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For all sports turf professionals in golf, football, rugby, cricket, horse racing, independent schools, universities and local authorities

March-April 2018 | £3.95

Improving on a masterpiece

Why the Machrie on Islay was an opportunity too good to miss



14 Plaudits for Shrewsbury

31 What’s available

getting to grips with powergrass 39 New system in focus

making turf matter



Introducing our forum Don’t forget Sport… Although I’m penning this just as the temperature is expected to drop to The last two this months have beenMatters a nightmare in certain sub zero levels, issue of Turf is the for onemany wherepeople we welcome in parts of the country and my heart goes out to everyone dealing with spring. the turf aftermath of unprecedented flooding devastating erosion. For professionals this is the time whenand all those hours in freezing, The best case scenario for many is months temporary living. wet miserable conditions bring their reward andof you can showcase allFor that others, lives will never return to what they were. you have achieved. Whilethose the fate sports grounds and clubsextreme might seem Among whoofhave endured some ofgolf the most weather inconsequential inthis the issue’s face of cover such hardship, we are at Turf Matters conditions feature in article. They the guys whohave have a particular empathy seen years agronomic transformed the Machriewith golf everyone course onwho Islay.has Looking at theofwonderful husbandry literally washedsunshine, away in the spaceand of ais,few weeks. pictures, all taken in glorious it looks, truly amazing, but It days muston bethe hoped that banks the financial not the lovely island are to be–savoured wheninstitutions, they come along. rivers understanding approach Ithings shouldwhich know,edge as foroverflown the last two and–atake halfan years Islay has been home to sporting facilities which havethose been unable to service loans as a the mytowife and I and we have enjoyed rare idyllic days and survived result of them being unplayable unable bring in revenue. rain and the winds which tend to filland theso rest of thetotime. As we have seen Winterthat Olympics, has such a Being a member of with Islay the Golfrecent Club means I will besport a direct galvanising effect on societywork and can be has the catalyst for so much beneficiary of the outstanding which been carried out and good, you that it is imperative sporting are not forgotten the can be sure that I will be playingfacilities the newly re-designed and when superbly promised assistance is being allocated. maintained golf course whenever a suitable day coincides with a clear On the issue of improving sporting facilities, we have been diary. Briggs & Stratton to become involved in its Pitch Before I leaveinvited you to by thumb through this issue, a quick announcement. Win competition, which provides a £3,000 makeover for As you know weto are constantly looking at ways of improving Turf Matters what is judged be the Under football pitch in most and this month brings the latest to innovation – our18s forum! If you want a findfellow out more pages 16-17.and I am on the judging chance to engage need with –your turf on professionals share opinion panel and visits will be made to asports shortlist deserving and advice with your fellow practitioners over the turf of spectrum all pitches soon. will be looking not www.turfmatters. so much at the you need to do is register on theWe Turf Matters website DESSO but and off you go.the desperate! Onisafor final note, I amyour thrilled byposters the reception that the All I would ask you to treat fellow with the respect firstto issue of Turf Many people have you would wish receive fromMatters others. Ireceived. am sure that a lot of excellent time to say how much they liked the look of the informationtaken will be shared and a lot of robust difference of opinion magazine how they enjoyed the articles. We’re all expressed but, please,and no trolls on the Turf Matters forum. 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 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 turf professionals, local authorities MSc MBPR Executive Laurence Gale and and buyersEditor: of turfcare machinery products. DesignScott and Production Editor: MacCallumEditor: Tim Moat Customer Manager: Design andRelations Production Editor: Tim Moat Sinead Finnin Sales Manager: Pauline Thompson Sales Executive: To advertise in Turf Matters, Marie Anderson call Pauline on 07720 055676 or


To advertise in Turf Matters, To go to 927500 callsubscribe, Sinead 07841

Turf Matters is published by Straight Down the Middle Ltd. Down Turf MattersCommunications is published by Straight the Middle Communications Ltd. All material © Turf Matters magazine 2018. All material © Turf Matters magazine 2014. No part of this publication may be No part of this may be reproduced in publication any form whatsoever, reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the written either for sale without Information the written permission of or thenot, publisher. permission of the publisher. Information contained in Turf Matters is published contained in Turf is published in good faith andMatters every effort has been in good andits every effort has made tofaith ensure accuracy. Turfbeen Matters made to ensure its accuracy. Turf Matters can accept no responsibility for any error can accept no responsibility for any or misrepresentation. All liability forerror loss, or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other disappointment, negligence or other damage caused by reliance on information damage caused by reliance on information contained in Turf Matters or in the event of contained in Turf Matters or in the event of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cessation any bankruptcy or liquidation or cessation of trade of any company, individual or firm of trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned is hereby excluded. mentioned is hereby excluded. Printed by by Warners WarnersMidlands MidlandsPLC. PLC. Printed

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Inside Inside this thisissue issue News..........................................................4-13 News .........................................................4-15 Shrewsbury RFC...............................14-18 Pitch to Win........................................16-17 Tea Break Teaser.......................................20 Mowing .................................19-22, 24-27 The Break Machrie........................................21-27 Tea Teaser ......................................29 Grass seed...........................................28-30 Gleneagles..........................................30-35 Mowers..................................................31-35 BTME review ......................................36-41 Chemicals............................................36-38 Diary of a Golfing Nobody.................42 Powergrass..........................................39-40 As seen on Twitter..................................43 Cricket....................................................41-44 Buyers’out Guide. ...........................................48 Check our .website: The majesty of Gleneagles, pages 30-35 MOWER THE MERRIER: Latest pedestrian mowers – pages 31-35 Subscribe FREE to our e-zine: Details at

Check out our website: Next magazine distributed 2 May Next magazine distributed May 2018

Turf Matters| |March-April March-April 2014 Turf Matters 2018| 3 |3


making turf matter

Greenmech makes my life easier, says Arthur After taking delivery of a GreenMech CS100 from his local dealer Turner Groundscare last spring Arthur Owen, of Rhos Holiday Park, says that maintaining the site’s hedges and brash is now a breeze. The Holiday Park on the Isle of Anglesey, offers pitches to static caravans and tourers. Arthur is not only Manager of the site but is also in charge of all the site maintenance. “The site boasts lots of great open spaces but these need maintaining and as a one-man band I’m always on the look-out for machinery that can make my life easier” he explained. Arthur, who is the latest in the Owen family to take charge. A large area of the park is bordered by hedges, and with some of these being between caravan plots, access is restricted. “For the brash clearance work I had previously hired a large hydraulic chipper but having done some research online, I found there were smaller alternatives out there.” Already familiar with the GreenMech brand thanks to his agricultural background, his research took him to the CS100 chipper. “I had a demonstration and was immediately impressed with the strength of the machine, considering its compact size. It’s really easy to use and has the strongest gravity feed system I could find, which helps to get the job done quickly and easily.”

READY FOR ANYTHING: Michael Kemmett and some of his team

GKB’s quick clean up at Harrow School The boys at Harrow School enjoy afternoon games five times a week, with a choice of 32 different sports to keep them healthy and active. Harrow teams regularly win county and national championships and the school enjoys partnerships with professional bodies such as the Saracens Foundation and Queens Park Rangers Football Club. The school is surrounded by acres of sports fields ranging from Astroturf pitches, 2G hockey and tennis, 3G rubber crumb, 16 winter pitches and nine cricket through to a 9-hole golf course. That’s plenty for the groundsmen to be looking after, with Grounds Manager

Michael Kemmett heading the team of 11. Maintaining such large areas of synthetic turf takes a special mix of machinery and each pitch demands their own, specific, type of maintenance. Michael chose GKB machines following demonstrations and began with the GKB Quick brush last year followed by the recent introduction of a Quick Clean. Quick Brush is a modular brush that can be adjusted to each task, choosing between a rake, double brush and rubber finishing rag. There is a ‘flip over tool’ to enable infill material to be easily added to new fields. “We liked the Quick Brush for its ability to carry out

the correct synthetic turf maintenance, whatever the requirements. “We use it every couple of weeks on the surfaces and after using the Quick Clean,” explained Michael. “It’s excellent for the getting pile to stand up and it’s also very good for the cricket outfields and pitches.” The Quick Clean is used on sand and rubber crumb and was chosen for its powerful in-depth cleaning of all types of synthetic turf pitches. With the wide variety of sports surfaces at Harrow School, the extraction of debris needs to be adjusted to suit the technical characteristics of each pitch.


Arthur Owen

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Polaris UK & Ireland is continuing as title sponsors of British Side by Side Championship Racing in 2018. What started in 2011 with Polaris Dealer, Martin Fletcher and racing Polaris RZRs, has become the fastest growing sport and leisure racing in the UK. It is now the premier racing championship for all makes

and models of SXS. “Polaris and SXS Racing have had a fantastic relationship since UTV racing began in the UK, and that is set to continue,” said Colin Martin, Race Director. “As the UTV market has come alive, so the motocross style of Side by Side racing has grown, attracting entrants from diverse backgrounds.

“Polaris is passionate about sport and leisure and the Polaris British Short Circuit Racing Championship has grown and the BSCC attracts people from all over the country. We’re proud to be at the forefront of the development of the sport.” said Richard Coleby, Polaris District Sales Manager.

making turf matter


Kubota extends sponsorship of Saints Kubota UK has extended its elite sponsorship of Aviva Premiership club Northampton Saints until 2020. The company joined forces with Saints back in 2015, the company’s first ever sponsorship with a top flight sports team. Based on the success of the partnership, Kubota is looking forward to continuing its support for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons. “Signing a new deal with Northampton Saints was an easy decision for us. Over the past three years that we have been involved with the club, it has proved itself to be an outstanding partner, delivering fantastic exposure for our brand, a high quality match day experience and, of course, a great way to showcase our products.

Partnering with Saints aligns perfectly with our drive for excellence, and the desire to lead our respective fields. “We’re delighted to be continuing to build on that over the next few years,” explained Dave Roberts, Kubota UK’s Managing Director. As part of the deal, Kubota provides some of its industry leading groundcare solutions to help the Franklin’s Gardens Ground Staff maintain its pitches

to the highest standards in the Aviva Premiership. “This is a partnership in the truest sense of the word. Kubota UK has been a great asset to the club in recent years and we are delighted to have extended our partnership with them,” said Mark Darbon, Saints CEO. “At Saints, we set out to have the highest standards in every area of our organisation. This includes how we maintain our stadium pitch – one of only three

natural grass pitches in the league – as well as our training facilities. Having the highest quality training and playing surfaces is vital in allowing the team to perform. “By continuing our work with Kubota, we are helping build the best platform to realise our ambitions, and we are looking forward to working closely with the machinery manufacturer over the next two years.” The sponsorship package also means Kubota receive a suite of commercial rights, from prime brand positioning on the back of the Saints playing shorts for all matches, to the Kubota logo in the stadium. The sponsorship also includes player appearances for Kubota events.

Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 5


making turf matter

Meldrum House invests in Textron Golf kit Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course extended its hotel in 2016 to 55 rooms and has since invested in golf course maintenance equipment and vehicles from Textron Golf to reduce noise levels around the hotel grounds. The equipment included on the five-year lease deal includes mowers and vehicles across the Jacobsen, Cushman and E-Z-GO brands. Local dealer Fairways GM facilitated the purchasing process and is providing continued after-sales support. The hotel is set in beautifully manicured grounds which are maintained by Kenny Harper, Golf Course and Estate Grounds Manager, and his team. Having spent five years at Gleneagles, and 20 at Meldrum House. “The golf course here is a members-only course, and it is crucial that while we keep our members happy, we also need to be mindful of our hotel guests, as the rooms and the golf course

are very close to each other geographically,” explained Kenny. “The Eclipse 322 and the electric E-Z-GO vehicles are another addition to our environmental plan. The reduced noise and air pollution is important to us, and we are already using wood-burning boilers to provide hot water and heat to the hotel and maintenance facility. “We also use recycled rain water for washing down machines, and wild-flower plantations were used around the hotel extension which has allowed us to have bee hives on site which we produce our own honey from. Pesticides are being reduced to protect our bees and wildlife, and our new machinery also plays a crucial role in our environmental efforts. “We are very happy with all of the machinery from Textron Golf. Textron Golf really has its finger on the pulse right now with the latest technology and providing machinery and vehicles which are built to last.”

CHARTERHOUSE ANNOUNCE NEW TERRITORY MANAGER Charterhouse Turf Machinery have announced Ian Lauder as Northern Territory Manager. This role will see Ian (pictured) providing machinery, service and sales support to the dealer and customer network in Northern England, Scotland and Ireland. Ian brings with him a wealth of knowledge, joining Charterhouse from over a decade spent with a large, established dealership in Scotland. Here he gained experience with a range of leading industry brands, including products from the Redexim Charterhouse stable, and built relationships with a range of customers including golf clubs and local authorities. 6 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

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Let’s help Emma make a difference

Rigby Taylor fungicide promotion winners Formby Golf Club is now the proud owner of a new Gambetti Pro 300 tractor-mounted sprayer after winning Rigby Taylor’s 2017 Autumn Fungicide Promotion. In addition, and as part of the promotion, the Liverpool club’s Course Manager Paul Swift won an expenses-paid trip to the GCSAA convention and trade show in San Antonio, Texas. The formal presentation of the sprayer was made at the recent BTME exhibition where Formby Golf Club Secretary/ Manager, Stuart Leech, along with Paul Swift and members of the club’s greens committee, were congratulated by BIGGA Chief Executive Jim Croxton. Also attending the presentation was Rigby Taylor representative David Weir, who recommended the fungicide programme (based on Bayer’s

From the right, David Weir, Paul Swift, Jim Croxton, Stuart Leech and two members of Formby Golf Club’s greens committee at BTME

new Exteris Stressguard fungicide) to the club. David will also be travelling with Paul to the USA. There were five runners up in the competition – Moor Hall GC, Hindhead GC, Ralston GC, Enfield GC and Leicester City FC – and each club will receive an Evolution knapsack sprayer and their course/grounds managers a Bayer Helly Hansen waterproof jacket.

After beating three types of cancer, Emma Kilby, Technical Area Sales Manager for ICL, is taking part in the London Marathon in a bid to raise funds for Children with Cancer UK. Emma was 16 when she was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After six months of chemotherapy followed by 20 days of radiotherapy, she defeated this dreadful disease. She went on to finish her studies at university, got married and gave birth to her first daughter in 2010. However, just before her daughter’s first birthday Emma noticed another lump in her neck – and her battle with cancer had started all over again. “This is why I decided that I was going to run the Virgin London Marathon for the Children with Cancer UK charity, and maybe, just maybe, my contribution can lead to the

prevention of the needless suffering that so many young children have to deal with on a daily basis,” she said. Almost 4,000 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK. Children with Cancer UK is the leading national children’s charity dedicated to the fight against childhood cancer. They fund life-saving research into the causes, prevention and treatment of childhood cancer and they work to protect young lives through essential welfare programmes. “Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope you will help me raise money for this great charity,” said Emma. To make a donation to Emma’s worthy cause please visit: https:// emma-kilby

Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 7


making turf matter

Dennis and SISIS maintenance seminars begin The first of the 2018 Dennis and SISIS bowling green maintenance seminars will take place at the Ipswich & District Indoor Bowls Club on Tuesday 13 March. Dennis and SISIS have a long history of supporting the sport of bowls and the seminars which are designed to ultimately help club greenkeepers and volunteers maintain their bowling greens, have significantly grown year on year. Combining practical tips, demonstrations and key information from industry experts, the 2018 seminars are set to be well attended yet again. Dennis & SISIS have now revealed the programme details for the first of these events and it provides all delegates with a taste of what to expect throughout the series of seminars.

Chris Humphrey,, from Collier Turfcare, will deliver a presentation entitled Chemicals and Fertilisers in which he will be revealing how to get the best value and best results no matter what the budget is. Chris will be followed by Luke Hunt, from Barenbrug, who will proceed to advise on Choosing the Correct Seed for a Bowling Green. Chris will then return to explore a number of ideas and methods titled Controlling pests in the future. The morning will conclude with an open question and answer session called the Turf Clinic will take place – presenting all delegates with the opportunity to ask any pressing questions relating to their own situations. The afternoon will see all attendees head outside for an On-Green Demonstration,

Double A confirmed as new Pellenc dealer Double A have been appointed as the authorised dealer for the full range of professional battery powered tools by Pellenc, in the North East of Scotland. Double A, a family run business owned by Sandy Armit and his wife Aileen. They started the business in 1996 and have since seen it grow into one of the largest turf dealerships in the UK. The company now operates from two depots, situated in Cupar and Aberdeen, and has built up a complete portfolio of products and services for customers covering all aspects of the business, including service contracts, repair and maintenance plans, detailed estimates, overnight parts delivery and finance options. “I first saw Pellenc at a show in France in 2015 and was instantly impressed,” he says. “We have customers who are looking for this type of product so I made enquiries and it was obvious

that they had advanced even further since I last saw them,” explained Sandy. “A meeting with Etesia, (the exclusive distributor of Pellenc in the UK) ensued and we are now delighted to be promoting the brand in the North East of Scotland.” Pellenc has gained market recognition by offering a unique range of ‘zero emission’ batterypowered tools, thanks to the development of Lithium-ion ultra-high performance batteries. “We prefer to sell higher quality products to high end users and Pellenc fits that bill because they are extremely well made and I’m a believer that you always get what you pay for.”

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providing a perfect opportunity to see some of the sport’s latest turf maintenance equipment in action but will also offer guidance in the way you prepare greens and provide delegates with

advice on how to get the very best out of their equipment. To register for the free seminars, contact Roger Moore on 01332 824777 or email

TALLIS AMOS TAKES ON BS MOWERS Agriculture and turf dealership Tallis Amos Group Limited has acquired the trade and assets of Bristol based professional turf dealer BS Mowers Limited, as part of John Deere’s ‘Dealer of Tomorrow’ strategy. BS Mowers is largely known for its expertise in the fine turf machinery industry throughout Avon, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and North Somerset. To provide continuity of sales and service to customers in the area, all the BS Mowers staff led by Branch Managing Director Bob Culverhouse have been retained and the dealership will continue to operate as a turf only outlet under the TAG banner from January 2018. The business’ existing trading area will remain largely unchanged as a result of the merger. “I am delighted that the Tallis Amos Group has agreed to acquire our company and bring its combination of experience and expertise to this part of southwest England,” says Bob Culverhouse. “It will allow

us to grow the business and continue delivering the best possible parts and service support to existing and new customers, across a wider range of products from John Deere and other leading brands.” The Tallis Amos Group is owned by the Tallis and Amos families, with managing director Ben Tallis, who is based at TAG’s Evesham head office, and sales director Simon Amos, based in Leominster, running the company as partners. With this latest acquisition, the group now manages five outlets in Evesham, Leominster, Bibury, Narberth and Bristol. “As a strong family run business, we firmly believe the Tallis Amos Group is the right long-term partner for customers across its newly expanded sales area,” says John Deere Limited Division Sales Manager Joedy Ibbotson. “The dealership has a great deal of experience and a reputation for consistently delivering the highest levels of after-sales support.”

UP CLOSE: Seminars are highly informative

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Ventrac dealer network boost as RTM joins R T Machinery Ltd, in Buckinghamshire, is one of the latest turf machinery dealerships to join the Ventrac dealer network in the UK. The company was formed by Managing Director Richard Taylor back in 2001. An independent company, RTM’s strengths lie in over 30 years of industry experience, a keen interest in machinery and a willingness to provide a quality service and value for money. The team consists of a group of dedicated and experienced staff who have a shared interest in sport, sports and fine turf machinery

and customer satisfaction. “Since Rupert Price launched his business just over a year ago, the Ventrac product has really begun to take off in the UK. It’s a very well made piece of equipment, yet easy to work on. It’s also very versatile because of the numerous attachments that can be mounted on it. “We’re now getting out there and showing potential customers just what it can do. Rupert has done a tremendous amount of groundwork in the past 12 months and it’s certainly paying off as this industry is

waking up to the potential of the multi-purpose machine,” said Richard. “We’ve been steadily building our dealer network over the past year and only taking on reputable dealers who we believe will add value to the brand. We require

our dealers to be pro-active, focussed on the product and capable of providing exceptional customer back-up and support. RTM certainly meet those requirements and we’re delighted to welcome them to the Ventrac family,” said Rupert.

WELCOME: RTM joins the Ventrac family

Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 9


making turf matter

Rochford Hundred opts for John Deere

RB links up with RT Rain Bird has appointed Rigby Taylor as its golf products distributor for the UK market. Golf course managers will continue to access products through the UK-wide network of approved Rain Bird contractors, but they will now receive additional support, new product information and after-sales service from Rigby Taylor’s 50-strong sales force. “We want to provide the very best levels of service and support to all our customers. By having Rigby Taylor in place as a strong UK distribution partner for our golf course irrigation products, contractors and course managers will all benefit from a quicker, more efficient service,” explained Jimmy Sandison, Regional Golf Sales Manager for Rain Bird in the UK, Ireland, Iceland and Scandinavia. “Our expanding team will 10 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

concentrate our technical expertise and irrigation know-how on educating and helping customers optimise the performance of their irrigation systems and use water, energy and human resources more efficiently. We will also be focusing more of our time to work with key partners designing and specifying new systems and those involved in golf course renovation projects.” Chris Clark, Rigby Taylor’s Executive Chairman, was equally delighted about the partnership agreement. “The coming together of two of the major names in the industry will bring significant synergistic benefits and our highlyskilled field personnel will be working closely with Rain Bird’s UK team and their contractors to further establish this exciting range of products as the UK’s brand leader.”

Rochford Hundred Golf Club in Essex celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2018, and boasts a Grade One listed building dating back to the late 15th century as its clubhouse. The imposing Rochford Hall is listed in the Domesday Book as being the largest in the county. This historic setting has much more recently seen the arrival of a new John Deere machinery fleet supplied by Golf Division Sales Manager Neil Peachey of P Tuckwell Ltd. This includes three 2500E hybrid electric greens & tees mowers; a 7700A PrecisionCut fairway mower; a 7400A TerrainCut rotary trim & surrounds mower; 9009A and 1570 TerrainCut rotary rough mowers; a 3038R compact tractor; a TE 4x2 electric Gator utility vehicle; two Pro Gator utility vehicles plus an HD300 sprayer with covered boom; and an Aercore 800 pedestrian aerator. In a first for the club, most of the new machines have been acquired using a John Deere Financial operating lease including PowerGard

Protection Plus warranty and maintenance cover. Course Manager Dave Rand describes this as the ideal solution to help fix costs and enable the purchase of advanced technology equipment with a good resale value at the end of the term. “We were falling behind on the latest technology, and also had a couple of years when we had to buy more machines than we’d budgeted for in order to keep up, which was proving more expensive than it needed to be,” said Dave. “With this new leasing deal, we’ve been able to bring in more kit compared with paying for individual machines in a year by year purchase programme, and the annual expenditure is actually less. “We’ve now got everything covered in one simple monthly payment plan, plus the machines have extended warranty for the length of the deal so there will be no unforeseen costs or additional bills. With the key annual maintenance work included, it takes downtime out of the equation.”

WOODCHIPPER RANGE EXTENDED Först has expanded its petrol woodchipper offering with the launch of the TR6P, 6” tracked woodchipper, with a fuel efficient 37hp petrol engine. The petrol engine ensures the machine is much quieter during operation and is a far more cost effective option when compared to diesel alternatives. “An added benefit is that it is far more cost effective and quieter during operation,” said Doug Ghinn, Director at Först.

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PARTNER AGREEMENT EXTENDED John Deere and the Ladies European Tour extended their partner agreement from January 2018, during which Deere will continue to be designated the Tour’s official supplier of golf course maintenance equipment including mowers, tractors and Gator utility vehicles. Under the terms of the agreement, LET tournaments – including The Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in September 2019 – will be supported by John Deere equipment through the company’s European golf dealer network. Deere officials will also continue to work closely with the LET’s agronomists, with the goal of helping to produce better quality playing surfaces across the continent. The announcement was

made by LET Chairman Mark Lichtenhein on the John Deere at BTME together with John Deere’s Global Turf Marketing Director Manny Gan and European Turf Sales & Marketing Manager Carlos Aragones. “We are delighted that John Deere has decided to extend its relationship with the Ladies

European Tour for the next two years, beyond The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles,” said Mark Lichtenhein. “This is a testament to our enduring partnership since 2006 and demonstrates the alignment of our brands and our joint objective to ensure a bright future for the women’s game.”

Hertfordshire’s Manor of Groves Golf Club has purchased its first fleet of Toro machinery and resolved to be exclusively Toro by 2020, having seen time-saving benefits, ease of maintenance and noticeable results. The club invested in a Toro Reelmaster 5510-D, two TriFlex 3400 mowers, a Workman complete with a Multi Pro 200 sprayer, and a ProForce debris blower to update its front line cutting fleet (greens, fairways, tees and approaches). “Having worked at other clubs that used a mix of Toro and competitor brand machines, Toro has always stood out to me as the most reliable turfcare brand,” explained Course Manager Lee Brinkley. “So when Reesink Turfcare representative Richard Freeman came on course to demonstrate the machines, it made me and General Manager James Barker certain that Toro’s machinery is the best quality and value for money.” Lee’s favourite addition to the new fleet is the Workman complete with a Multi Pro 200 sprayer. “The sprayer is so easy to use and I love that it is such a time saver. This is down to the huge 700 litre tank, which rarely has to be refilled during a cycle and cuts operation time by half.”

New Turf Matters Forum goes live If you fancy airing your views, want to talk shop or need some advice, why not discuss it on the Turf Matters Forum? We’ve had some great discussions on the Turf Matters website and across our social media platforms and we love hearing your views. Now you can talk about what you want, when you want, on the new Turf Matters Forum. How can I take part? You need to register to use the new forum. It’s a simple process that will let you post and reply across all the topics. Just go to the website address below… Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 11

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The ‘perfect choice’ TYM Tractors launched T393 compact tractor and the new TE145 flail mower attachment at BTME. Bridging the gap from the compact utility range into the mid-duty range is the T393. The perfect choice for greenkeepers and groundsmen needing a powerful but compact tractor that is more than capable of managing the small and large jobs. It has one of the highest lift capabilities in its class with a lift capacity of 1200kg and has one of the highest hydraulic flow rates with a maximum output of 42 litres per minute. Launching an extensive range of rear mounted attachments in 2017 was a logical decision for distributor Reesink Turfcare. Tractors

are after all designed as implement carriers, and making use of attachments rather than bringing in additional machines for mowing, tilling and shredding saves space in the shed and is far more cost effective.

BLEC BOUNCING BACK BLEC will be bouncing back in 2018 under the stewardship of Charterhouse Turf Machinery. The range of specialised landscaping and turfcare equipment has been streamlined and re-engineered by the Redexim team to feature a wealth of features. In line with demand, the BLEC range has been rationalised to a number of core machines which sit happily alongside, as well as expanding, the current offering from Charterhouse in the UK. One such example of product development is the BLEC Turfmaker, pictured, a seeder which uses front castellated rollers to crush lumps while producing small pockets to accept the seed. The rear set of rollers than split the shallow ridge formed by the front roller, incorporating the seed evenly in the top 12mm, while keeping surface disturbance to a minimum. The Turfmaker has now been updated to include a new seed control rate system, new seed feed mechanism and weight ballast kits, all alongside a new look.

Toro surprises at Leicestershire GC The Leicestershire Golf Club presents a tough cut for its machinery fleet. The 6329yard par 68 parkland course established in 1890 has a large percentage of ridge and furrow, which is challenging for any form of machinery. And not just coping, but excelling at the challenge is Toro. In particular, a 14-year-old Groundsmaster 4500-D and 21-year-old Reelmaster 6500D continue to surprise Chris Lewis, Course Manager. “The machines manage the challenging ridge and furrow, which was created by a system of ploughing in the middle ages, with relative ease and that’s why we’re a 100 percent Toro club. Not only that, they also demonstrate incredibly good value in their longevity and continually impressive performance; especially the older machines, which are still running problem-free.

“These two machines in particular are surprising us with just how well they are performing despite their age and the number of hours on their clocks. They are a great example of why we stick with Toro year after year.” In fact, Chris has spoken specifically about how impressed he is with these two machines before. In 2012 when the machines had clocked up 15,000 hours between them, well over the average machine life expectancy, he praised their robust build-quality and reliability. Five years on and nothing has changed. Now the GM4500-D boasts almost 10,000 hours of work, with the RM6500 just 1500 miles behind that.

Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 13


Grassroots model to follow Laurence Gale enjoys a nostalgic trip back to Shrewsbury Rugby Club Our personal sporting heritage in this country, nearly always starts from our introduction into sport during our schooling days and then more progressively by the good work done by hundreds, if not thousands, of community sports clubs. My own sporting career started in the same way, introduced to rugby by my maths teacher Mr Williams. After leaving school I joined the Woodrush Old Boys team club, Woodrush RFC, a community

14 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

club run by ex-players and volunteers. As a keen rugby player who went on to represent school, club and county levels, cumulating in the opportunity of

playing for several senior clubs, namely, Moseley, Worcester, Birmingham, and Nuneaton, Portsmouth and Newport enabled me to play with some great

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players and more importantly enjoy the benefits of belonging to a community run rugby club. After my playing days, I coached rugby at several clubs and recognise the valuable work these clubs do for their local community. Also, having spent 45 plus years working in the grounds industry as a ex-Greenkeeper/ Groundsman coupled with my coaching roles I value the benefits of producing safe well, presented playing surfaces. In the past it has often been difficult to encourage clubs to invest money and resources to maintain their pitches however, since the formation of the National Lottery in 1994, we are seeing a vast improvement in the investment in pitch and club facilities. A recent trip to Shrewsbury Rugby Club, where I incidentally coached in 2004-2006, gave me a chance to catch up with some old familiar faces and have a few beers. I was very impressed with the condition and presentation of the pitches at Shrewsbury. In fact, they were some of the best community pitches I had seen for several years. I was so impressed I wanted to find out how the club had managed to achieves this major shift in attitude towards their pitch facilities.

Like most community clubs they are always run by a core group of committed individuals, often past players, who want to put something back. Shrewsbury have one such man in Glyn Jones, their current president and treasurer, who for 49 years has held many roles. He began his playing days in the late 1960s, went on to coach the club, held several key posts, however it was when he took over the role of Treasurer in 2004 that the clubs fortunes started to change, with a drive to improve the club facilities. In 2004 they managed to raise £90,000 to self-fund the re-fabrication of the clubhouse, this was soon followed in 2006 by raising an additional £32,000 to complete the work adding new changing rooms and a new club house roof. In 2007 the club managed to secure £15,000 to build a new gym and refurbish more changing rooms, with all the building works completed, it was mow time to focus on the grounds, with a programme to improve the pitches and install some new floodlights. The first phase began with a small self-funding budget of £8000 to refurbish the first team pitch floodlights in 2008. Away from the club, Glyn runs his own landscape gardening business, with a very much hands on role, } Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 15

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As for end of season renovations, it often depends on how much money there is left, but generally they allow enough to top dress all four pitches with 120 tonnes of sand and overseed any worn areas. } this affinity with grounds maintenance was one of reasons he wanted to oversee the larger project of improving the club’s four pitches/training areas. The pitches at Sundorne have always been prone to drainage problems, due to their heavy soil make up, especially during the winter months, tasked with marking the pitches every week, Glyn knew only too well the work required and the significant investment that would be needed to improve the four pitches. It was then a case of the club putting together a number of bids over several years, applying for appropriate funding via the RFU and Sport England. In 2006/7 season the club acquired a grant of £65.000 from the RFU to primary drain the training pitch, the

following year the club self-funded £15,000 to pay for secondary drainage (sand bands) for the training pitch. This was soon followed up with another successful bid for £120,000 to fully drain (primary/ secondary drainage) and install a new set of floodlights on the second team pitch in 2012/13. Finally, in 2014/15 the club managed to get a further £145,000, with the club having to find 15% (£15,000) to undertake the installation of a primary and secondary drainage system to the first team pitch along with a brand new set of floodlights. In total the club has managed to invest over £500,000 on both the clubhouse and grounds in the last 13 years and the net result has been the transformation of Shrewsbury Rugby Club. With all the work complete it was now a case of ensuring an ongoing

LINE MARKING: maintenance programme was Derrick Jones at work. implemented to insure the pitches Left, Glyn Jones remain playable and fit for purpose, especially when several senior teams and a large junior section using the pitches on most days of the week. In fact, Glyn has taken on the role of maintaining the pitches himself. Glyn has put out the mowing of the pitches to the local council, who come in on a weekly basis, usually Wednesdays and cut all the main playing areas with an 18 ft wide Major rotary deck maintaining a height of cut of 75mm. He also gets the council to come in and aerate the pitches a couple of times a year using a combination of Vertidrain and Linear aerators. He also gets the pitches sprayed with a selective weed killer, the marking out of the pitches is done by Glyn and Derrick on Thursday or Fridays using a spray jet line marker along with some pedestrian mowing/ }

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community clubs would not survive without the commitment and guile of these dedicated members } strimming of some amenity grass

areas around the club house. As for end of season renovations, it often depends on how much money there is left, but generally they allow enough to top dress all four pitches with 120 tonnes of sand and overseed any worn areas. In total the club spend around £25,000 on annual maintenance work, most if not all this money comes from the generosity of local sponsors and any fundraising events. It goes without saying these community clubs would not survive without the commitment and guile of these dedicated members. Having seen for myself at close hand the work Glyn has achieved over the last 20-plus years at Shrewsbury RFC is beyond belief. He and the rest of the dedicated members at Shrewsbury should without doubt be congratulated on these major achievements. I just hope this next generation of players respect and enjoy what must be one of the best run clubs in Shropshire.

HISTORY OF SHREWSBURY RFC Like all good clubs Shrewsbury can trace its origins to a bar, in this case the now demolished George Hotel. In 1908 a casual conversation between Freddie Richards, Bill Jones and a man called Deakin led to the formation of the club and a first fixture at Sutton (now Sutton Road) against Stafford. The pitch was rented from a farmer and attendances at the first game were sufficient to buy goal posts, jerseys and balls; how times have changed! The result of that first match remains a mystery, but obviously it was enjoyed by all who participated. The ground had moved to Upper Road Meole Brace with the headquarters moving from various hostelry to hostelry dependant on the behaviour of the members and friendliness of the landlord. After the second World War a subsequent President Geoff Warn reformed the club with himself as Secretary and T. Gordon Hector as President. Matches were played at Longden Road or Shrewsbury School, until the club moved to the West Midlands Showground in the 1946/47 season. Bert Williams who was originally captain in 1938/39 then re-took over the Captaincy until 1955/56and followed Mr Hector as President in the early 1960s. Then came the the highly successful years of the sixties during which time the 1st XV were virtually unbeatable. The playing success led to a very good club fund raising, through the Shrewsbury Amateur Sporting Guild run by Arthur Richardson, enabling the purchase of the present ground at Sundorne Castle in 1964. The early-1970s saw the club going through indifferent times with the loss of some familiar fixtures and sadly the death of Sir Derek Capper in his first year as President. In the 1980s the club enjoyed further success under the captaincy of first Chris Pittaway and then Keith Faulkner. After some lacklustre years in the 1990s the club became regenerated with the enthusiasm of former coach and Chairman Alan Davies, Secretary Graham Jackson and Chairman David Brown. This work has been continued by Glyn Jones Chairman/Treasurer and Gary Dean, Secretary, who together with others have seen through the financing and construction of extensions to the club house and the improvement of facilities which have recently seen the addition of a gym. The club can now boast of a large and ever increasing mini and junior section, under the Chairmanship of Grant Mckelvie, assisted by Sam McKelvie, with James and Sarah Ballantyne.

New Turf Matters Forum goes live If you fancy airing your views, want to talk shop or need some advice, why not discuss it on the Turf Matters Forum? We’ve had some great discussions on the Turf Matters website and across our social media platforms and we love hearing your views. Now you can talk about what you want, when you want, on the new Turf Matters Forum. How can I take part? You need to register to use the new forum. It’s a simple process that will let you post and reply across all the topics. Just go to the website address below… 18 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018


Tea Break Teaser 1.

Which of the classics is raced at Doncaster?


How many times did Red Rum win the Grand National?


In which year did Frankie Dettori ride his magnificent 7 at Ascot?


What is the difference between the One Thousand Guineas and the Two Thousand Guineas?


Three UK racecourses begin with the letter “B”. Name them.


How many consecutive seasons did AP McCoy become Champion Jockey?


Who was Shergar’s jockey when he won the Derby in 1981?


How many times did Lester Piggott win the Derby?


Which jockey was a regular Captain on Question of Sport in the early 1980s?

10. Which horse from the 1930s and 1940s had a film made of his career in 2003? 11.

Which racecourse can be found on the Knavesmire?

12. Which racecourse had a long association with SALTEX? 13. Which jockey became a thriller writer after he retired from racing? 14. Who is the current Flat Racing Champion Jockey? 15. Which popular horse has a statue at Kempton Park? Answers on Page 49

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masterpiece Improving on a

Scott MacCallum took the chance to visit the Machrie, a golf course very close to his home and his heart but which is not quite so easy for others to reach. He also manages to complete an entire article about Islay without once mentioning its most famous product – whisky

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An opportunity you would not let slip

The Monarch of the Glen

Making changes to anything already regarding as excellent can be extremely risky and is often compared to adding a touch up to the Mona Lisa – best intentions may abound, but it rarely has the desired effect. Now the Machrie golf course, on the beautiful Inner Hebridean island of Islay, wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to compare itself to that famous work by Leonardo da Vinci – leave that to the likes of the Old Course and Augusta National. However, it is still very near the top of the tree when it comes to outstanding British

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golf courses. So maybe the work that has been carried out over the last three years could better be compared to polishing the antlers on Edwin Landseer’s famous work, The Monarch of the Glen, particularly appropriate as deer do roam wild on the island. However, on this occasion, art or golf course critics would be hard pushed not to recognise that the original has been improved upon. The proud stag looking that little bit more majestic and those 18 holes, woven between the dunes at the Machrie, even more enjoyable to play. The results of the golf course work,

and the near completion of a stunning new hotel, are all the more remarkable given that just a few years ago it looked as though the Machrie, hotel, golf course and all would fade away leaving nothing but memories – not least the famous match in 1901 played out between golf’s great triumvirate, James Braid, JH Taylor and Harry Vardon, for £100, which was reputed to be the largest prize ever played for on the British Isles at the time. In administration, hotel abandoned and golf course looking a little lost, it was bought by Gavyn Davies and his

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I always knew that that the west coast was wet but you don’t really appreciate how wet until you are here. At Muirfield we averaged around 600mm of rain per annum; here we’re pretty much 1600mm.

through your fingers wife, Baroness Sue Nye, who fell in love with the place – at first sight – in 2011. Since then that work on the Monarch of the Glen has been on-going and has probably even exceeded what Gavyn and Sue envisaged as they began the project. Renowned golf course architect DJ Russell, himself a former Tour pro; golf course constructor Edinburgh Landscapes have seen short term contracts become long term as the work developed. Also brought on board was Course Manager, Dean Muir, head hunted

from Muirfield where he had been Deputy Head Greenkeeper, and Dean has been heavily involved in all the course work since his arrival three and a half years ago, not least in ensuring visitors and members of Islay Golf Club had opportunities to play while work was going on all around. “DJ asked if we could have a chat about the prospect of coming over here and it sounded interesting,” recalled Dean. “It was a good few months since previous Course Manager Simon Freeman had left and it had become

very run down – the 9th green had thistles growing in it feet high. I came over again later and Gavyn and Sue flew up that day to meet me which was very flattering. I kept waiting for someone to jump out and say it was a big wind up,” said Dean, who was full of praise for the job that Simon and his team had done with limited budget. But it was never going to be an opportunity he was likely to let slip through his fingers. “I’d have hated to have turned it down and then, three or four years down the line, watched someone else take it on and think why did I not do that.” That said it has not been plain sailing and has involved Dean embarking on a pretty steep learning curve, not least because of the move } Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 23


DJ was never against bunkers. He felt that the contouring of the ground meant we didn’t need them and having seen the course develop he wants to make sure those he does put in are in the right place. } from the east of Scotland to 30 miles

PROUD: Eric Samuel and Dean Muir

off the west coast of Scotland. “I always knew that that the west coast was wet but you don’t really appreciate how wet until you are here. At Muirfield we averaged around 600mm of rain per annum; here we’re pretty much 1600mm. Someone told me that the Machrie was the wettest links course in the country and I think they are probably right.” From an agronomic perspective it has seen Dean making changes to his thinking and making grass choices which he wouldn’t have made had the Machrie regular rain patterns. “I came over with grand ideas of fescue but I soon realised that I had to change tack. I spoke with David Greenshields, Barenbrug, and he suggested that we introduce some dwarf rye. I’d used it on walkways at Muirfield and thought that it would work so we went 20% ryegrass on the fairways with the view that if it didn’t work we could kill it out and go back to fescue. It worked a treat so last year we increased it to 60% in our overseeding and then, this year, we’ve gone up to 75%.” He sees full establishment taking up to six years with the newly shaped sand based

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contours not retaining the nutrients to speed root development particularly with the rain flushing through anything which has been introduced to strengthen and speed up development. “The greens have come through the winter exceptionally well but I’m looking forward to the time when we have more establishment and we can see the course performing well for 12 months of the year.” Island life is suiting both Dean and his wife but being surrounded by sea has meant his planning has had to go up a notch. “I have to plan everything a month to six weeks in advance and I organise for supplies to come inclusive of carriage as it allows me to make a like-for-like judgment when placing orders. I’ve also learned to have delivers sent to Glasgow instead of Tarbet, which is a few miles from the ferry port. Reason being that lorries run from Glasgow every day and only stop at Tarbet if they’ve got space on board so I’m more likely to guarantee my deliver. Things like that you learn from experience.” Dean has employed a mechanic to ensure breakdowns don’t mean the visit from a mainland based dealer and wherever possible they aim to be self sufficient. While Dean was getting to grips with the agronomics he has also worked closely DJ Russell and Eric Samuels, of Edinburgh Landscapes, on the changes to the course and other additions including the fabulous six hole par-3 course which will be a huge attraction to those new to the game and a nice distraction for corporate groups pre or post dinner. Together

with the new Golf Academy which features both covered and open bays it will offer practice facilities that would shame many other clubs or resorts. The redesign has seen the removal of many of the blind shots which were a feature of many older golf courses and it now flows through the dunes opening up the holes and the wonderful views which the course boasts. “There were around 17 or 18 blind shots before and visitors would struggle from not knowing the course. Even members now lose balls on the 17th which remains a blind shot.” Never overly peppered with bunkers the original new design had none but currently five have been added, two to frame the par-3 3rd green and two in the 6th fairway to concentrate the mind on the tee shot. The other one is at the back of the 7th. “DJ was never against bunkers. He felt that the contouring of the ground meant we didn’t need them and having seen the course develop he wants to make sure those he does put in are in the right place.” With the new 47 room hotel due to open in May or June the “building site” first impressions of the Machrie will disappear and it will become the high quality Campbell Gray Hotels run hotel Gavyn and Sue had always dreamt it would be. Without actively marketing the golf course it has already crept up several spots in some of the course rankings and the completed Machrie will no doubt see another boost. “We have been keeping it under the radar as we’re not finished yet and first impressions currently are not great. “Mark Ganning, of Hunter Industries, brought three American clients over last summer having just been at Carnoustie. He drove up the potholed entrance road, sand blowing everywhere, into the car park and our temporary facilities. One of the guys asked why on earth Mark had taken them here. They teed up, got to the top of the hill and saw the course open up in front of them with the Bay in the background. It was a beautiful summer’s day and they all fell in love with the Machrie.”

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Another group of Australians had been enjoying the golfing trip of a lifetime playing every top course in Scotland when they arrived on Islay. “They’d just played the two Machrihanish courses and had been to Dornoch, Cruden Bay, Trump, Carnoustie, St Andrews, King’s Barns, Muirfield, North Berwick, Troon and Turnberry. Every top course in Scotland. They were asked by a podcaster which were their favourites and they mentioned here and Dornoch.” It is magnificent company to be keeping and with Islay, and the Machrie, either a flight or a ferry ride away, the inaccessibility will

add to the attraction for many. Wind, rain and, in the summer, midgies apart, Islay is a trip not to be missed if only to see that Monarch of the Glen looking better than ever.

Edinburgh Landscapes Eric Samuel, of Edinburgh Landscapes, arrived on Islay for what he thought was going to be a 16 week project – a few tweaks to and amendments to the course. Three years on he is virtually an honorary islander! “The project just grew and grew and we were delighted to be a part of it,” said Eric. “It’s fair to say that had Gavyn

decided to close the course the work could have been done in half the time but he didn’t want to close the course for those islanders and visitors who wanted to play.” Edinburgh Landscapes have worked on some extremely prestigious jobs including Renaissance, Archerfield and the changes to the PGA course at Gleneagles in advance of the Ryder Cup but according to Eric the Machrie doesn’t lose out by comparison to any of the others. “I would say that this project is up there with those other projects. It’s a fantastic place. You just need to walk the course and see }

DEDICATED: The Islay team

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The Machrie is one of the ultimate links golf courses and nine days out of 10 you should be keeping the ball out of sky and along the ground. } the wonderful contours and the

way the light catches them.” Many of the contours are natural but there are others which have been man made by Eric’s son Robert, who was the shaper and who has now moved on to work with top American golf course architect, Kyle Phillips. “What we aim for is to look as though we’ve never been here and that people can’t see the difference between the natural contours and those which we’ve put in.” Eric was heavily involved in the development of the six hole par-3 course. “DJ wanted six holes where every hole could be played from every tee. Sounds great but not easy as you have to have every green able to accept a golf ball from all angles. As it is you can do it from every hole bar one but it has been designed for juniors to play driver and run the ball up or people to practice their short games. Basically it was the old 18th hole. We marked it off and pushed some dirt about,” said Eric with typical Scottish understatement.

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DJ Russell For DJ Russell, pictured, a long established and respected Tour golfer, now resident at the prestigious Archerfield Club, near Edinburgh, becoming involved with the Machrie was a case of fate.

“It was a case of owners in it for exactly the right reasons and a group of people coming together to achieve something special,” explained DJ. “We had Edinburgh Landscapes, who are spectacularly good at what they do and who have built some of the greatest modern golf courses on the planet – Loch Lomond, Archerfield etc. It’s a hell of a CV; me who has had a lifetime in golf and understands what golfers want and Dean Muir, who has been involved in preparing for Open Championships and producing links golf courses to the highest possible standard. You could not imagine a better scenario.” DJ arrived initially to look to tweak a few things, change some of the poor holes and replace them with much better but it was a delay in the sourcing of a water supply which created the opportunity to do something on a much grander scale. “We thought we’d get the water issue resolved quickly and get on with building the hotel but in fact it took three and a half years to get

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permission for mains water to the site. That gave me two and a half years to wander around the site and see what would make a really nice hole and then work out how I could link together 18 extremely good holes. There is no point if having a couple of spectacular holes and linking them with holes that are not so good. “It was then a question of getting the owners to buy into the concept and then, just as importantly, getting Islay Golf Club’s backing,” said DJ who added that it was the hope that the golf club would always be the beating heart of the Machrie. That achieved the new course would remove many of the existing blind holes and shots and replace them with a well worked route weaving its way around the wonderful dunes. “If you got hit by a featherie it wouldn’t hurt too much. Get hit by a Pro V1 on the back of the head and you know about it,” was DJ’s explanation for the need for fewer of the blind shots for which traditional links golf was so well known. As to the lack of bunkers DJ’s philosophy is to make the course playable to all. “There were a few bunkers on the original course but they

can be a problem on links courses. For example there was one on the 14th but it meant that, downwind, unless you were an extremely good player you couldn’t land the ball over the bunker and keep it on the green. “The Machrie is one of the ultimate links golf courses and nine days out of 10 you should be keeping the ball out of sky and along the ground. The course has been designed so that anyone can play a shot into the green but it is all about controlling the speed of the ball and distance control.” He sees the wonderful six hole par-3 course as key to the ambition to make golf so much more accessible to the youngsters of the island. “Fraser Mann is coming in as Director of Golf and he has been in charge of the junior golf programme at Carnoustie and we really want to put a golf club in the hands of every kid on Islay and see if they like it.” Speaking with DJ his pride and passion for the Machrie just pours out of him. “I hope in my heart that this becomes one of the places where you arrive with an expectation level which is high but that it is surpassed when you play the course.”

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Coated seed is a success Now into the third year of increasing the bent content of their greens, Wakefield’s Waterton Park Golf Club has achieved the biggest bent showing to date in 2017 thanks to the Johnsons Sports Seed J Nitro All Bent mixture. Head Greenkeeper, David Griffin, has maintained the course he describes as a ‘grass factory’ for the last 19 years and says, “it isn’t easy”. The Parkland course is sited on the world’s first nature reserve created by Charles Waterton in 1820, but today it’s down to David and his team of six to shape the 245-acre site. “We’ve been using bent grass for the last three years with the aim of trying to outcompete the Poa and achieve more sustainable surfaces – less disease, less water, less chemical input etc” explained David. “In 2017 we went with the ProNitro coated J All Bent seed and the results were significant. Within six days of our August overseed the seed had germinated and was showing, and by

Waterton Park Golf Club, Wakefield

day eight we were cutting it! It was unbelievable!” Johnsons J All Bent contains 60% Arrowtown, the top rated browntop bent, and 40% Manor and sets a new standard for density and visual quality. The ProNitro seed coating focuses on improving nutrient utilisation during the early stages of plant growth. It contains

a combination of both fast acting and slow release nitrogen to deliver stronger establishment, more plants and an increase in root mass resulting in a healthier sward. “We have trialled other seed in the past, but it was John Hughes at DLF who recommended we try the coated seed and I don’t think we’ll be going back. As well as the performance benefits, it saved us putting a pre-seed fertiliser down, saving both labour and money.” David is also using the coated J Nitro Tee mixture around the course which has delivered good coverage in under three weeks. “Embarking on a bents programme takes hard work and dedication over a number of years to get it right, but if you persevere, you’ll stand in much better stead when it comes to things like disease that can end up taking a whole green out. With the products out there now to help turf managers, like ProNitro, it makes the tasks that bit easier,” said David.

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Praise for Limagrain’s MM50 grass seed Following a successful trial, Jamie Foyster, owner of Sportsturf Management, has now chosen to exclusively use Limagrain’s MM50 grass seed across every single cricket square he tends to. It is safe to say that Jamie Foyster knows a thing or two about cricket squares – he was introduced to the sport at the age of 10 as a player and was then helping to prepare and maintaining pitches by 15 at his local club. He joined Sportsturf Management in 2008. Jamie took over the sole ownership of the business in 2012 and it was also at this stage that he first became acquainted with Limagrain UK. “I wasn’t happy with my existing supplier – the seed just wasn’t performing as I wanted it to. We had an incredibly wet season that year and in the autumn I trialled MM50 on two cricket squares. Very soon it was apparent that the germination rate, the development and the root density was fantastic. “However, the real test came in the summer of the following year, and for me the wear tolerance and the recovery rate was just superb. That sealed the deal for me and since then I have converted all my squares to MM50.” MM50 possesses exceptional shoot density along with tolerance to close mowing making it particularly suitable for cricket squares. This superior mix contains the perennial ryegrass cultivars, Venice, Alison and Malibu, which are renowned for providing a great sward for cricket use. As Jamie reports, other key features of MM50 include fast recovery from wear and damage and high disease resistance. It is products such as MM50 which is a direct result of

Limagrain’s continual investment into research and development. The company is a major supporter of research partnerships which will continue to help provide new varieties through plant breeding giving solutions in future turf management. “Products and technology have come such a long way,” says Jamie. “For example you just have to look at germination rates now compared to a few years ago. In this respect I would have to single out HEADSTART® GOLD seed coating.” MM50 is treated with HEADSTART® GOLD - Limagrain’s unique seaweed based seed treatment which helps to ensure rapid and even germination. This tried and tested grass seed treatment helps the seed get off to the best possible start – making it ideal to use in the less than favourable conditions that can sometimes be found on cricket pitches during renovations. HEADSTART® GOLD is perhaps at its most beneficial when it comes to the fourteen squares that Jamie and his team carry out renovations on each year. In addition, they maintain a further eight squares all year round – Jamie’s work has quickly caught the eye. “Others have seen how well MM50 has performed on our squares and they have since started using it. To be honest, I recommend MM50 all the time now and quite a lot of clubs and schools I know of have switched to it. “It’s just a tremendous package all round from Limagrain. Richard Sheppard (Amenity Seed Sales Specialist) will often come and see me, to see how everything is going and offer advice and support. I don’t even have to ask for that but it is a great service to have.”


New mixture offers enhanced disease and stress resistance Germinal has added a new greens-specific blend to its range of golf seed mixtures: designed specifically for use on soil or sand based golf greens, FOREFRONT GREENS is made up of three separate bentgrass varieties, all of which have been selected to offer increased wear and heat tolerance, vigorous growth and good all-round disease resistance for hard-working, modern golf greens. Comprising 35% AberRegal (Browntop Bent), 35% AberRoyal (Browntop Bent) and 30% 007 DSB (Creeping Bent), Forefront Greens produces a sward with enhanced disease and stress resistance and which retains a superb year-round green colour. AberRegal is the latest UK-bred bentgrass cultivar to come out of the IBERS (Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences in Aberystwyth) breeding programme: bred from material originally sourced from Kent, AberRegal boasts superb disease resistance, particularly to Fusarium, as well as excellent shoot density, fineness of leaf and unrivalled

winter and summer greenness. AberRoyal, another UK-bred cultivar to come out of IBERS, was originally sourced from West Wales and perfectly complements AberRegal. “AberRegal and AberRoyal work well together by offering a duo of Browntop bentgrasses which will thrive on soil and sand based greens anywhere in the UK,” explains Richard Brown, Amenity Sales Manager for Germinal. “This pairing provides greenkeepers with improved genetic diversity and a sward with higher resistance to key disease threats such as Red Thread and Fusarium.” 007 DSB was developed in the US using 24 parent plants to produce a single cultivar with a wide genetic base. It is this background which enables it to deliver all the qualities of a top-rated Creeping Bentgrass (prostrate growth habit, high shoot density and good

wear tolerance) in a range of conditions – from the extreme heat of Morocco to the harsh cold of Western Siberia. 007 has won plaudits wherever it has been used, including Ryder Cup and US Open courses, and has recently been announced as the variety of choice for the greens renovation ahead of the PGA Masters at Wentworth. “Unlike older Creeping Bent varieties, 007 does all of this with a lower requirement for water and nutrients,” Richard Brown continues. “This means that, for the first time, a Creeping Bentgrass can be successfully blended with high quality Browntop Bent varieties to deliver an added-benefit but low input seed mixture. “As such Forefront Greens is the perfect solution for progressive greenkeepers who are currently managing Browntop Bents, but who are seeking extra performance from the same management inputs. The unique combination of cultivars ensures golf greens remain verdant throughout the year and, thanks to the inclusion of three top-performing varieties, avoids the risks associated with creating a mono-culture of grasses.” AberRoyal, AberRegal and 007 DSB are available exclusively in the UK via Germinal. The recommended sowing rate for Forefront Greens is 8 to 12g/m2 (80 to 120kgs/ha). The recommended overseeding rate is 5 to 8g/m2 (50 to 80kgs/ha).

Yellow Jacket Manager is a game-changer Barenbrug UK has launched a grass seed that manages its own moisture content, greatly increasing germination and establishment rates – especially in tough, dry environments. The patented technology in Barenbrug Yellow Jacket Water Manager, is the result of research between Barenbrug and Aquatrols and has been independently tested by the STRI. When the seed is exposed to water, the Water Manager technology spreads into the soil creating a plant survival zone. This zone ensures that each seed has enough water to germinate, then manages the moisture content around the 30 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

seeding during its establishment. As a result seedlings are less affected by abiotic stress and more plants survive. “Barenbrug Yellow Jacket Water Manager has taken the sting out of overwatering landing areas on the fairways and par 3 tees,” said Craig Boath, of Carnoustie’s Championship course, home to this year’s Open Championship. Dr David Greenshields, Research and Development Manager at Barenbrug, explained that it helped deliver improved germination and seedling survival in the toughest of environments: “STRI trials also show that half the number of seeds have delivered twice the establishment.”

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Etesia launches electric start pedestrian mower

Dennis all set to tackle Wolves


new strategy devised by the owners of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, has resulted in the club purchasing three new Dennis G860 cylinder mowers. It’s an exciting time for the West Midlands based club. When the new owners took control last year part of their strategy was to place a big emphasis on the style of football they wanted Wolves to play. As a result they were committed to investing in the surface at Molineux Stadium. A state-of-the-art Desso Grassmaster hybrid pitch, which is used by top clubs across Europe, was installed shortly after the new owners’ arrival. Secondly, it was time to look at upgrading the turf maintenance machinery. “When the option came to invest in new machinery, we jumped at the chance of going back to Dennis,” said Anthony Parker, Deputy Head Groundsman. “Certainly for me, I’ve come from a private school background where I have been brought up on Dennis machines. We also used to use the Dennis Premier here on our old fibre elastic pitch. However, the Desso Grassmaster is renowned for being a bit firmer so we decided to go for the Dennis G860 when the new pitch was installed.” Lightweight at just 166kg; it is easy to

manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. The handlebar console houses the controls for – throttle, parking brake, roller drive and cutting cylinder drive. The mower also features a large diameter front roller with an adjustable scraper which has been designed for a precise height of cut control, giving an excellent finish on every occasion. The Dennis G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks. With a simple one-minute changeover, users have the option of fitting thirteen different types of cassettes including scarifiers, verticutters, brushes, spikers, and slitters as well as six, eight or eleven bladed cutting cylinders. “We purchased three G860’s with the full range of cassettes which gives us so much versatility,” explained Anthony. “We use them on a daily basis. The verticutting unit is used quite regularly to clean out the surface and we really see the benefits from this. The brushes are a great option too and we use the machines at both the stadium and the training ground. “With three mowers we now double cut on match days and the G860s are perfect for presentation and getting a quality finish every time. They create the ideal pitch suitable for how the owners want the team to play.”

Etesia has launched the Duocut 46 RMBE pedestrian mower, which features the new Briggs and Stratton 775iS Series Instart engine. The Briggs and Stratton 775iS Series™ DOV® InStart® engines represent the ultimate performance package. They naturally incorporate the heritage attributes of power, performance and reliability, but add the most innovative and easiest starting ever seen on a lawnmower. iS series engines use Lithium-lon batteries to provide repeated and reliable starting without the need of a pull-cord capable of 50 engine starts before it needs recharging. The Etesia Duocut 46 RMBE is a single speed machine with a cutting width of 46cm. As with all rotary mowers in the Duocut range, it offers low vibrations combined with high performance, quality cut and reliability. Extremely versatile, the new model is capable of mowing with or without collection in all conditions, or for high-quality mulching – without the need for an accessory. That high performance is possible thanks to the Duocut concept which is the perfect combination between 100% collection and 100% mulching decks, without compromising the results of either of the functions. Changing the mowing system is easy: just place the removable insert under the deck if you want to mulch. Remove the insert if you prefer to mow with or without collection. There is no need for a tool or blade change. The insert completes the shape of the deck to form a smooth surface with no roughness, allowing the grass to move easily for incomparably superior mulching.

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Ideal for hard to get to areas Professional contractors rely on sturdy, efficient garden equipment to maintain a healthy turf, especially where ground conditions are harder to manage and terrain may vary. Many will seek a product that can mow for longer, is comfortable to use and robust. For professional gardeners and landscapers, the Harrier 41 Pro from Hayter is the perfect choice. This dedicated 41cm professional rear-roller mower is ideal for maintaining smaller gardens and difficult to access areas. Class-leading collection is paramount to the Harrier 41 Pro’s design. The cast aluminium deck is designed using aerospace airflow technology to provide maximum airflow for optimum collection performance. The grass bag design with integrated cover keeps dust and debris away from the operator, and collects up to 60 litres of grass cuttings so the user can mow for longer. The professional real-roller mower also features heavy-duty wheels and a Honda® engine. This enables the Harrier 41 Pro to withstand the rigours of commercial mowing applications, providing that timeless classic striped lawn finish on any turf. The polymer rear roller delivers strength, rigidity and resistance to chemical fertilisers and corrosion. Furthermore, when mowing over varying turf conditions, the seven height-of-cut settings between 13-60mm are controlled by a single counter-balanced level to ensure quick adjustment between different terrains and cutting heights. The Harrier 41 Pro also includes an Easy Wash port to help remove cuttings from under the deck in seconds, while the large capacity, easy to use grass bag on the mower is extremely simple to remove when emptying clippings. Additionally, the incorporation of a Trim Side enables the operator to cut right to the edge, making it ideal for cutting right up to borders, retaining walls and raised flower beds – reducing the need to strim after mowing. The Harrier 41 Pro is designed to ensure class-leading performance in a multitude of environments and seasons. 32 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

Cordless lithium-ion battery models are introduced


ohn Deere has introduced two cordless battery powered models to its extensive range of petrol and electric walk-behind mowers for residential customers. Thanks to the latest Lithium-Ion battery technology, there are no cables, petrol or pollution to worry about. Suitable for areas of grass up to 400m² or 500m², the cordless mowers are quiet and fuss free. The new lawnmowers are environmentally friendly with no fumes or emissions but without the restrictions of a cable. Battery mowers are ideal for areas of grass with no access to a power socket. Their light weight means it’s easy to manoeuvre around bushes, trees or other obstacles and makes them good for slopes, banks and areas that are awkward to reach. The long life 40-volt 4.0 Ah Lithium-Ion battery produces excellent mowing results, and performs particularly well for gardeners who like to mow a little and often. With a fully charged battery the cordless mower operates for around 20 minutes. Charging the battery takes around 90 minutes. The cordless mowers are easy to operate and to maintain with no regular servicing

required other than replacing the blade every third season. The handles are easily adjusted, to cater for varying heights of operator and individual preference. They are also foldable, making the mower convenient to store where space is limited. Both models come with a two year warranty. With a cutting width of 40cm and polypropylene deck, the R40B cordless mower is suitable for a mowing area up to 400m². Weighing in at only 19.5kg. The height of cut is simple to adjust, and the mower comes with a 44-litre collection bag. For even greater performance the second model R43B has a 43cm cutting width and an aluminium deck. Designed for areas of up to 500m², this cordless model has a 55-litre collection bag and six easily adjustable height of cut settings from 22 to 80mm. The new battery mowers are available at John Deere dealerships from spring 2017. Visit the website at www.JohnDeere. for details of the company’s complete lawn & garden equipment range; to find your nearest dealer look for the Dealer Locator link, or ring Freephone 0800 085 2522.

The John Deere product range


ith a line-up that includes 17 models of lawn tractor, three zero-turn mowers, over 30 different walk-behind mowers and a robotic mower, there is a John Deere lawnmower to suit every garden or patch of grass, whatever its size, shape or type. The wide range includes petrol and electric walk-behinds, a rear roller model for traditional stripes, the option to collect or mulch, lawn tractors that earn their keep all year round with rotary brush and snow plough attachments, plus the TANGO E5 robotic mower for the ultimate in effortless lawn care. You may be thinking that John Ledwidge, Groundsmanager at the King Power Stadium, has achieved ‘pitch perfection’ with the immaculately striped pitch he is now renowned for. However, John is always looking for the tool or technique to help them up his game – and now he has 3 Cub Cadet INFINICUT® 34” mowers to do just that. In June 2016, as part of a 5 year plan to refine and upgrade their machinery fleet, John added the ‘INFINIs’ from MTD to his portfolio. “We had used them on demo for a number of months and were continually impressed with both the build quality of the units and the quality of the cut they produced They use the Cub Cadet INFINICUT® units solely on the stadium pitch, although they are intending on swapping

the cassettes in their triplex mowers over to SMARTCuts to maintain the cut quality throughout the facilities surfaces. “The ‘INFINIs’ give us the option to slow the unit down to deliver the fineness and accuracy of cut we need.” Another plus point for John was that it can be driven purely electrically, especially as battery power technology continues to improve. The 34” Cub Cadet INFINICUT® boasts a unique floating head mechanism that is independent of the traction drive, ensuring ground pressure is spread between three rollers, as opposed to two as seen on fixed head units. This helps to regulate weight transfer and minimise plant stress. Final word from John, “We’re in an exciting period of groundsmanship - machinery and manufacturers are working together with us to reach our goals as grounds professionals. We’re all looking for that next step and these INFINICUTs are delivering that for us.”

making turf matter

Charging ahead Take-up of battery powered pedestrian mowers among turf care professionals has been plagued by misconceptions. Yet, as Steve Roskell of EGO Power Plus explains, the latest generation of battery powered equipment has much more to offer than people realise.


t home – from phones to vacuum cleaners – we’re already cordless consumers. On the road, automotive advances and Government initiatives are driving growth in electric cars. Battery power is part of our everyday lives, yet when it comes to professional lawn care, many are still sticking to their petrol mowers. Petrol has obvious drawbacks. It is costly, inconvenient and dangerous to store. It is environmentally unfriendly. It can cause health issues for users, due to noise, fumes and vibrations. On the other hand, groundkeepers trust petrol’s reliability. They know that, once they’ve filled the tank, the mower will deliver the power and performance they need. The reticence to switch to battery power is based on the same argument there once was with electric vehicles as well as other trades such as building: what if the battery runs out? It’s an understandable but outdated attitude because, just as battery technology has come on in leaps and bounds in these areas, so too has garden care battery power. Just as plumbers, builders and electrical contractors have cordless tools in their toolbox, it’s time to reconsider the battery pedestrian mower for professional usage.

By understanding what can now be achieved in terms of power, reliability and run-time – combined with the cost reductions and health benefits associated with cordless tech – buyers and users of professional lawn care mowers can get the best of all worlds. The result is that, on a recharge of less than an hour, users can mow an area up to 1,000 sq. m., enough to cover a variety of ground care environments. Cordless pedestrian mowers are particularly useful for situations where manoeuvrability and low noise is important. Here’s how the tech works. For professional mower users, it’s about convenience and getting power that will last. Obviously, this is the reason why electric mowers, tied to their cables, have never been a viable option for ground care applications. With cordless technology, that’s not an issue – provided the battery is up to scratch. The heart of EGO Power Plus is our unique Arc Lithium 56V battery. Our focus on battery quality isn’t coincidental; it’s the heart of what we do. Where many cordless mowers on the market are powered by outsourced batteries, at EGO we design, develop and manufacture everything in-house. To create the best possible battery, we had to address the biggest issue facing conventional batteries – managing the heat when drawing the current to minimise downtime. That’s why, rather than group individual cells into a brickshaped battery – which can trap heat in the centre – the EGO Arc Lithium 56V is configured in an arc shape so that no cell is cocooned, and each cell is adjacent to the external wall. This means each cell is closer to the outside air temperatures and the arc shape offers a greater surface area to dissipate heat. We’ve also developed Keep Cool technology, especially developed to dissipate latent heat energy from the battery. Each cell is surrounded with a patented phase change material, which keep the battery cooler for longer. That’s the performance sorted – meaning that battery powered mowers can compete with petrol in terms of power and run-time. It’s in terms of health, and the environment, where

cordless technology truly charges ahead. Emissions are the most obvious area. A petrol-powered lawn mower run for an hour pumps out emissions equivalent to driving a car 350 miles – roughly, the distance from London to the Scottish border. With battery power, there are no emissions – a benefit not only to the wider environment but to the user, too. Noise is significantly reduced. A petrol mower has a Decibel level of 90dBA, nearly as loud as a newspaper press. Switching to battery power drops the sound significantly, meaning that workers don’t necessarily need to wear ear defenders for a more pleasurable working environment. It also means the mower can be used during early morning, whereas a noisy petrol mower may be prohibited. Battery mowers are also kinder on users, by significantly reducing the risks associated with hand-arm vibration. This debilitating condition causes numbness and muscle weakness and can lead to permanent irreversible damage. With all these benefits, the case for battery mowers is clear – but we still hear plenty of scepticism, chiefly around cost. Some are swift to claim that cordless equipment is more expensive than petrol, largely because of the upfront cost of the batteries. That’s true, but only half the story. Over the whole life of the mower, the long-term picture looks very different. Consider the cost of consumables. A battery only costs less than 10p to charge. This means, roughly, that you can run an EGO Arc Lithium mower for a month for the same cost you’d spend daily on a petrol mower. And don’t forget that the improvements to workers’ health and wellbeing have a price tag. Using a cordless mower can reduce absence through sickness and improve overall job satisfaction, leading to an upswing in productivity. When it comes to power and runtime, petrol and cordless equipment are now performing on a level playing field. Factor in the additional value for users, investors and for our planet, and it’s easy to see why it’s time to consider cordless pedestrian mowers for professional ground care. Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 35


Programme of continual im

MAJESTIC: The beautiful Stinchcombe Hill Golf Club. Below right, the team

The word ‘steep’ and its connotations ideally describe a number of facets of Stinchcombe Hill Golf Club in Gloucestershire. Also, the location of the course at the top of the hill near Dursley, 219 metres above sea level, offers golfers stunning views but places particularly steep demands on the greenkeeping routines employed. “We can sometimes quickly go from enjoying fine weather to having periods where we can’t get onto the course to

36 | Turf Matters | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018

undertake maintenance for two days,” said Course Manager, Matt Ayres. However, with everyone at the club looking for continual improvements in every aspect of all operations – not least in the management and maintenance of the course according to Club Manager, Leigh Topping, they are always keen to develop and improve – the club has become one of the most successful in the region. A comprehensive greenkeeping regime ensures its greens are presentable and playable allyear-round and the greenkeeping team’s thoroughness and attention to detail has in turn led to a 66% rise in green fees in recent years while membership numbers have remained steady at around 420. “Of course, being open – and playable – all year round is key to our success, especially during the winter months when we enjoy a consistent level of play and usage compared to other clubs in the area and that’s because we have

invested in the greens,” said Leigh. Complemented by some astute commercial thinking – for example, the pro shop is owned by the club – the club is clearly reaping the rewards of a programme of continual improvement to the course by Matt Ayres and his greenkeeping team of Brad Boon, Adam Jones and Eddie Wilcox. This has included switching the annual renovation from October to August, which sees the course recover in just 10-14 days and, thus, minimising disruption to play. Their work is underpinned by recent investment in new machinery plus an annual programme of turf care from amenity supplier, Rigby Taylor, which combined is enabling the team to maintain the course properly all year round. “Our priority is always the course and over the past three years we’ve invested more than £190,000 in new and upgraded equipment, such as a new Procore aerator, a sander and

making turf matter

mprovement a new sweep and fill brush, as well as improvements to the irrigation system,” said Leigh. Matt was particularly pleased with their new Procore. “The addition of a Procore to our machinery portfolio means we can pencil tine at any time of the year, which is indispensable. Also proving very important is our new sprayer. Of course, being high up on a hilltop means we have to watch the weather closely in terms of the spraying regime, but the sprayer enables us now to accurately apply the correct products at the correct dosage rates. “Aside from the challenge of selecting spraying days during the most effective weather conditions – on low/no-wind days – the use of liquid feeds and treatments, which now account for 90% of applications at the club, is so much more aesthetically better. For one thing, it means golfers are not forever treading on granular treatments!” Brad also confirms that the implementation of an annual treatment schedule has paid dividends. “Based on an agronomist’s annual report, we sit down with Rigby Taylor’s Key Accounts Director David Carvey to discuss a proposed annual schedule of treatments. Our meeting takes into account all the latest developments, including comparing products of even different brands, as well as application methods, then together we formulate a programme to

suit the soil conditions and the projected usage.” The schedule includes the use of R1 (fescue and bent) and R105 (browntop bent) grass seed; Apex and Microflow-CXS fertilisers; Activate R and XL biostimulants; Magnet liquid iron; and the Greenor herbicide. In addition, and highlighting the products regarded as ‘must-haves’, Matt lists: n Premier HG controlled release fertiliser containing long-lasting nitrogen and potassium for optimum feeding – “used after the annual renovation; brings back the greens very well”. n Rayzor, a broad spectrum contact fungicide for Fusarium Patch, Dollar Spot and Red Thread, plus the reduction of anthracnose, leaf spot and rust – “an excellent” weapon, especially against Fusarium, “although we are now moving more towards preventative management of this problem”. Rayzor is used by the club as part of a managed disease strategy, used in conjunction with Fusion and Eland product tank mixes. n HydroPro 2 wetting agent – “applied every month and proving especially useful on bunker (sand) areas”. “All these products are scheduled on a month-by-month basis and that programme is religiously adhered to, weather permitting. The result of applying such treatments little and often means that we maintain a continual ‘standard’ of turf care and presentation, with no peaks or troughs,” added Adam.


Still delivering growth some eight months after application The unique ‘Florida style’ Bransford Golf Course at Worcester’s Bank House Hotel provides a challenge, not only to players of all abilities, but also to the greens team. For his nutritional programme, Course Manager Graham Wallace turns to Headland Amenity and Regional Manager Adi Masters to keep it playing to the highest of standards – together they have solved an issue with flushes of growth that had started to become difficult to manage.

38 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

“I’ve used Headland products for nearly 20 years and always find them to be effective, backed up with tried and tested knowledge and research. We apply their fertilisers and chemicals all over the course,” said Graham. “For a number of years now we’ve used various formulations of Multigreen temperature controlled release fertiliser on the fairways. “Though this provided the high quality of grass and coverage we desired, in a warm spring, the initial flush of growth it delivered was increasing the amount of cutting required. We wanted to find a way to drop the growth back a bit whilst retaining the grass quality.” Graham ran a trial across four of his fairways, comparing various products applied at varying rates to assess efficiency and results. A competitor product with a similar analysis to Multigreen® was applied at two different rates on two of the fairways, an alternative Headland product was trialled on the third and Graham’s

normal choice, Multigreen® 28.3.15, on the final fairway. “We applied all of the products in April, except for the Multigreen® which Adi suggested we put down in March. His reason was that Multigreen® contains both quick and slow release sources of Nitrogen and applying it in April, when the temperature satisfied the release of both, is what caused the initial flush of growth. “Though we achieved reasonable results from all of the products across our trial plots, in my opinion the Multigreen® outperformed them in terms of the sward density, colour, health, longevity and overall performance. “By simply applying it a month earlier, we avoided the double whammy of nutrient release that was causing the flush of growth. Eight months after the initial application, Multigreen® was still delivering growth and solid results from its single application. Not only that but we’ve also now managed to cut back on the amount of growth regulator we’re having to apply, saving us around £600 a year.”

making turf matter

Feel the power

Laurence Gale takes a look at PowerGrass and chats with Graham Longdin, of Agripower, about its qualities


ithin the last five years we have seen a dramatic increase in the installation of synthetic turf stabilisation systems, mainly driven from the success of the tried and tested stitched systems now being used in many stadium and training ground pitches around the world. These Hybrid Grass systems come in all manner of guises, ranging from sown in filaments to insitu based synthetic carpets that are top dressed with rootzone materials and overseeded to produce an hybrid grass playing surface. One of the latest products on the market is PowerGrass. And one of the first pitches to be constructed with this new Hybrid Turf system is one at Bisham Abbey installed by Agripower last May. A recent conversation with Philip Coxhill, Grounds Manager at Bisham Abbey, and Graham Longdin, MD of Agripower, gave me a greater insight into this new PowerGrass Hybrid grass pitch. The system was developed in Italy with many trials ran to test it performance and ability to produce a robust reliable playing surface, the makers PowerGrass claim this hybrid turf has innovative features and offers better playing and growth conditions than any other system of reinforced natural grass or old type hybrid grass and at the same time is the only one that offers a sports field playable even without the natural grass. The synthetic turf is stable and the natural grass can be easily installed with simple seeding. PowerGrass hybrid turf is not simply a product, it’s a complete system, this

new system has been designed to take into account the many physical, chemical and mechanical inter-actions that take place when maintaining a natural turf playing surface. At present 95% of hybrid pitches are built purely on sand and some are in fact buried benneath the top, leading to very hard surface requiring aeration purely to soften the surface for the user. Powergrass is the first system to address the issue and seek to better the current trend. To find out more, I contacted Graham, who had installed the new pitch at Bisham. I believe this is the first Powergrass pitch in the UK to be installed? Yes, we installed the Powergrass Pitch last June at Bisham Abbey working closely with their grounds manager Philip Coxhill. Is this one of your own innovations? Yes, we helped design the hybrid carpet and increased the amount of

fibres avaliable for play, and enabling the system to cope with very heavy usage, rather than mimic the existing hybrids we sought to better them. How long have you been perfecting this system? The first fields were laid in Italy, and then followed up with two further fields in Holland, we then had our input, to make a more resilient surface for the UK market. The new carpet was first Laid in Grosetto in Italy which is the field TGMS (TurfTrax Ground Management Systems Limited) went to view prior to us being awarded the contract at Bisham, two further fields have been installed in the UK since then and we have strong enquires and looking forward to a busy season in 2018. How does this pitch system work, what is its specification and how is it installed? The pitch system can work either with a full construction of a drained plateau with a shallow 80mm gravel }

Pictures above show sand mastering in progress and First Cut. Below: Pitch ready for play

Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 39


grass and the system below and not about selling carpet volume. When did you start the installation of the Bisham Abbey Pitch? After some preliminary meetings with the clients (Bisham Abbey represented by Phil Coxhill and their consultant partners TGMS Limited.We, where able to start work last May effectively installing a Powergrass reinforced system into an existing fully drained pitch.

} raft , and 80mm of rootzone/sand,

mixed with a combination of naturally occurring additives. The Powergrass carpet is laid and stiched together over the growth medium and then filled to a depth of 35mm leaving 25mm of free pile above the soil. A pre seeding fertiliser is then appliead and then seed at a rate of 50g/ms. All fields must have irrigation to promote controlled growth. Where the system differs from traditional ‘stitched-in’ hybrids is that it can be laid over existing pitches, subject to enhanced drainage if required, such as Bisham.Working in conjunction with a leading pitch consulatnt the existing field is accessed and tested to ensure that the Powergrass system works in harmony with the existing site conditions. This innovative system can dramatically reduce on-site costs and reduce construction time in half. What other systems are you up against? Stitched in systems would be the target competitors as they are more recognised in the market place although far more expensive. Some other carpet systems rely on being biodegradeable and these has proven to have had some issues with establishing rootgrowth. Powergrass allows the roots to penetrate the carpet backing from day one and is playable within four weeks from initial seeding as long as the maintenance regime is intensive and correct. Other hybrid carpets are not stitched together and some are completely buried in sand and only stabilise the top sand layer or they replicate the traditional systems with fibre content around the 30000 fibres to 1 m2, Powergrass has nearly three times more fibre and combined with additives creates a softer surface and 40 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

allows the fibres to be in play and protecting the crown of the grass plant.

Going green

Is this system suitable for both Rugby and football? Testing is currently ongoing but initial results are very favourable with the pitch being used currently to 25hrs per week . Initial player feedback is very good with the resounding comment that it is a far softer and more comfortable pitch to play and train on. What is the overall cost of supply and Installation of this product? It varies depending on what is existing on site, it can be as little as £220,000 when installed on an existing well drained pitch or up to £440,000 for a full new construction with irrigation What is the recommended maintenance regime for this system? We recommend that an overseeding of 5g/m2 every 6 weeks combined with a light scarification to keep the pitch in good condition and avoid any heavy end of season maintenance. Other than that, treat as any high quality pitch, with cuttings being removed at all times, the surface is designed to be softer and doesn’t require regular vetidraining to relieve hardness only to aerate, at this stage we believe that aeration should only be required 1-2 times per season. The failing of most existing Hybrids are hardness; historically the industry has been obsessed with drainage and this has led to pitches being built on straight sand which has excellent drainage properties but at the cost of the players premature fatigue and potential injuries. Powergrass has been developed by Agronomists, natural grass consultants and carpet manufacturers and to this end it is all about the player and the

Iain James (TGMS) owner manager Sutton united, Geoff Webb (IOG) Niko Sarris (inventor)

How was the Powergrass carpet installed? We basically removed, koroed off the top 40mm of the existing turf and rootzone materials, power harrowed to open up the top 25mm and regraded the levels. The pitch was then Vibra Sand mastered to reconnect the existing drainage bands, vertidrained to decompact the top 150mm and then top dressed with cork, coco fibre and zeolite materials. This mix of organic matter was then incorporated into the existing rootzone to improve shock absorbancy and fertility. The pitch was then final graded and then rolled to firm the surface ready for the Powergrass system which was laid and stitched in place; after filling with a further 35mm of infill material the system was then fertilised and seeded with Barenbrug Bar RPR Stadium. Having favourable soil and air temperatures in June, the seed was up in four days and we were cutting after ten days. The pitch is now performing very well, with players commenting on how well it plays, especially noticing it is much softer than the previous playing surface. Also, the wear factor has been amazing, the pitch has been able to accommodate more fixtures, in fact it is now providing over 25 hours use a week compared to the 12 hours it could stand previously. Phillip Coxill has been extremely pleased with the results and is now considering the installation of some more Powergrass carpet to increase the training areas at Bisham Abbey. Works complete, irrigation on for the first time.

making turf matter

Stars of the big top Laurence Gale pops into Edgbaston to see how marquees are providing additional preparation time for both grounds’ team and players Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 41


It took four days to erect and a day to set up the humidifiers, heaters and lighting rigs. A recent visit to Warwickshire CCC enabled me the opportunity to catch up with Head Groundsman Gary Barwell, who now starts his seventh season at the club. He like the rest of the county groundsmen are busy getting their practice net facilities ready for the onslaught of as new playing season, which year on year seems to be starting earlier. Warwickshire, like many of the other county clubs, have invested in the use of outdoor tented/marquee structures in recent seasons to cover their net areas, with the aim of creating a natural grass wicket practice facility that allows the club the opportunity to practice four to six weeks earlier. As the years have passed the sharing of knowledge and the development of these facilities has moved forward at such a pace we now have utilised a number of innovations to create the perfect indoor greenhouse environment using de-humidifiers, heaters and lighting rigs to control and manage both soil and air conditions in the

marquee/tent thus allowing the staff to prepare and produce decent, natural grass wickets for practice in late February early March. Gary was keen to show me their system, a huge 20metre by 18metre marquee that is able to cover nine, six foot wide wickets. These wickets where covered with flat sheets in December to protect them prior to the erection of the marquee on January 8. It took four days to erect and a day to set up the humidifiers, heaters and lighting rigs. Some pre-season rolling, around five hours was done to the area using their blotter and auto roller, followed by a 14 day prep for the two first practice wickets. Everything is going well, however, they have had a couple of real cold nights -4 -6 degrees which has meant a lot more heat required to maintain their target of keeping an even 6 degrees inside the marquee at night. The de-humidifiers are there to prevent any condensation forming and dripping onto the wickets and bowlers run ups. Gary was able to maintain a

comfortable 18 degrees during the day which is ideal for what he wanted to achieve. Everything was on schedule for when the team arrive for their first practice on the February 15 with the aim of providing six weeks of practice time for the team taking them through to April when they hope that their outdoor nets will then be ready for use. I am sure like many of the other county groundsmen the provision of early training facilities brings with it many challenges and additional work loads, but like most they revel in learning new skills and testing their abilities to produce the best playing surfaces they can for their clubs. 42 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

Gary Barwell and the system which covers nine, six foot wide wickets

making turf matter

Achieving optimal aeration There’s very little about aeration of cricket squares and outfields that Keith Exton, Director of Perfect Pitches, Grantham, doesn’t know. An exponent of Wiedenmann Terra Spikes for over 15 years, Keith’s observations make for a master class in best practice. With so many maintenance variables, Keith has streamlined how to get optimal aeration but admits to still being surprised and always learning. “Every square is different. None are the same which keeps the challenge fresh but experience definitely helps,” explained Keith. Typically, he suggests aeration in the very narrow window that is midOctober until the end of December. “It’s a tight season; you’ve got to wait for play to stop and a little moisture to get through. The beast that is the cricket square is built on hard clay. Timing is everything. You’ve got to get it opened up, get the microbes working, and let CO2 out as well as oxygen and water in.” When it comes to kit, Keith is adamant that only the Wiedenmann Terra Spike XF6 deep aerator matched to a 42 hp John Deere 3720 tractor on Galaxy turf tyres will do. “It’s the ultimate combination; the tractor sufficiently powerful to get the machine to depth yet not too heavy, the tractor width running inside the outside tine of the 1.6 m XF,” said Keith. “The forward speed of the XF is much quicker than any other. Crucially it’s the tine striking action due to the belt driven } Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 43


You can do a job with 8mm tines when the square is very hard and very tender layered because you won’t get disruption but 12mm is just too big. } balanced crank shaft on the XF that fires the

tine into the ground so quickly that makes the difference. It does not seem to hang on to the tines when they come out so you don’t get ‘lift’. Everything is clean and precise and tidy. That’s what makes it fantastic. “On the majority of quality cricket squares a 10mm tine with a 75mm x 50mm hole pattern is what we aim for. You can do a job with 8mm tines when the square is very hard and very tender layered because you won’t get disruption but 12mm is just too big.” Indeed Wiedenmann UK credits Keith with pointing them towards introducing the 10 mm tine for cricket applications. “Keith has been a long-time advocate of the 10mm tine. He was the first to suggest and indeed the most vocal, that we were missing a trick by not having it, said Chas Ayres, Wiedenmann UK’s Sales Manager. During the cricketing aeration window usually Keith will in the main spike to a depth of 175mm or 200mm with 75 x 50 centres. “I will speed up or slow down to

make holes wider or narrower. “If the square is a bit tender then we’ll go to a 75 x 75 pattern, giving fewer holes but less opportunity for disruption. This season many cricket squares have been very dry, and without the correct moisture levels cricket squares are more liable to ‘pluck out’ so it’s down to judgement on the day and the forward speed I think suits.” With so many cricket grounds to get through in a relative short amount of time Keith has to plan ahead to serve his clients, tending to allocate a week to 10 days for each county and basing himself in the centre of a cricketing area. “I work with the cricket groundsmen’s associations so if the club grounds are

all within 10 miles of each other, six sites in a day is achievable but if they are a bit further apart then maybe just three or four.” Keith Exton’s affinity for turf excellence transfers to other sporting codes throughout the year but he and Perfect Pitches are best known within the cricketing world. “He’s the top authority,” said Chas. “I call him ‘Mr Cricket Wicket’ because he’s absolutely intuitive about aeration. For him it’s like a sixth sense. His operator skills make him at one with his machine so he’s really an artisan craftsman.”

If the square is a bit tender then we’ll go to a 75 x 75 pattern, giving fewer holes but less opportunity for disruption. 44 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

making turf matter

Dr John Dempsey discusses the use of Controlled Release Fertiliser on turfgrass at the Royal Curragh Golf Club

Fairway to

heaven? I

n 2016 a field study was carried out on the 15th fairway of the Royal Curragh Golf club in Ireland. The Royal Curragh is the oldest golf course in Ireland was built in 1853 and can be found about an hour south from Dublin in county Kildare. The trial was carried out by Dr John Dempsey who is a graduate researcher at the University of the West of England in Bristol. John began greenkeeping in the 1980s and has been superintendent at The Royal Curragh since 1993. Always with a keen interest in sportsturf education John has undertaken courses beginning with basic greenkeeping at the Botanic

gardens in Dublin to a Honours Degree in Turfgrass science at Myerscough College in the UK. Completed a PhD during 2016 in Turfgrass pathology in the Centre for Research in Biosciences at the mentioned university in Bristol England. John has conducted independent research on turfgrass disease management for the past 10 years, covering extensively the subject Microdochium nivale infection of turfgrasses, turfgrass response to infection and the effect of phosphite treatments on disease suppression, turfgrass growth and quality. John has presented his findings at

numerous conferences and seminars in Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Norway, USA and most recently at the Turf Managers conference at BTME in Harrogate last January. From May to November 2016 a number of controlled release fertilisers (CRF) have been trialed. The objective of this trial was to show that it is very well possible to maintain a steady and healthy turfgrass on the fairways with only one application of CRF. Another point of interest was how the Mivena CRF’s Granucote and Granupermanent Universal would perform in comparison with the fertilisers of the competitors. Mivena is a Dutch manufacturer of } Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 45


Turf growth response rated on a 1-10 scale Mean value June to November

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

Mean value June to November

Sierrablen 24:5:8 7.25

Granucote 23:5:12 7.33

Best Turfgold 22:5:6 7.05

Multigreen 28:3:15 7.03

GranuPermanent 22:5:9 7.43

Control 5.75

Treatment effect on turf growth response rated on a scale of 1 to 10. Data are mean values for June to November 2016. Bars indicate 95% confidence intervals.

} specialty fertilisers who is active in

Dr John Dempsey, graduate researcher at the University of the West of England and Superintendent of Royal Curragh Golf Club

over 30 (mainly European) countries for more than 10 years. Besides their watersoluble fertilisers Granusol WSF and their lines of fine turf fertilisers Granuform SRF and Granusports SRF, they produce CRF’s for golf, sportpitches and landscaping by using their patented unique Duration coating technology. This coating is 100% polymer without any Sulphur or metals in the coating and works on the osmosis principle. Therefor the temperature is the factor that determines the release of the nitrogen. Sierrablen 24-5-8, Best Turf Gold 22-5-6, Granucote 23-512, MultiGreen 28-3-15 and Granupermanent Universal 22-5-9 were applied late May 2016. All fertilisers were applied at a rate of 30 g/m2 on the fairway that has been kept in normal use and

46 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

under standard maintenance practice (apart from fertilising obviously). The fairway is established on a sandy/ loam soil, pH7.1 with mixed grass species (Poa annua, Lolium perenne, Agrostis spp. and some Festuca), which was cut at 12 mm height. Climatically the region is defined as a temperate oceanic climate, being mild, moist and changeable with rainfall annual mean of 754 mm and average air temperature of 9.80 degrees Celsius. This type of climate gives rise to ideal conditions for turfgrass growth, almost throughout the entire year. On a bi-weekly base the turf colour, growth and quality was assessed by independent assessors who did not have knowledge about which fertiliser was used on which block. These results were collected and analysed monthly using SPSS statistical software. Fertiliser effect on turf colour was rapid and all treated plots responded with increased colour within a week of application. Colour in all treated plots remained excellent for the months of June, July, August and September with a drop-off during October and a further drop in colour at the start of November. Data analyses determined no significant differences between treatments, however, the mean values for both Mivena products for the full trial period achieved the highest ratings, 8.16 for the Granucote and 8.33 for the GranuPermanent, these data were only observed following the outcome of the full analysis. Treatment effect of turf quality produced similar results as the colour assessments, in that for the overall trial period the mean

data showed quality in all treated plots was significantly better than the un-fertilised controls, with no significant differences between treatments. However, as with the turf colour analysis, while there were no significant differences between treatments the mean values for both Mivena products achieved the highest ratings, 7.53 for the Granucote and 7.47 for the GranuPermanent. Monthly data analyses did determine some statistical differences between fertiliser treatments in October with the Granucote treatment significantly better than the Multigreen and controls and while not statistically better than the other treatments it did achieve the highest rating, not only for October but for November

making turf matter

Fertiliser effect on turf colour was rapid and all treated plots responded with increased colour within a week of application.

also. This high rating could be construed as a possible longevity effect from the Granucote input. Treatment effect on turf growth again was assessed bi-weekly through the trial period and data collated into monthly mean values. Growth in all treated plots improved following fertiliser application and over the full trial period mean turf growth ratings in all treated plots were significantly better than the unfertilised controls, with no significant differences between treatments. Data analyses determined no statistical differences between treatments in any of the trial months, although all were greater than the controls. As with the turf colour and quality analyses, there were no but significant

differences between treatments but the mean values for both Mivena products again achieved the highest ratings, 7.38 for the Granucote and 7.43 for the GranuPermanent. All fertiliser treatments produced excellent responses in regards to turfgrass colour, quality and growth and statistically there were no differences between any over the trial period with only slight variations between them on a month to month basis. What can be concluded is that both Mivena products produced results equal to all others trialled and while it cannot be stated they were significantly better, the data shows them to have produced higher ratings than other products in the three areas of assessment.

Full copies of the trial report and Mivena fertilisers are available in the United Kingdom through Border Sports Services Ltd (www. bordersportsservices. and Thorntrees Amenity (www. thorntreesamenity.

Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 47


BUYERS’ GUIDE Statistics reveal scale of

To advertise contact Marie Anderson Email:




ENGINES TRANSMISSIONS The 70th SALTEX exhibition exceeded all PARTS expectations after an independent audit

over 70% of visitors said that there was an excellent mix of products on display. Table 1 shows what visitors were looking for. confirmed the exhibition as the largest turf TEL: 01371 875331 Exhibitors at SALTEX 2015 reported management event in the UK with a total Telephone: 01260 224 568 huge3914540 success at the show, suggesting that of 8,714 unique individuals attending. Now, 0118 Email: the visitors were a very powerful group of the visitor surveys have been flooding in – buyers. With deals being done there and revealing a fascinating and in-depth insight AGRONOMY SERVICES MOWERS then on the show floor, it’s no surprise to see into the visitor profile of the show. that over 80% had purchasing responsibility. With visitors traveling from every corner Over 75% of all SALTEX visitors also had of the UK as well as every continent around the ability to sign off purchases of up to the world it was encouraging to see that n Agronomy £100,000. over 70% of theAudits visitors rated their overall WETTING AGENTS n Advisory Services as being good, very As for the type of facilities that the SALTEX experience SOIL SURFACTANTS n Project Management visitors were responsible for, it was great to good or excellent. n Construction ORGANIC seeFERTILISERS such a wide array of visitors (table 2). Over 65% of visitors said that they n Budgets Visitors also found the more central attended SALTEX to source new products, 01233 633267 location of the NEC to be more accessible services or suppliers, 20% wanted Call: 07951 157208 while or email: with 70% stating that the new location was to make the most of the free educational either good or excellent. Within the halls of LEARNING LIVE seminars and to receive WEED CONTROL Fer�lisers | Bios�mulants | We�ers the NEC, visitors favoured the more compact one-to-one advice through the IOG’s Ask setting withproducts over 70% rating the layout of the Expert feature. With so much on offerover 50 professional GOLF COURSE TYRES the event either good or excellent. atMANAGEMENT SALTEX, there was something for Overall the visitor survey has everyone and over 80% said that they were demonstrated just how good the was the successful or very successful in meeting quality of attendees – further enhancing their objectives. SALTEX as the must attend event of the With such a large number of visitors Golf Course Management year. attending SALTEX to source new products Consultant SALTEX 2016 will be held at the NEC, and services; they certainly came to the Golf The Course Advice; is a great way Birmingham on 2 and 3 November 2016. For right place. exhibition Locum and Greenkeeper more information visit to launch showcaseService; new products and Project Management; Practical Solutions for Genuine Problems Available through your Tel: 07774 632747

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Table 2 Turf Matters | February-March 2016 | 33

making turf matter

as seen on



Ryan Turf | @RyanTurf If the roots of your turf are less than two inches, it’s a good indication your lawn could benefit from aeration Ultra Soil Solutions | @UltraSoil Water logged, salt damaged turf? GYP-FLO can flocculate and flush sodium quickly and cost effectively! Oliver Durham | @OliverDurham10 First tweet - perfect day to start verti-draining on our greens. Slightly milder day, got our fungicide ready for the fusarium and anthracnose which will be applied tomorrow or Thursday then some good strength iron back end of next week to help get rid of the moss build up!! SGL system | @SGLsystem Extremely busy month for the English grounds teams, in extreme weather conditions. We know every one of you puts in a lot of effort to maintain a high quality pitch, so all credits to those who made it possible despite this amount of rain! Well done!

Follow us on Twitter @TurfMatters Tea Break Teaser answers 1. St Leger; 2. Three; 3. 1996; 4. One Thousand for Fillies and Two Thousand for Colts (No equal pay there!); 5. Bath, Beverley and Brighton; 6. 20; 7. Walter Swinburn; 8. Nine; 9. Willie Carson; 10. Seabiscuit; 11. York; 12. Windsor; 13. Dick Francis; 14. Silvestre de Sousa; 15. Desert Orchid

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Email: Telephone: 07841 927500 Turf Matters | March-April 2018 | 49


You know, I think I’m just beginning to come into my prime. I look at Phil Taylor, at 58, reaching the World Darts Final and Roger Federer at 36 cleaning up in the absence of our boy Murray. Tom Watson, in his 60s, one unwanted firm bounce away from winning The Open at Turnberry and I remember Yifter the Shifter tearing down the home straight in the 1980 Olympics. It makes me think that I’ve still got a chance to make something of my sporting life. At 55 I still can reach the heights. In fact, my wife and I have already taken positive steps to ensure that 2018 is the year when we prove

50 | Turf Matters | March-April 2018

that 50 (or 55) is the new 40 (or 45). We’ve bought a Cross Trainer! Admittedly it was delivered to the garage a few weeks ago and I’m not currently fit enough to lift it into the house but it’s there, waiting for us, poised to give us that athletic boost to take on my other sporting endeavours. I’m sure when I get back onto the golf course after my annual hibernation it will be a new me. Leaner, meaner – although that will be hard as I’ve already conquered the art of being second to the bar – and just as able to produce a bogey blitz on the back nine as I am currently on the front. It’s been said before that you must treat your body like a temple and while I’ve been known to overindulge when it comes to savoury snacks – while I do occasionally include that extra glug when pouring a home measure malt – I believe that with a little bit of fine tuning I can compete with people much younger than myself. It would help mind you if those youngsters had already let themselves go and were not that proficient in the first place. I reckon, in a cup format rather than a league, I could achieve some success. The first medal is April which does give me, and the cross trainer, time to become accustomed to each other – if I can wrestle it into

the spare bedroom that is. With a regular morning and evening workout I’m sure I can lose the weight around the middle, which acts a bit like a horse’s handicap. I’ve also decided that some guns will get me the extra distance which will bring more par-3s into range. I’m not exactly sure what guns are but from what I’ve heard they do seem useful. I understand that they come in pairs and I’m sure I’ll be able to get a three for two deal at Nevada Bob’s, which should see me through the season. It is great that, like Phil the Power and darts, we have a sport which lasts us most of our lives although I do worry about how I’m going to cope mentally when my game starts to deteriorate markedly. You know, when those par-5s you used to regularly reach in four are at least six well-struck rescue clubs away, and when long putts you know you can guarantee to at least three putt, become short putts you know you can guarantee to at least three putt. I’ve spoken to some of the old boys at the club and they seem to cope quite happily with now being rubbish at their favourite sport. Most of them forget how many they’ve taken and simply write down what they thought they might have had. So, in fact, they are scoring much better now that they did in their prime. That said it’s all about the tea cakes and the hot beverage for them anyway and while some of them are coming close to the course record every time they go out they are more worried about getting that cosy chair by the fire in the lounge. So, wish me luck as I enter this extremely exciting period of my career. I’ll keep you posted and, who knows, it may be me with that scorecard on display behind the bar. But only if I can get that cross trainer in from the garage. *As told to Scott MacCallum

Turf Matters Mar/Apr 2018  

In this issue: Exclusive interviews with Shrewsbury Rugby Club, Machrie golf course, Powergrass, Edgbaston CCC and Mivena with a special foc...

Turf Matters Mar/Apr 2018  

In this issue: Exclusive interviews with Shrewsbury Rugby Club, Machrie golf course, Powergrass, Edgbaston CCC and Mivena with a special foc...