Turf Matters july August 2021

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After a year when the world was on hold, the Open Championship beckons for Royal St George’s







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Back to business Don’t forget Sport…

Well as we reach the half way point of the year there is the odd reason for The two months have been we’ve a nightmare for to many people certain a bit oflast optimism – not something been able say for quiteinsome parts of thetime. country and my heart goes out to everyone dealing with considerable the aftermath of unprecedented flooding and devastating erosion.

Like a grizzly bear emerging hibernation, blinking in the sunlight, The best case scenario forfrom many is months of temporary living. For others, will never return to to what I too have lives ventured out and started seethey a fewwere. familiar faces again, this fate offrozen sportsby grounds and golf internet clubs might seem timeWhile not thethe version an intermittent signal. It has been inconsequential in the face of such hardship, we at Turf Matters lovely and a few more companies have been inviting the press to the have a particular empathy with everyone who has seen years of agronomic launches of new products, and to convey exciting company news first husbandry literally washed away in the space of a few weeks. hand. It must be hoped that banks – the financial institutions, not the thingsI can which edgehowever, overflown – take an understanding approach What report, isrivers that my previous longing to be stuck in to sporting facilities which have been unable to service loans a M6 traffic jams and checking into budget hotels has already wornasoff. result of them being unplayable and so unable to bring in revenue. Driving hundreds of miles stuck behind lorry after lorry in second gear is As we have seen with the recent Winter Olympics, sport has such a as galvanising much a paineffect as it always was. and can be the catalyst for so much good, on society thatthat it is doesn’t imperative sporting are not when the But, get away fromfacilities the fact that theforgotten industry, which coped assistance is being allocated. better thanpromised most sectors over the last 18 months, is properly back in On the issue of improving sporting facilities, we have been business, even invited if a lot ofbythat business will be continue to be conducted Briggs & Stratton to become involved in its Pitch behind a mask. to Win competition, which provides a £3,000 makeover for judged to be the Under 18snot football pitch I just hope, andwhat this isisfor the whole country and just us, thatin wemost take need – find out more on pages 16-17. I am on the judging things sensibly and steadily and not risk the progress that has been made. panel and visits will be made to a shortlist of deserving

pitches soon. We will be looking not so much the It has been an unprecedented time for everyone and a at cautious DESSO butthis thedastardly desperate! approach to what virus still might have to throw at a final note, am thrilled by the reception that the us willOn undoubtedly beI the best policy. first issue of Turf Matters received. Many people have taken time to say how much they liked the look of the magazine and how they enjoyed the articles. We’re all pleased you found it to your liking and we will work hard to maintain the high standards. Thank you all very much.

Scott MacCallum, Editor

Distributed every two months to sports turf professionals, independent schools, universities, local authorities and buyers of turfcare machinery and products. Editor: Scott MacCallum Distributed every two months to sports scott@turfmatters.co.uk turf professionals, local authorities Design/Production Editor: Tim and buyers of turfcare machinery andMoat tim@turfmatters.co.uk products. Customer Editor: ScottRelations MacCallumManager: Sinead Thacker scott@turfmatters.co.uk sinead@turfmatters.co.uk Design and Production Editor: Tim Moat Sales Executive: tim@turfmatters.co.uk Marie Anderson Sales Manager: Pauline Thompson marie@turfmatters.co.uk

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All material © Turf Matters magazine 2021. Turf Matters is published by Straight Down Turf Matters was awarded Best Writing and Best the Middle Communications Ltd. Design in the 2019 and 2020 Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) Awards All material © Turf Matters magazine 2014. No partFollow of this publication may be us on Twitter reproduced in any form whatsoever, @TurfMatters either for sale or not, without the written permission of publication the publisher. No part of this mayInformation be reproduced contained Turf Matters is published in any formin whatsoever, either for sale or in good faiththe and everypermission effort has been not, without written of the made to ensure its accuracy. TurfinMatters publisher. Information contained Turf Matters can accept no anyeffort error is published in responsibility good faith and for every hasmisrepresentation. been made to ensure accuracy. Turf or All its liability for loss, Matters can acceptnegligence no responsibility for any disappointment, or other error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, damage caused by reliance on information disappointment, damage contained in Turfnegligence Matters ororinother the event of caused by reliance information contained in any bankruptcy or on liquidation or cessation Turftrade Matters or incompany, the eventindividual of any bankruptcy of of any or firm or liquidation or of trade of any company, mentioned is cessation hereby excluded. individual or firm mentioned is hereby excluded. Printed byWarners WarnersMidlands MidlandsPLC. PLC. Printed by

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Inside issue Insidethis this issue News..........................................................4-22 News .........................................................4-15 Tea Break Teaser.......................................14 Pitch to Win........................................16-17 Festival .................................19-22, of Turf...................................24-26 Mowing 24-27 Grass seed...........................................27-31 Tea Break Teaser ......................................29 SAGE preview.............................................32 Gleneagles..........................................30-35 Royal St George’s Open...............34-38 BTME review ......................................36-41 Queen Ethelburga’s School.......49-52 Diary of a Golfing Nobody.................42 Fertilisers and Chemicals............54-58 As seen on Twitter..................................43 Battery power....................................59-64 Compact .............................65-70 Check outtractors. our website: The majesty of Gleneagles, pages 30-35 New compact tractors are packed with features: See pages 65-70 Subscribe FREE to our e-zine: Details at www.turfmatters.co.uk

Check out our website: www.turfmatters.co.uk www.turfmatters.co.uk Next magazine distributed 2 May

Next magazine distributed September 2021 Turf Matters| |JULY-AUGUST March-April 2014 TURF MATTERS 2021| 3 |3


AGROVISTA AMENITY ACADEMY TAKES OFF Agrovista Amenity’s online Academy has shown significant growth with over 9,000 CPD points awarded so far, and the company believes that it is just the start of something special. The Academy is an online learning resource with courses and lessons created on a range of areas of turf management and for all products sold by Agrovista Amenity. “It has grown bigger than we ever expected it to. The amount of CPD points we have awarded really is quite phenomenal,” said Karl Parry, the founder of the education platform. The portal consists of videos, case studies, MSDS, labels and technical specifications which have been designed so that turf managers can fully understand and get maximum benefits from the products they use www.amenityacademy. co.uk



GMA’s £3.9m boost for grassroots sport The GMA has secured a £3.9m investment from the Premier League, The FA, and government’s Football Foundation with Sport England to deliver the association’s third phase of the pitch improvement programme for grassroots sports. Formerly known as the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP), the newly named Pitch Advisory Service is part of the GMA’s ongoing commitment to help improve natural turf provision across football, cricket, rugby union and rugby league at grassroots level in joint collaboration with the England and Wales Cricket Board, Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League. After a year of disruption to sport, the GMA’s Pitch Advisory Service will continue to focus on raising the standards of pitches

to increase playability, maximise player experience and decrease the number of cancellations due to declining pitch quality. The programme provides a network of GMA turf care specialists available to people and organisations maintaining natural turf pitches within local communities, with the funding boost growing the number of GMA advisers available to them by almost 30 per cent. The Service also offers access to dedicated, sport-specific key account managers at the GMA – a team of grounds management specialists bringing years of grassroots and professional knowledge to the programme. Next year, the GMA aims to launch a Pitch Grading Framework that will provide a benchmark for pitch standards, alongside a simple, affordable

education pathway for all grounds staff and volunteers to gain the right level of understanding for each type of pitch. “We’re grateful for the investment in our Pitch Advisory Service that supports local communities and players. Since 2014, our partnerships with the NGBs and Sport England have grown stronger with each phase of delivery,” said Jason Booth, Chief Operating Officer at the GMA. “Now, six years later, we’re seeing huge progress through enhanced education and training of volunteer and professional grounds managers. “We want to see millions more enjoying the benefits of playing surfaces – whether it’s to develop sporting talent or just for fun,” n thegma.org.uk/pitchadvisory-service

DENNIS AND SISIS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH STAFFORDSHIRE FA Dennis and SISIS and the Staffordshire Football Association have announced a new partnership which is set to benefit grassroots pitches throughout the county. For nearly 100 years Dennis and SISIS have been providing world class turf maintenance equipment; from Premier League to grassroots sports clubs, there are solutions available to suit all surfaces and budgets. The two British manufacturers have been long-term supporters of grassroots sports; frequently offering training and education to eagerto-learn volunteers. The new partnership with the Staffordshire FA is set to 4 | TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021

benefit grassroots football and will be a key component in the Football Association’s goal of improving a total of 20,000 grass pitches across England over the next decade. “We have just over 1,100 pitches in total across the county,” said Staffordshire FA’s Gareth Thomas. Toby Clarke, of Dennis and

SISIS, praised the work of Staffordshire FA and revealed the companies delight at being a part of the programme. “The Staffordshire FA is a very pro-active organisation and Gareth and his team, which consists of Andy Jackson (Stoke FC Grounds Manager), Kevin Duffill (GMA Regional Pitch Advisor) and Kevin

Staples (Staffordshire FA Head of Delivery), work extremely hard for grassroots football. “We are looking forward to supporting Gareth, Andy, Kevin and Kevin, out in the field to help provide the clubs with the right machines for the right jobs.” www.webbgarden power.co.uk




A second Eclipse for Brora Golf Club TNS stalwart retires after 46 years After 46 years with Kubota ground care machinery dealer, TNS, machinery stalwart Laurie Brown has retired. “I plan to practise what I’ve been preaching, by investing in a walk-behind Kubota W819R-Pro so I can continue to keep my lawn presentable during my retirement,” explained Laurie, who has stepped down from his role as Branch Manager of TNS Kennett, near Newmarket “I wouldn’t buy anything else, and based on the reliability and durability of Kubota equipment I’ve seen over the years, this is likely to be the only mower I’ll need,” he added. “I’m proud to say that I have two customers who still use their G3 HST mowers that were bought new in the late 1970s.” “Japanese reliability is legendary and the machines are still serviceable; so it is down to us, as the supplying dealer, to deliver with aftersales and service. “I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some fantastic people along the way, and I’ll certainly miss the camaraderie from our suppliers, and our customers.” Laurie worked with Kubota since TNS became a ground care dealer in the late 1970s, and for him it’s been a journey that has also led to developing extremely enjoyable working relationships with customers. “When you enjoy the job this much, it’s not a chore – it’s a way of life,” he said.

Head Greenkeeper James MacBeath, left, and General Manager, Tony Gill at Brora GC receiving their new Jacobsen Eclipse 322


Brora GC, in Sutherland, has had 12 months like no other in its 130-year history. In common with many golf clubs, last March, it experienced the lows of the pandemic and the harsh reality of a much-reduced income. “We were flying high with consistently good visitor numbers and then it all stopped dead,” said Head Greenkeeper, James MacBeath. However, what happened next took everyone by surprise. Resourceful enterprise from within the club, saw Brora launch a local membership campaign which ended up with global interest. Golfers from across the world rallied for the club that has Tom Watson, five times Open Champion, as an honorary member. Astonishingly, membership climbed from 500 to 700, which took in over £280,000 and the

online sales in the shop reeling in over £40,000. “It was just great that our plea was heard, and we were so grateful for such instant response,” continued James. But more good news was to follow. In March this year, after a four year initiative, the club became the landowner of its own links. For just the sum of £70,000, including a £20,000 grant from the Trustees of local Kilbraur Windfarm, it was able to purchase the land on which it stands, from landowners Sutherland Estates. “It’s all transformed so quickly. We continue to operate with two furloughed staff on rotation until September, so there are just three of us making sure the visitor experience is still as worthwhile. It’s hard going but we will come through. Once the club can move beyond all restrictions, we will be in good place,” said James.

One of the upshots of a little more financial stability and an increased membership, was to bring in some additional equipment. While decisive about the machine required, the financial ups and downs meant it was essential to secure excellent terms. James, in conversation with his opposite number, Muir Ross, at neighbouring Golspie GC, found out that both clubs wanted a Jacobsen Eclipse 322 greens mower in the same timescales, from dealer Fairways GM, at Inverness. “Talking it through with Muir, it made sense to buy these together to benefit from economies of scale and look for the best deal long term. John Morton, Area Manager at Fairways was happy to oblige especially as it was a second Eclipse for both clubs and he knew us both well. “Now it’s here, it’s gone straight into use with the original still going strong.”


Top team to boost Essendon Essendon Country Club, Hertfordshire, has announced plans to restructure its golf agronomy department, bringing in best-in-class personnel to help establish the club’s position as one of the south east of England’s premier golf venues. As part of the restructure, Craig Gibson will be stepping into a new role as Estates Manager, tasked with overseeing health and safety, course spraying programmes, estate security, and management policies around the club. Marc Winnan, who has previously worked in senior greenkeeping positions at The Grove, Brocket Hall and Moor Park, will join

the club as Director of Courses to lead the plans to drastically improve golf facilities across the board. Marc, who is also a Master Professional, a qualified golf course architect and member of the European Institute of

Golf Course Architecture, became Course Manager at Aldenham Golf and Country Club at the age of 25. Joining Marc, in the newly created role of Consultant Agronomist, is Master Greenkeeper John Wells. A hugely experienced

course conditioning specialist, John assisted in the development of both courses at Brocket Hall. John has since moved to his most-recent position at South Herts Golf Club, where as Course Manager, he has built a reputation for presenting an immaculate golf course year-round. The final new addition to the new all-star agronomy and operations team at Essendon is Alan Walker, a past Captain of the PGA, as Club Ambassador. Alan will assist with the running of several aspects of club life, focussing on enhancing the overall experience for Essendon’s valued members.

Excellent marks for University of South Wales Sports Park Les Gibbs, Grounds Manager at the University of South Wales Sports Park, has invested in a new Kombi Ranger line marker after a successful trial, on account of its new innovative features. “It’s simple, it’s quick to use, and there are two marked benefits with the new model,” explained Les, who has worked at the University complex for over 40 years. “One of the best things about it is that our groundsmen can walk at different speeds and still get the same even application and this is down to the variable speed pressure control. “We also don’t have to pre-mix the paint, because it comes ready mixed and it holds a 10 litre drum, recirculating it around the 8 | TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021

system for mixing,” he said. The Ranger can also be used with Fleet’s range of concentrated paints and 10 litre drums. The University of South Wales Sports Park is a 30-acre site, with four football pitches, two rugby fields and mini football pitches, as well as one of the biggest rubber crumb 3G artificial pitches in the UK. “We have plenty of footfall from University students and international professional teams and we therefore need line markings which are quick to apply and paint that’s durable,” says Les. “The Fleet paint can last over two weeks on turf without over marking,” added Les. Iain McGuffie, of Fleet Line Markers, explained that the new Kombi Ranger

was engineered with the user in mind, designed from customer feedback. “It has a 24-volt battery, which is easily removed for charging on a docking station, meaning there is no need to take the machine to the charge point, just the battery! It has twice the power, you can charge it anywhere and the battery is also guaranteed for three years. “The machine is suitable for all surfaces, including natural grass, synthetic surfaces, hard/tarmac and EPDM/polymeric surfaces and can do both centre and side marking,” he explained. “We’ve had fantastic feedback on the machine and those who have tested, much like Les, have put in an order.” n www.fleetlinemarkers. co.uk



Speedway Total is the one for Weedfree Richard Stow, Managing Director of Weedfree, has revealed why the company has relied on the spray adjuvant Speedway Total for so long. “We have been using Speedway Total to enhance the uptake and activity of our total herbicide applications for many years and we are very happy with it,” said Richard. “It always gets us good results and we wouldn’t dream of not using it.” Weedfree has been a market leader for railway, industrial and amenity

weed control for over 50 years, providing weed control and vegetation clearance services to the rail industry, local authorities, industry, utilities and power generators. “You name it – we spray it,” said Richard, and indeed they do. “We didn’t always use Speedway. Initially we used another product, but we had lots of problems with it. The chemistry, the active ingredients – it was causing problems with our operators, who were complaining about irritation

on their skin and around their eyes. We also found that, in accordance with the label, we were putting a lot of product in the tank,” explained Richard. “It was at this point that we discussed the issue with Ed Carter (Sales & Development Manager for ICL), and he suggested using Speedway Total. We tried it, we liked it and we have stuck with it ever since.

It was less product going in the tank, there was not any reduction in efficacy, and it was very cost effective.” ICL’s Speedway Total is a spray adjuvant that contains a blend of surfactants and spreaders. It is designed to enhance the effect of glyphosate and other total and/ or non-selective herbicide treatments. n www.icl-sf.co.uk





Rigby Taylor confirmed as recommended supplier to Staffordshire FA S

From left: Phil Dewhurst, Northern Sales Director, Rigby Taylor; Gareth Thomas, Staffordshire FA Partnerships and Communications Officer, and Glen Howard, Midland’s Technical Area Manager, Rigby Taylor

taffordshire FA has formed a preferred supplier partnership with Rigby Taylor to support their network of close to 500 grassroots football clubs across the county to improve the quality of natural turf football pitches, as part of the organisation’s Grass Pitch Improvement Strategy. “We have a long-standing relationship with Rigby Taylor and have received a huge amount of help and advice over the past


few years, so we’ve now formalised our relationship and recommend them as our preferred supplier, which will give clubs the peace of mind that they are getting the right products to effectively improve their playing surfaces,” said Gareth Thomas, Staffordshire FA Partnerships and Communications Officer. Staffordshire FA’s Grass Pitch Improvement Strategy includes two grounds management

experts – Grounds Management Association Regional Pitch Advisor Kevin Duffill and Andy Jackson, Grounds Manager at Stoke City FC, who visit clubs in the Staffordshire. Andy explained that pitch problems typically include grass length, compaction, thatch, weed infestation and waterlogging, plus a lack of available resources. “We offer each club a structured, staged maintenance plan. Stage one covers grass length and pitch aeration. Stage two covers thatch and weed control, and stage three covers the use of a specific grass seed and fertiliser programme.” According to Gareth, educating the club volunteers is important too. A good example of the programme’s success is the 10-pitch Trubshaw Cross playing fields, in Stoke-on-Trent, which was

taken on from the local authority by volunteers with just a £500 yearly budget and no products or machinery. Andy provided short and long-term pitch plans, which included Rigby Taylor products and benefited from Football Foundation funding. A programme, using R11 Germin-8T treated 100% Perennial Ryegrass blend, selected for its fast establishing, hard wearing, high density characteristics, Crossbar Selective Herbicide, Convert controlled-release granular fertiliser, Microsol soluble fertiliser, Seaweed Products, Compact Organic Turf Supplement, and Maintain NT Growth regulator resulted in significant pitch improvement. The site is now home to 49 local football teams and hosts approximately 25 matches every weekend. n www.rigbytaylor.com




Campey appointed worldwide distributor for Micro-Spray

Attain-tion: Are you aware of Attain? Attain® from Aquatrols is the next generation in bio-nutritional products, promoting optimal soil and plant health. Specially designed to meet the challenges professional turf managers, Attain is a highly refined proprietary bio-nutritional formulation that contains both compost and kelp solution bio-extracts. It also maximises the benefit of existing nutritional elements to promote optimal plant and soil health, and supports consistent and sustainable root growth for all turf types, including greens, tees, fairways, and sports turf. While Attain itself is a more recent product, its origins begin many years ago with the Farmura products Porthcawl and Farmsea 10. These products were widely used and recognised by our industry as being the “go to” bio-stimulant, plant and soil conditioner, and were the foundation on which many nutritional programmes were successfully built. Recognisable by their natural colour and odour, these original products remained unchanged for over 40 years. In 2016 Farmura was acquired by Aquatrols, a company with a 60+ year reputation in the turf industry for their development of superior and innovative products. Shortly after this acquisition Aquatrols began work on Attain, a new formulation that would retain the best qualities of the legacy Porthcawl and FarmSea 10 products while utilising the newest science and state of the art manufacturing techniques available 12 | TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021

to improve the overall formulation and performance characteristics. Attain has been specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s turf care managers in optimising the nutritional efficiencies of their turf. By maximising the benefits of existing nutritional elements, Attain takes soil & plant nutrition to another level, delivering consistent and sustainable results, time after time. While still derived from bovine manure as the original products were, the new solution used in Attain is refined using highly advanced fermentation processes, bio-extraction methods and reverse osmosis to produce an optimized and biologically stable complex of over 500 metabolites, including amino, humic and fulvic acids. This is combined with Aquatrols’ Aquavita Technology, a platform of proprietary technologies resulting from an advanced bio-extraction process, to create a unique combination of compost and kelp solution extracts that provide superior results at low application rates. The resulting product not only promotes greater and more consistent bioactivity in the soil profile to support turf health, but also has a more favorable odor and flowability than its predecessors for greater ease of use. With an application rate of only 10L/Ha monthly, Attain delivers increased performance with easier handling. If you would like to learn more about how Attain can help you support optimal plant and soil health, please contact your Aquatrols Territory Manager.

Campey Turf Care Systems has been appointed as the Martin Lishman Micro-Spray worldwide distributor. The Macclesfield-based company has built a strong reputation for their innovative product range that covers the entire spectrum of maintenance tasks. The new Micro-Spray, from Martin Lishman sits well within the Campey ethos of providing customers with high-quality machinery that enhances established practices. Martin Lishman National Sales Manager, Joel Capper, is confident Campey will increase the profile of the Micro-Spray and take it into new markets and is excited to continue working with the company. “We have been working closely with Campey for a number of years and have been impressed by their global reach to sports clubs and amenity facilities,” explained Joel. “We feel confident in their ability to take the Micro-Spray forward into different markets in new countries and look forward to working with them even closer in this latest chapter in the Micro-Spray success story.” Campey Chairman, Richard Campey, said that they had been impressed with Martin Lishman’s approach to compact sprayers for some time. “We are very pleased to be able to reinforce an already successful relationship with this exclusive agreement regarding the MicroSpray and look forward to the next developments in their range.” The key aim of the Micro-Spray is bringing versatility to the groundsman’s armoury. A narrow footprint allows it to fit through most gateways and passageways to tackle hard to reach spraying areas. n www.campeyturfcare.com







HHHHHHHH 1. “I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business but I’m in the top one.” – Jose Mourinho; Malcolm Allison, or Brian Clough 2. “I float like a butterfly and sting

a bee.” – Mohammed Ali; Ricky H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H Hlike Hatton, or Chris Eubank 3. “Pressure is when you play for five dollars a hole with only two in your pocket.” – Doug Sanders; Lee Trevino, or John Daly 4. “Griffiths is snookered on the brown, which, for those of you watching in black and white, is the ball directly behind the pink.” – Fred Davis; Ted Lowe, or John Spencer 5. “It’s high enough, it’s long enough and it’s straight enough.” – Andrew Cotter; Eddie Butler, or Bill McLaren 6. “If Everton were playing down the bottom of my garden, I’d draw the curtains.” – Bill Shankly; Kenny Dalglish, or Bill Paisley 7. “And there goes Juantorena down the back straight, opening his legs and showing his class.” – Ron Pickering; David Coleman, or Brendan Foster 8. “They don’t cut the greens here at Augusta, they use bikini wax.” – Peter Alliss; David Feherty, or Gary McCord 9. “They think it’s all over. It is now.” – John Motson; Clive Tyldesley, or Kenneth Wolstenholme 10. Unless I am very much mistaken... I AM very much mistaken...!” – Murray Walker; James Hunt, or James Allan 11. When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer.... Bristow’s only 27.” – Bobby George; Colin Murray, or Sid Waddell 12. “The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey.” – Henry Blofeld; Brian Johnson, or Jonathan Agnew 13. “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds, and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.” – Paul Gascoigne; Paul Merson, or George Best 14. “I can cry like Roger. It’s just a shame I can’t play like him.” – Andy Murray; Novak Djokovic, or Rafa Nadal 15. “Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row.” – Bjorn Borg; John McEnroe, or Vitas Gerulaitis

Answers on page 74 14 | TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021

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Sustainable football irrigation for a changing climate A

Scott Brooks: “Overwatering saturates the soil creating an anaerobic environment which the plant cannot thrive in.”

address diminished water lush green playing surface availability by turning to is an absolute prerequisite state-of-the-art solutions. for professional football in the “The lack of consistent rainfall 21st century – and a glance at meant two things: heavy footage from the 1980s proves reliance on the irrigation system this wasn’t always the case. and a demand to get the But a lot of behind-thewater exactly where it needs scenes efforts go into ensuring to be. I saw an opportunity to a smooth surface for the incorporate AQUA4D® into an players to strut their stuff improved irrigation system on a Saturday afternoon. which would firstly get the And despite the advent of water into the rootzone more synthetic pitches, there’s no efficiently but also help to doubt turf is here to stay. reduce the watering window.” However, with water stress Formerly, the limited capacity on the rise around the world, of the irrigation football pitches are as much system meant it under threat as agricultural had taken two fields and urban landscapes. and a half hours When football fans think of a to water one pitch groundsman, a traditional image – an unthinkably of a flat-capped fellow with a long time. The hose and watering can may improvements come to mind. But the truth is made to their that irrigating football pitches irrigation system has become as precise an with AQUA4D art as dispatching the perfect means a pitch can free kick – and as precise a now be watered in science as interpreting the under 25 minutes. narrowest VAR decision. In the fast-paced It’s often a fine balance, world of top-level as grass is sensitive to too football, this was little or indeed too much truly a game changer. water: “Overwatering “As soon as the saturates the soil creating an AQUA4D was anaerobic environment which operational I reduced the plant cannot thrive in,” the timings of the reports Scott Brooks, Head stations by 20%Groundsman at Ligue 1’s OGC 30%,” reported Scott. Nice, after previous roles at “I’ve witnessed Arsenal and Tottenham. no detriment to Having come from London the health of the to the south of France, Scott turf – quite the was faced with very different opposite, in fact. Soil geographies and the biggest electroconductivity challenges for a groundsman. rates have This included high summer temperatures, hydrophobic soils, consistently been in a good range which and issues establishing thriving suggests that the grass which could support the breakdown of the rigours of high-level football. water molecules No stranger to innovative has increased the thinking, Scott decided to

nutrient uptake/availability in the soil. The consistent colour and turf vigour displayed this season would support that.” Alongside organic fertilisers, Permavoid drainage systems and using food waste for undersoil heating, Brooks and his team at Nice are incorporating sustainability and efficiency at every turn. The success of implementing AQUA4D and other technologies has spurred Scott on to pursue further sustainable initiatives. “The pitch maintenance

provider has commissioned a study at my request to measure our carbon footprint with the aim of finding ways to become a ‘carbon neutral’ grounds team. So far there is a commitment to plant 361 trees, ranging from 59 oak trees to 174 pine trees.” As the football season draws to a close, take a moment to appreciate these unsung heroes maintaining playing surfaces – and innovating to ensure the sport can continue to be enjoyed in the face of an uncertain climatic future.



Cheshire turf machinery company celebrates 25 years in business Toro dealer Cheshire Turf Machinery, based in Stockport, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Toro, and its UK distributor, have been involved with Cheshire Turf Machinery for at least the last quarter of a century and some time before that, as Managing Director, Steve Halley explained. “Initially set up as Cheshire Light Tractors in 1956 selling garden machinery and turf equipment, the company was bought by Flymo in 1980, before we took the business back into private ownership in 1996. “At that point, Toro was already a staple part of the business and Lely supported us, particularly with demo equipment when we took over. We changed the name to better suit the ethos of the business in the supply and servicing of professional turf equipment and set our focus on a mainly sports based portfolio of customers. “The company has been through many changes, but one thing that has remained the same is our relationship with Toro and its UK distributor Lely, then Reesink.” Toro excels at creating enduring relationships, built on reliability, productivity and quality; many of its relationships with customers are 25 years and counting – and the same relationship longevity

applies to its dealers too. “Toro has been involved in so many milestones over the last quarter of a century. Toro was our first machine sold and our 1,000th, and when we decided to branch out into the market sector of councils and landscape contractors in 2013, becoming agents for the Toro Groundscare range enabled us to do that,” explained Steve. In addition, Toro has also helped in the company’s expansion and as a result of continued sales growth Toro awarded Cheshire Turf Machinery

with extra sales and service territory for its commercial golf mowers and equipment, primarily to cover South Yorkshire, culminating in the formation its sales division, Yorkshire Turf Machinery. “We’re very lucky to have had and to continue to have Toro and Reesink on board, having their names associated to ours has benefitted us greatly in building up the business. There’s a very good reason why 70% of our product portfolio consists of Toro machinery and that’s because of its quality.”

Busy times for Whitemoss Whitemoss may have been operating from 1998 but its three directors have over 100 years industry experience between them, of Sands, Soils and Rootzones alongside a wealth of knowledge of aggregates for drainage and construction, while the owners have always been known as Bulk material specialists. Over the last 12 years, the business has developed to become specialists in Ground Protection materials and in particular a Leading Supplier of Golf Bunker Liner solutions. Whitemoss are exclusive distributors of the BunkerMat liner manufactured in Australia. They have exclusivity to 18 | TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021

supply UK, Europe, North America and Canada and also recently appointed a licenced agent in South Africa. The company is also about to sign contracts with a large European company who will stock, distribute and install BunkerMat throughout Central Europe under licence. The last 15 months has been a testing time for many but also one that has seen a resurgence of golf participation. This has also seen one of the companies busiest ever periods. Since October 2019, projects have been started and some completed at Celtic Manor Resort, Chelmsford GC, Gog Magog GC, Saffron Walden GC, Stratford

on Avon GC, Mid Herts GC, Cirencester, four courses in Czech Republic, and several other European venues. BunkerMat is installed at three courses in Holland, one in Belgium and one in Germany. This autumn sees the company commencing works at Ingestre Park working with MJ Abbott and International Design Group. BunkerMat selected as the bunker liner and BU435 sand as bunker sand. Whitemoss continues to be Specialists in all bulk materials for golf and sports and via Complete Bunker Solutions, they can resolve all bunker issues.



Unrivalled lightness of cut for sports grounds Toro’s Reelmaster 3575-D is the lightest available cylinder mower in its class, bringing a lightness of cut to pitches, training grounds and academies. Designed to be 20% lighter than traditional larger cylinder mowers, Toro’s Reelmaster 3575-D weighs just 2550lbs including the cutting units – that’s 500lbs less than comparable four-wheel mowers – to decrease turf compaction and bring a superior quality of cut even in wet conditions. Not only that though, this machine has been designed with a front-toback and side-to-side balance of weight to produce a low centre of gravity and has a large footprint, which, when combined with turffriendly tyres, reduces turf damage. Since its launch in 2019, football

clubs like Manchester City have trusted the Reelmaster 3575-D to improve turf quality without sacrificing productivity and they’ve taken fairway cutting at golf clubs to a new level, too. Alastair Rowell, UK Sales Manager for Turfcare Equipment at Reesink Turfcare, explained that the machine was designed to bring more choice to the lightweight fairway mower market. “The three-wheel drive system helps with the tight turns at the ends of the pitch and brings impressive traction to hilly cutting areas. The 100-inch width of cut means productivity comes as standard making light work of your cutting duties.” The Reelmaster 3575-D is

available with five inch or seven inch cutting units and will be sure to make an impression on the pitch without leaving one. n reesinkturfcare.co.uk The Reelmaster 3575-D is available with five inch or seven inch cutting units and will be sure to make an impression on the pitch without leaving one





Class act at Hartpury University and Hartpury College

Robotic marking of full size football takes just 20 minutes

Rigby Taylor’s fully autonomous, robotic TinyLineMarker Pro has proved to be a “big time saver” for the grounds team at Hartpury University and Hartpury College, according to Grounds and Sports Maintenance Manager Matthew Newman. Matthew oversees the grounds maintenance of the facility’s multi-millionpound outdoor sports facilities - used by students, as well as Premiership RFU side Gloucester Rugby, Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC, Hartpury University RFC and the university football club. Matthew manages three grounds care teams that work across the 360-hectacre, Gloucester-based, Hartpury University and Hartpury College campus, which is one of the UK’s leading specialist sports, agriculture, equine and veterinary educational providers at Further and Higher Education level. His 11 members of staff include a gardening team that looks after the amenity areas around the historical gardens and student accommodation, the construction team works on hard landscaping projects, and the sports-based team of three manages the college’s short game area and golf green as well as eight natural turf and two 3G artificial sports pitches. He was introduced to the TLM Pro when discussing pitch line-marking time management issues with Rigby Taylor Technical Sales Manager, Simon Hughes. “There’s probably not a single day when a line marker is not being used by my team at the college,” explained Matthew. “We normally pitch prep on a Monday and Tuesday for university and college midweek fixtures on a Wednesday, Gloucester Rugby trains on the same day, Thursday is a repair day and on Friday we prep for the weekend fixtures. I mentioned the fact that it normally took two members of staff one and a half hours to each mark a pitch,


when Simon suggested I try the TLM Pro, which he said could help me free up the team members’ time to do other tasks.” Simon’s subsequent TLM Pro onsite demonstration included a thorough run through of the robot’s mechanical functions and GPS technology. He highlighted the fact that the two interchangeable batteries provide up to 10 hours spraying time, without re-charging, and gave a step-by-step guide on how to create pitch templates - via an App, supplied with the Samsung Galaxy tablet. He then set the robot to work on one of Hartpury’s full-sized sports pitches, which was completed in just 20 minutes - within an accuracy of 5-10mm. Image B caption: Robotic marking of full size football takes just 20 minutes Matthew was so impressed, he decided to invest in the machine there and then and says it immediately proved to be a massive time saver for the team. “Our sports pitches are adjacent to each other so we can now cut and roll one pitch, put the TLM Pro on to mark and then cut and roll the adjacent pitch while it’s doing its job,” he said. Simon has subsequently helped Matthew to train up his team members on how to use the tablet and access the pitch templates, which they’ve found easy to use. “We can now plot our own pitches. In fact, over the close season I had to convert a rugby pitch to a football pitch, which previously would have meant taking out the posts to re-measure. Now, all I need to do is store the original pitch template on the tablet and replace with a football pitch template in its place. That means what would have taken me a day, now takes just 10 minutes,” said Matthew. Regarding line-marking paint,

Matthew says he has always uses Rigby Taylor’s Impact paint with the TLM Pro. “I find we now use much less paint than we did with a standard line-marking system. The Impact paint comes in a container so there’s no need to mix powder with water. You just give it a shake, you put it in the machine and off it goes. It holds together well and stays on for much longer than other paints that can dull down after a couple of days of rain. Impact paint hasn’t done that - even in the winter months,” he explained. “Regarding the robot, I ever have an issue, I call Simon, who will come over and rectify it immediately. He also pops in every few weeks to check that things are OK and is always at the end of the phone if I need him.” Matthew has also recently called upon Simon to help him find a solution to his irrigation requirements at the facility, and he subsequently acquired a Rain Bird ESP-LXD controller, complete with a network communication cartridge which links to the IQ-Cloud irrigation central management system, and the site now benefits from irrigation management through Matthew’s smartphone. “The college first teams play on a highquality pitch for each sport, so we plan to raise the pitch standards for second and third teams too – and we’ll be looking to Rigby Taylor to continue to provide grass seed and fertiliser materials, plus on going assistance and advice to help us achieve this objective,” concluded Matthew. n www.rigbytaylor.com




Topdressing leads to resilience With the goal of improving the resilience and year-round playability of the greens, Lymington Golf Centre have purchased a Rink DS800 from Redexim to improve both the frequency and effectiveness of topdressing. Just a few months into his new programme of pencil tining, topdressing and incorporating

the sand into the profile with the help of the Redexim Speed-Brush, Course Manager Brian Goodall is already noticing an increase in greens speed and the recovery of some weaker course areas. The ongoing resurgence in demand for golf was a big contributor in the purchase of the Rink, from local dealer Hunts Forest Group at the end of last year. “I was keen to improve the condition of a few key course areas, one of which was the greens, to not only improve the playing experience but also help them to cope with the increase in rounds,” explained Brian, who oversaw the conversion of 50 acres of farmland into the golf course 16 years ago. “We had been using a contractor for topdressing previously, the issue

being that the day you’re booked in isn’t necessarily the best day to conduct that sort of operation. Several other greenkeepers recommended the Rink and after other testimonials from Hunts and a local contractor I made the purchase.” Brian opted for the DS800 trailed model, featuring a 0.8m3 hopper capacity, variable spreading widths of between 2m and 12m, and spreading thicknesses of 0.5 to 15mm. “It’s got a great range of adjustments and is so simple to use. Compared to the drop-dresser that our contractor used which could only cover 1.5m at a time, the Rink being a disc spreader means that in three or four passes you’re done and moving onto the next green!” n www.redexim.co.uk

Versatility name of the game with four operations at same time The 4GCS from SCH, is a versatile pitch maintenance system. A single pass allows up to four operations to be carried out simultaneously, including surface aeration, dethatching, brushing and rolling, which when combined together, enable groundsmen to prepare and maintain the pitch to a high standard, in very little time. It is an ideal unit for general pitch grooming/maintenance on both sports fields and fine turf. The star shaped slitters pierce the surface, slicing roots and breaking up the soil to increase drainage and promote root growth. The brush and rake tines tickle over the surface to remove thatch and enhance the quality and appearance of the area. The rear roller firms up the 22 | TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021

surface and gives the striping. A weight tray is incorporated in the design which gives the option to add top weight to vary the penetration depth of the slitters. The single pass on the tractor reduces the amount of mud being churned up by the wheels. A specially shaped aerator star attachment can be fitted, which breaks up the surface to a greater extent than the slitter stars. n www.schsupplies.co.uk

People with something to say, say it on the Turf Matters YouTube channel Go to YouTube.com, search for ‘Turf Matters’ and find out why we’re our industry’s most watched channel. News, views, glimpses behind the scenes and opinions from those at grass roots level, to those at the top of their game.



Let’s get together This summer BIGGA is inviting the entire turf industry to get involved with a new event that will reunite our members and the wider sportsturf community after more than 15 months of enforced separation. Join the Association for the Festival of Turf, which will include two days of innovation, exhibition and entertainment. The Festival of Turf is a two-day event that will take place in the predominantly outdoor setting of the Warwickshire Event Centre on 21 & 22 July 2021 and will bring together golf greenkeepers, groundsmen and many others in a COVID-19 safe setting. There will be two full exhibition days with a wide range of trade stalls and opportunities to meet with vendors, alongside a couple of entertaining twists that bring to life the ‘festival’ element of the event and add some much-needed light relief after a difficult year for everyone.

WHY SHOULD I ATTEND? The Festival takes place in July 2021 and is the first trade exhibition to be


held following the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry has been kept physicallyseparated for 18 months and so BIGGA has provided this platform for its members, other turf professionals and those within the industry to meet up face-to-face, rekindle old friendships and reflect on what’s been a difficult time for everyone. For more than 30 years BIGGA has been hosting exhibitions that feature the most innovative and exciting product launches. The Association works closely with the biggest names in the turf industry to make sure members have access to the latest equipment and machinery. Education providers and colleagues will be present at the exhibition to talk to you about learning opportunities for yourself and your team. There will also be a BIGGA Stand, where our Learning & Development team will be available to discuss the incredible career-development opportunities that come with being a member of BIGGA. “My reasons for attending this event are simple, I want to see old faces and

new ones and to share experiences with other greenkeepers. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this pandemic it is that isolation is simply awful. This event is a real opportunity for our industry to come together and I look forward to being there.” Jon Scoones, Course Manager, The Caversham – Home of Reading Golf Club “With BTME being cancelled due to the pandemic, I’ve missed that connection with people and it’s been the toughest time I’ve ever known in the industry. The Festival of Turf will allow greenkeepers to reconnect, share stories and discuss solutions to the problems we are all experiencing. BIGGA has adapted amazingly to the restrictions the pandemic has brought with its online Continue to Learn and other opportunities and I can’t wait to see what the team has come up with for the Festival of Turf.” Lucy Sellick, Head Greenkeeper, Wenvoe Castle Golf Club


A fantastic range of exhibitors have }


www.turfmatters.co.uk www.turfmatters.co.uk

Two days of innovation, exhibition and entertainment atthe Festival of Turf – organised by BIGGA who are keeping their fingers crossed it will emulate the success of BTME, cancelled due to COVID-19





more being added. So far, the line-up includes: Advance Grass Solutions; Agrigem; AMS Robotics; Aquarille Consultancy Services; Aquatrols Europe; Border Sports Services; British Sugar TOPSOIL; Campbell Golf Associates; Campey Turf Care Systems; Consolidate Turf; Delta-T Devices; Ecobunker; Foley Company & True Surface; Germinal; Global BioClean UK; GreenTek; Grillo Agrigarden; Grundfos Pumps; Headland Amenity; Husqvarna; ICL; ISEKI UK & Ireland; Jacobsen; KAR UK/Hunter; KIOTI UK; Landquip; Lister Wilder; Mansfield Sand; Myerscough; Overton UK; Redexim; Reesink

UK (Toro); Rigby Taylor; SGL; Soil Scout; Symbio; Syngenta; Turfcare; TurfKeeper. Marcus Oliver of GreenTek explained why the company is supporting BIGGA by exhibiting at Festival of Turf. “GreenTek has always been a regular exhibitor at BTME and so the cancellation of this year’s show was a big blow! However, we see the Festival of Turf as the ideal replacement, given the current circumstances. The timing is ideal and we are sure that after many months of restrictions, the whole turf maintenance industry will be itching to get together and catch up with each other and see all the latest product launches.”


www.turfmatters.co.uk www.turfmatters.co.uk

How to get there BY CAR

The venue is conveniently located at the centre of the national motorway network with the M1, M6, M40, M42, M45 and M69 all within easy reach – the junction of the A425 and B4455 Fosse Way. The Visitor Entrance is off the Southam Road (A425). The postcode for this entrance is CV31 1FE. The venue directional signage will direct you when you approach the venue so please follow this and not your sat nav instructions when you arrive. Free parking for over 2,000 vehicles is available on site (disabled and coach parking also available).


The nearest train station is Leamington Spa with direct links from London and Birmingham available. The venue is a 10 minute

taxi ride or short bus journey from the station. Some events run direct shuttle buses for visitors between Leamington Spa Railway Station and WEC.


The WEC is serviced by the local Stagecoach bus services 63 + 64. Call Stagecoach on 0870 608 2608 for further details. The nearest stop for routes 63 + 64 is Leamington Parish Church which is a five minute walk from the station. The nearest point to the WEC is the Ufton Bus Shelter. The stop is at the bottom of the Radford Hill and from here it is a five minute walk to the venue. Some events run direct shuttle buses for visitors between Leamington Spa Railway Station and WEC – please check each organiser’s website for specific event arrangements.




Grass breeding:

Getting to the roots of sustainability B

ack in April, users of ‘turf Twitter’ bore witness to the effect extreme weather has on the sports turf industry. A combination of 22 days of ground frost, record levels of sunshine and the fourth driest April on record made the preparing playing surfaces exceptionally challenging. Predictably, May was a washout with relentless heavy rain falling across most of the country. Weather extremes add additional pressures and keep sustainability and climate change issues high on the industry’s agenda. The most

Dr David Greenshields, Amenity Commercial Manager, Barenbrug

commonly described approach to sustainability in turfgrass management is a reduction in inputs, such as fertiliser, fungicides and water, but grass breeders at Barenbrug have given turf managers the ability to underpin their sustainability strategy with Sustainable Grass Technology. The result of years of specialist breeding, significant investment from the global leader in turfgrass seed production, and numerous independent and in-house trials, grasses in SGT blends have been bred to excel in one or more of four key areas of research; • nitrogen use efficiency to reduce fertiliser use and cost • drought tolerance to increase survival and reduce the need for irrigation in stress periods • increased disease tolerance to reduce fungicide use • lower clippings yield to reduce mowing frequency, labour and fuel consumption. “Our breeders had the foresight to anticipate the industry’s needs. These grasses have, in some instances, been } TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021 | 27



Dr David Greenshields, Barenbrug UK’s Amenity Commercial Manager. “Our aim is to give turf managers all the desirable characteristics that help them meet the demands of the modern game, with minimal inputs, and for surfaces to retain their health, vibrancy and resilience under extreme conditions, such as drought or heavy wear. For turf managers looking to reduce their inputs and all the associated costs without compromising turf quality, using grasses specifically bred for that purpose and proven through independent testing is the ideal starting point.” SGT’s breeding objectives led to the


development of Barprium, a perennial ryegrass cultivar that has set a new benchmark for nitrogen efficiency. Trials conducted at the STRI from 2016 to 2018 focused on identifying which perennial ryegrass varieties use lower levels of nitrogen most efficiently to deliver acceptable turf quality. It compared the performance of seven of Barenbrug’s existing high performing perennial ryegrass cultivars against the new cultivar. When low levels of nitrogen were applied to all cultivars, all performed to a good standard throughout the trials, but Barprium showed greater quality and coverage, even with a 50% nitrogen input. The other seven cultivars all ranked highly in the BSPB Turfgrass Seed Listings, making Barprium’s performance even more impressive. Strong summer colour in Barprium has also proved an asset to the blend for low input golf fairways. “SGT Rye Fairway is a great example of our global breeding and trials resource delivering excellent regional solutions. The fine fescue cultivars in the mix were selected for their sustainable performance characteristics,” explained David.

“Hardtop hard fescue and Barjessica strong creeping red fescue performed particularly well in periods of heat and drought. Data from fine fescue performance trials conducted in 2018 showed that turf quality of hard fescue was unrivalled during the intense heat and drought of a memorable summer, and the recovery capacity of Barjessica was exceptional. The selected cultivars also provide excellent resistance to Red Thread – perfect for low nutrition fairways.” David is urging Course Managers to consider the significant benefits of hard fescue on fairways. “The summer of 2018 bought into sharp focus the situation turf managers face during lengthy periods without rainfall. Hard fescue has been used successfully on the continent, in the US and in Australia where summers are hotter and drier than ‘typical’ ones in the UK. “It is the default species where there is no irrigation, which demonstrates its natural drought tolerance. It is also resilient and more nitrogen efficient than red fescue, and modern cultivars produce high quality turf.


“It currently makes up 50% and 20% of our two SGT mixtures, and I believe it will play a greater role in the long-term management of medium-fine turf with low

maintenance requirements. For new constructions and full renovations, sustainability starts with sowing the right cultivars. For established turf, overseeding


with these new cultivars can enable the sward to adapt over time to provide additional resilience when and where it’s needed most.” n www.barenbrug.co.uk



Balancing pitch and budget M

anaging a high wear pitch, on a relatively tight budget is probably a story with which most non and lower league club grounds managers can relate. For Eastleigh FC Head Groundsman Dan Barnes, the task is made slightly easier by getting the right seed in the ground first and foremost – and for this, he turns to Johnsons J Premier Pitch. Along with delivering superior wear tolerance, its resistance to disease has meant Dan has only applied fungicide once in the last four years. Eastleigh FC moved to their home at the Silverlake Stadium in the 1950s and limited investment since then has resulted in a pitch that struggles with drainage and requires thoughtful management – a challenge Dan picked up four years ago, despite having no previous Groundsmanship experience! “In those first few months I spent a lot of time undertaking qualifications and networking with other groundsmen as I sought to build a bank of suppliers” explained Dan, who is assisted only by a team of volunteers. “When it came to seed, after I tried Johnsons J Premier Pitch mixture, I’ve


never wanted to use anything else. “Despite our challenging ground conditions, this mixture delivers on all of the key performance characteristics – it’s hard-wearing, gives us fantastic visual merit and has demonstrated fantastic tolerance to disease. In four years, we’ve had just one Fusarium outbreak which we could attribute to the use of pitch covers.” Due to budget constraints, Dan has to be creative when it comes to seeding, usually applying 50g per m2 during summer renovations and then overseeding at 25-30g per m2 in the autumn and again in the spring to see them through to the end of the season. Last winter, Dan supplemented Premier Pitch with Johnsons J 4Turf

to benefit from the lower temperature germination of DLF’s tetraploid ryegrass. “This gave the pitch a real boost through the winter and undoubtedly helped us get through a fixture pile-up we had in February 2021 where we hosted five games in a 19-day period. The increased root length we get with the J 4Turf mixture provides great additional strength and, along with J Premier Pitch, recovers brilliantly. “There is nothing more satisfying than being proud of the surface you present. This combination of Johnsons mixtures gives us a pitch that is always fit and ready for play which, in turn, satisfies the following of fans we are really fortunate to have here at the club,” concluded Dan. n www.dlf.co.uk



Confidence high at Bromsgrove School H

ead Groundsperson Richard Hare, has reported excellent results from using a selection of Limagrain products at the outstanding Bromsgrove School, in Worcestershire. Founded in the Middle Ages, Bromsgrove is one of the country’s largest independent schools with a glowing reputation for both academic and sporting excellence. Astonishingly, given the size of it, you can drive through Bromsgrove town and not even see the School. How is this possible? Well, according to most, Bromsgrove keeps 100 acres of secrets from a casual visitor, hidden like a vast walled garden – and this is where Richard Hare comes in. Richard, pictured, is responsible for the all the sports pitches and green spaces across the School’s three sites and leads a team of 15 members of staff consisting of groundspersons and gardeners. Depending on the term, the team maintains an array of pitches, which includes rugby, football, hockey and cricket. However, with such a busy schedule it leaves a tight window for renovations. “The winter renovation work takes place during the school Easter holidays. As part of this renovation, we will over-seed all the grass areas with a Limagrain winter sports mix,“ said Richard. Those representing grass roots, schools, local clubs and international test venues have all benefited from using MM50. This hard-wearing mix has rapid germination, very fine leaved appearance, high shoot density and is tolerant to very close mowing, along with high disease resistance. All these attributes

together produce a fantastic sward that has great colour all year round. “I buy seed from Limagrain UK which covers all the grass areas for cricket and rugby,” continued Richard. “Grass seed, as anyone will tell you, is a massive investment and I can’t afford to apply that amount of grass seed and just hope that it will work. I need to have the confidence that it will germinate especially as we have such a small renovation window. I have that confidence with Limagrain and that is why I have used the seed for so long. “We don’t have irrigation on all the pitches, and we don’t get a lot of rain in August and it still germinates. We always get great coverage.” Grass seed aside, Richard also revealed that some of the School’s most aesthetically pleasing areas are thanks to Limagrain UK’s Colour Splash mixtures. Over the past few years, these flower mixtures have been used in a broad range of landscape and amenity areas throughout the UK. “We use the Colour Splash mixtures in eight different areas around the School,” said Richard. “The main reason for applying these mixtures was because I wanted to create some wildlife friendly areas. The School and the students have really bought into it and the areas look absolutely stunning.” Richard was also quick to praise the support from both Limagrain and Agrovista Amenity – the company he purchases the seed from. “I always have good conversations with Mark Allen (Agrovista Amenity) and Matt Gresty (Limagrain UK) and they will come in and help us in any way they can.” n www.lgseeds.co.uk/amenity TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021 | 31




Why it’s wise to go to SAGE W

ith summer fast approaching, the first ever SAGE is drawing ever closer, and excitement is building for the newest event in the industry. From 27-29 July 2021, the UK’s largest outdoor Sports and Grounds Expo will open its doors for the first time, welcoming a huge range of visitors from across the industry including grounds maintenance, landscaping, colleges, universities, local authorities, premiership grounds, green keeping and many more. Set in the stunning surroundings of the Three Counties Showground at the foot of the Malvern Hills, trades from the sector will be able to demonstrate leading products and showcase new releases, without any limitations on space. SAGE visitors will hear the latest ideas from within the industry and be given advice on how to improve efficiency and cost effectiveness. “We’re really looking forward to our inaugural event. It will provide a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors and see what is on offer across the industry. Our motivation is to give


visitors a hands-on experience, without compromising on safety, and at The Three Counties Show Ground this is easily achieved,” says Event Manager Vicky Panniers. “Our aim is to provide an environment that will benefit everyone from grass roots to senior management; we are very excited about what is on offer and think it’s the perfect way to kick start what is a hopefully a great time for the industry after such a tough 18 months,” Vicky continues. The Sports & Grounds Expo is a free event open to all who are interested in the sports and grounds industry. The Sports & Grounds Expo 2021 has been designed and implemented to create an environment that is proactive at every level of the industry from operative to managerial. Over the last 12 months sectors have had to adapt quickly to an unprecedented turn of events. SAGE 2021 has looked into how best to accommodate exhibitors and visitors alike. From market leaders showcasing their newest range to leading course providers giving the opportunity to attend a variety of on point courses and discussions, SAGE 2021 really does have everything.


n The stunning OUTDOOR venue provides an abundance of space for exhibitors to demonstrate their products and solutions

n New products to be launched this is the first time for over 16 months that many of our exhibitors will be able to showcase their latest innovations and products n Networking; after the last year the opportunity to meet up outdoors is vital in showing value to key clients and also gives new opportunities to form new vital relationships n Industry trends and education; see what you have missed over the last year, and get involved with the free courses that are being led by our partners Mow-Sure.


n Local authorities n Contractors n Landscape professionals n Garden and Lawn Services n Private estate management and operatives n Sports clubs n Groundsmen from across the industry from grass roots to premiership n Those who share a common interest in the industry or a particular sector n Industry media. The safety of visitors and exhibitors is a priority. The latest health and safety advice will be implemented, security measures including social distancing have already been put into action, hand sanitiser will be readily available and free pre-registered bookings for all visitors to reduce queues are heavily encouraged.


Good things

come to those who wait…

Scott MacCallum catches up with the most patient man in greenkeeping – Paul Larsen, who has had to wait an additional 12 months to prepare an Open Championship course







Royal St George’s, Paul Larsen – and a misty morning

he Open Championship at Royal St George’s Golf Club is going to be a wonderful event. The course, one of the best on the Open rota, will be in immaculate condition, the weather will be superb and the golf will be exciting, irrespective of how many spectators are there to create the galleries. How can I be so sure? Well, I’m merely following the old adage “Good things come to those who wait”, and oh how the club, and, in particular, Head Greenkeeper Paul Larsen and his team have had to wait. At the beginning of last year everything was on track for The Open, in July. The long and medium term planning had gone well and Paul and his team were hoping for a good spell of weather in the months ahead so that the course would be fast and running, just how the R&A like it. And then… The decision was taken to postpone the Championship for a year on April 6, and immediately the date, which had been penned into the diary since 2017, when Royal St George’s hosting was announced, disappeared over the horizon. “To be honest when the news about the postponement came through my mind wasn’t really on The Open. It was on the virus,” recalled Paul.


“I only had five people in, including myself, everyone else was on furlough, and we were just doing the bare essentials on the course to keep it going, as we were instructed to do. We also had the heatwave at the same time so we were hand watering everywhere and not really cutting. “To be fair the fescue was thriving but The Open was suddenly in the background,” said Paul, who admitted that he was one of the first to take the virus seriously. “Without going OTT we were doing all the cleaning of hands and equipment, which eventually was official advice, from the very beginning.” With the US Open being moved from June to September, The Masters moving to November and some European Tour events being played before the original Open date, there were thoughts that a slightly shorter delay may be possible but Paul was pleased that the ultimate outcome was the end result. “They have considered holding it later in the year but had they moved it to September there would have been light issues and it would have had to have been a reduced field, but around that time we were going into quite a severe lockdown. “I personally think they made the right decision. There was no

messing about, and everyone’s health came first,” said Paul. The postponement was announcement before any of the huge stands or marquees had been erected but most of the underground infrastructure, TV cabling etc, was in place. “In a way it has meant that they had a head start for this year,” reasoned Paul. The club took the greenkeeping staff off furlough when it was deemed safe to do so and they took the opportunity to carry out work that was possible with the course devoid of golfers. “It was great by the club that they took everyone off furlough and it meant we could get a lot of work done. We’ve done a lot of path reshaping which would have been difficult with golfers on the course and we’ve cleaned out a sand dune behind the 4th green, an area which might be in play.” Ironically, the original Open week was an exceptionally busy one at Royal St George’s. “We held an Open tournament for the members which was open to everyone and people could play off the Championship tees if they wanted to. We were getting 120 people playing each day and the weather was great and the course


looked and played really well. “So it would have been great for The Open if it was played.” In fact, the week before history was made with the first ever professional ladies’ event held over the old links. The Justin Rose Series, a wonderful initiative to give ladies playing opportunities in these strange times, was played with a strong field of professional lady golfers. Gemma Dryburgh, of Scotland, was the first to have a Royal St George’s victory on her record, with a one under par round of 69. With everything planned for, and geared up for, a particular week in the diary, having that date move by 12 months could have been deflating for Paul and his team. But not so. “Keeping motivated, a problem? Good question but ‘No’, in a word. The story goes back to when we lost a lot of grass in the drought of 2018. We hadn’t really recovered from that so when we were moved back a year we had great fairways and great playing surfaces in general, but our semi rough was quite hard to get back and contained quite a bit of soft broom. “So the motivation has been to get that up to scratch. The guys have been hand-dressing the semi. I didn’t want top dressers over it, so we’ve }





The team, ready for The Open

} done it in the old-fashioned manner.

The motivation was always there, but the extra 12 months has given us extra motivation to get it better.” It actually made the very next question a little redundant, but being a stubborn so-andso, I asked it anyway. “Was there a date in the calendar that you went back into Championship mode?” Not too bad eh? But an obvious answer… “Do you know what. We’ve been in Championship mode since last March.” But I did get a little more. “At the end of the day, without the team I’ve got here the results wouldn’t be possible. They’ve been out hand shoveling top dressing day after day, over and over. They’ve got on with it. It’s not just the hours they’ve put in, it’s the physical energy required to do it. “I’ve worked on many golf courses and a lot of people think that you just sit on machines in the summer and that it’s easy. We do a lot of hand cutting here and it is physically demanding. They are very fit from it and they have been absolutely brilliant for me,” said Paul. Like all Head men Paul is rarely happy with the weather which is dished up to him – a Greenkeeper’s Rain Dance should be up there with the likes of the Argentine



Tango and Charleston as a Strictly standard – and sure enough spring didn’t cut the mustard. “We wanted a good spring, but we didn’t get it. However, this month (May) we’ve had 68mil so that’s rejuvenated everything. Had we had gone from a dry spring to a dry hot summer we’d have got no germination and all our work would have been done and we’d have had no dividend from it. But with all this rain you can see it coming up.” Elsewhere the delay has meant that the bunkers will be a year older than they would have been. “We didn’t build any the year before as we didn’t want them to look brand new but with quite a hard winter with a lot of snow we are finding cracks in some of them so we will be finding a way of freshening them up. I’ve got a few techniques to get them right, but they are at the end of their five year cycle.” For the week itself Paul has had to tweak his original plan and call on his neighbouring golf clubs for help. “It will be an unusual Open because normal the team and volunteers stay on site in Bunkabins for the 10 days before and during the Championship. Now everyone has to leave the site and go home at the end of each day and I have had to get 25 local volunteers to help. Normally we have guys for the other Open rota courses but


that’s not happening either.” So 25 local greenkeepers will have the opportunity of experiencing an Open. “We’ve got to plan what each one will be doing, and we are hoping that they will come for a day’s training beforehand. There will always be one of my guys with them. It’s going to be interesting. I’ll let you know how it goes after The Open.” Thinking back to the last Royal St George’s Open – Darren Clarke’s popular win in 2011 – Paul, Deputy at the time had a job he is very pleased to be relinquishing. “I was painting the holes and I couldn’t relax until the final hole was cut and white painted. I’m glad I’m not doing it this time!” Despite having been the greenkeeper who has had to show more patience than any other in modern times for his Open to arrive, Paul hasn’t let his mind wander to the week itself. “I don’t live for the future. I always have a plan, but I don’t particularly think about how I’m going to be feeling. I just accept it on the day. It is what it is, otherwise you are just worrying about what it is going to be like.” But I really don’t think Paul and his team should be worrying. As I say “Good things come to those who wait”.


Le Golf National signs five-year Jacobsen and E-Z-GO fleet deal O

utstanding service and product quality have seen one of Europe’s most prestigious golf clubs, Le Golf National, renew their Jacobsen partnership for a further five years and include an E-Z-GO fleet. The club has had great success with Jacobsen mowers with the Albatros course for the Ryder Cup in 2018 widely recognised by participants and spectators as one of the best the tournament has seen. That quality isn’t reserved for the Ryder Cup and is regularly seen during the Open de France which the club has hosted 27 times between 1991 and 2019. A wide range of mowers including the new lithium-ion powered Eclipse 360 ELiTE and AR530 articulated contour rotary mower are included in a 27 strong list that also features models from the HR, TR and SLF ranges as well as GP400s. Following an audit of the machines currently used on the course from the previous leasing agreement, 39 Jacobsen and Cushman mowers and utility vehicles have been purchased by the club for continued use. Thirty-four RXV Elite E-Z-GO golf carts that use the industryleading ELiTE lithium-ion battery technology now shared with the


Eclipse 360 ELiTE are also included and will feature the Textron Fleet Management 10EX system. For Ransomes Jacobsen, France’s General Manager, Laurent Proupin, Le Golf National’s commitment to Jacobsen comes not just from the signature cut or industry-leading features, but from the service they receive during tournaments and throughout the year. “I’m very, very excited to have one of France’s major courses continuing to use the Jacobsen brand,” said Laurent. “It’s been a considerable effort by the entire team at Ransomes Jacobsen France, and one which is a result of always, whoever the customer is, giving the best service we can. I think the support we offer during a tournament and on a day-to-day basis is as important as the quality of cut and is very valued by superintendents. “The importance of the deals with firstly Le Golf National and then the Ryder Cup was huge because it showed that the Jacobsen brand is very strong. We can point to Le Golf National and the 2018 Ryder Cup which was played on one of the best courses the tournament has had, and that feedback

has come from the players. “And that is the importance of tournament service. We are very close to the customer, and I try to have a spirit that when there is a tournament it isn’t just a tournament for Le Golf National, it’s a tournament for Le Golf National and the Ransomes Jacobsen France team. That worked brilliantly for the Ryder Cup and many Open de France competitions, and we are already looking forward to carrying that into the Golf Amateur World Championships in 2022 as well. “During each tournament, there are two technical staff from my team on the course, ready to step in if there is any problem. For us, that is assuring them that they will have no problem. And I think it is the main argument for using one company because you can get your mowers and golf cars serviced by the same people. “For the other brands, several providers are necessary, but for us, all of our technical staff can work on E-Z-GO, the Textron Fleet Management GPS system, Jacobsen or Ransomes and it makes it much easier to manage for our customers.” “Golf National must remain the venue for major international golfing events and offer optimal maintenance conditions throughout the year for all types of public,” said Pascal Grizot, President of the French Golf Federation. “The new high-performance training area also requires technical equipment that matches our sporting ambitions. The continuation of our partnership with Jacobsen EZGO, both in terms of equipment and human resources, allows us to remain confident in preparing for the future French Open and the World Team Championships in 2022.” Detailing the main reasons for the choice, the Director of Le Golf National, Mr Philippe Pilato, explained that the teams of Golf National and RansomesJacobsen had built a relationship of trust over many years. “Beyond the quality of the service and the machines, we were very sensitive to the knowledge and knowhow that guided our collaboration. “Ransomes-Jacobsen has accompanied us through various incredible experiences. The renewal of this partnership highlights our common ambitions to offer excellence in the quality of maintenance and to ensure the durability of this excellence.” n www.ransomesjacobsen.com



You’ve got to roll with it B

aroness UK has become the new sole importer and distributor for AgriMetal rollers for the UK. “We are extremely pleased and excited to be working with such a well-made and respected brand,” said Adam Butler, Sales Director for Baroness UK. “We already produce market leading cutting technology for a wide range of mowing equipment but now we have added to our portfolio, in my option, one of the most affordable and well-made rollers on the market. To add the icing on the cake they will be rolling off the production line sprayed in Baroness Red.” The range available will consist of the GR-400 & GR-660. The GR-400 model is the most affordable, high specification roller on the market with the GR-660 model providing an industry leading 66” width roll.” The Hydro-Gear hydrostatic pump has been mated with Honda’s reliable 13hp engine

ensuring maximum torque and efficiency. Each head is power by its own hydraulic motor in series to distribute flow and torque evenly. The automatic chain tightener system, which is located inside a closed box, so grass clipping, sand or any other residue cannot get into the drive mechanism. Each floating head has openings on the top front & back, making clean up simple. The easier it is the more likely it will get done. The roller’s floating head design

effortlessly follows the contours of the most severe undulations, providing a higher roll factor and a better putting surface with minimal compaction. The hydraulic assisted steering drive system make it easy for the operator to operate the roller, with the floating steering head providing the industries tightest turning radius. This unique design has built in guides to ensure minimal overlap with maximum productivity. AgriMetal’s heavy duty trailer beds are covered in a rubber mat for maximum traction, allowing easy climbing even in wet conditions. The ramp self-locking mechanism provides safe transportation. Thanks to the ramp spring assisted hinge system. It’s easy for the operator to lift it back up before driving to the next green. n www.baronessuk.com





All-round capabilities


oyal Norwich, the first ‘Royal’ golf club ever to relocate to a new site, is the latest organisation to appreciate the multiple benefits of Ventrac. Located on the Weston Estate to the north of Norwich, they recently took delivery of a Ventrac 4500 all-terrain compact tractor in dual-wheel configuration and a Contour mowing deck. Peter Todd is the highly respected turf manager who, in

his role as Estate Manager and Director on the Club’s board, specified the purchase following a demonstration earlier this year. “I first met Rupert Price the owner of the UK Ventrac franchise – at London Golf Club just prior to leaving to take up this appointment,” he said. “I was extremely impressed by its all-round capabilities, but as I was leaving to join Royal Norwich, I didn’t think it pertinent to pursue the purchase. “However, that positive impression stayed with me and I contacted him for another demonstration, so that my new team could see it on our course and have the chance to evaluate it; a structured process of evaluation that we always go through when considering a major cap-ex machinery purchase. “The Ventrac is the only machine that can handle the pronounced shaping around the course without scalping. It’s exceptionally stable, especially with its dual-wheel configuration, articulating frame and low centre of gravity. The Contour deck flexes superbly to follow the ground contours and its counter-rotating blades ensure the cuttings are thrown

backwards and not on to the greens. Its manoeuvrability around our rectangular tees is exceptional, allowing it to turn through 90 degrees easily and efficiently. What you get is all the attributes of a four-wheel mower with the manoeuvrability of three-wheel machine. “Obviously, mowing slopes in the wet is challenging for most equipment, but this is where the Ventrac excels. However, in dry conditions the grass becomes ‘glassy’ and can be equally slippery, but again, not an issue for this machine. “We had a demonstration of the Trencher attachment and I can see this being beneficial in soft areas, especially in the autumn and the blower is a definite possibility as we are a parkland course and can get out in the very wet winter and spring conditions that have become a feature of our weather. This is undoubtedly, a very versatile machine,” he concluded. The Royal Norwich course at Weston Estate opened in September 2019 with Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter playing the inaugural round to mark the completion of the 10-year project. n www.priceturfcare.com

Newark adds 6m-wide top-brush T

he reduction in availability of curative chemistry has been a game-changer when it comes to the fight against worm casts. Recognising that cultural methods are going to become perhaps the only way to manage them, Newark Golf Club are the latest in a growing list to add the 6m-wide Redexim Top-Brush to their armoury. For Course Manager Alex Clarricoates, its effectiveness at removing casts, as well as improving course presentation, made the purchase a no-brainer. “Having gone through the autumn and winter struggling with casts on our fairways and surrounds, as soon as I saw the Top-Brush on social media I requested a demonstration” explained Alex, who has been at Newark for 12 years. “As well as the obvious issues with playability, from an agronomic perspective, the increase in casts means that they often get trodden on and lay like that throughout


the winter, resulting in us entering into the new season with bare patches.” The large working with of the Top-Brush means it can quickly and effectively rid large areas of not only worm casts, but also organic matter and dew. Its three brushes can rotate in or against the direction of travel and its working depth can be adjusted to achieve a light surface brush or more aggressive, deeper surface agitation. On the day of the install by local dealer F.G. Adamson & Sons and Redexim Territory Manager Andy O’Neill, Alex also had a demonstration of the Verti-Drain 7416 which was purchased on the spot! “The club have been making major investments over the

last 12 months, in more manpower and new equipment to help us elevate the course to the next level. We had always previously outsourced the work but by having our own Verti-Drain, we can now relieve even more areas of compaction and at the time when ground conditions are absolutely spot on.” “With these two new tools at our disposal, we are in a fantastic place when it comes to course condition. It’s only upwards from here!” concluded Alex.


Pitch perfect Scott MacCallum talks with Yves De Cocker, of PitchTecConcept, about his role in ensuring that our wonderful new stadiums have pitches to match


t really has been a 21st century phenomenon. You can barely visit a city or large town without coming across one, and the transformation from the previous incarnations to what we have today is truly startling. I’m talking about modern sports stadiums. We’ve certainly come a long way from the grounds – they weren’t called stadiums in those days. Remember the old fashioned terraces, sometimes covered at the home end – a luxury the visiting supporters were rarely afforded? And the stands – where counter intuitively people sat – but often behind pillars, meaning a well-practiced neck swivel to retain continuity of the action. Nostalgic? Undoubtedly. Comfortable? Never. The new stadiums? On-site parking; not a bad view in the house and comfort of a level you’d expect to find at the Royal Opera House. No more cricking of your neck. And even better! If you miss a bit you can catch up on the giant screens at either end of the ground. Some stadia even have retractable roofs so the players won’t get wet, never mind you. As I say, they are a phenomenon. But there have been, and still


are, teething problems. With 360 degree stands, air doesn’t circulate, and the sun doesn’t have a chance to do its stuff to the turf. Pitches were being replaced on such a regularity that it was giving the Finance Director, never mind the Head Groundsman, palpitations. Solutions have emerged – retractable pitches, grow lights etc- but there is still an issue that what has been regarded as the best stadium is not somewhere which is conducive to the growing of grass. One man who wrestles with these issues on a daily basis is Yves De Cocker, the Managing Director of PitchTecConcept, and a man who has spent the last 20 years solving problems at some of the biggest and highest profile stadiums in the world. He has four World Cups and three Olympics on his CV. This man knows how to make a pitch work under the most extreme circumstances. “The whole set up of thinking about building a new stadium is completely different to what it was 20 years ago,” explained Yves, speaking from his home in Belgium. “I don’t think that before the Emirates was built for Arsenal that anyone really realised that the centre stage of the stadium – literally – was the pitch. Ideally, the stadium designer should work his or her plans around the pitch. “At the Emirates the pitch was at the centre of the whole project and you can see that now, because Arsenal have had an immaculate, fantastic, pitch ever since,” said Yves, who does admit that there often remains an unawareness of the importance of the pitch when the project is still on the designer’s table. From Yves perspective he could see that on one side of the table were the stadium architects and

designer while, on the other side, was the end users – the stadium owners and the football federations. There was one thing missing. “What was missing was someone, or some company, that could help the end user in determining exactly what their technological needs were and how they were going to maximise all of those technologies,” said Yves, whose approach to date has helped almost 900 clients. “I want to bridge the gap between the customer and the pitch technology industry. I see myself as an external colleague for the end user, whose role is to make the most of their investment. A guardian of the concept who will not only make the most of the technology but also assist in making the client think more conceptually and holistically. “If you are only going buy grow lights, or only going to buy a hybrid grass system your risk of failure is much higher than if you invest in a concept and work together to make it work,” said Yves, who has worked at three of the stadiums hosting the Euros, including Wembley. Ideally the best time to lay out

Yves De Cocker


the concept it right at the very beginning and Yves knows that it is far better to prevent issues from arising in the first place rather than resolving issues which do emerge as the project develops. “I’m a realistic guy and I know that most of the time I’m called in when its already in the construction or operational phase. But it’s never too late to change what you’ve decided so long as you are willing to open your mind and you are prepared to rethink and reconsider what you’ve done.” The message is, however, don’t start the design and then think about the pitch. Make sure the pitch is at the centre of everything. Sounds straightforward but there are many mistakes made, and which continue to be made. “One of the main reasons is that the people who are in charge of deciding what they are going to do, and how they are going to do it, are not fully aware of how the pitch technology principle works. Very often there is a difference in understanding between the grounds team and the people making the decisions. “Grounds Managers don’t always get what they want, and the management doesn’t understand the needs of the groundsman. Therefore, what is often chosen is not the best option.” With modern day stadiums you are dealing with huge sums of money and mistakes, avoidable mistakes, with regard to the pitch can be very expensive.

“One of my main challenges is to convince people that I’m not just here to earn money for PitchTecConcept, but that I can actually help them save, or even earn, money for their organisations.” Yves has a three step process to how he conducts his consultations. “Firstly, I ask what they expect from their new pitch and most of the time you can see them thinking ‘Does he really think that we don’t know what we want from our pitch?’. But then you go into a little more depth and it becomes apparent that they haven’t really thought about it thoroughly. We are helping them to understand more fully what it is they want to achieve. “Part two is to make an assessment of what already exists and that’s not only about the type of pitch they have and the equipment they have to maintain it. It is also about the culture of the club; how do they work with their pitch and the people who are responsible for it. We then produce a report and offer suggestions.” Part three is very much an option, and isn’t something which carries a PitchTecConcept fee. “They can take my advice to heart and try to implement it themselves and that’s fine. They can file it somewhere in the office and do nothing about it, which isn’t the best option, but does happen. The third option is that they want me to stay on board and talk with suppliers of pitch technology, determining what is really needed and start the implementation of it. Once it is all


in place, they want us to continue with the on-going training of club, federation or stadium manager. “I do not charge them for this and it is part of an open discussion. The one proviso is that I work with industry partners and suppliers, because if I need to take responsibility for the end result, I’m not going to work with people or companies that I don’t know.” Yves has seen a real step change in the way business operates since he started in the industry 30 years ago. “It used to be that you had a salesman and someone who was perhaps going to buy from you. It was almost like a fight between the two. “Nowadays it is a much more open relationship. It is about working together to make the best out of what we can both do, and what value we can bring to the table so that I can do my job to the best of my ability and they can benefit from it. “In my case the customer knows everything and it is a very easy way to work and I’m finding that more and more organisations are starting to like that idea.” With the stadiums progressing in sophistication and in number, as those old favourites grounds are being replaced Yves, and PitchTecConcept, are likely to be extremely busy over the next few years.

Look out for the Zoom interview with Yves on the Turf Matters YouTube channel TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021 | 45


More than just sand C

olin James, Head Groundsman at Leyton Orient, claims that the products are just part of the overall package from Mansfield Sand. “I’ve been at Orient for 14 years and have been using products from Mansfield Sand the whole time,” said Colin. “It is a product and a company that I can always rely on.” Colin uses Mansfield Sand’s Fibre Reinforced rootzone for his end of season renovations which is an 46 | TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021

80/20 sand soil rootzone blend and polypropylene fibre reinforcement product that is particularly advantageous when grass cover has been reduced due to heavy usage and wear during the winter period. It is incorporated into the existing fibre rootzone to compensate for any material removed during renovation, whilst maintaining the required pitch fibre content to provide a firm, stable divot-free environment. “I like the fact that it is mixed

together for me at the Mansfield Sand depot and comes straight to the stadium ready to use. It is a mix which continues to work for us season after season,” Colin revealed. All the products are produced at the company’s Two Oaks Quarry, which has been in operation since 2015 and has the most up-todate and advanced equipment currently in the industry. From winter sports pitches, golf courses, bowling greens and all amenity



I LIKE THE FACT THAT IT IS MIXED TOGETHER FOR ME AT THE MANSFIELD SAND DEPOT AND COMES STRAIGHT TO THE STADIUM READY TO USE. turf areas – Mansfield Sand has a solution for all no matter what the product. How much Fibresand Colin uses can vary year to year as he explains. “We went a couple of years where we had no renovation work on the pitch due to a change of club ownership – so during that period no fibre was put into the pitch,” he said. “That meant that the following season we had to top it up a considerable amount, so It does vary, but we very much take the advice from Mansfield Sand. “Gary Cunningham and Sharon Morris from Mansfield Sand will come to the stadium throughout the course of the season to take some samples to see how much fibre is in there. “When it comes to the renovation, myself, Gary and Sharon, and the contractor

will all put our heads together to come up with a solution and work out how much Fibresand we need to apply. “It is a great product and has never let me down in all this time. It’s essential for the pitch.” Colin, who has been in the grounds management industry for just over 25 years, was also quick to praise the back-up he receives from Mansfield Sand. “It is not just a case of buying sand from the company. I find that I can always pick their brains – so if I’ve got a problem with my pitch, or just want to talk about any ideas then I find that they are people I can ring up and talk to and ask advice. “They are knowledgeable and have a great amount of experience in the industry – you can certainly rely on Mansfield Sand.” n www.mansfield-sand.co.uk

Colin James, Head Groundsman at Leyton Orient





French champions invest in their facilities P

layers returning after the Euros will find 22,000m2 of new hybrid playing surface (The whole of the “Plaine des Pros”) at their Domaine de Luchin training centre. The site plays host to LOSC professional teams and youth academies. Nestled in the heart of 46 hectares of French countryside the facility is unique in its kind as it brings together, on the same site, a 19th century farm, exceptional sports infrastructure, equipment, sports, medical, administrative staff, young people from the training centre and associated service providers... For LOSC, the word collective has never had so much meaning as at Domaine de Luchin. Thus, all the administrative staff of the club have direct contact with the athlete as well as with training: • 2800 m2 of infrastructure intended for smooth running of the company: offices, meeting rooms, restaurant, etc. • 3000 m2 dedicated to sports and medical facilities for the professional workforce • 3800m2 dedicated to the training centre • 8 fields football, a 2.8 km Finnish track, a


mountain bike track, an inclined track , ... • 1 Press Room • 1 multifunctional TV studio, editing rooms, an amphitheatre and reception areas A true concentrate of sports technologies, the Domaine de Luchin has been specifically designed to provide first-rate work and recovery spaces and includes: • 22000m2 GrassMaster hybrid pitches – elite pitches for the pros • 2 hybrid pitches including a mini-stadium,

as well as a dedicate goal area • 4 pitches for the academy • 1 synthetic pitch • Designer changing rooms, balneotherapy, relaxation area… • treatment and weight room • 4-lane athletics track • goalkeeper training area • Finnish jogging track for nearly 2,8 km, an extremely rare area in Franc • mountain bike path • inclined “force-speed” track. Project officials awarded the surfacing of (2.5) pitches to GrassMaster Solutions and local partner Terenvi. A leading hybrid grass solution, the GrassMaster system meticulously injects synthetic fibers into the natural base to reinforce the natural grass. Once completed, it offers a firm and stable playing surface for athletes with added durability for venue owners. A bespoke agronomic programme was developed in collaboration with the site and GrassMaster experts to ensure optimal field longevity, durability and performance.




The school with its own sports village TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021 | 49



here is a school in North Yorkshire which marches to its own beat. Celebrating the individual is at the heart of its ethos, with academic results to back-up its unique approach. Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, in Thorpe Underwood, half-way between York and Harrogate, is one of most prestigious schools in the country. In a trail blazing move in 2015 the school invested heavily in a new multi-million-pound Sports Village on the campus. Well, six years on that Sports Village is now well established, offering Queen Ethelburga’s pupils some of the finest facilities to be found anywhere and attracting top level professional teams for summer training. The man whose role is to maintain the spectacular range of pitches and continually improve what is in place is someone whose own CV contains some of the biggest names and finest sporting venues around. Ben Grigor was attracted by “a big advert” posted by Queen Ethelburga’s in the trade press and


I SET UP THE ROTAS AND PROCEDURES AT A LEVEL THAT YOU WOULD EXPECT AT A TOP-LEVEL TRAINING GROUND OR STADIUM decided that what was on offer was an opportunity too good to miss. “From memory it showed the pitches under construction,” recalled Ben. “It very much looked like a job which would be a dream come true for whoever got it – to be building something from scratch,” added the man whose CV contains the names of Rangers, at both Murray Park and Ibrox, and SIS Pitches, for which he was part of the early preparations

for the Luzhniki Stadium, venue for the 2018 World Cup final, as well as other top sporting venues. Having secured his interview, Ben’s approach during questioning was, to say the least, “high risk”. “The CEO asked what I thought of the newly laid pitches. I’d had a walk round earlier in the day and picked up on a few things. So I said, ‘Can I be honest?’ When she agreed, I told her that actually the natural pitches needed improving.” When constructed, the clay topsoil had been removed to install the drainage and the irrigation and then that original soil was put back on top. “You are not going to get a highperformance pitch built on clay.” Ben’s honest assessment was taken in the spirit it was intended and the job was his. Things have not looked back since. “We agree a budget at the beginning of the year and we then get on with it,” said Ben, tempting fate by adding that he hadn’t had a complaint in five years. On day one Ben arrived with no staff and no equipment,




but it was building the right team which was his priority. “Machinery is only as good as the people using it. So, I wanted a good team. I set up the rotas and procedures at a level that you would expect at a top-level training ground or stadium,” said Ben. “I needed people who weren’t concerned when told that they weren’t going to get a day off in July, when we might have Newcastle United or England Ladies here doing double training sessions. I needed a team who were happy to be going in at 7am and finishing at 8pm and enjoying doing the work for the teams.” “I’ve got a fantastic team now, many of them have worked at stadiums in the Premier League environment,” said Ben. With the closure of schools as part of the Government enforced lockdown, Ben placed himself on flexible furlough during the pandemic to enable him to spend more time with his children in Glasgow, but also to make more working hours available to his guys. “I was very conscious of their own circumstances.” As to the machinery, there may be some manufacturers kicking themselves for not paying more attention when Ben put his requirements out to tender. “I’d created a list of our needs and specifications. For example, what we needed from a tractor – air con, number of kilos it would need to lift, the width etc. The Toro Pro

Core was the only one that had a company name attached to it. “I put it out to all the main names in the industry but only a couple got back to me at the time. Perhaps they thought we were just a small school!” Ben works to ensure the team is getting the best deal long-term as his purchase of a Koro proves, “We started Koroing pitches inhouse, when timings suit us best. It paid for itself very quickly when set against bringing in contractors to do the work.” Ben has taken on board a working practice that he first experienced when a young greenkeeper at Crow Wood Golf Club, just outside Glasgow. “The two other greenkeepers and I were given our own six holes to look after and it created great competition between the three of us. You always take pride in what is yours. So here the guys have their own pitches to look after. If there is a limited amount of fertiliser left they will ask if they can have it for their pitches and that creates a bit of healthy argument about who gets it,” said Ben.

Having teams set up training camps during the 10 weeks of the summer break is very much part of the estates commercial offer. “Last summer when teams couldn’t go abroad, we hosted Newcastle United here. I think the team may have had reservations about coming to a school, but they were amazed at the quality of our facilities. So much so that they are looking to return again this year, if they are training in country again.” said Ben, who added that Leeds United also used the facilities while their own training ground was being renovated. Queen Ethelburga’s facilities include five artificial pitches and a workout area, constructed by S&C Slatter; a five-a-bay cricket practice net facility; two multi-games areas for football, basketball and netball, a larger multi-games area for netball, tennis and basketball, a water-based hockey pitch. Every pitch is floodlit to a standard good enough for HD filming. “We’ve also got three underwater treadmills, ice bath recovery and a sport science area. The CEO visited }

Ben Grigor



THE SCHOOL IS OUR PRIMARY FOCUS. WE WANT THE TEACHERS TO BE HAPPY AND WE WANT THE STUDENTS TO BE HAPPY WITH THE SERVICE WE PROVIDE } St George’s Park to see what was there before the project started. Our facilities are equal to many of those in the Premiership.” So why does Queen Ethelburga’s have such stunning sporting facilities, and what was the catalyst for investment such a vast sum of money? Well, the school threw its hat into the ring in 2013 to be training base for one of the Rugby Union World Cup 2015 finalists only to be knocked back because the facilities weren’t up to the required standard. “We were told that we were a lovely place but that our facilities were not up to it. All we were at the time was a traditional school playing field with no irrigation or anything else in place. They said that the accommodation and everything else



required was great.” explained Ben. While the new facilities have helped to maximise the sporting talents of some to move into the professional game, the ethos of Queen Ethelburga’s is very much to enhance the talents of their own students, right from nursery age, rather than to bring in pupils who have already been identified as having sporting potential. One of those is certainly 17 year-old Jason Qareqare, who made a huge impact on his debut for Castleford Tigers against Hull. With his very first touch in professional rugby league, and less than a minute into the match he scored a brilliant try – a try you could say born on the playing fields of Queen Ethelburga’s. Speaking with Ben you very much get a feeling of a man not only on top of his job but relishing the challenge of meeting the expectations of an ambitious school, prepared to invest in making itself the best it can be. And while the career ladder for an ambitious groundsman might see a top school as a stopping off point on the way to a high-profile professional club, the job of a Head of Grounds at a top school can be very much a career pinnacle. “Initially I think there were reservations by the school about how long I would stay, but I really I can’t see myself going anywhere else,” admitted Ben. The improvements to the school pitches, which were the


subject of Ben’s honest feedback at his interview, have been built and improved on as part of a planned phased programme. “We’ve been rejuvenating the surfaces. As I say they were claybased and while they had put in sand bands it wasn’t enough, so what we’ve been doing is stripping the surfaces off and replacing them with a sand profile on the surface. “It has meant a fair amount of time and investment, but I’m pleased to say that they trusted me. “Once we’d done the first pitch, the benefits were clear,” said Ben, whose aim is to get every pitch to the same level across the complex. Much of the renovation work was carried out last year, whilst the campus had to remain closed to all but key worker students, but now the aim is to have all the pitches back and available all year. “The school is our primary focus. We want the teachers to be happy and we want the students to be happy with the service we provide.” While Queen Ethelburga’s might have been ahead of the pack when investing in their facilities, other schools have since followed suit. “What we achieved, nobody else was even considering, we were ahead of our time. We’ll need to keep being dedicated to continuous improvement though, to remain at the top of our game.” That’s Queen Ethelburga’s. Always marching to that beat of its own drum.


The Naturelle effect A

grovista Amenity has launched Evolution Naturelle – a unique range of fertilisers which replaces the popular Marathon portfolio of products. For a number of years, turf managers reaped the benefits of the Marathon range of fertilisers – and they can certainly expect no less when it comes to the improved Evolution Naturelle range. Evolution Naturelle is a premium range of organo-mineral fertilisers designed with a unique mode of action. Poultrybased Evolution Naturelle contains essential nutritional elements such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium oxide, sulphur and iron which are compounded to the advanced granulation making them available for plant uptake.

KEY FEATURES • Low carbon to nitrogen ratio • Provides healthy balanced growth due to phased release of nutrients • Complexed potassium for slow release • Promotes stimulation of bacterial soil life helping reduce thatch build • Hardens turf due to cell division

and cell extension as a result of ammonium take up • No scorch risk due to low salt index when applied at the correct rates • Increased tillering for a denser sward • Ammonium produces large volumes of root hairs which ensure active up take of micronutrients No matter what the time of year, or the requirement, the Evolution Naturelle range offers a solution, and below is just a snapshot of what customers can expect. The Evolution Naturelle Micro range consists of Spring – to optimise consistent grass plant response at the start of the growing season; NK – which produces a consistent plant response during the growing season; Summer – for phased release and a steady growth response throughout the core of the growing season; Renovate – to support sports turf surfaces post renovation with the aim of promoting rapid recovery back to expected playing conditions; and Autumn – for steady resilient growth at the end of the growing season. The Evolution Naturelle Sport range: Spring – which contains three nitrogen

The new Evolution Naturelle ranges


sources blended to optimise consistent grass plant response; Summer – a zero-phosphate analysis for phased release; Autumn – for consistent growth and healthy natural colour; and Allsport – designed for application throughout the growing season with a balanced formulation of plant essential elements. The Evolution Naturelle Base range: 4-3-2 – designed to be used across a range of horticultural applications including turf surfaces, landscape constructions, amenity and ornamental plant borders; 7-6-14 which contains slow release, organic components to provide consistent nutrition for reliable growth; and Preseed 8-12-8 – a balanced analysis of primary and secondary macronutrients designed to support strong and consistent rooting. The result of following an Evolution Naturelle fertiliser programme is a sward with firm, shorter leaf blades brought about by the increase in tillering and improvement in leaf cell structure. The new Evolution Naturelle range of fertilisers are available now. n www.agrovista.co.uk/amenity



Fungicide designed to tackle disease in sports surfaces N

ufarm has teamed up with Agrigem, the amenity and sports turf products specialist, to deliver Plazma, a brand new systemic fungicide, carefully crafted for sports surface disease management. The joint venture will see Plazma benefitting from Nufarm’s 100 years as a leading manufacturer, combined with Agrigem’s dedicated workforce of technical experts and distribution network. Agrigem and Nufarm have identified a gap in the market for a highly effective, broad spectrum fungicide. Available in one litre bottles, the industry leading 250g per litre concentration of Azoxystrobin means the active

ingredient is delivered quicker, acts faster and has a higher protectant action than other broad spectrum fungicides. It has long been known that Azoxystrobin targets diseases such as Fusarium Patch, Take All Patch, Brown Patch, Leaf Spot, Rust Diseases, Fairy Rings and Anthracnose. Plazma, with a high concentration of Azoxystrobin has shown to have a particular effectiveness against Dollar Spot and works even in high humidity conditions such as stadiums. The active ingredient travels through the plant, inhibiting fungal respiration and prevents disease by systemic, translaminar and protectant activity. Available in cost

effective one litre bottles, Plazma is set to make an impact in the world of sports turf management. Areas such as golf, bowling greens, sports pitches and tennis courts that suffer from unsightly turf diseases can be targeted to ensure your turf is always looking its best. Launched in the UK in June, Plazma has already seen excellent uptake within the sports and amenity turf management industry. As the exclusive supplier, Agrigem has a wealth of technical knowledge as well as experts throughout the country who can advise and visit your ground to ensure you are getting the results you need from your products. n www.plazmaturf.com





New approach to bowling greens S

ixteen bowling greens across Hampshire and South Dorset have undergone a huge transformation, thanks to new maintenance contractor, Paul Wright, and his organic approach to turf nutrition. Utilising a range of products from across the Suståne portfolio, some of the greens are now 100% organic, and the remainder are not far away - with all seeing improvements in density, strength and overall plant health. Following recommendations and some first-hand experience in his years spent contracting on golf courses, Paul has now been using Suståne products for six years. “I got to know Suståne’s Russell Riley and speaking with him was the final confirmation I needed that converting fully over to organic

feeding was the way to go. With assistance from fellow contractor Steve Hill, I took over the maintenance of the bowling greens which had previously been undertaken by the local councils and came straight in with the organic approach,” said Paul. The programme consists of Suståne 4-6-4 slow-release fertiliser through the winter, switching to 5-2-4+Fe fine grade for late summer application to provide a quick, even green-up followed by long-lasting sources of organic nitrogen. This is supplemented with applications of Suståne’s Turf Revival 6-2-4 in the spring and Bolster humic acid bio-stimulant, blended with seaweed and iron, which is applied periodically over 10 months of the year to boost the swards tolerance to stresses

– drought, salt and disease. “Within a timeframe of just two or three seasons, you can see the effects and benefits of the organic feeds as you overcome any inherited problems. After this, and in conjunction with the regular mechanical maintenance, you end up in a situation where the sward is denser, with better rooting structure and improved resistance to disease,” he explained. “Because of this, and especially on those greens that are now 100% organic, we are also enjoying being herbicide and fungicide free. “From an application perspective,

it feels cleaner and better for me than spraying various chemicals all day long and in turn it’s better for any people around and the players themselves as they now return to the greens post-lockdown.” He is well aware that it is down to results. “Being able to say you’re organic is one thing but ultimately if the products don’t deliver results, then you quickly find yourself out on your ear! With 16 contracts and counting, it’s safe to say that the effectiveness of the Suståne products speak for themselves.” n www.sustane.com

HumWet G arrives in UK H umWet G is a humic and fulvic acid infused granular soil surfactant, created for use by sports turf professionals to treat dry patch. Specifically developed for use on golf greens, tees, fairways and sports fields. It has been brought into the UK by David Snowden, of Agronomic Services Ltd. This new technology, based on a ceramic granule, increases water and nutrient absorption in hydrophobic soils. It contains highly available sources of humic and fulvic acids for rapid improvement to sports turf appearance. This versatile product also reduces plant wilt and stress. HumWet G granular wetting agent increases hydration in


the growing medium, therefore conserving water. As a combination product, HumWet G promotes faster and more complete root development and turf vigor, as well as being a soil surfactant. It can also be blended with fertiliser or top dressing and one application will last up to six months. Great for use during renovations and periods of aeration and excels in the treatment of local dry patch. “We have seen great results in Europe with this innovative product, which saves on time and budget for the Sport’s Turf Manager, due to the combination formula,” explained David. n www.agronomics.co.uk


Streamlined fungicide pays off at Knebworth A

n enhanced plant health programme consisting of Headland Amenity’s 20-20-30 tank-mix, Mantle and PPT114 has been key to reducing fungicide applications at Hertfordshire’s Knebworth Golf Club. Where, previously, it was commonplace to be putting down multiple fungicide applications each year, last year Team Leader, Arran Johnson, applied just one – resulting in benefits for both course condition and the budget! Arran has been using Headland products for the last 15 years and, since he joined Knebworth, they have been fundamental to his maintenance regime on the course’s clay push-up greens. The success of the programme has recently seen it extended to also include tees and approaches. “We have had a particularly great response from the 20-20-30 tank-mix, but the addition of Mantle and complementary applications of PPT114 have taken results to a new level” he explained. “20-20-30+Mantle is applied at the beginning of each month from October through to May, weather dependent, to keep disease at bay through those high-pressure periods. What we’ve found is that if there are any signs of disease, the addition of Mantle checks it at a very


early stage to suppress it and stop it turning into a bigger problem.” Mantle’s water-soluble formulation of manganese, zinc and harpin protein elicitor stimulates the grass plant’s own natural defence mechanisms, making it more difficult for some disease pathogens to take hold. “We also apply Headland’s PPT114, as required, a couple of weeks after the 20-20-30+Mantle® application. This has proven to increase the efficacy of the tank-mix, bringing additional plant strength and improved winter colour.” Through the summer months, Arran’s programme switches to one of moisture management – utilising both Tricure AD wetting agent and Terafirm, advanced soil penetrant, when required to manage and optimise plant and profile moisture. Keeping the team up to speed on new products and any adjustments needed to further improve the results of the feeding programme is Arran’s Regional Technical Manager Peter Blackaby. “I made a conscious decision in 2019 to actively reduce our fungicide applications. Pete’s guidance has helped us a lot with this drive and the Mantle and PPT114 products have undoubtedly given us a huge step forward.” n www.headlandamenity.com




Safer and cleaner experience G

rounds Maintenance Contractors Weedfree Landscapes have reported a 95% reduction in servicing and workshop costs thanks to switching to Aspen Alkylate Petrol. For the last two years, they’ve been using Aspen to power all of their 2-stroke equipment which has not only contributed to more efficient machinery performance, but made for a safer and cleaner operator experience. Weedfree Landscapes undertake a wide variety of ground and winter maintenance services for a number of commercial customers in and around the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. Commercial Director Tim Bower explains that he was familiar with the Aspen product but that it was following a demonstration at SALTEX that they decided to trial Aspen 2. “Straight away we noticed the reduction in noxious fumes. For the operator this brings fantastic health benefits, especially during prolonged periods of exposure, but it also

makes for a cleaner working environment which is desirable when we’re working in public spaces such as schools for example.” Being virtually free from sulphur, benzene and solvents, Aspen Alkylate Petrol is 99% cleaner than regular pump fuel when comparing the level of hazardous hydrocarbons. This means that Aspen burns cleaner, not only reducing the harmful impacts for the operator and the environment but helping to preserve and extend the life of engine components. “Without doubt, we are definitely seeing a reduction in the number of faults and replacement parts we’re using. With Aspen being premixed with a premium biodegradable 2-stroke oil means you know you’re getting the perfect mix every time eliminating issues with equipment clogging up, reducing downtime and giving us quite substantial cost savings.” Tim orders it by the pallet, which is then stored safely on-site in a dedicated cabinet meaning it couldn’t be quicker or simpler

for the team to fuel up for the day ahead. “There’s no unnecessary trips backwards and forwards to the filling station which again results in more time and cost savings. When you begin to add up the savings that come with using Aspen – the convenience factor and the associated financial benefits, together with the improved efficiency of our machinery, it really makes commercial sense.”

Dennis E-Series is here T

he battery powered Dennis E-Series range helps turf professionals meet sustainability and environmental initiatives, minimising carbon footprint, emissions and running costs. For many years, turf professionals have been choosing Dennis Mowers for their superb cut quality and reliability, and anticipation quickly started building when the company announced its new battery-powered range. Leaving no stone unturned, Dennis Mowers spent three years working with carefully selected partners to develop a range of quality battery-powered equipment befitting of the Dennis badge. The aim was to provide a reliable and long-lasting solution with the ultimate performance that helps professionals meet sustainability and environmental initiatives, reduce carbon footprint, emissions, running costs and noise without any range anxiety. Models in the current range include the ES860 interchangeable cassette machine, the ES-36 – a 36 inch dedicated cutting machine and the ES-34R rotary machine. Other models are also anticipated over the coming months. Benefits of the E-Series include: • No range anxiety • Ideal for fine turf mowing and cleaning up operations • Twin bladed rotary mower using lithium ion technology

• User friendly easy to use keypad controls • Significant reduction in noise pollution and vibration • Rapid 2 hour full re-charge. A LCD keypad screen is an integral feature of the handlebar console providing the operator with a multitude of information options including speed, clip rate, service checks, lifetime running reports and battery information. One of the first Grounds Managers to purchase the E-Series was Scott Brooks, Grounds Manager at OGC Nice in France, who believes that when it comes to battery-powered cylinder mowers, there is nothing that compares to the new Dennis ES-860. “The battery life on the Dennis ES-860 is excellent. We were able to cut two pitches on one single charge, whereas we were struggling to complete one pitch with others,” said Scott. “The charging capacity on them is incredible. For example, if we have a big day ahead and everything is getting hand cut, then we know that we can bring the Dennis ES-860’s in at lunch-time and charge each of them for just 20

minutes. In this short amount time, we know that we will get enough recharge in them to go back out and finish the job. “Aside from battery power, I felt the Dennis ES-860 was a robust and solid unit that was ideal for continuously using on the training ground – it is an excellent piece of engineering.” “I had other mowers on trial for a few weeks and this enabled me to assess them side-by-side,” said Scott. “For me, there was no comparison and there was only one winner – the Dennis ES860 was the machine I wanted.” n www.dennisuk.com



New from Pellenc


The Excelion 2, top and the Airion Backpack blower

ellenc has continued to develop its product range with the launch of two new products to the UK market. Based on observations and feedback from both end-users and the dealer network, Pellenc is unveiling two new additions to

the Green & City Technology catalogue for green space maintenance professionals. The new Excelion 2 professional brushcutter with power to spare. With a rotational speed of 6,600rpm and a cutting diameter of 420mm, the Excelion 2 battery-powered brushcutter offers superior performance for professional intensive landscaping and forestry work. Weighing 30% less than petrolpowered brushcutters, it also has a newly designed smart handle that enables agile manoeuvring and displays digital information in real-time including current speed, battery life (as a percentage and in minutes) and power indicator. The new brushcutter will be available in two versions – loop handle and cow handle. Each come standard with the new ‘smart’ control allowing the user to select the ‘head’ while in use. This then allows the brushcutter to adjust the power for different types of work, enabling users to complete brush clearing, weeding, mulching, sawing or mowing thick vegetation. The Excelion 2 comes with IP54 waterproof rating, which means it can be used in wet weather and its battery life lasts up to three hours of continual use – depending on the cutting head and battery – making it suitable for profession use. The Airion Backpack blower is the most powerful battery-powered backpack blower

on the market. With an airflow of 1,280m2/h and a thrust of 24N, its performance is suitable for day-to-day road green space maintenance work in all seasons. With its wide, thick shoulder straps and integrated adjustable belt, the Airion Backpack blower offers great comfort during prolonged working sessions. Its inclined pivot gives full freedom of movement with the nozzle, allowing manoeuvrability reminiscent of a handheld blower. Its handle can also be adjusted to the user’s height with all controls are always within easy reach. The large backlit display on the smart handle provides the user with real-time information including current speed, battery life (as a percentage and in minutes), option currently selected (boost and cruise control) and time worked on the current work site. The backpack’s design optimises its aerodynamic efficiency by 15% compared to competing tools and its battery life has been extended up to three hours – depending on the battery used. As with other tools in the Pellenc range, the Airion Backpack blower comes with IP54 water-proof rating and can be fitted with three different nozzles depending on usage – angled, angled-flat or flat. Pellenc products are exclusively distributed in the UK by Etesia UK. n www.pellencuk.com

Etesia launch the ET Lander E

tesia UK has launched the ET Lander onto the UK market – a new fully electric utility vehicle built specifically for use on roads and all types of paths in both the town and countryside. Always attentive to professionals – particularly local authorities and contractors,


Etesia has developed a unique vehicle to meet the future needs of their customers. Designed and manufactured at the Etesia factory in France, the 100% electric ET Lander brings together over 60 years of expertise in green space maintenance. Spacious, well-equipped and userfriendly, the ET Lander is built on a robust chassis and has an array of options including a three-way tipper bed with dual control from the fullyfitted two-seater cab or by remote control when outside the vehicle. With a length of just 3.72 metres, the ET Lander is very compact. Thanks to the power steering, the short turning radius of 4.40 meters

and 360 ° visibility, it goes anywhere. Fitted with lead acid batteries (72V 220 Ah – producing 15.8Kw), the autonomy of the vehicles lasts for a full working day – without noise pollution. A Lithium battery option will also be available in the future. The ET Lander can transport loads of up to 940kgs and can also tow up to 750kgs. With its all-road tires and powerful transmission, it is a real allterrain vehicle for use in a variety of conditions on slopes and difficult terrain. Another technical feature aimed at making the life easier for its users is the innovative integrated loading ramps. The loading ramps, which double-up as side-fitting panels to the tipper, easily allow the transport of materials, ride-on mowers and other grounds maintenance equipment from site-to-site. The ET Lander also allows the charging of portable battery-powered tools and the use of wired 230v electrical devices such as hedge trimmers. n www.etlander.co.uk



Versatility is key at Makita Mark Earles, Business Development Manager at Makita UK, discusses the evolution of battery technology and the benefits of opting for cordless products. Can you explain the advances in battery technology over recent years and how they benefit professional users? Battery technology has come a long way since Makita launched its first battery powered machine in 1969. The lithiumion batteries we offer today enable professionals to enjoy the benefits of cordless machines and experience output to match that of petrol or mains power. To aid customers further, Makita has also developed its battery technology so the same lithium-ion batteries can be used across a wide range of tools. Would you say the market is making a switch towards cordless machines? If so, what is Makita doing to meet the demand? The demand for cordless power is growing. We have been designing and manufacturing cordless products for over 40 years and know what it takes to deliver products that meet

the needs of today’s professional user. We invest heavily in research and development to ensure we continue to innovate and refine our product line-up so that we remain at the forefront of new technology and deliver top-quality products, with the power and performance that customers can rely on. Why do you think cordless products are so popular with professional users? Cordless products offer many benefits for professionals, so it is unsurprising that these tools are a popular choice. By removing cords and eliminating the need for petrol there is a significant safety benefit to end users, as trip hazards and cord entanglement are reduced and there is no need to transport or store fuel, plus vibration levels are reduced. Environmental factors are playing an ever-increasing role in everyday life, so it is important to note that battery-powered machines produce zero emissions which is better for the operator and the environment. How can professional users ensure they are getting the maximum efficiency from their battery for the longest time? Looking after your batteries is key to their

longevity. Don’t place them anywhere they can get very hot or wet. For example, leaving batteries on dashboards on sunny days, or storing them in extremely damp environments can cut short the lifetime of a battery. What recent products/innovations should professionals be aware of and why? Our recently launched 40VMax / 80VMax XGT cordless tools are the most durable and powerful of Makita’s range to date and each one is designed to tackle higherdemand applications effortlessly, without compromising battery run times. Also, our new hedge trimmer range with asymmetric teeth has proven very popular with professionals due to the quality of the cut they deliver and the longevity of the battery. Makita also offers single sided versions, depending on user preference. n www.makitauk.com



Toro’s battery journey F

or some time, battery-powered equipment has been heralded the future of the turfcare industry, and cleaner, greener, quieter options are becoming a key factor in the decision-making process when choosing new machines. Over the last 20 years Toro has created a hybrid range with an environmentally-focussed machine for the greens, tees, fairways and maintenance, and most recently there’s the industry’s first lithium-ion battery powered ride-on greensmower too. Here we chart the brand’s timeline of key battery-powered introductions to the turfcare industry. 2010: Toro Greensmaster eFlex 21, the first lithium-ion battery-driven greensmower Harnessing the power of lithium-ion battery technology, the Greensmaster eFlex 21 takes electrical efficiency to a new level, allowing operators to mow up to

Toro’s Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 ride-on triple mower utilises allelectric components for traction, steering, lift and cutting unit drive.

35,000 sq ft of turf on a single charge. 2015: Toro Reelmaster 5010-H, the first fairway mower with a true hybrid drive system The arrival of the Reelmaster 5010-H represented a break-through in technology and will always be remembered for how it made greener mowing a reality. It was the golf industry’s first fairway mower with a true hybrid drive system. 2016: Toro Workman GTXe utility vehicle, one of the brand’s first

triumphs in the electric power arena Featuring a 48-volt brushless AC induction drive along with an easily accessible on-board charger. By removing the lead acid diesel battery in the GTX electric Workman, Toro made this machine much lighter. When running it over fine turf, that’s an important consideration. Plus, the battery is sealed for life, there’s less maintenance and performance is better. 2019: Toro Greensmaster eTriFlex 3360 Pipping the electric eTriFlex 3370 to the post was its hybrid counterpart, the Greensmaster eTriFlex 3360. It utilises all-electric components for traction, steering, lift and cutting units to deliver a much quieter performance than traditional engine-powered models. 2020: Toro Greenmaster allelectric eTriFlex 3370 This ride-on triple mower delivers the charge capacity and performance to make battery power a practical solution at last. Toro solved the issue of power to weight ratio and in the Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 was able to bring enough battery power to mow up to 22 average sized greens on a single charge without increasing the weight of the mower.

Toro’s Reelmaster 5010-H pairs a 24.8hp Kubota stage 5B diesel engine with an inline motor generator and self-charging 48-volt battery pack for the equivalent of over 40hp.

Trevor Chard, national account manager for turfcare equipment at Reesink Turfcare, the exclusive distributor for Toro golf and fine turf machinery in the UK and Ireland, says battery power is the way of the future. “No more damaging hydraulic leaks, no more emissions, no more pollution and fuel savings to be made, yet ample power to get the job done. “The fact that these machines such as the eTriFlex 3360 and 3370 are quieter too means work can start earlier while complying with noise regulations, allowing greens to be ready for earlier tee times. With machines able to respond to business demands for increased revenue is a key selling factor.” n reesinkturfcare.co.uk

Stihl’s KMA 135R will get the job done STIHL has launched the new KMA 135 R, adding to its range of highperformance KombiEngines for professional users tackling tough jobs. The new KombiEngine accompanies the KMA 130 R in the range. Featuring a sturdy new battery housing, users can now easily slot in STIHL’s highperformance 36V AP batteries, adding greater versatility to carry out the quick jobs where KombiTool’s are so effective. As well as delivering excellent performance across a wide range of KombiTool’s, the motor requires little-to-no servicing, whilst the easy to clean air filter ensures a long service life and optimum engine cooling. The KMA 135 R has an ergonomic control handle with three level speed pre-selection displayed on an LED panel and infinitely variable speed control on the trigger to 62 | TURF MATTERS | MAY-JUNE 2021

perfectly match the KombiTool and the work being carried out. A quick-release coupling allows the splitting of the KombiSystem into two parts for easy transport and storage – and then re-assembled without any tools required. The new KMA 135 R is compatible with STIHL’s wide range of KombiTool attachments. Further ranges of accessories are also available to use with the KMA 135 R, including Shaft Extensions, RTS Harness, Angled Gearhead and Carry Bag. n www. stihl. co.uk



Offering many advantages over petrol or diesel models S

ummer is here and despite the continued supply issues across the industry, Overton (UK) have continued to supply equipment to customers and have appointed several new dealers in the groundcare market for the Mean Green range of electric commercial mowers. There are many advantages over conventional petrol or diesel models, the noise is the most noticeable, followed by the lack of servicing, very low HAV’s, WBV’s and Zero Emissions. When you start looking at the figures and actual costings, this is where you really see the difference. Initially the Mean Green Mowers are more expensive, but it has to be taken into consideration that as they come with batteries this is your “fuel” that you are purchasing “up front”. When you get into the figures, in the long run you can recoup the additional cost in quite a short time followed by savings.

There is also the savings to be considered with the lack of servicing etc as the electric commercial mowers don’t have any belts, oil or filters. The Mean Green Mowers also have the added bonus of long working times, up to seven-hours per charge, optional front-end blower, Tweels and road light kit. Watch out for new electric models from Mean Green mowers in 2021. Many authorities are now looking at their buying policies for the future as many have committed to a carbon neutral status by a specific date and are now exploring the electric alternatives in much greater detail. This is where the Mean Green range have been at the forefront of development and have over 10 years’ experience in manufacturing the machines in the USA and have been sold in the UK for over five years. This year sees the introduction of the ALTOZ tracked mowers,

Overton (UK) have been looking for a rough and fine cut unique mower to complement their range of electric mowers. The low ground pressure and high traction are key to getting more grass cutting done with less damage. Limiting ground pressure reduces spinning, rutting and damaging underground structures especially on soft ground. The high traction from the TRX track system allows for better control, especially on slopes. With the new normal coming into effect we are finding an increased interest in our range of lithiumion battery powered vacuum litter collectors, it is simply not acceptable for a cleaning operative to walk around picking up cigarette ends and broken glass with a litter stick, fast, clean and efficient methods are needed and as the public start to congregate together more and more, these solutions need to be in place. n www.overtonukltd.com



High performance offer W

hen two outdoor power equipment specialists and technology leaders meet, great things can come of it. This is exactly what happened when the high grass specialist AS-Motor and the cordless specialist EGO worked together for AS-Motor’s next generation of battery powered high grass mowers. AS-Motor is electrifying its successful professional mowers with the new ‘Electric’ product line, focusing on the future technology of batteries. AS-Motor and EGO thus offer their first cross-brand and cross-manufacturer battery platform range of mowers and weed removers for the professional sector. AS-Motor and EGO have used their decades of experience and expertise to develop jointly a high-performance


battery powered range of professional mowers and weed removers. The new ‘Electric’ line from AS-Motor is powered by the recently developed EGO Power Unit, which draws its energy from the EGO 56V ARC lithium battery range. The cooperation between AS-Motor and EGO offers professional users a significantly increased range of applications of battery powered tools. From EGO’s own hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, chain saws, brush cutters, lawn mowers and more to the inclusion of new product families from AS-Motor to include professional lawn mowers, mulching lawn mowers, weed removers and high grass mowers. Thanks to its high performance, the new EGO Power Unit offers the possibility of replacing conventional petrol units up to 200cc with a modern, emission free, high-torque, electric powertrain equivalent. For AS-Motor the EGO Power

Unit offers a simple solution for the rapid electrification of its product range. EGO’s exchangeable battery is available in five different capacities and is optimally equipped against overheating thanks to the unique, patented arc-shaped design, large surface area and cooling slots; unlike conventional “brick-shaped” batteries, in which cells are tightly bundled, quickly overheat and switch off. Each cell is surrounded by EGO’s unique Keep Cool phase change material that absorbs heat energy and keeps individual cells at their optimum temperature for longer, while increasing battery life. The integrated software and microprocessors combine to create the intelligent power management system that constantly monitors each cell to ensure maximum energy and runtime is always available. n EU.support@egopowerplus.eu




‘Everything we want in a tractor’ W

ith over 280 years of history and curated by design greats such as ‘Old’ Tom Morris, Willie Park Jnr and James Braid, The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh continues to seek challenge and reward for its members. Since the Millennium, one of the club’s focuses has been tree planting to create further visual interest and a healthier environment. The parkland course, at Barnton, is only a few miles from Edinburgh’s city centre. In his 12th year as Course Manager, Chris Yeaman, and his team of seven, witness first-hand an abundance of nature, while they go about their business of achieving smooth greens, lush fairways and well cared bunkers. This spring, Chris had requirement for a new compact tractor, and with the guidance of Rob Hogarth, Regional Sales Manager at local dealer, Fairways GM, at Kinross,

he headed straight to the Iseki TH5420. “All our tractors are Iseki; I’ve been a fan for almost two decades. Our most recent, the TG6490, is a fine machine, but we had a gap for one to take over greens. The new Stage V compliance came into it as we are in the process of trying to extend our GEO certification – achieved in April 2018 – for another three years, also high on our list was versatility,” explained Chris. “Everything we wanted in a tractor, this one does. We were fortunate enough to be the first in Scotland to take delivery. It’s small enough for greens and tees, handles smoothly, and an adjustable driving position works for everyone. In time, we’ll get a mid-mounted deck giving flexibility for mowing areas. “Last year, also from Fairways, we got the Iseki zero-turn SZ330 mower for grass cutting between the trees; so, together with the TH5420, we can

get these areas cut even quicker.” Rob Hogarth from Fairways GM said that the TH5420 has a 40 hp Stage V compliant, 3-cylinder turbo diesel engine. “It also comes with a mid PTO as standard, so it accommodates a variety of implements. The 3 speed hydrostat makes for easy control. It’s a compact and high torque, powerful tractor, perfect for turf maintenance applications.” n www.iseki.co.uk

Kioti broadens range and provides extra support K

ioti UK continues to refine and broaden its range of tractors for the turf, groundscare and land maintenance industries. In addition to zero-turn mowers and utility vehicles, the company offers a range of sub-compact, compact and standard-sized tractors with power outputs ranging from 21-115hp, spanning the entire spectrum of types required for these sectors. For 2021, all models above the power level required to meet Stage V emissions regulations now do so. The tractor line comprises six ranges, beginning with the two-model CS subcompact line of 21hp and 24.5hp tractors. While the smaller CS model has a mechanical transmission, the larger one is hydrostatic, and comes in two specification levels. Next come three variants of the 24.5hp CX2510 compact tractor, the first being mechanical and the others hydrostatic. Of the latter two, one is supplied with ROPS and one with a cab. Lift capacity at the link ends is 740kg. The new four-model range of 25-50hp CK30 series tractors are all available with a 12x12 mechanical or three-range, twin-pedal hydrostatic transmission gearbox. The top two tractors – the CK4030 and CK5030 – incorporate a diesel particulate filter and common-rail fuel injection to help meet

Stage V. Models specified with cabs benefit from driver comfort features ranging from air conditioning to a heated rear window. There are three sizes (45/50.3/57.7hp) of DK series professional mid-sized tractors. The DK4520 comes in hydrostatic, mechanical with cab or hydro with cab versions, while the DK5020 is available in ROPS mechanical, narrow ROPS mechanical and cabbed mechanical formats.The DK6020 can be specified as a mechanical/ hydrostatic ROPS or narrow mechanical ROPS tractor, or with a cab in either mechanical or hydro versions. Mechanical transmission is a 16F/16R with creeper, while the hydro is a three-range transmission. The four-cylinder Kioti RX series tractors come in two models of 66hp and 73hp, with the latter available with (P) or without (PC spec) a cab. Transmission on these machines is a more comprehensive 24F/24R mechanical, with hydraulic power shuttle, power shift and electric 4wd engagement. Lift capacity is 2,256kg and 3,000kg and PTO features include automatic dis/ engagement according to linkage height. The largest tractors in the Kioti range are the three-model PX series (103-125hp). Features on these machines include a 4,285kg lift capacity at the link ends, a 32F/32R transmission with power shuttle,

and two double-acting spool valves. Cab features again include standard air conditioning and automatic PTO. Underlining its characteristic South Korean reliability, Kioti now provides a tractor engine and transmission parts and labour warranty for up to five years or 3,000 hours, whichever comes first. This is in addition to two years’ warranty covering the whole machine for an unlimited number of hours. “This is designed to give our dealers additional support, and our customers extra confidence during the buying process,” says Patrick Desmond, General Manager of Kioti UK. n www.kioti-uk.com

The three models in Kioti’s 45-57.7hp DK series feature 16F/16R mechanical plus creeper or, on the smallest and two largest tractors, a three-range hydro transmission





Kubota treads lightly S

eeking a tractor with ample power and weight to operate its equipment, yet still tread lightly enough to protect turf and playing surfaces, Oxfordbased ODS Parks opted for a Kubota M7132 supplied by George Browns. That was almost three years ago, and with over 2,000 hours under its belt, the tractor has more than lived up to expectations. “We looked for a tractor that offered enough stability to handle our hedge cutter at its 6m full reach,” explained Jo Huntley, Parks Operational Supervisor with ODS.


“Though it also has to work on fine turf and other delicate sportsground surfaces without leaving a mark.” As the contracting division of Oxford City Council, ODS carries out a wide variety of grounds maintenance works, and contracting, in and around the city of Oxford. “We looked at several makes, specifications and warranty packages,” explained Graham Dix, Operator with ODS. “And the M7132 stood out with its 500hour service intervals, and five-year/5,000hour warranty. With a set of BKT turf tyres, we found the Kubota provided an ideal combination of stability and low ground pressure for our requirements.” Equipped with an LM2605 loader, Graham said that the tractor must perform as an all-rounder. “I could be towing trailers, lifting and loading materials or using grounds maintenance kit such as a 5m-wide flail mower, turf slitter, reseeding equipment, fertiliser spreader, sprayer or hedge cutter,” he said. “With 130hp boosting to 150hp, there’s more than enough power to pull our 12-tonne trailers, and I have

the flexibility to use economy PTO with powered equipment, which saves fuel.” Equally advantageous is a 50km/h road speed. “The tractor also has some really neat features, including a pto guard that unclips to provide better access when hitching up powered equipment; the rear lift capacity is superb; and the external linkage controls on the rear wing are smooth and progressive,” he added. However, he says that the loader’s cycle times, plus the top link design and location of the spool couplings could be improved. “The US-built loader has large rams, so it is very powerful, but lacks speed,” he explained. “I’d also like to see spool couplings that are angled outwards, so it’s easier to connect hydraulic hoses, and a more secure mounting for the top link would help when I’m not using the rear linkage,” he said in the type of informed critique which manufacturers always welcome. “That said, I’m extremely pleased with the Kubota M7 tractor. It does all that we need, and its reliability and fuel efficiency has been very good.” n www.kuk.kubota-eu.com




Compact tractor with a big heart


assey Ferguson’s reputation for attention to detail, build quality and reliability is evident across its comprehensive line-up of tractors. Exactly that approach has been rigorously applied to its latest range of compact machines in the six-model MF 1700 S series – two of which are new introductions. Powered by a range engine capacities of between 35hp and 67hp, with either three or four cylinders. the MF 1700 M is likely to appeal to a variety of users – including groundscare professionals and contractors. One of the most important factors


from an environmental angle is that each model in this new range is powered one of the latest Stage V-compliant engines, reducing still further their carbon footprint. The transmission uses a shuttle lever to control the tractor’s progress simplifying the operating experience Operator comfort and ease of operation were factors high on the list of design priorities for both the cab and platform versions – a tiltable steering column, easy access, air conditioning, heated rear window – and with ergonomically, logicallyarranged controls, while each model comes with a mechanically-suspended seat as standard, with pneumatic suspension available as an option. All-round visibility has been maximised to enhance machine control in confined spaces and buildings with restricted headroom. First-time users have commented on the model’s smoothly efficient operation and its ability to access confined or restricted spaces. By the same token, they have been impressed by how readily it takes to field work when coupled with a range of implements – and, indeed, when in road transport mode.

Automatic four-wheel drive introduces a significant increase in the machine’s overall productivity – and, indeed, its safety. As soon as the brake pedal is depressed, the system simultaneously switches from two-wheel drive to four, so applying the brake to all four wheels. A hydrostatic speed control lever enables the operator to adjust the cruising speed while on the move. Another simple, but highly-effective safety feature is PTO automatic mode. When engaged, the rear- or midPTO rotates while moving forward and stops when travelling in reverse – or when the tractor stops. The MF 1735 M and MF 1740 M models can be ordered with new factory-fitted mower deck. Easy to mount, the deck is specified with three blades and is 60in wide, proving cutting heights of between 20mm and 115mm. The higher specifications found on its latest 1700 M tractors are part of the Massey Ferguson’s on-going strategy of overall enhancement across its range of machines. n www.masseyferguson.com





Ventrac package for £100m training centre L

Head mechanic Chris Minton, right, says the Ventrac is a very good addition to the machinery fleet

eicester City Football Club, last season’s FA Cup winners, is the latest organisation to appreciate the multiple benefits of Ventrac. Delivered by local dealer, Farols, the package included a Ventrac 4500 allterrain compact tractor in dual-wheel configuration, a Contour mowing deck, Trencher and Power Broom and will be used to maintain their new world-class training centre of at Seagrave, in Leicestershire. Following a demonstration and input from his team earlier this year, John Ledwidge, Head of Sports Turf and Grounds at the

Premier League club, specified the purchase. He is an integral part of the team that has developed the world-class training facility, where he oversees the management and development of the 180-acre site. This includes the equivalent of 14 turf pitches, synthetic pitches, a 9-hole golf course and the world’s first dedicated Sports Turf Academy. John has been at Leicester since 2014 when he was appointed Head Groundsman and he has since enjoyed a succession of promotions. In 2016 he was promoted to Grounds Manager. In July 2019 he took up his current role as Head of Sports Turf and Grounds, where he leads a team of 52 staff working across multiple sites and is actively involved in the ongoing development and investment in the classleading sports turf surfaces at the club. “Our owner is passionate about this football club and the community we share. He wants the very best and this facility demonstrates that commitment. We all share his vision and our aim is to make this the premier training centre in Europe,” said John. “To be fair, we took a lot of our inspiration from the exceptional job Darren Baldwin has done at Tottenham’s facility, where we first saw the Ventrac in action during the research phase of the plan. I’d also seen it at various trade fairs and in the media.

We needed a machine that was highly versatile, that can help us here improve a site that’s going to be constantly evolving over the next five years,” he explained. “The Contour deck helps us maintain the numerous banks and sloped areas around the complex, including ‘Mount Vardy’, the nickname we’ve given to a landscaped area of unused spoil from the original build. It is also used on the golf course where its articulated design prevents scalping. “We’ve used the Trencher to insert drainage bands in some particularly wet areas of the golf course and the Power Broom does a great job on the pathways and carparks. It’s all about quality presentation and the versatility of the Ventrac helps us achieve the high standards demanded here.” Chris Minton, the club’s Head Mechanic, supervising a team of three in the state-of-the-art Maintenance Facility located within the Sports Turf Academy building, is also a big fan. “It’s a very good and impressive piece of kit; robustly constructed and powerful, considering it has a sub-25 hp engine. It’s simple to work on, all the belts are easily accessible as are the greasing points and the flip-up decks make our job easier when we need to access the blades or blade spindles. Definitely a very good addition to our fleet.” n www.priceturfcare.com

Atmosphere electric with STIGA e-Ride STIGA is revolutionising the world of tractors with the STIGA e-Ride – the first electric tractor with collector on the market. STIGA has taken its years of knowledge, expertise and experience to create a garden tractor – combining all the benefits of battery power with high performance cutting and collecting technology. Tested beyond industry standards, STIGA E-Power batteries powering the e-Ride are designed to stay strong after 500 charging and discharging cycles. The STIGA e-Ride 500 series can cut up to 4000sqm on one charge in its collecting version and 4500sqm in its side-discharge version, while the smaller 300 series collecting model can cover 3000sqm and 3500sqm with side discharge. Rigorously tested in real-world conditions, the blade motors are cased 70 | TURF MATTERS | MAY-JUNE 2021

in IP65 water-resistant, aluminium die casting with a ribbed external cover. Not only does this casing ensure sufficient temperature management and heat dissipation, but it also means that the cutting deck can be safely (and easily) hosed down with water after use. For added safety, the two 1.5kW blade motors feature a mechanical brake that stops the blades in under five seconds. The STIGA One Pedal Drive system makes driving as simple as it gets, as it only requires one pedal for acceleration, deceleration and braking. The parking brake is automatically engaged when the machine is stationary, with no need for manual intervention. Easy to start, simply by pressing a button, while the electric powertrain promises a smooth ride. Fitted with noise-reducing helical gears, the electric

transmission ensures maximum comfort throughout the entire working session. The STIGA e-Ride is managed by the STIGA Vehicle Management System. Exclusive to STIGA, the VMS – the machine’s ‘brain’ – acts on behalf of the user to ensure the machine is being used to its full potential. The VMS is essentially the e-Ride’s brain. It uses intelligent machine management to achieve the best cutting results and ensure maximum safety for users. Thanks to advanced connectivity and STIGA.GO app on the 500 Series, the user can communicate with the machine and get real-time information on the quality of cut being performed. The app also provides information related to all working sessions and a direct contact with your local dealer. n www.stiga.com/uk



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I have a new hero. It’s Richard Bland. He was for season after season, the archetypal journeyman. By this summer he had played 478 tournaments on the European Tour, and spent more time at the Qualifying School, and back on the Challenge Tour, than he had appearing on leaderboards. His career highlight was making a four-way play-off for the 2002 Irish Open. He is also known to employ Matthew Le Tissier as an occasional caddie. But at The Belfry, not the easiest of tracks, that all changed. He got himself into position on the final day of the British Masters, and actually

holed a 20 footer for birdie on the final hole which to all intends and purposes looked like the clinching putt. However, rising Italian star Guido Migliozzi caught him on the 72nd hole and Richard was again in a play-off. His drive off the formidable 18th wasn’t great and this was compounded when he found himself in a divot but, channelling all of the frustrations from similar bad breaks he had experienced over two and a half decades as a professional, he somehow cleared the water, found the green and managed to two putt. Migliozzi, on the other hand, after a superb drive missed the short putt which would have sent them both back to the tee again. So, Richard was a Tour winner, and at 48, was, the oldest first time winner ever. When asked by Tim Barter, the Sky Sports pundit (and Richard’s coach!) how he was going to celebrate, he explained that he had to drop Howler’s (David Howell) washbag to him on his drive home. No champagnefuelled private jets for our Richard. It’s not to say that Richard is anything other than a fine golfer. To have such a long career on Tour, even if it was interspersed with visits to the Q School, shows a golfer who has bucket loads of talent and resilience, but it doesn’t mark him down as a Ryder Cup contender. Or does it? The British Masters win opened many doors for Richard. One, it guaranteed him a Tour card

removing the threat of another trip to the Qualifying School for a couple of seasons. It also bought him a place in the US Open at Torrey Pines, California. Outside of the concerns and security implications of taking Howler’s washbag through security, happy days for Richard. A lovely break to California and the chance to mix with the very best in a Major Championship. Then something strange happened. Richard opened with a one under par 71. Not bad on one of the toughest courses around and enough for a place on the lower echelons of the leaderboard. An excellent day’s work. Day two and Richard was still riding on the crest of a wave. A four under par 67 saw him atop that leaderboad and Richard, the oldest first time winner on the European Tour, was now the oldest 36 hole leader of the US Open. At one point before a late bogey he reached six under par, the very score which two day’s later Jon Rahm reached with his birdie on the 72nd hole to give himself his one shot victory. What happened next was probably predictable – a 77 followed by a 78 and a final position of tied 50th in his first US Open. It’s a position that he would have taken at the start of the week but having smelt the rarefied air at the top of a Major leaderboard, perhaps a little disappointing. Richard’s response? “It was a game of two halves”, displaying the humour that endeared himself to the world’s media. So, there he is, my new hero. We can all have our day in the sun. In my late 50s, only 10 years older than Richard, I’m still waiting for mine, but if he can do it against the very best I can surely do it once against my own golfing mates. *As told to Scott MacCallum TURF MATTERS | JULY-AUGUST 2021 | 75

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