ground has hosted pop concerts, disability rugby festivals, TV dramas, annual children’s day (all sports) and finals for local schools and amateur clubs plus, in 2012, the Rugby League World Cup Challenge, Europe’s Strongest Man competition and screenings of football games. The result is usually anywhere

“My priority is to ensure the pitch plays well – even if it doesn’t look 100%” between 80 to 100 events on the pitch during a calendar year, and this year that meant only a 13-day break for pitch renovations – “we normally get 21 days” – so Ryan says that ‘rolling renovations’ are the name of the game, when fixtures allow. That said, the Headingley Carnegie pitch renovation was taken to new heights in 2016 with the new pitch being laid overnight as, in conjunction with the contractor (Premier Pitches), the task was completed in just 36 hours. After Koroing-off the top layer (260 tonnes of spoil), and ‘topping up’ the fibre concentrate then mixing it in with a power harrow, the pitch was rolled then overseeded in multiple directions. Fertilisers and biostimulants were added then germination sheets were laid. The sheets were removed after five days. Ryan makes it clear that he is always open to new ideas, and he doesn’t hesitate to talk to fellow groundsmen or anybody involved in the industry. “You can’t be afraid to ask questions, or to be asked them yourself,” he says. “If you ask in the right way then I have found that people will gladly help or offer their opinions. That is the great thing about this industry – everybody is there to help.”

For more information about award sponsor Mansfield Sand visit:




Lewis climbs the ladder of success Lewis Pattinson, assistant head groundsman at Leeds Rugby, was once told: there are 10 steps to the ladder of success – take one step at a time and never miss a step. He hasn’t…

O By Colin Hoskins Features editor

ne of those milestone rungs, says Lewis, was when he won the 2016 IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Groundsman of the Year Award, at the age of 24. When Lewis entered the industry, aged 17, as an apprentice greenkeeper (after working on his own as a 15/16-year-old gardener), he says his ambition then was to win the Young Greenkeeper of the Year Award. But his view changed somewhat after spending two weeks as part of the support team at the 2012 Scottish Open. “Seeing what was happening there, I wanted a similar target – I wanted my work to be seen by TV viewers, which is one reason why I joined Leeds Rugby.” Lewis continues: “After six years as a greenkeeper, the move to Headingley Carnegie was an enormous step, a big risk. To start with I thought, ‘It’s simply cut and mark.’ Would I be bored? But as it has turned out, I haven’t been bored for one minute! “I’ve always followed rugby and I had dreamed about preparing rugby pitches. I believe that whatever sport you like best is the sport that you’ll be best at in terms of groundscare. Despite my years on a golf course, I’ve always loved rugby and, curiously, I instinctively knew what rugby pitches need. “Since joining the Leeds Rugby team, I identified another career ladder and I have been steadily moving up the ladder with the aim of winning the Young Groundsman of the Year Award. I never dreamed of failure,” reflects Lewis. Today, continuing up that ladder and with considerable help from Ryan Golding, Leeds Rugby’s head groundsman, and Leeds Rugby itself, Lewis has gained accreditation

“I believe that whatever sport you like best is the sport that you’ll be best at in terms of groundscare”

Lewis Pattinson won the 2016 IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Groundsman of the Year Award for his work with Leeds Rugby

to NVQ Level 3 in Sports Turf and Level 2 in People Management. “I want to know and learn about every aspect of being a head groundsman and that includes, of course, the all-important manmanagement and communication skills.” Being appointed assistant head groundsman was also a test, he says, “because I moved from being ‘one of the lads’ to being their manager”. The Level 2 course helped to build his confidence in this respect, he says, and the teamwork ethic among the grounds team is something to be cherished – “the way we all pulled together to deal with the aftermath of the flooding early last year was a classic example of that”. Lewis continues to eye that ladder of success and says: “I reckon that by the time I’m 30 I will have enough experience to be ready for anything!”


For more information about Rigby Taylor/Top Green, visit THE GROUNDSMAN 19


By Colin Hoskins Features editor

The site includes 22 grass pitches and three 3G surfaces, so can host a huge range and number of matches

THE HUB R OF THE MATTER Such is the success of Rugby Town Juniors FC’s football hub that this season its award-winning grounds team will need to prepare the 22 pitches for more than 400 matches involving 60 teams

ugby Town Juniors FC has had its dreams answered. Established in 1994, and having 13 teams within two years, “the club wanted to create a football hub ‘like no other’ to bring to an end the scenario where its teams were playing and training wherever and whenever they could all over the local area”, according to club secretary Brian Crinigan. After talks with Rugby Borough Council, that vision eventually became reality when, in 2002, 35 acres of agricultural land on the outskirts of the town were offered for development. Costing £1.5 million and fully established in 2006, the Kilsby Lane site has its pitches constructed on a series of four ‘platforms/ tiers’, with a 13m difference between the base of the site to the top of the fourth tier. Funding from the Football Foundation, Sport England and other small funders has seen a further investment of £1 million, enabling the club to provide football facilities to match its growth.


The site, which is owned by the local council and leased to the club for 125 years, is in use

20 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017



The football hub was constructed on 35 acres of formerly agricultural land on the outskirts of Rugby

every day of the week by 60 teams at age levels from four upwards. The club is an FA Charter Standard Community Club and is the base for the [Gordon] Strachan Football Foundation, where an under-21 squad and two under-18s squads undergo bespoke education programmes of Level 1 to 3 BTEC courses. That number of users is no surprise, since the facility is impressive. It has 22 grass pitches of various sizes (a number of the full-size pitches are marked out for 5 vs 5 and 9 vs 9 games) plus three 3G surfaces (two small and one full-sized 3G pitch). Kilsby Lane has become the centre for football in the area with enormous community use, which includes four senior teams – and the club’s own senior team will host all its home games on the 3G surface.


The complex is maintained and managed by part-timer Shane Davis (who attends 20 hours each week; Tuesday afternoons and all day Wednesday and Friday) plus a team of volunteers (Mick Frankish, Mark Cross and John Rowbottom) who between them carry out all mowing and marking as well as brushing of the artificial surfaces

three times a week. Each team member has completed a basic Lantra winter turf maintenance course plus IOG training for 3G surface maintenance. Indeed, such is the calibre of their work that last year they were awarded the IOG National Governing Bodies of Sport Grassroots Sports Ground Team of the Year Award. The latest FIFA 2 Star 3G full-size surface – installed last year by SIS Pitches and funded by Sport England, Landfill/WREN support and club funding – replaced a natural grass pitch. Brian says: “It hosts at least three times the number of games we can achieve on a grass pitch.” He continues: “The 3G has certainly improved community relations; we find that the youngsters don’t worry too much about what surface they play on, they just want to play. It’s mainly the parents who comment on the pitch – and that’s usually because of the rubber crumb that ends up in their cars!” Annual renovations on the natural pitches are carried out by contractor Woodward Turf Care, which normally enters the site for selective weed control, topdressing (sand), overseeding and fertilisation after the mid-June football festivals and community competitions and

“The club wanted to create a football hub like no other, [as] its teams were playing… all over the local area” games have taken place. With an annual budget of £15,000, which includes sand dressing and reseeding, Brian and company obviously make spending decisions to a tight budget. (Brian became associated with the club in the early ‘90s when his son started playing there. When his son moved on, Brian stayed, becoming club secretary.) “The amount of renovation is determined by usage: the 5 x 5, 7 x 7 and 9 x 9 pitches are not subject to the same number of games as the full-size pitches, and the players are lighter and match-time is shorter,” says Brian. “So, the maintenance of these pitches is different to that of the full-size surfaces. For example, each year we usually put around 60 and 40 tonnes of sand respectively on our number one and THE GROUNDSMAN 21


The grounds team of (from left) Mark Cross, Mick Frankish, John Rowbottom and Shane Davis work on the 3G surface (left) and the natural pitches

“After 47 games, you would have thought the pitch hadn’t seen a ball”


two full-size pitches and only five tonnes on each of the smaller surfaces.”


The club’s ongoing ground improvement programme has included the installation of secondary drainage on a number of pitches on the Denchworth heavy blue clay-based site. Following initial pitch construction, significant drainage issues were encountered and an STRI review highlighted a failing in the initial drainage, where the primary drainage lines – 5-6m orientated north-west to south-east diagonally across the pitches – had become backfilled with the clay soil. Sand grooves (rather than sand slits) had been inserted, but only to 75mm deep, which meant that the drainage essentially remained unconnected. A subsequent review (by Richard Earl of TGMS) highlighted the need for secondary drainage and, with funding from Sport England’s Protecting Playing Fields scheme, this secondary work involved the creation of a trench across the pitches to connect into the main drain runs. The funding also covered the acquisition of a vertidrainer to help maintain these surfaces and, says Brian, “the result is that some pitches can take three games a day, which is fantastic”. He adds: “There’s no doubt that regular maintenance is the key to keeping the pitches looking and playing well. On one pitch, after having 47 senior games this 22 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

Construction of the pitches was on four ‘platforms’ at Kilsby Lane

season, you would have thought the pitch hadn’t seen a ball – that’s how effective the work has been.” Two new 9 x 9 pitches have recently been constructed, again with Sport England funding. These pitches, like the others, will be needed for the new season because 10 new teams are being accommodated. That will mean the grounds team will have a fuller schedule in preparing the pitches for a calendar of events that will see more than 400 matches being managed this season. Contact the IOG for information on synthetic turf maintenance courses:


IOG regional pitch advisor Kevin Duffill visited Kilsby Lane in May 2016 as part of the Football Association’s Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP). His comprehensive report on the site – which in particular highlighted the need for regular vertidraining and slitting, as well as the implementation of a turf nutrition programme – also led to the acquisition of additional pitch maintenance equipment to complement the club’s already considerable portfolio, which included: Kubota L5470 tractor, Trimax 210 roller-mower, two Hayter ride-on triple mowers, a Dennis 36inch Premier mower and a Fleet Beam rider line-marking machine “which is the best thing ever”, says Brian, “with one man easily marking out all eight pitches, compared to three men having to hold lines”. As a result of the recommendations in the PIP report, an additional Kubota tractor and a vertidrainer were acquired.


UNDER PRESSURE Agronomic’s Pitch Preparation Package ensures strong pitches – quickly AGRONOMIC SERVICES is now in its third season supplying several Premier League and Championship football clubs with its Pitch Preparation Package, ideally suited for pitch renovation and in conjunction with reinforced pitches. Managing director David Snowden says: “We are working closely with head groundsmen and their teams as well as contractors and agronomists. We have developed a specialist Pitch

“The Plan ensures germination, rooting and a strong sward”

JOINT EFFORT Using two Dennis machines gives Stoke City FC’s grounds manager Andy Jackson and his team plenty of options

The Dennis G860 allows Stoke’s grounds team to see exactly what they’re doing as they mow

Preparation Plan which ensures germination, rooting and a strong sward ready for early season play.” This has been particularly useful for the groundsmen when reinforced pitches are being knitted in, disturbing a young grass sward in a free-draining growing medium and with no natural nutrition. Often grounds staff are under pressure to deliver a pitch in an incredibly short time frame. For example, Wolverhampton Wanderers installed the first Desso pitch in the club’s history at the Molineux Stadium and the first match was to be played less than 24 hours after installation. “We aim to address these needs

BOTH THE DENNIS G860 and the Dennis Premier play an integral role in maintaining Stoke City FC’s bet365 Stadium pitch and training ground, according to grounds manager Andy Jackson. Having joined the club as an apprentice on a YTS scheme, Andy Jackson now oversees all of Stoke City FC’s grounds maintenance – which includes the pitch at the stadium and the multitude of facilities at the Clayton Wood training ground. Andy has 12 members of staff across the two sites and they work together as one team. “Obviously it is important that we’ve got the correct staff in place but it is essential that we have the right machinery and that everything is reliable,” says Andy. The grounds team has a fleet of Dennis mowers: four Premiers and three G860s based at the training ground and two G860s based at the stadium. “The Premiers do a very good job on the soil-based pitches,” he says. “We also use them on the Desso Grassmaster pitches if we need to firm them up a little bit – especially when we’ve been growing pitches in.” Fitted with either a powerful Honda Petrol or Kubota diesel engine, the Dennis Premier is available in 30inch

Head groundsman Wayne Lumbard had to ensure Wolverhampton Wanderers’ new pitch was ready fast

by creating a healthy grass plant with strong roots using foliar feeding in conjunction with granular and by using Eon Bio and Oxy Rush The Next Generation (NG), we create life in an inert rootzone instantaneously,” explains David.


For more information visit

and 36inch cutting widths. A threesection rear roller and steering brakes make it easy to manoeuvre, giving an excellent stripe pattern and rolling characteristics. Complete with a large diameter front roller with adjustable scraper, for precise height of cut control, the machine is easy to adjust on both sides with the use of a single spanner. Equally impressive is the G860, which features an interchangeable cassette system, giving options to fit a variety of heads including scarifiers, verticutters, brushes, spikers and slitters as well as six-, eight- or 11-bladed cutter cassettes. The operator can use the mower for a number of tasks with a simple oneminute changeover of cassettes. “They’re so easy to use – I like the fact they’ve got an open box at the front so I’m in control of everything I’m doing,” adds Andy. “We string cut so I can see the string, I can see the roller, I can see the blade – everything is visible. The other thing for me is the setting – the adjustment of the height of cut is very simple yet effective. They also have low vibration levels which is great if you are using them for a long time like we do.”


For more information visit THE GROUNDSMAN 25


Regular use of handguided equipment can cause problems

Earlsmere provides noise testing of equipment

WHAT’S ALL THE NOISE ABOUT? The latest example of how the IOG works to support the safety and wellbeing of our members – and, at the same time, help them save money – is our partnership with Earlsmere, a leading provider of noise and vibration management and testing services. The agreement gives IOG members a discounted price as well as additional benefits

C By Tim Gray IOG director of business & membership

urrently being trialled with IOG members at elite sports clubs as well as members of our new Independent Schools membership category, Earlsmere is providing a 15 per cent discount on vibration and noise testing of equipment alongside vibration training packages, saving £225 on the standard package price of £1,495. In addition, the agreement also offers a full TOOLMINDER software programme complete with users’ test data being uploaded into the system free of charge. This member benefit is designed for sites that have large amounts of kit, typically over 20 items, but smaller sites can also take part. If the scope of work for a site is more, then Earlsmere will quote accordingly and a discount will be applied. Several Premier League clubs have taken advantage of the offer, as Earlsmere director Jeremy Hoyle explains: “We have conducted testing for Manchester United, Manchester City and Southampton FC, and are preparing quotes for other clubs as well as the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC).” Members of the IOG’s Independent

OFFER DETAILS The IOG/Earlsmere member offer is inclusive of: 30 hand-held power tools/petrol OPE products tested, certified and tagged (hand-arm vibration) 10 ride-on items of plant, mowers or similar tested, certified and tagged (Whole Body Vibration) Training in the causes and prevention of hand-arm vibration. Includes course notes, certificates and Q&A session Limited offer TOOLMINDER software included (RRP £395) plus free upload of test data.

Schools category are also involved: “We’ve delivered testing at St George’s School and at Ashville College,” says Jeremy, “and we’re receiving enquiries regularly.” THE GROUNDSMAN 27

Noise and vibration testing can protect employees' health


You can find more information at www.earlsmere.


The Control of Vibration at Work regulations 2005 applies to any employer whose business involves the use of hand-guided powered equipment and powered machines, including lawnmowers, strimmers and hedge cutters. If your business involves the regular and frequent use of hand-held power tools you must by law, as an employer, assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to handarm vibration so that you can protect your employees from risks to their health.

THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF HAND-ARM VIBRATION AT WORK What is hand-arm vibration? Hand-arm vibration is vibration transmitted from work processes into workers' hands and arms. It can be caused by operating hand-held power tools and hand-guided equipment, such as powered lawnmowers.

When is it hazardous? Regular and frequent exposure to hand-arm vibration can lead to permanent health effects. This is most likely when contact with a vibrating tool or work process is a regular part of a person’s everyday job. What health effects can it cause? Hand-arm vibration can cause a range of conditions collectively known as hand-arm vibration syndrome

“As an employer, you must assess and identify measures to reduce risks from exposure to hand-arm vibration” 28

September 2017

(HAVS), as well as specific diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome. What are the early symptoms? Identifying signs and symptoms at an early stage is important. It will allow you, as the employer, to take action to prevent the health effects from becoming serious for your employee. The symptoms include: Tingling and numbness in the fingers; Not being able to feel things properly; Loss of strength in the hands; Fingers going white (blanching) and becoming red and painful on recovery (particularly in the cold and wet, and probably only in the tips at first). For some people, symptoms appear after only a few months of exposure, but for others they may take a few years. They are likely to get worse with continued exposure to vibration and may become permanent. What effects do these symptoms have? The effects on people include: Pain, distress and sleep disturbance; Inability to do fine work (e.g. assembling small components) or everyday tasks (i.e. fastening buttons); Reduced ability to work in cold or damp conditions which would trigger painful finger blanching attacks; Reduced grip strength, which might affect the ability to do work safely. These effects can severely limit the jobs an affected person is able to do, as well as many family and social activities. For more information please contact the membership team at the IOG 01908 311 512 or email




Get more advice from Frank Newberry at SALTEX 2017

By Frank Newberry Trainer and conference speaker


Frank Newberry explains how to put yourself in the right place to land a great groundscare job before it even comes up


erhaps the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” should be updated. Maybe it should read, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you don’t know – and what are you doing about it?” This, in a nutshell, is the key challenge for those searching for work in the ‘hidden job market’. Compared to some industries, recruitment in the groundscare sector still seems quite conventional with vacancies on offer in the trade press, online agencies, employment agencies and Jobcentres. But maybe you, like me, still hear stories of jobs being filled at short notice; jobs being filled without people having the opportunity to apply for them; and people getting work where jobs did not exist! When these things happen, it is often because of activity in the hidden side of the job market – which has always existed but perhaps not under that name. Employers have always headhunted within and beyond their organisations. You may have had people invite you to apply for jobs, or alerted you to vacancies, or just asked if you are “on the market” or if you “fancy a change”. It is a nice position to be in and easier now because it is much more acceptable for you to be proactive and to expand people’s awareness of your availability using modern technology like the internet. Here are five tips to get you started.


Most employers favour hiring people they know. I have even tested some bosses by asking if they would favour someone they knew over a better qualified person they do not know to fill a vacancy. Answer: someone they know over a stranger – any day.  30 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

Only send your CV to the best employers and ask if you can visit those you'd most like to work for

Promotions from within are still popular. Your employer knows you and your work. Maybe what they do not know is that you want to build a career and get promotions? Ask to be put on your boss’s succession plan – a written document promising you a trial period at the higher level if your boss leaves for some reason.


If you prefer to leave your current employer then make yourself visible to more employers. Visit other venues (to see how they do things – but check if they have vacancies coming up!). My brother used to tell prospective employers how much he admired their firms and how he would love to have a brief visit to see how they do things. Once you are pals with prospective employers, keep yourself in front of them using Facebook or LinkedIn. Send them links to articles of interest. Read everything relevant so that you can do this effectively! Go to trade shows (like SALTEX) and attend all the associated social events. Introduce yourself to people, have a nice chat, invite yourself to their venue, visit them as a guest – to see how they do things.



“Your employer knows you and your work. Maybe what they do not know is that you want to build a career and get promotions? Ask to be put on your boss’s succession plan” TALK TO REPS

At SALTEX, visit the trade stands and talk to the representatives. Many of them are former groundsmen or greenkeepers. Ask if they know – from their travels – of any vacancies and who the decision-makers in the organisations might be. Go and visit these decisionmakers as a guest – to see how they do things.


The golden rule of networking is to give before you get. So, at SALTEX, offer your services to the representatives. Ask if they are doing trials of new products or services and offer to participate. See if you can get yourself featured in articles and advertisements in the trade press. Offer your services to the trade press on topics of your interest and expertise. Get yourself some

expertise! Offer yourself as a speaker on your areas of interest and expertise to the organisers of the SALTEX Learning LIVE education programme.


Be selective about sending out your CV. Target good employers. Visit them (as above) and ask if they would like your CV. Suggest they contact you when they next have a vacancy – or even before then. After reading this, if you want to do more, visit the IOG Hub at SALTEX on 1 and 2 November at the Birmingham NEC where Frank (www.franknewberry. com) will be offering short one-to-one sessions on topics such as improving your CV, doing well at interviews and making yourself visible in the hidden job market.



A JEWEL IN THE CROWN The creation of 34 acres of natural turf and artificial playing surfaces is truly a jewel in the crown at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, the York-based independent school

The new complex includes grounds for various sports

32 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

The grounds team, from left: Tom Noble, Ben Grigor, Greg Croasdale, Mark Harrison and Ian Dunnabie

By Colin Hoskins Features editor




Ben Grigor joined the turf care industry as a greenkeeping apprentice 20 years ago, and spent 12 years progressing to deputy head greenkeeper before joining the grounds team at Rangers FC’s training ground. After six years, Ben assisted the STRI by working in the Ukraine mentoring local groundsmen for the 2012 UEFA Euros. He had spells at Souters Sports – working at Hampden Park and for the Commonwealth Games, and at Charlton Athletic FC – and for SIS Pitches in Russia before joining Queen Ethelburga’s.


my Martin, chief executive officer at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, had a vision to establish sport facilities on the independent school’s Thorpe Underwood Estate in York that would attract “pupils with a sporting edge”, to match the school’s excellent academic record. This includes being listed in The Times’ top 10 list of independent schools’ A*/AA-Levels. Five years on, and after an investment of £30 million into the Sports Village, the result is a stunning facility comprising eight new natural and six synthetic turf playing surfaces, all under floodlights, on the 34 acres of outdoor facilities to complement the indoor swimming pool, gym and sports hall. The Collegiate’s investment in its sport facilities has also included the creation of an elite performance sports department and the employment of professional coaches for football, rugby, hockey, cricket and netball. The outdoor facilities are: seven natural rugby/football pitches; a cricket pitch; a water-based synthetic hockey pitch, alongside a traditional sand-based

hockey pitch with FIH certification; four rugby/football 3G pitches with FIFA and IRB certification; six cricket nets – four synthetic, two natural; six multi-use games areas; and an athletics track. “Sport was formerly a fairly low-key curriculum activity, with four ‘pitches’ in use for all manner of activities,” says Amy. “So, we made the decision to invest in sport and to do it properly. After being shortlisted as a training venue for the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and being inspired by a tour of the National Football Centre at St George’s Park, we put in place plans that were based on the construction of artificial surfaces, followed by the natural pitches. The artificials could be used while the natural surfaces were being constructed.”


S & C Slatter won the contract to construct the artificial pitches while Souters Sports secured the deal for the natural pitches. Once the artificials were constructed, work began on the natural surfaces and, after six months, planning permission was granted for the

floodlighting for all 34 acres. “It was a slightly harrowing experience seeing the installation of the lights and cabling (480 miles of cabling – installed by Queen Ethelburga’s in-house electrical team – as well as 101 poles and 604 LED light fittings) around the pristine artificial pitches while the build of the natural surfaces was in progress,” says Amy. “I’m very pleased to say all went well.” The pitches – with extensive drainage and a full automated Rainbird irrigation system – were completed last summer and the complex was officially opened by world champion triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee. Grounds manager Ben Grigor was appointed to manage the 16 acres of natural grass pitches and the 18 acres of artificial surfaces. Ben says the main appeal of the job was the fact that he was starting with a blank canvas of new pitches and no grounds team. “There were no preconceived rules or regulations nor political circumstances for me to work to. It was also refreshing in that Amy and I have similar expectations of delivering high-class playing surfaces.” Ben says his aim, after initial tweaks THE GROUNDSMAN 33


Although the work – including laying 480 miles of cabling – was di c lt t e es lts a e o t it

“We work as a team: every idea is taken on board and debated collectively” to improve the pitches, is to manage and maintain the surfaces to such levels that they are not just for local recreational and curriculum PE use but also for elite sports development and rental by squads from the top echelon of football and rugby. Users so far have included Bath Rugby and youth squads from The Football Association.


Starting with no machinery and no staff – because the former sports fields were maintained by the school’s gardening team – Ben set about compiling a wishlist of equipment (see Machinery Matters, right) and recruiting a suitable team and, he says, he’s been lucky “in managing to create a superb team”. His team includes: Ian Dunnabie – from Darlington’s Mowden Park (Rugby Union); Tom Noble – from Headingley (cricket) with a BSc (Hons) in Applied Horticulture; Mark Harrison – formerly at the dual-use

A SCHOOL FOR GROUNDSMANSHIP Ben Grigor has a vision of establishing a “school for groundsmanship”, starting with apprenticeships. “We want to create a structure where team members can be well educated then go off to become a feather in our cap.”

34 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

KCOM Stadium in Hull with Premiership football and Super League rugby; Greg Croasdale – greenkeeping experience at The Grove and at The Kinloch Club, New Zealand. “What happens out there on those pitches is all because of these guys,” says Ben. “They show a remarkable level of passion and dedication. We work as a team; everyone can (and does) make suggestions to improve the surfaces, and every idea is taken on board and debated collectively.” The natural pitches are sited on soil/ clay, so the team is constantly aerating to improve sward growth and health. The original ryegrass sward is gradually being replaced by Johnsons’ J4Turf, and a programme of hollow coring (even in season) and ICL’s granular fertiliser keeps things in good shape. In addition, regular Clegg hammer testing and soil sampling help the team, who use the results to tweak the maintenance regime on a day-to-day basis. “We have also spent some time instilling into all users a ‘groundscare etiquette’ whereby, for example, students should not take shortcuts across pitches.” While the pitches have clearly improved since the handover, Ben and his team will never be satisfied. “Because we all want these pitches to be the best they can, we will never stop trying to improve.” Amy says: “Ben and [his] team are passionate about what they do. I want them to love the job and I want them to take advantage of the opportunities that a job here offers. “Of course, there were dramas in the planning, design and construction of the pitches. But now that the facility is finished, we are incredibly proud of it.” Find out about S & C Slatter at; and Souters Sports at


MACHINERY MATTERS The grounds team at Queen Ethelburga’s utilises a comprehensive portfolio of groundscare machinery and equipment, including: – Kubota L2240 II tractor (x3) – Kubota RTV X900 – Kubota G23 II cut & collect rotary mower (x2) – Toro RM 3575D (x2) – Toro GM 1000 – Honda-powered Kubota pedestrian mower (x4) – Toro SR72 deep aerator – Toro 648 pedestrian aerator – GKB broadcast topdresser – Amazone Smartcut scarifier – Pedestrian scarifier – 400-ltr Hardi sprayer – Imants Earthquake – Redexim Verti-Top – Redexim Verti-Comb – 1.8m Aeraseeder – Transfer wheel line marker (x3)

Product showcase


IOG NEWS UPDATES Go to the IOG website



The Dakota Turf Tender

Find out what’s on your to-do list page 45


Topdressed for success

To help you make light work of topdressing, Campey Turf Care Systems offers a great range including models by Dakota and Raycam CAMPEY TURF CARE Systems has a variety of topdressers in different sizes on offer to cater for different surfaces and conditions. As a range of topdressers the Dakota Turf Tender is one of the market leaders. The features of the machines vary as you go up through the range, but they can all spread wet or dry material, allowing light to

heavy dressing, and are very easy to operate. Calibration is simple and accurate giving an even spread. Models are specifically designed to fit on all types of tractors, as well as the new pedestrian model available for areas where other Dakota models may struggle to reach. The Raycam Speedressers, available in the 18H model and the

“As a range of topdressers the Dakota Turf Tender is one of the market leaders. The features of the machines vary as you go up through the range, but they can all spread wet or dry material, allowing light to heavy dressing, and are very easy to operate”


larger 24H, are bulk drop-spreaders designed to handle all topdressing material, making them versatile machines for use on sports fields and golf courses by either club staff or contractors. The unique aspect of the Speedresser is the four Ultra Trac floatation tyres on a pivoting axle, which massively minimise the risk of turf damage and compaction. This feature is especially important when working on a pre-existing surface, as the operator can do so in the knowledge that the turf isn’t suffering any adverse effects.

Institute of Groundsmanship THE GROUNDSMAN 37




Rink DS 3800 bulk topdresser saves time and labour


More brilliant new products page 12

Save groundscare staff time and backbreaking labour with this bigger, better bulk topdresser USING A SMALL topdresser can take up valuable time over big grounds, requiring more staff to keep filling it by hand – making the job more difficult than it needs to be and wasting unnecessary time for staff who could be put to better use. The Rink DS 3800 bulk topdresser from

Charterhouse Turf Machinery solves this problem, enabling groundscare teams to cover big areas with fewer staff and in less time than usual. The Rink DS 3800 is the largest model in the Rink range, offering a spreading width of up to 15m, spreading thickness of up to 15mm

“The unit is big and beautiful. It's all about productivity and getting the job done quickly and efficiently. The Rink has also freed up my guys who I can now put to other uses elsewhere. All of this made the purchase a no-brainer and it has been a great addition to our fleet”

and a hopper capacity of 3.8m3. It’s also available with an optional crossconveyor that can be used to feed a smaller topdresser. “This unit is big and beautiful,” says James Bledge, course manager at the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club in Kent, who has recently purchased a DS 3800. “It’s all about productivity and getting the job done quickly and efficiently. The Rink has also freed up my guys who I can now put to other uses elsewhere. All of this made the purchase a no-brainer and it really has been a great addition to our fleet.”



The big and beautiful Rink DS3800 bulk topdresser




All-rounder speeds up spreading bulk topdresser and materials handler is an all-rounder in all sizes, so there’s a model to suit every job. Powerful twin spinners achieve a spread to 18m at 2m³ per minute, even with wet

The Pro-Cast bulk spreader

40 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

material. Either hydraulically driven or PTO driven on smaller tractors, choose from three to seven tonnes. Ground Pro is a trading division of Wiedenmann UK.

“Powerful twin spinners achieve a spread to 18m at 2m3 per minute,even with wet material”




Compact Makita Linetrimmer launched THE NEW 25.4cc Makita EM2654LH 4-stroke (MM4) 1.1hp Linetrimmer effectively replaces its predecessor, the popular EM2651LH model. This compact and lightweight machine features a new spring-assisted recoil starter, with mechanical decompression, and a multi-position lubrication system that enables the engine to be inclined to any angle, even during continuous operation. A rigid aluminium clutch case reduces vibration while an ergonomically designed loop handle ensures improved operator comfort. The guard is suitable for both metal blade and nylon line head. The well positioned oil filling port and drain plug are easily accessible with an oil level window for easy checking and replacing of oil. The power and performance of the Makita MM4 engine, which delivers more horsepower, torque and reliability


Get the right tyres for the job

e ine stoc s o la atte ns s c as no o

42 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

is coupled with ultra-low running costs, low noise and low vibrations while reduced fuel consumption, together make a valuable contribution to Makita’s sustainability and environmental policies. The Makita range of outdoor maintenance and groundscare tools continues to expand with tools and innovative systems that are designed for professional users everywhere.

e co


division supplies a huge range of tyres, including hard-to-find sizes, to keep groundscare machines rolling in all conditions. Tyre-Line is one of the UK’s leading specialist tyre wholesalers, supplying tyres, wheels and ancillary products to tyre dealers, machinery dealers, landscapers and manufacturers. Boasting a portfolio of manufacturers that include Carlisle, Bridgestone, Vredestein, Maxxis, Titan and Wanda, Tyre-Line supplies a complete range of tyre sizes and patterns to suit all kinds of groundscare machinery, including topdressers and spreaders. Hard-to-source sizes and patterns, such as 3.50-7 and 4.00-7 tractive pattern which come fitted to the current range of Etesia brushcutters, are available along with the more common sizes of 16x6.50-8, 18x6.50-8, 17x8.00-8 in popular patterns such as Snow Hog, Super Lug and Tru Power.

“The power of the MM4 engine is coupled with ultra-low running costs, low noise and low vibrations, with reduced fuel consumption”

Professional machinery including topdressers and spreaders are well catered for by Tyre-Line, stocking tyre sizes ranging from the smaller 13x6.50-6, through to the larger 31x15.50-15 and beyond, in patterns that include Ultra Trac, Turf Master and Multi Trac. Tyre-Line also offers specialist services including size, fitment and application advice, bespoke fitments and pattern conversions (turf to agri and vice versa) for all forms of machinery including compact tractors, ride-on mowers and ATV/ UTV machines.

“Hard-to-source sizes and patterns, such as 3.50-7 and 4.007 tractive pattern which come fitted to the current range of Etesia brushcutters, are available along with the more common sizes in popular patterns such as Snow Hog and Super Lug”


CLEAN CUT Customising Cub Cadet mowers gave FC Utretcht’s head groundsman impressive results When FC Utrecht’s head groundsman Jan Gijzen saw the Cub Cadet Infinicut 34inch mowers at last year’s SALTEX, he immediately saw the potential they had for improving the club’s grounds – and, by ordering two Infinicuts with the optional Groomer attachment, he’s seen real improvements. The club plays in the Eredivisie League – the premier football league in the Netherlands – and Jan is in charge of the pitch at Stadion Galgenwaard as well as the five pitches at the club’s Zoudenbalch training complex. Before moving into groundsmanship, Jan worked on golf courses, where use of a Groomer is standard practice. To help him make the decision, he spoke to interim groundsman, and now consultant, Arno Harmsen from GrasMeesters. “I spoke to Arno, and our current seed supplier, about the


e n�nic t as i o ed FC Utrecht’s grounds

“In a short period we’ve achieved a thicker sward” possibility of using Groomers as part of our maintenance programme. Everyone said it was plausible so we gave it a shot – and already with the Groomer attachment we’ve seen great improvement!” The optional Groomer attachment contra-rotates to achieve the maximum effect in alleviating grain and turf density problems. It has a fully sealed gearbox and is designed for single-lever action to give simple engagement or disengagement and can be installed and removed quickly and

Adrian has been head groundsman for 19 years

The rapid growth of Limagrain’s MM seed keeps King’s Bruton School’s sport fields ahead of the game Sport plays a central role in life at King’s Bruton School in Somerset, where the variety of sports and intensity of use means that head groundsman Adrian Davis has his work cut out. The quick germination and strong recovery he gets from Limagrain’s MM seed range helps him keep the grounds immaculate. “Switching from rugby to cricket and then back from cricket to rugby can be challenging,” admits Adrian. “We start around mid-April for cricket and that runs through until the start of August – which gives us a window to start preparing for rugby – that’s normally about four weeks of growth.

Adrian – who has been in his role for 19 years – says he’s always used Limagrain’s MM seed. He relies on MM50 for his cricket squares and MM60 for his rugby pitches. He also uses MM60 on his cricket outfields and MM16 on the school’s ornamental lawns. “I do an overseeding programme in early April, prior to the cricket season. It gives me great results every time – I’m known to have outfields like carpets. “After overseeding all the outfields, we will be up and ready for September, and then we do another seeding programme in late March. I’ve always got a really established sward by September which takes me through

easily. It effectively stands the grass plant up, helping to achieve a cleaner cut and create space for the existing, and new, plants to grow. It also removes dead plants and unwanted organic matter, improving the overall health and resistance of the turf. Jan specified the mowers to be purely electric rather than hybrid. “This means less noise and is much better for the environment,” he says. “In addition, they’re easy to adjust and use, and require very little maintenance. I am particularly impressed with the result of using the Groomers. In such a short period of time we’ve achieved a cleaner, thicker sward.”


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a really busy 14-week rugby period – where they are played on four or five times a week.” The MM mixtures have the added bonus of being treated with Headstart GOLD. This user-friendly, non-toxic treatment can help grass get off to a great start. “I get good, quick germination with the MM seed and the recovery is excellent – especially with MM50,” says Adrian. “The seed seems very disease resistant as well.”


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The school’s grounds need to be hard wearing THE GROUNDSMAN 43



Enjoy discounts on Earlsmere noise and vibration reduction page 27


End of season renovation will be completed this month. Greens that are renovated late may benefit from the turfing of thin areas. Watch out for Fusarium, especially if topdressing has been applied. Ditches should be cleared of their fill material then cleaned and washed down. De-commission the irrigation where applicable before the winter frosts set in. Carry out repairs to banks when work on the green is complete.


Remove fallen leaves from adjacent trees to avoid them smothering the sward. Lightly top the grass to keep it well trimmed. Switch or lightly drag brush the court surface to remove dew and reduce the potential for disease attack. Keep an eye open for disease attack, especially if mild and humid conditions occur. Keep off the court wherever possible to allow good, initial grass establishment. De-commission any irrigation system in place.


Ensure renovation is finished as soon as possible. Germination sheets on the ends can aid any late germination and initial establishment of seed - but watch out for disease. Drag brush on a regular basis, especially if dew is present. Earthworm activity can be high now, so drag brush when dry.

Chemical control may be required. Keep the square topped at a suitable height of cut – no more than 25 mm – as this will maintain a suitable sward density and prevent the sward from thinning out. Fence off the square to maintain its integrity.


Repair areas of wear as required. Be vigilant for pest/disease attacks; the use of a drag brush or similar will help reduce the chance of attacks. Fungicide/pesticide application may be required. Mow as required, but this should be much less frequent. If the outfield is to be used for winter sports, be vigilant for damage and wear areas; repair as soon as possible. Aerate throughout this month to maintain surface drainage and root development.


The pitch shouldn’t be showing many signs of wear if it has been managed with the long-term season in mind. If not, some soilbased pitches may be exhibiting significant wear in goalmouths and centre circles. An application of sand, combined with hand forking, can help maintain a dry surface. Raising the height of cut slightly, say up to an extra 10 mm, on high wear areas can help to maintain an improved level of ground cover for a longer period of time.

Divot the pitch as required. This operation will be essential on pitches maintained to a high standard. Higher standard pitches will also need to be brushed to maintain an upright grass and to maintain good presentation.

with the coaches is essential for rotation of drills, as any damage inflicted now to the surface will not be able to be repaired to get through the winter.



The frequency of cut for the pitch will be reducing considerably as grass growth slows. Consider drag brushing to produce a striping effect in between cuts. De-commission any irrigation system to prevent frost damage. Continue to aerate where ground and soil conditions permit.


The traditional end of the season will have arrived or shall be coming quickly; as such, make sure any end of season renovation plans are underway. This should involve scarification, overseeding, topdressing, vertidraining and an autumn/winter feed. With the season finishing so late, be sure not to renovate too harshly as this will have an adverse effect on grass cover and sward for the next season. Cordon off the area to protect from unwanted visitors. Constant drag brushing and switching of the surface will help to alleviate any dew that appears. De-commission any irrigation system to prevent frost damage. On the amateur side, constant pitch repair is essential, as any divots not replaced will lead to pitch deterioration. Cutting should be kept to a minimum as grass cover will be required to get through the winter months so drag brushing the stripe in would be useful. Constant communication

The course should be prepared ahead of the start of the National Hunt season. Courses used just for flat racing will be rested over autumn and winter. The whole course should be mown and tidied, with extra effort being put into the presentation for the first meeting. De-commission the irrigation system. Some parts of the course might be prone to leaf coverage from nearby trees. Regular clearing will avoid the turf being smothered. Consider using the leaves in a soil compost heap, which can later be used for topdressing. Prepare fences and jumps prior to the start of the season. With the growing season coming to a close, now is a good time to consider attending training courses or to enrol on courses that lead to recognised qualifications or to maintain continuous development.


The renovation of the greens, and ideally the tees, should be completed by now. Fairway renovation, particularly divoting, will most likely still be ongoing. This is usually a good month for the deep spiking of fairways, as the ground is typically neither too dry nor wet for adequate tine penetration and soil shattering. Slit tining of greens should not be neglected just because the greens will have been renovated fairly recently. THE GROUNDSMAN 45



SEPTEMBER TOP TIPS • Watch out for early fungal attacks • Remove weed ryegrass with Rescue whilst actively growing • Overseed while conditions remain good • Use GreenCast to predict disease risk

Good growing conditions in September can set turf up for winter pressures



eather patterns over recent seasons have recorded good growing conditions continuing well into September. That gives opportunities to improve turf health and surface quality, but creates other issues. This year’s weather has created varying challenges for turf managers. In the south and east, after an intense early hot dry spell, growth and turf health has been impacted by cool and wet weather. Further north, the complete opposite has occurred –

with problems of wet and cold conditions, followed by extended dry summer heat.


For the UK as a whole, sunshine and rainfall were a perfect average. Temperatures were higher – up by 2.8°C for central southern England, compared to the historical long-term average. In Scotland, the west of the country had 20% above recent average rainfall, but the east nearly 20% below. East Anglia had just six days with rain,


Sun (hours)

Days with more than 1mm of rain

Rain (mm)


























N. England













S. England


























Rainfall and sunshine were remarkably close to average in 2016, although somewhat duller and wetter than in 2015. However, the most noticeable feature was the significantly warmer temperature throughout.

compared to 21 days in west Scotland. Making the most of available conditions with healthy green leaf area is crucial as September light levels start to fall quickly, and evenings start to get cooler. Typically, night time temperatures are an average 2°C cooler, compared to August, with 40 hours less sunshine – a reduction of 25%. Enhancing turf health with Primo Maxx PGR, Qualibra wetting agent and a proactive fungicide strategy is paramount in helping turf to effectively recover from renovation and to prepare it to withstand the winter stresses of disease and weather.


As conditions cool through September, any rain or moisture raises the risk of an early Microdochium Patch (Fusarium) attack, from pathogens that have survived the summer in the thatch – especially through wet conditions experienced this year. GreenCast weather and disease records have highlighted that conditions have created protracted risk periods for disease attack in September over recent seasons, rising to high risk at the beginning of October. This has helped pinpoint the ideal timing for planning proactive preventative systemic treatments, such as Banner Maxx or Headway.


The weather conditions for some regions this summer have seen many areas of golf course rough growing out of control, creating clumpy, unplayable lies. However, good growing conditions in September will help achieve rapid herbicide uptake and good levels of selective removal of ryegrass with autumn Rescue applications.



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T 0203 859 7097 THE GROUNDSMAN 49




Shane races ahead!

More advice on continued training and development

Chris Gray talks to Shane Webb – assistant to the head groundsman at The Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare, Ireland – who recently gained the IOG Level 3 Technical Diploma in Turf Surface Management in six months rather than the usual 11 months

By Chris Gray IOG Learning Programme Architect

How did you get involved in the turf industry? From the age of four, I have been travelling to The Curragh Racecourse with my father, who is head groundsman there. I have shadowed and no doubt tormented him, but hopefully I also learned a thing or two from him! I began working casually at the age of 14 and gradually became more involved. I am now 22 and I love the job. What excites you most about the industry? I enjoy the challenges that turf management brings and like the feeling when the horses pass the post safely at the end of a busy weekend. I feel lucky to have a job where I'm outdoors and on the move every day. To be successful and content, you've got to do what you love and to love what you do. I like the fact that racing is a huge, unpredictable industry, and the people I meet and opportunities that arise are great. A typical day usually starts at 7am and goes on until the surface is safe, even, consistent and ready for racing. There is no such thing as Monday to Friday. If you're doing a job you love, I don’t believe you should be waiting at the gate at ‘home time’! What actions do you think the industry can take to increase the diversity of its workforce? I think racing/sporting organisations should take responsibility to train, invest in and educate their grounds staff. If the staff understand why they're doing x, y, z, they will undoubtedly be more interested in their work. Grounds teams are critical to their respective industries; in my case, if the track isn't up to scratch then there will not be any racing – simple! What is your career ambition for the next 10 years? My ambition is to become head groundsman at a major race track or sporting venue.


50 THE GROUNDSMAN September 2017

What developments do you think have helped to improve the ability of grounds staff to deliver good quality sports or racing surfaces? Soil testing and analysis has come a long way in recent times. The ability to monitor soil pH, temperature, hydraulic conductivity and moisture content is all of great benefit. And there are continual studies on seeds, weed controls and fertilisers. All this makes it more straightforward for grounds staff to make informed decisions. Online learning is pervasive: what further improvements would you like to see in the way learning is delivered? Since joining the IOG, I've gained more access to education, and this can only be a positive. I'm a firm believer that just because you've done something for a certain length of time, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best way. We've got to keep moving forward. Online learning is a great way for busy people to learn and develop. I'd like to see online quizzes at the end of each module which would help to prepare the learner for the final exam.


Institute of Groundsmanship

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