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

March-April 2019 | £4.95



The greatest show on turf Behind the scenes with Head Groundsman Ben Hastie




14 Latest in germination

30 The best treatments

45 Footballers’ petition

making turf matter




Call to recognise Andy Don’t forget Sport…

The beauty of this job is the number of sports we cover and the number last twopeople months been a nightmare people in certain of The interesting wehave meet along the way. Infor themany last magazine parts of the country and my Groundsman heart goes outoftothe everyone dealing it was Gary Barwell, the IOG’s Year and Headwith the aftermath of unprecedented flooding Groundsman at Edgbaston. This issue I hadand thedevastating pleasure of erosion. talking with bestHead caseGroundsman scenario for many is months of temporary living. For Ben The Hastie, at Cheltenham Racecourse. others, lives will never return to what they were. Learning about it all happens fascinating and hopefully you While the fatehow of sports grounds was and golf clubs might seem will enjoy the article on Cheltenham in this issue. Thank you to Ben and inconsequential in the face of such hardship, we at Turf Matters have to a Cheltenham for their with co-operation pulling the feature particular empathy everyoneinwho has seen years oftogether. agronomic literally washed inend the of space a few weeks. Ihusbandry hope you might indulge meaway at the thisof editorial. With the news must beMurray hoped that bankstowards, – the financial not the that It Sir Andy is edging or mayinstitutions, already have reached, edge overflown rivers – take an understanding approach thethings end ofwhich his stellar career I have a proposal. to sporting facilities which have been unable to service loans as a The claim that being he may be Britain’s allsotime greatest sportsman result of them unplayable and unable to bring in revenue. deserves considerable consideration, while IOlympics, am sure that hehas willsuch make As we have seen with the recent Winter sport a just as big an impact onsociety sport when he hangs his shorts. galvanising effect on and can be the up catalyst for so much good, that it is to imperative facilities nottennis forgotten when the Anyway, my point.sporting Every one of the are other major venues assistance is being allocated. has courtspromised named after one of the nation’s heroes – Arthur Ashe, the issue of improving sporting facilities, have Rod Laver and On Philippe Chatrier so I think we should followwe suit at been invited by Briggs & Stratton to become involved in its Pitch Wimbledon. Tim has Henman Hill so shouldn’t we have the Sir Andy to Win competition, which provides a £3,000 makeover for Murray Centre Court? what is judged to be the Under 18s football pitch in most So, the campaign to –have in thisI am way,on the judging need findSir outAndy morehonoured on pages 16-17. #SirAndyMurrayCentreCourt starts Please behindofit.deserving panel and visits will here. be made to aget shortlist pitches soon. We will be looking not so much at the n Footnote: The passing of Cecil George robs us of one of the genuine DESSO but the desperate! characters and driving forces within the industry. I met Cecil for the first On a final note, I am thrilled by the reception that the time in 1995 at Royal Dornoch Golf Club and from that first issue of Turf Matters received. Many people have moment on always treasured my times with him. He was taken time to say how much they liked the look of the thoughtful, articulated, funny and a real class act. My magazine and how they enjoyed the articles. We’re all thoughts are with Cecil’s family and friends. 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 Distributed every two months to sports of turfcare machinery and products. turf professionals, local authorities and buyers ofMacCallum turfcare machinery and Editor: Scott products. scott@turfmatters.co.uk DesignScott and Production Editor: MacCallumEditor: Tim Moat tim@turfmatters.co.uk scott@turfmatters.co.uk Customer Manager: Design andRelations Production Editor: Tim Moat tim@turfmatters.co.uk Sinead Thacker sinead@turfmatters.co.uk Sales Manager: Pauline Thompson Sales Executive: To advertise in Turf Matters, Marie Anderson call Pauline on 07720 055676 or marie@turfmatters.co.uk email pauline@turfmatters.co.uk

To advertise in Turf Matters, To subscribe, go to call Sinead 07841 927500


Turf Matters is published by Straight Down Turf MattersCommunications is published by Straight the Middle Ltd. Down the Middle Communications Ltd. All material © Turf Matters magazine 2019. 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 error or misrepresentation. All liability for 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 bankruptcyor orliquidation liquidationororcessation cessation any of trade trade of of any any company, company,individual individualororfirm firm of mentioned is is hereby herebyexcluded. excluded. mentioned Printed by by Warners WarnersMidlands MidlandsPLC. PLC. Printed

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Inside Inside this thisissue issue News..........................................................4-12 News .........................................................4-15 Tea Break Teaser.......................................13 Pitch to Win........................................16-17 Grass seed...........................................14-20 Mowing .................................19-22, 24-27 Cheltenham Festival. .....................22-29 Tea Break Teaser ......................................29 Fertilisers and chemicals.............30-35 Gleneagles..........................................30-35 Mowers..................................................37-41 BTME review ......................................36-41 Cricket....................................................43-44 Diary of a Golfing Nobody.................42 Artificial turf........................................45-47 As seen on Twitter..................................43 Buyers’ Guide.....................................48-49 Golfingout Nobody’s Blog..........................50 Check our website: Check out our website: www.turfmatters.co.uk

www.turfmatters.co.uk The majesty of Gleneagles, pages 30-35 Next magazine distributed 2 May MOWER THE MERRIER: We look at latest mowers, pages 37-41 Next magazine distributed May 2019 Subscribe FREE to our e-zine: Details at www.turfmatters.co.uk

Turf Matters||MARCH-APRIL March-April 2014 Turf Matters 2019| 3 |3


NEW AERATION MACHINE FOR CHARTERHOUSE PORTFOLIO BTME saw Charterhouse Turf Machinery launch a new machine into its Aeration portfolio – the OxyShot. Produced in response to industry demand for a machine similar to the popular ‘Robin Dagger’ air-injection unit, Charterhouse’s new machine promises to relieve compaction, improve drainage and revitalise growth. Ideal soil conditions should comprise of 45% mineral, 25% water, 25% air and 5% organic matter. Any imbalance in any one of these components can result in the soil becoming inert, restricting growth or even killing the grass plant. For strong, healthy root formation and a free draining soil, maintaining a network of pores and fissures in the topsoil is essential. The new OxyShot uses a single 25mm probe to inject air into the soil in four directions, at a pressure of up to 110psi and to a maximum depth of 500mm. It can also be fitted with an optional 14mm probe, to reduce the working depth to 250mm. It is an ideal tool in the armoury of groundsmen and greenkeepers alike particularly on high traffic, high footfall, areas including walkways, bunkers and greens. “We are very excited to have added this machine to our range, further extending Charterhouse’s offering in the aeration market. The industry has been waiting for a machine of this type for quite a while and we look forward to getting out and showing it to customers over the coming months,” said Sales Manager Nick Darking.

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Aquatrols’ foundation to conserve environment

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Aquatrols used BTME as the platform to launch an exciting new venture to help promote and support conservation, stewardship and education throughout the industry. The FairWays Foundation launch event was well received and attended by over 100 delegates from all sectors of the industry across UK and Europe. The audience heard how Aquatrols are putting words into action and will be committing a substantial percentage of their revenue to help fund the new, not-forprofit, FairWays Foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to fund local and global projects that advance the conservation, stewardship and education of the challenges that we face in our environment. “I can’t imagine someone wanting to debate the merits of environmental stewardship or conservation. I’ve been in this business for 25 years, I understand how companies spend their resources and I believe Aquatrols can take a leadership position in making a difference in a way that goes beyond a conversation,” said Matt Foster, Aquatrols CEO and founder of the FairWays Foundation.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Matt Foster, Aquatrols’ CEO

“Everyone who works in this industry doesn’t just like to be outside, they love to be outside; whether it’s on the course, the farm or on a hike with their family. Shouldn’t we do everything we can to preserve that? Aquatrols is,” Bob Taylor, Head of Ecology and Environment at STRI, contributed to the evening with his very insightful thoughts on where he believes the industry is now in terms of its understanding of Conservation topics, and where we need to be going forwards. He encouraged everybody in the industry

to play their part in securing the future of our courses and congratulated Aquatrols on pushing this Foundation forward. The final accreditation of the FairWays Foundation, which is expected later this year, will see a true link between business and preserving the natural resources we all depend upon to ensure positive use of the land we occupy. To follow the progress of the foundation, or to get involved go to www. thefairwaysfoundation.com

AGS IS THE ‘PERFECT PARTNER’ FOR SELECTLINE Advance Grass Solutions Ltd has finalised a UK exclusive distributor agreement with Selectline line marking paint. Selectline has more than 30 years’ experience in developing and manufacturing line marking paint for the European market. The company has its own research and development facility in The Netherlands, France and Canada. “AGS is the perfect partner for us in the UK. Both our companies are ambitious

with a very clear vision and strategy. AGS is well known for its high quality products and a customer service experience that is second to none,” said Sjoerd Broos, International Account Manager. “We were looking for the ideal UK partner and the positive relationship felt right from day one,” he added. The Selectline range consists of high quality concentrates and ready to mix paints to suit all budgets. These are accompanied by easy to use

spraying machines that are built to last. Sam Honeyborne, AGS’s Managing Director added that they have a clear business model of only selecting top brands to their portfolio. “Selectline is a premium product which we have been trialling with customers for several months. The feedback has been 100% positive, particularly with regard to longevity. We are extremely pleased to have secured this agreement.”


making making turfturf matter matter www.turfmatters.co.uk

Grounds teams prepare for big cricket season

AT THE READY: Vic Demain, right and renovations, below, at Durham

This is a huge year for cricket, as England and Wales host the ICC World Cup, with preparations at grounds up and down the country already well under way. Vic Demain and the team at Durham CCC kickstarted their groundworks with a switch to Johnsons Sports Seed J Premier Wicket mixture for their autumn renovations. As the start of the new season approaches, the strong germination achieved over winter leaves

Vic confident of delivering camera-ready surfaces. The Emirates Riverside ground will be the home to three games in the space of five days, a full-on schedule when you factor in 20 days of practice matches, together with Durham’s regular fixtures. “With the cricket season extending at both ends, we are constantly reviewing the products and techniques we’re using to try and upgrade the playing facilities we offer and deliver these results in an ever-decreasing timeframe,” explained Vic. “I had decided that I was going to look for an alternative seed mixture and having worked previously with Craig Spooner, gave DLF a call. I have a few friends in the first-class game that

use Johnsons Sports Seed and have achieved fantastic results with it, so the choice to give it a try ended up being relatively simple,” he said. “I certainly wouldn’t have switched to a product I had any doubt in, not with a huge season ahead of us. I trusted Craig’s advice and had faith that the seed would perform even under the challenging Northern Climate – and I haven’t been disappointed with the results.” Vic applied J Premier Wicket at the beginning of October, and despite the season’s late finish, achieved

fantastic germination on both the wicket and outfields. “We’ve come through the winter with strong, consistent coverage and look forward to the busy season ahead knowing we’ve had a top-quality start.” Johnsons J Premier Wicket contains four top rated cultivars to deliver rapid establishment, high disease resistance and class-leading wear tolerance under close mown conditions. A new formulation for 2019, J Premier Wicket can also be specified with DLF’s ProNitro seed coating.

RIGBY TAYLOR IN TWO-YEAR DEAL AS BIGGA GOLF PARTNER Rigby Taylor has announced a major sponsorship with BIGGA to tee off the company’s 100th anniversary campaign this year - a two-year sponsorship deal as BIGGA’s Golf Partner. The agreement includes BIGGA’s three annual golf tournaments, The National Championship, The Golf Management Trophy and The Greenkeepers Benevolent Fund Golf Day. “Rigby Taylor has a long history of supporting those who work in the golf industry and, as a founding member of BIGGA’s

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Golden Key Education initiative, has always had a close relationship with the association,” said Richard Fry, Rigby Taylor’s Marketing Director. Picturee shows th announcing of the agreement: outgoing BIGGA officers – Chairman Les Howkins MG (left) and President Chris Kennedy (second right) – with Rigby Taylor’s Executive Chairman, Chris Clark (centre) and Marketing Director Richard Fry (second left), and BIGGA Chief Executive Jim Croxton (far right)

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Founder dies after 28 year career Robert Tomlinson, the founder of Tomlinson Groundcare Ltd, has died following a brave battle with cancer aged 61. Robert was born and lived at Buxhall, growing up on his parent’s poultry farm, helping out from a young age with the chicks and chickens, as well as caring for the goats, geese and turkeys. He also assisted his beekeeping father with the hives and honey making. In 1978 Robert joined Overland Machinery, and his lifelong obsession with the John Deere brand was founded. He started as an agricultural engineer, four years later becoming their parts manager and then as a salesman, heading up and specialising in the turf care equipment side of the business.

In 1991, Overland decided to move away from the turf care side of John Deere and Robert was offered the franchise and he began trading as Tomlinson Groundcare, operating from one small workshop and showroom on the family smallholding. In the following 28 years, the business grew into the well-respected business it is today. Operating from large purpose built workshop and showroom, offering customers the space to try machines on the orchards and paddocks surrounding the premises. Robert was always keen to forge long lasting relationships with private domestic and professional customers. His pastimes included skiing, hiking, walking

and running. He enjoyed an annual ski trip with his friends, (most of whom he had known since young farmers days), hiking the Three Peaks, walking in the Lake District and running with the Stowmarket Striders, while also completing the London Marathon in his 50th year. He gave a considerable amount of time and energy to the community, hosting the Buxhall annual fireworks display and providing the venue for the Stowmarket Striders Annual Half Marathon, as well as supporting the local community in general wherever he could. Robert was very proud of his daughters, Becca, Jo and Vicky, and thrilled when his grandson Isaac was born in November 2017. His marriage

to Sally, added four stepsons to the family and twin grand daughters, family events were fun filled special occasions. A service of thanksgiving for Robert was held at St Mary’s Church, Buxhall and around 600 friends, customers and colleagues remembered and shared their memories of a very special man.

SADLY MISSED: Robert Tomlinson

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GKB machine is made to measure for Harrow School HAPPY CUSTOMER: Mike Kemmett, Grounds Manager of Harrow School

GKB Machines Operations Manager for UK & Ireland, Tom Shinkins, has delivered a Topair to Harrow School to assist the team of 11 ground staff and golf wardens improve and maintain both the quality and playability of every pitch/course and outdoor sports surfaces. “I initially tried the six foot

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machine, and although this was great on the pitches and outfields, I wanted something slightly more compact so I could use on the golf course greens and tees to help combat the grubs with the removal of many products, this disc slicing actions would mean I can slit the greens very regularly to help fight against pest damage with minimal surface disruption and perform very quickly, so Tom built the machine like for like but in a four foot version,” said Mike Kemmett, Grounds Manager of Harrow School. Surrounded by 320 acres of sports fields ranging from AstroTurf pitches, numerous tennis courts, 16 winter

pitches and nine cricket pitches through to a 9-hole golf course, there is plenty for the groundsmen at Harrow School to be looking after. The modified Topair provides versatility and reliability to the team’s daily maintenance programme, the perfect addition to the family of GKB machines already purchased by Harrow School. “The machines are probably the best built on the market, and what swings it for me is that the cost of parts should they ever need replacing are very reasonably priced – there are cheaper machines but the upkeep if they go wrong have ridiculous costs to get running again,” added Mike.


SLATTER GROUP SADDLES UP WHITE HORSE White Horse Contractors have been purchased by S&C Slatter and become a member of The Slatter Group. White Horse Contractors will now operate under a new name, Muddy Plant Hire Ltd, providing specialist plant hire services to The Slatter Group and the industry at large. With this addition, The Slatter Group offers services to a broad reach of clients within the sports grounds, amenity, leisure, agricultural and equestrian sectors. The knowledge base and resource that White Horse Contractors brings to the Group complements perfectly skills, technology and experience in artificial surfacing, civil engineering and project development.

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Top school opts for 3G SISTurf as quality alternative to grass Pupils at Warwick School are celebrating after using their new synthetic 3G SISTurf rugby pitch for the first time. The new facility, which was designed, manufactured, constructed and installed by SIS Pitches, will give all-year round access to training for over 500 pupils across the school’s 35 rugby teams. Warwick School is known for its consistently high level of sporting achievement. More than half of the school’s rugby teams are ranked in the top-10 in the country, with the U18 team holding the national rugby title at U18 level, having previously won the same championship in 2007, 2017

and 2018, and finishing runners-up in 2014. Last year, SIS Pitches custom-made over half a million square metres of synthetic grass for schools, colleges, universities, sports clubs and local authorities in the UK and around the world. SIS Pitches also has a track record of delivering on the world stage, having recently installed hybrid surfaces at venues being used for the World Cup, Club World Cup and Asian Cup, capping a remarkable period of growth. Jon Turnbull, UK Operations Director at SIS Pitches said that how great it was to see so many smiles on the faces of the

pupils at Warwick School. “This kind of surface can make a real difference to the amount of time the children get to play and train outdoors, as it performs well in challenging weather conditions. “Our turf is designed for a variety of sports, including football, rugby, GAA, lacrosse and we are seeing more and more schools and universities turn to 3G surfaces as a high-quality alternative to natural grass.” Tom Pierce, Director of Rugby at Warwick School, said that the school’s rugby players are absolutely loving their brand new pitch. “It has transformed our

winter training and the ability to train into the evening with huge numbers of players on the surface. The installation process was on time and absolutely superb. So far nearly every boy out of 500 rugby players at Warwick School has had access to the pitch and we have played one 1XV match.”

Jacobsen’s commitment to education applauded James Walker, pictured, a graduate of the African Turf Academy in Pretoria, South Africa, has praised Jacobsen for its commitment to education and helping to launch his greenkeeping career. James graduated from the African Turf Academy, which is supported by Jacobsen and the R&A, in 2015. James enjoyed success at the Academy based at the Silver Lakes Golf Estate and won the Student of the Year award in 2015. Three years on, and James is now the assistant greenkeeper at JCB Golf & Country Club, the brand-new 18-hole golf course based at the construction equipment manufacturer’s headquarters in Staffordshire. The African Turf Academy offers an International Greenkeeping Qualification, a two-year full-time programme of study. On completion, students receive an internationally recognised National Certificate in Greenkeeping from Elmwood College in St. Andrews, Scotland.

“I was introduced to Euan Grant at the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio this year. As the general manager at JCB Golf & Country Club, he was looking for greenkeepers; it sounded like an exciting project and something I was keen to be involved in.” Euan said: “As soon as we started to talk, I knew he was exactly the kind of person I wanted at the JCB course. He’s passionate about greenkeeping, extremely hardworking and downto-earth and committed to his own professional development. I would also like to thank Jacobsen for giving people like James the opportunity to enter the turf maintenance profession and supporting the future of the industry,” said Euan. Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019 | 9

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Toro’s the solution for Royal Cromer GC Royal Cromer Golf Club in North Norfolk one of the first club’s in the UK to fully upgrade to a Toro Lynx control system in 2012, Royal Cromer is now halfway through its first five-year agreement plan with Toro machinery, and Course Manager Mark Heveran is delighted with the results. “We’ve been using Lynx for around six years now and it’s just phenomenal. We have around four times the amount of sprinkler heads than we did previously, but we’re using less water. The efficiency is just spot on, which is exactly what we need. We’re in one of the driest parts of the country and our water comes from a borehole with a limited supply, so every drop counts.” Mark added that the club’s members unusually

part-funded the installation through individual loans. “Lynx was an easy recommendation to make to our members, and we have not been let down. So, when the time came three years ago to

commit to a machinery brand, Toro was the logical choice.” For the club, striving to create the perfect playing surface is a real priority, and Toro’s top of the line technology plays a large part in achieving that goal.

“Here at the club we have 650 members, plus a large number of visitors each year, and the main thing that keeps them coming back is the quality of the course. Since being with Toro, the course has continued to improve which has definitely kept everyone happy. With the irrigation system we noticed an improvement in the overall quality of the turf and with the equipment we have now, the course has become much more refined and every detail is attended to.” With the installation of Toro Lynx only the start of a long-term development plan for Mark to create one of the best cliff-top links courses in England, the club is continuing this progression by now looking to expand the irrigation system to cover new teeing complexes and walkways.

Precision spraying from John Deere John Deere is revolutionising spraying applications on amenity turf with the new GPS PrecisionSprayer, available exclusively for use with the ProGator heavyduty utility vehicle. This advanced technology system offers turf professionals a proven, off-the-shelf, integrated John Deere solution for precision spraying. With features such as AutoTrac satellite guided automatic steering, a fullcolour in-cab touchscreen

display and individual nozzle control, the easy-to-use GPS PrecisionSprayer increases application accuracy and consistency, lowers input costs through reduced overlaps and misses, helps protect the environment and increases productivity by reducing operator fatigue. “The GPS PrecisionSprayer offers an innovative solution that allows our customers to be more productive and accurate when maintaining

turf,” said John Deere’s European Turf Sales & Marketing Manager Carlos Aragones. “John Deere boasts over 20 years of GPS experience, which was vital when creating this new sprayer.” Another major benefit is the ability to electronically capture all spray data and analyse the results, which streamlines the documentation process and provides robust analytics for recording and legislation purposes.

Automated documentation also removes the need for manual records and increases accuracy when recording details of all spraying applications.

HOW TO INCREASE APPLICATION ACCURACY British built and designed for optimum manoeuvrability and application accuracy, the Demount Pro sprayer from Team Sprayers is available in a wide choice of specifications and can be built to fit a range of utility vehicles including: the Jacobsen Truckster XD, Cushman Truck, Toro Workman and John Deer ProGator. The Demount Pro was redesigned a few years ago to be shorter and more compact,

making it easier to spray difficult areas and is available with manual, electric folding or covered boom systems, all with break back pivot points to protect the booms from accidental damage from unseen obstacles. The Demount Pro is available with ‘ARAG Bravo Auto-rate Control System’, an operating and control unit, which combines a display, operating system and control

computer in a single housing. “We have seen a rise in demand for the Demount Pro with the ARAG Bravo Auto-rate Control System;

as greenkeepers prioritise precision application due to the results placement accuracy bring,” said Team’s Managing Director Danny Hubbard.

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Invasive weed control in the spotlight Over 60 contractors and invasive weed eradication specialists attended Invasives Science Live – a unique event that showcased the latest research and technological innovations in invasive weed control. The event, held in Cardiff, was hosted by ICL, Complete Weed Control and Green-tech in association with Advanced Invasives, and provided education for delegates to gain a better understanding of chemical performance and various control methods, focussing primarily on Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam. Complete Weed Control Managing Director Ian

Graham introduced the event by offering an insight into the recent trial work with Advanced Invasives – something which the delegates would later explore in more detail at the impressive private trial facility. After lunch, delegates were transported to the nearby trial site where they were separated into three smaller groups in which they visited three specific work stations. Looking at 1. Physical and herbicide control of Himalayan Balsam; 2. Using plant functional traits to enhance recovery of invader-dominated habitats and 3. the Bayer

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Stump Treatment Trial. “We feel that this is one of the first steps in what will be a very long process in establishing facts relating to invasive weeds and we look forward to inviting guests back to the site and ensuring the work started continues,” explained Ian. Professor John Moverley OBE, Chairman of the Amenity Forum, felt that the day had been very interesting. “The control of Japanese Knotweed is a major issue. It’s been a great opportunity to see first-hand different approaches and some of the complexities that are involved in this level of control.”

PRICE TURFCARE IN TOP SPOT Price Turfcare, the UK and Ireland distributor of the Ventrac multi-implement compact tractor and Ryan turf maintenance equipment, certainly selected a prime position at the revamped BTME. Managing Director, Rupert Price was particularly upbeat about his location. “We chose a location in one of the walkways that linked the Purple and Green zones and it worked exceptionally well for us. Many people asked if we were late booking our space, as it was a slightly unusual position, but this was a deliberate decision that paid off brilliantly. “This is the third time that we have attended the show. Nobody really knew of us back then, but now they come onto the stand and say that they’ve seen us on social media or in the press and they want to see the equipment in the flesh, so to speak.”

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Tea Break Teaser How much do we know about the rest of Europe now we are, as I write, supposed to be leaving at the end of March… 1. What is the name of the racecourse in Paris which hosts the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe? 2. The Champions’ League theme music is an adaptation of which Handel piece? 3. Which country will host the 2022 Ryder Cup? 4. How many times has Rafael Nadal won the French Open? 5. Who was the last nonBritish cyclist to win the Tour de France? 6. Which was the last team outside of Real Madrid or Barcelona to win the Champions’ League? 7. Which was the first home nation Italy defeated in the Six Nations Championship? 8. Which team did GB&I defeat in the final to win the Davis Cup? 9. Who are the current women’s hockey World Champions? 10. Who was the first continental player to win the PFA Player of the Year Award in 1993-94? 11. Three Scottish teams have won UEFA European trophies. Can you name them? 12. Which stadium do Inter Milan and AC Milan share? 13. How many times have France won the Five or Six Nations Grand Slam? 14. Whose name has been given to the main Roland Garros tennis court? 15. Who won the UEFA European Championship? Answers on page 49 Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019 | 13


“If I put the seed down two weeks before we are racing…

…I absolutely know that in ideal conditions we are going to get the germination and establishment that is required,” 14 | Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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says Adrian Kay, York Racecourse


As a long-term user of Limagrain grass seed, Adrian Kay, Head Groundsman at York Racecourse, believes that an improvised MM25 mixture gives him the confidence to keep the course to an exceptionally high standard all year round. Adrian, the man in charge of keeping York Racecourse ahead of the pack, has been the head groundsman for 12 years. He joined York from Aintree Racecourse in 2006 and two years later was instrumental in a huge ÂŁ2.6 million track development project. As part of the project, significant drainage works were carried out in order to remove and keep water at bay from the surface, which is situated on an old river bed and flood plain. Although }

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} that project was undertaken over

nine years ago, Adrian and his team still continue to focus their attention on maintaining and improving the surface and primary drainage. It could be argued that Adrian is somewhat of an industry pioneer as he continues to adopt new methods, particularly in his decision to embrace the Koro process in order to strip the top of the surface and remove all vegetation and rootzone – something which is practically unheard of in horse racing turf maintenance. As a result, Adrian admits that whichever grass seed he uses, he must have full confidence that it is going to provide him with exceptional results and guarantee a fast return to usability. “I’ve been using Limagrain seed for about 16 years now and I’ve got every confidence in the seed. I used MM25 when I was at Aintree and then

“We use the same mix for repairs on the track as well which we apply after every race meeting.”

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we played around with the mixture here at York to suit our renovations. “The mixture we use consists of 50% Tetraploid Perennial Rye, 30% Diploid and 20% Slender Creeping Red Fescue – and it’s treated with Headstart® Gold. It’s a perfect mixture here for what we are trying to achieve and occasionally we use 100% Tetraploid when we are carrying out our renovations.” With the race season at York finishing in mid-October, Adrian typically uses this period to start his renovations. Although renovating this late in the year can present certain challenges, Adrian believes that his Limagrain mixture ensures a smooth process. “We normally begin our renovations in October after the race season, which is sometimes not ideal, but we have full confidence in the Limagrain mixture that it will begin to germinate. “This year renovations were very late with the seed being sown in early November. Unfortunately for us, we then had an extreme winter with Beast from the East followed by a very wet start to the spring. However, the track couldn’t have looked better with a very good coverage of new grass ready for the first meeting on 16th May – this really is testament

to the quality of the seed.” Racecourses have to withstand a high degree of damage from horses over a whole season which means that selecting the right mixture for renovation and divot repair is vitally important. Adrian’s tailored mixture provides him with a dense hard wearing surface which offers quick germination and provides cushioning in the bottom of the sward. Adrian says, the mixture which is treated with Headstart® Gold – Limagrain’s unique seaweed based seed treatment helps to ensure rapid and even germination. This treatment helps the seed get off to the best possible start – something which Adrian has been quick to notice. “I use Limagrain because of the attributes of germination, establishment and the quality of leaf. If I put the seed down two weeks before we are racing, I absolutely know that in ideal conditions we are going to get the germination and establishment that is required. “For me, it’s a year round product that I use. We use the same mix for repairs on the track as well which we apply after every race meeting. It really is the full package.”

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Better opportunities for seed to take The Terra Float Air – Wiedenmann UK’s distinctive-looking pneumatic surface conditioner and overseeder – provides frequent and better opportunities for seed to take. Thanks to finitely accurate electronic static calibration, quantities as low as 1.0 g / m² can be achieved. Less wastage and a precise measure bring greater flexibility. The Terra Float Air with its proven accuracy lets the customer go after the best windows of opportunity and many report that they can go ‘little and often’ when it suits. So nipping out when conditions are right and laying down small amounts is now possible. The memory function on the control pad stores input and calibration data for the next use making record keeping easier, too.

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Seed is a valuable commodity and the Air’s accurate calibrations give customers peace of mind that suggested rates are actually delivered. The set up actually combines three units in one. A base unit aerates or

loosens soil to 30 mm using either spikes or fine slits. Then the topmounted pneumatic air seeder assures a receptive seed bed either pre or post top dressing. Finally, a brush and roller combination incorporates }

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DLF overcomes challenges to produce high purity standards

} the seed and top dressing materials to the ground before smoothing the surface. The Air also has an assured performance on undulations with good forward speed and leaves a very clean surface. Several different seed dosing rollers are available to meet varying customer requirements. These range from pure bent seed rollers to a fescue/rye mix and anything in between. Different rollers also offer a range of rates from 1.0 g/m² to 45.0 g/m². Distribution is uniform via the air flow and deflector system. The Terra Float Air has a working width of 1.6 m and capacity to make 1,500 holes or 500 slits per m².


Head of Corporate Product Management Mette Jespersen

Following two years of research and investment, DLF will launch the new ‘DLF Select’ quality programme and seed range for the 2019 season. In a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve high purity standards, DLF have developed a new programme within their production chain to safeguard quality and ensure they remain the }

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} preferred, reliable, supplier to the top turf managers worldwide. Environmental factors and changes in pesticide regulations have brought increasing challenges to those trying to achieve clean surfaces. DLF field consultants, working closely together with specially selected growers, have identified the cleanest fields to grow and harvest only the purest crops to produce ‘00’ and ‘S’ purity rated seed. DLF Select ‘00’ quality guarantees the highest purity based on a standard ISTA analysis. In a standard sample

“Being able to offer the Select purity standards in a selection of DLF varieties provides turf managers with the confidence that all steps have been taken to ensure the quality and purity of the seed lot.”

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of the ‘00’ quality grass seed, 0.0% of other seeds are found. For even further reassurance, a 10x sample search is performed for the ‘S’ grade. The superior ‘S1’ standard guarantees the result of 0.0% other seeds, while ‘S2’ indicates no coarse grasses, with only traces of non-harmful dicot species. Besides the mentioned Select purity grades, DLF also offer professional ‘A1’ & ‘A2’ grades for the amenity market, that offer a vast improvement on the baseline EU purity rules and standards. Head of Corporate Product Management Mette Jespersen has spearheaded the programme. “DLF Select has seen major work and investment through all levels of planning, growing, harvesting, cleaning and logistics to secure the delivery of the purest seed to our customers. We have introduced new procedures throughout the process including separate storage to avoid any potential contamination and specialised cleaning departments. The post-clean ISTA certified analysis then ensures that the seed is labelled with the correct quality grade. We have also provided additional training to our growers on best practice and cleaning operators in seed recognition, while hi-


tech cameras have been installed over cleaning lines to identify contaminants and analyse seed samples.” She adds, “Being able to offer the Select purity standards in a selection of DLF varieties provides turf managers with the confidence that all steps have been taken to ensure the quality and purity of the seed lot.”


Scott MacCallum caught up with Ben Hastie, the man with the toughest job in turf maintenance as he prepared for…

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There is some debate about which sporting turf suffers the greatest damage when hosting the particular event for which it has been so lovingly prepared. Rugby Union has a case to be made, with 16 men mountains pushing against each other in modern day scrums, exerting tonnes of pressure onto the turf. Motocross is another, while cross country running, with a huge field of competitors on a wet day, leaves quite an impression. But there is one sport, and one event in particular, which undoubtedly comes out on top in the damage to turf stakes. The Cheltenham Festival is hands-down the winner, and Head Groundsman, Ben Hastie, is the man who has to watch turf, he has spent 12 months lovingly nurturing, being churned up on a scale which would have most turf professionals breaking out in a cold sweat and seeking out the nearest padded cell. And no, I’m not talking about the turf which braces itself for the influx of thousands of beer-drinking punters to the Guinness Village. Although the shortest routes to the various bars do take quite a pounding. Ben and his team ensure that the 28 races over the four days of the

Festival take place on track which is as safe, and aesthetically pleasing, as is possible. With an average of 120 horses each day, every one equipped with four legs and four mighty hooves, on ground which can range from fast and firm to good soft and, soft and heavy, it’s certainly no easy task. “I would say that horses, given the weight and speed that they are travelling, cause more damage to turf than in other sports,” said Ben, as we spoke a month, before the Festival. “We can have the course looking absolutely perfect and just one horse running round can make it look like a churned field. Last year we had ground which was soft, heavy in places and the hoof prints were going in literally a foot. It is hard work for the horses but hard work for us too to get the track back in shape for the next race,” said Ben, recalling the meeting which took place in the middle of the Beast from the East, about which more later. So, how does the Cheltenham team ensure that the stage – watched by 70,000 visitors each day and many millions more on television screens across the world and often described as “The Greatest Show on Turf” – is at its best for each one of the races? “Our racing season starts with a

“I have a team of 50 treaders, supplied by an outside contractor, which goes out with forks and treads in each hoof print, flipping it back and making it as level as possible.” – BEN HASTIE

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meeting in October but prior to that I’ve already identified an area of saved ground for every bit of the track which then doesn’t get run on until the Festival. It means the ground we use at the Festival in March hasn’t been run on for a whole year. If we experience poor conditions we also have the option of moving the rail to protect ground, something which we can do here because, like the likes of Aintree and Ascot, we are bigger than most courses and our track is wider,” said Ben. “In terms of stability that is a massive help to us, while we make good use of germination sheets to attract a bit more light and heat to specific areas. We are also constantly seeding and over-seeding when conditions allow while we have a system which allows us to pre-germinate to get the seed to ‘chit’ a little bit earlier to get it advanced from where it would be normally. We find that is a big help.” The team is also road testing lighting rigs, specifically for the winners’ enclosure. “The enclosure sits behind the stand and while that’s ok in the summer when the sun is high, during the Festival it doesn’t get sunlight and heat. After each race the first four come into the winners’ enclosure with the rest going to the unsaddling enclosure, which has an astroturf surface so we don’t need to worry about that. However, the winners’ enclosure is turf and with four horses for each of the 28 races having buckets of water thrown over them to cool down and walking around trampling the soaking wet turf we do struggle with it. So we are testing the lighting rigs to see if this will help improve this area. “We are constantly thinking about what we can do to help weak areas. We are a winter sport and the sun is just not high enough to make a difference when we need it. Fences never move and the take off and landing areas tend to get a lot of damage so trying to get these areas to come back when soil temperatures are very low is a bit of an issue. That’s the reason we have the saved ground,” he explained. There are 16 racing days a year at Cheltenham but the racecourse is never quiet with something on most days, ranging from pony racing to music festivals – complete with campers – and charity runs. As to the race days themselves they are full on with a race every half an hour, split across the two

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courses – the Old and the New – the New generally hosts the steeplechase races and the Old the hurdle races. To cope, Ben’s regular team of 12 is inflated considerably for regular race meetings and even more so for the Festival. “I have a team of 50 treaders, supplied by an outside contractor, which goes out with forks and treads in each hoof print, flipping it back and making it as level as possible. The team splits up around the course into groups of two or three and they each cover around 100 yards of track until they arrive at where the next team started. “As soon as racing is finished for the day the team is straight out with soil

and seed and fill every single hoof print created that day. The job is usually finished in the morning because of lack of light. In some conditions you get hooves going in up to a foot, theseThe holes are filled with soil so the horses for the next races have a level playing field. It’s so important for the safety to horse and rider. “Sometimes we will use a ring roller and roll in front of the team pushing some of the divots back into place to give them a bit of a hand but generally it’s all done with their feet and a fork.” For a regular meeting, Ben marshals a staff of between 90 and 100, while at the Festival this grows to around 130. “During Tthe Festival we bring in


teams from other racecourses including Aintree, Nottingham, Warwick and Wincanton. It’s really good for the guys from the smaller courses as it allows them to see how a big event is run, but it is also great for me because I know that they know what they are doing because they do the job every single day. They are a massive help for me. We are a big area and I need eyes and ears everywhere,” said Ben, who added that three weeks after the Festival he and some of his team go and help out at Aintree for the Grand National. So, in many ways, for the week of the Festival Ben is in a similar position to a Golf Course Manager during The Open Championship } Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019 | 25


} or at the Ryder Cup when there is

an army of people to manage. “I won’t be able to speak with every one of them every day but we have a briefing meeting at the beginning of the week and the treaders are split into teams of 10 with a team leader for each and I speak with them. “I have a really good Assistant Head, Tim Fewster, and he works closely with all the teams. Even when the ground conditions are really good there is still plenty of work to be done looking after the fences and the like. During a race many things can happen, when I’m in other areas of the course so I rely of them to be able to resolve any issues which might come up.” A Festival day for Ben begins at 5.30am when he meets Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse, and between them they walk the course, checking for any going changes and discussing any other issues which may need resolving before racing begins. “I’m then managing the guys and making sure jobs are being

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done. I’ve got my own office but I’m more likely to be out on the course checking the gallops and making sure that everything is going to be ready for racing. “When the racing does start I’m part of the following team – along with the ambulances, doctors, vets and TV cameras – making sure that every horse and rider is safe. My main job on race day is ensuring that the courses is safe and that every horse and rider comes back safely. So long as that happens it doesn’t matter what the results have been. That’s a successful day for me.” After each race Ben will talk to a few of the jockeys to check how they think the ground is riding while he is often grabbed by jockeys who have lost a whip and want someone to go and find it for them. “They lose whips quite often,” revealed Ben. Cheltenham has 24 fences split over the two courses around twice as many as most courses, while there is also the cross country course which is used during two other meetings in addition to the one race during the Festival. “The Cheltenham fence builder, Keith Jones, has been here 35 years and his assistant, John Close, has been here 15 years. It is very much a job where you learn from the one before.” Both Keith and John are kept busy 12 months of the year with the


“I live on site, so the job is 24 hours a day. I do go home and watch the racing from the previous year to make sure I’ve got everything where it should be, and before I go to bed I’m thinking about what I need to do the next day. I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to it” fences before rebuilt from scratch on a two yearly cycle – 12 each year. Each one boasts a solid oak base dressed with birch which is shaped and cut to the regulation British Horseracing Authority specification. For the Festival, Ben likes to have everything race-ready two weeks before hand just in case there are any last minute hitches. However, last year, thanks to the aforementioned Beast from the East, those hitches came in the shape of snow – loads of it. “Ten days before the Festival we were under three feet of snow and that caused us a big issue. We were pretty sure that it would melt and that we’d be ok but it would mean areas would have more water going on than we would want. It had to be taken off by hand.”

That partly answers the next question, but it was a question which did seem a little bit weird, given that it was asked the day after equine flu was discovered and racing nationwide was put on hold. The newspapers were full of the potential threat to Cheltenham, had the epidemic spread Fortunately it was contained and racing started again within the week. That question? What gives you sleepless nights? “It is mainly the weather. We know we can’t change it, but it does keep me awake at night because there are things that we’d like to do but can’t because the weather won’t allow it. “I live on site, so the job is 24 hours a day. I do go home and watch the racing from the previous year to make sure I’ve got everything where it should be, and } Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019 | 27


} before I go to bed I’m thinking about what I need to do the next day. I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to it,” said Ben, who started as a golf greenkeeper at Cherwell Edge Golf Club in Banbury before moving to Kirtklington Golf Club before a chance to take his love of horse racing into his professional life when a job came up at Cheltenham. Racing is a close kit society and Ben is a regular at the Head Groundsman Seminars which bring

“When we get positive comments about the track, how it looks and how it rides, it makes me and the team hugely proud of what we have achieved.”

them all together on a regular basis. “I get on really well with the other Head Groundsmen. We are having a seminar at Sandown next week and a day at Wimbledon where Neil (Stubley) will be looking after us.” In many ways the difference between Head Groundsman at Flat and National Hunt courses are much greater than those of links Course Managers and parkland Course Managers in golf, and in more ways than the flat guys can carry out their day to day work in shorts and the National Hunt guys in thermals. “In summer we don’t irrigate at all while flat courses are being irrigated constantly because they want to produce safe ground. We don’t have any horses running in summer so we don’t need to worry about the going. We actually want to let the course crack in the summer so that it self aerates and lets the roots go a bit deeper in search of water. It also means that we keep our water supply for when we need it from October onwards.” There is another real plus as

well for Ben and the team. “It also means that we can all get our holidays during the summer!” Speaking with Ben he doesn’t need to mention, although he does, that he gets up every morning with a spring in his step, never failing to look forward to what work is going to bring him that day. He is genuinely someone for whom you feel believes he has one of the best jobs in the world. “In terms of National Hunt we are the biggest course in the country, if not the world, and from that point of view there is no other job I’d rather have. “During the Festival we’re in the papers all the time and we will have 70,000 people each day and many more on TV and I do think that I’ve had a large part to play in making it happen. “When we get positive comments about the track, how it looks and how it rides, it makes me and the team hugely proud of what we have achieved.” And so they should as, after all, it is “The Greatest Show on Turf”.

Turf Matters Forum – have your say 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 Turf Matters Forum. How can I take part? You need to register to use the forum. It’s a simple process that will let you post and reply across all the topics. Just go to the website address below…

www.turfmatters.co.uk/forum 28 | Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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Sherriff’s Marathon is tenacious for Trojans Heavy usage on the sports pitches at the Trojan Club, in Eastleigh, Hampshire, means that Head Groundsman, Dave Edwards, needs to ensure the turf stands up to the rigours of winter sports. It is for this reason he chooses Sherriff Amenity’s Marathon Sport extended release fertilisers. Trojan is one of the largest amateur sports clubs in Hampshire and has a long history of playing sport at a high level including rugby, hockey, squash, cricket and football. Tasked with ensuring the quality and safety of the sports pitches is Dave Edwards, who aside from the help of volunteers two days a week, tends to the large site alone. Dave has been in the turf industry for the entirety of his career and after a nine year spell as a groundsman at AFC Bournemouth, he went onto positions at Iford Golf Club, Christchurch F.C and Meyrick Park Golf Club before accepting the role of Head Groundsman at Trojan two and a half years ago. It was in his previous employment that he first became acquainted with Sherriff Amenity’s Marathon Sport extended release fertilisers. “I had previous experience of using the Marathon range and especially when I was at the football grounds – I didn’t really use anything else. I thought they were good slow release products which lasted an incredibly long time. In my opinion there are a lot of slow release products out there which are hit and miss and it can be a bit of a lottery but I was impressed with the Marathon range. In summer, the pitches used to really kick on when using them for 30 | Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019

the end of season renovations, so when I started here I thought it made sense to start using them again.” The Marathon range is characterised by a balance of nutrients, the analyses of each product being geared to a specific growth stage or season. With five existing products in the Marathon Sport range – Autumn, Pre-Seed, Spring, Summer, Lawn Mini Pack– there truly is a solution for every requirement, no matter what the time of year. Across the four rugby pitches, Dave’s maintenance programme sees him start the season with the Summer mixture 10.0.15, which he applies at 35g/m2 before turning to the Marathon Sport Autumn 7.0.21 to ensure good grass coverage over winter. Just through these two applications, Dave believes that it is all he needs to ensure the turf stays strong and healthy all year round. “The products are very good in respect of providing the turf with a lovely colour and they are extremely hard wearing – it keeps the grass looking healthy but toughens it up as well which is what we need for the amount of usage. The pitches are used approximately 6-7 days a week through the winter and the slow release gives us great longevity, it doesn’t tail off after a few weeks. “Overall, I would say that the Marathon Sport fertilisers are great value for money without a shadow of a doubt. The customer service I receive from Sherriff Amenity is also fantastic; I always get products on time and my representative David Evans is full of advice and very supportive.”

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Headland Amenity launch fertilisers and herbicide at BTME BTME saw the introduction of three new products to the Headland Amenity range of speciality fertilisers and chemicals for golf and sports turf. The new additions include H-Cote and Protec Plus fertilisers and a tripleactive selective herbicide, Columbus. H-Cote controlled release fertilisers are a new range of mini-granular fertilisers, designed to fill the gap between traditional outfield and fine turf products. The 150 SGN mini granules are easy to apply and rapidly dissipate into closemown turf. The product’s three to four month longevity is due to the inclusion of high levels (70-91%) of controlled release nitrogen from Poly sulphur coated urea, providing release characteristics that are gentle and sustained, with minimal risk of flushing or excessive growth. The three formulations, 22-3-8, 15-5-12 and 10-5-14 all feature iron and magnesium for strength and colour and have all

performed outstandingly in trials. Protec Plus liquid fertilisers feature slow-release nitrogen from a unique liquid source of methylene-urea. The particularly low salt index of this material renders the finished products extremely safe to apply even under extremes of hot/dry weather and contributes to a consistent, reliable and long-lasting turf response. The Protec Plus range also features three formulations, 28-0-0, 15-0-12 and 16-4-8, each containing good levels of slow-release nitrogen. Headland’s new triple-active selective herbicide Columbus is formulated from Clopyralid, Fluorxypyr and MCPA for control of a broad spectrum of common turf weeds. Its unique micro-emulsion formulation provides enhanced herbicidal activity to help ensure good control, with treated areas able to be re-seeded from as little as eight weeks after application.


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H2Pro TriSmart makes a difference at The West Lancashire GC

Stuart Hogg, Course Manager, with ICL’s Phil Collinson

Stuart Hogg, Course Manager at The West Lancashire Golf Club, believes that ICL’s H2Pro TriSmart provides him with everything he requires from a wetting agent. Founded in 1873 and featured in the top 100 golf courses in Great Britain, The West Lancashire Golf Club is one of England’s truest seaside tests. There are few golfers who come away from this revered links course, midway between Liverpool and Formby, in any doubt that every aspect of their game has been suitably examined. “The West Lancashire Golf Club is an amazing place to work. It is steeped in history and very well respected. You don’t appreciate how close the course is to the sea until you come and see it,” said Stuart. Stuart, who has been in greenkeeping for just over 30 years,

has been the Course Manager for four years and has worked exclusively at Links courses throughout his career. “Does the sea bring challenges? No, because having grown up on Links courses I’m used to it. However, we probably dry out a lot quicker, we get wind burn, we get salt burn and we have to be more mindful of height of cuts. “Choosing products that can work to fit our circumstances is the key. I’ve had a lot of experience with different products and I believe in finding an optimum product range. For me, that is predominantly ICL.” The most recent addition to Stuart’s range of ICL products is the H2Pro TriSmart wetting agent, but it was a decision that he did not take lightly. “I used to use a different wetting agent and there was nothing really

wrong with it except I felt it was perhaps just holding a bit of moisture in the top. The decision to change to TriSmart could have come back to bite me but Phil Collinson, ICL’s North West Technical Area Sales Manager, had every confidence in it.” Containing three water management technologies consisting of surfactant and polymer blends, TriSmart is renowned for providing great water penetration and an even water spread through the rootzone. Stuart starts the programme at the end of February and applies TriSmart at a rate of 10L/ha every four to five weeks, depending on weather, until the end of July. Last year, he applied TriSmart to all of the greens and surrounds, which equates to an area size of four hectares, but due to the successful results the areas for treatment is set to increase significantly. “With TriSmart I believe I got everything I was looking for in a wetting agent,” said Stuart. “Considering the season we encountered; we had improved rooting and I believe that was due to the fact that TriSmart was pulling the soil moisture down a little bit more. I also didn’t have to hand-water those areas at all. “This year we will be increasing the applications of TriSmart to use it on the greens, surrounds and now the fairways – we will be going from using it on a unit size of four hectares up to 16 hectares. “Ultimately the club has backed me because I have shown them the difference TriSmart can make.”

RIGBY TAYLOR SUGGESTS WAYS TO KICK START YOUR SEASON Rigby Taylor has introduced Cold Start Boost-R 11-5-5 +8 Fe + O.8 MgO as a true cold

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start fertiliser that provides turf with nitrogen in cold conditions, in conjunction

with a rapid colour boost. Effective at temperatures of 5 degrees C, Cold Start Boost-R will prepare the plant for the spring, greatly improve early season colour and assist in combating turf disease attack while enabling grounds staff to produce playing surfaces that continue to meet expectations. With a nitrate and high iron content, as well as magnesium for increased colour, Cold Start

Boost-R also includes zeolite to reduce leaching and improve cation exchange capacity There are three-fold benefits of the use of magnesium compared to formulations containing just nitrate and iron. Magnesium allows the plant takes to up nitrate when it is photosynthesising, even at cold temperatures, naturally provides colour and increases the plant’s ability to utilise iron.

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Biostimulants provide full season heath management

Stephen Olive, right, Technical Support for Arysta LifeScience UK & Ireland

From establishment to recovery, a full season approach to turf health management is now available, following the launch of two new biostimulant products by Arysta LifeScience. Tonivit and Double Edge join existing product Goemar Turf to form a triple pronged approach to turf management, offering bespoke solutions for three different stages of sward development. “Together, these three products complement each other as a programme, but also individually offer solutions for specific uses through the season, whether that’s establishing newly seed turf, improving overall health status, or boosting recovery following high traffic activity,” said Technical Support for Arysta LifeScience UK & Ireland, Stephen Olive. “Manufactured to the same standard as our traditional crop protection products, our biostimulants are highly concentrated thanks to the development of a refined

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cold-press extraction process at our manufacturing plant in St. Malo, France. This means the application rate for all three products is between just 1 and 3L/ha.” Aimed at the establishment of turf is Tonivit – a new biostimulant formulated from natural GA142 seaweed extract with added P & K. It activates root growth, root activity & tillering to quickly establish a stronger sward for newly seeded or re-seeded areas. The effect of Tonivit on emergence speed is demonstrated through trials, which have shown that newly sown leys treated with the product reach 70% sward density three weeks earlier than those untreated. Central to the range is existing product Goemar Turf, formulated from GA142 with added MgO, Cu & N. This is designed to improve the overall health and maintenance of turf, particularly for areas of aesthetic value such as golf courses.

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Never been more important to keep the plant as healthy as possible Foliar nutrition is fast becoming a crucial part of maintaining turf, lawns, sports pitches and other amenity areas. The added pressure of tighter deadlines, NVZ’s and narrowing weather windows, coupled with the desire for faster results have concreted their place within any spray program. Agrigem has a well-developed range of granular, liquid and soluble fertilisers, which range from liquid suspensions to soluble NPKs with added trace elements and traditional granular formulations. There are various analysis available in varying pack sizes; ‘Nutri-flo’, is available in anything from a 5L to 1,000L IBC, while the ‘Nutri-grow’ soluble range is available in 25kg bags. The traditional granular fertilisers range from lower nutrient analyses such as 4-0-4 plus 9% Fe all the way up to 12 month release products with an analysis of 46-0-0 and the advantage of these over foliar feeds is the time taken for the nutrient to be released. A conventional

release fertiliser will allow the target plant to be fed for around four to six weeks and some will even keep releasing nutrient for 12 months. In comparison, a foliar applied fertiliser will generally have run its course in three to four weeks at the most. The biggest advantage of foliar feeds over a granular is the time in which it takes for nutrition to enter the plant. Typically foliar applied Nitrogen will start to be absorbed into the plant in the first hour after application. This can deliver overnight results, compared with granular products that can take up to two weeks to see an improvement within the plant. Some granulars also have the potential of leeching into water courses and, with talk of NVZ rulings coming into the Amenity sector, this could be a real issue. With ever changing pesticide rulings, it has never been more important to keep the plant as healthy as possible to see off pest and disease infestations. The understanding

of trace elements has meant they have become more routinely applied, although it is vital to know exactly what your grass requires. A leaf tissue or soil analysis will tell you what is available and what is deficient. All Abrigem’s liquids and soluble fertilisers have been compatibility tested to ensure they can be used in various tank mixes with herbicides, growth regulators, insecticides and fungicide treatments.

The biggest advantage of foliar feeds over a granular is the time in which it takes for nutrition to enter the plant.

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Will it be sparks that make the clippings fly? Although detractors continue to focus upon the perceived weakness of mowers employing electric, and to a degree hybrid electric power, change is in the air. Battery technology has advanced, electric motors have become more efficient and control software is both more robust and ‘intelligent’ now than it was. But is this enough for you to embrace electric or hybrid electric power? Battery powered greens mowers may have been available before the 1990s launch of Jacobsen E-Walk 100 electric greens mower and the Ransomes E-Plex but it can be argued it was these mowers helped trigger wider interest among professional users. Then there was the 2005 launch of the John Deere 2500E E-Cut hybrid ride-on greens mower. This particular mower promoted a number of advantages to include the ability to deliver precise and repeatable speeds for the cutting units. Further, the 2500E E-Cut was claimed to offer improved fuel economy when compared to its all-hydraulic 2500B Precision-Cut diesel hydraulic alternative. That said, for some it was consistent quality of cut that helped the 2500E win over those who perhaps were wary of switching for proven hydraulics to electric motors to drive the cutting units. By 2010, Deere suggested its hybrid and allhydraulic ride on models were selling in pretty even numbers in the UK. Now fast forward to 2019. Full electric and hybrid mowers are no longer big news but, just as in the automotive world, there are those of us who would prefer to just stick with what we know, a petrol or diesel engine driving cylinders and wheels via a mechanical or hydraulic system. But change is in the air. In the same way that the much talked about move away from proven diesel and petrol to

James de Havilland gives his thoughts on the advance of the electric or hybrid mower revolution. Hybrid electric technology viable, says John Deere John Deere sees hybrid electric technology as a viable solution for golf course customers, hence the industry leading introduction in 2005 of the 2500E greens mower at BTME. The energy-efficient hybrid electric drive system is now utilised on five pedestrian and ride-on greens and fairway mowers in the John Deere range for 2019/2020, including the new 2750E triplex launched at Harrogate

in January. This innovative technology is designed to reduce not just hydraulic leaks and noise levels but also engine emissions, fuel consumption and operating costs. “We will continue to see more hybrid electric solutions in the John Deere range using the same approach, based on electric drive to the mower reels,” says John Deere Limited turf division manager Chris Meacock (pictured). “It’s

hybrid and full electric cars is a precursor to warming us up to accepting full electric power at some point. And guess what? The same could be true of mowers in the not too distant future too. Full electric and hybrid technology in the automotive sector is evolving fast. Mower manufactures can tap into this. Why will be largely boiled down to efficiency and reducing emissions. An electric motor only consumes power when needed and delivers high torque right from start up. The speed at which the motor spins can be finely tuned and controlled to match a given application, potentially boosting overall efficiency. With a professional cylinder mower, the ability for the precise control of the cutting unit can be used to deliver

true that conventional hydraulic drive is still the more cost effective option if you’re looking purely at price, but as the technology develops and improves, electric models will begin to match the higher power levels produced by hydraulic drive and be able to manage a wider range of tasks on the golf course, such as those requiring hydraulically driven mower attachments.”

a repeatably consistent clip rate. An electric or hybrid mower can be set-up so it will consistently deliver exactly the same performance across all fine turf and with different operators. But what about whole life costs? In terms of ‘fuel’ use, a lithium battery powered greens mower can cover, for arguments sake, around 9 greens per charge. It could be more for a course with small greens and obviously less for large greens, but these mowers have far more stamina than some suggest. As to fuel cost per green, it remains in pence not pounds. That is all well and good, but how long do the expensive lithium ion batteries favoured on full battery powered models last before they degrade? If } Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019 | 37


} your experience of this battery type is

with the item used to power a mobile ‘phone, the chances are you will be rather wary. But these are the wrong items to consider. A better marker is the batteries employed in modern brushless power tools. Experience suggests the small batteries in these tools hold a decent charge over a number of charge cycles and with it a few years of hard use. What does this have to do with a lithium ion battery powered mower? Nothing directly but it does suggest this battery type can deliver decent performance over an extended period. Compare this to a deep cycle lead acid battery, as used on the first electric mowers and in continued service with electric buggies and utility vehicles, and you expect a pretty steep level of degradation. Modern lithium ion batteries are not the same and have a considerably longer working life, intelligent battery chargers and power management software all having helped improve performance and longevity. Although a number of electric powered mowers target the golf sector, Allett have been in the broader fine turf and sports sector for a long time too, the company’s original ELMOW electric fine-turf mower launched nearly a decade ago benefiting from advances made in lead-acid battery, motor and controller technology. The considerably more advanced Allett C34 EVOLUTION cylinder mower now on offer is more advanced. Delivering a 34in cut, this fully electric mower can be fitted with up to four 4Ah lithium ion batteries that, it is claimed, can be charged from ‘flat to full’ in around an hour. With the original ELMOW, a key aim was to develop a mower that matched a high quality finish with near silent operation. An added plus was low Hand Arm Vibration. The C34 EVOLUTION builds upon this by adding ease of operation and set up to the mix. It is also interesting to note how electric power could well lead to greater mower simplicity. The Cub-

Warrington GC embraces new technology Warrington Golf Club has embraced electric and hybrid power. Pictured is the Toro TriFlex 3420 hybrid triple mower cutting the aprons, with two of the club’s eFlex 2100 braving the rain to mow the greens. “We chose three Toro Greensmaster eFlex 2100 electric pedestrian mowers as

they are so quiet and allow us to cut the greens before 7 o’clock, which had previously not been possible. The extremely quiet operating experience and their contour following design has worked fantastically well on our undulating site,” said John McLoughlin, Course Manager.

Infinicut fixed head uses battery power Available in 22”, 26”, 30” and 34” cutting widths, the newly launched fixed head INFINICUT FX joins the existing Cub-Cadet INFINICUT FL system mower. Drawing power from a lithium ion battery, these mowing systems can swap between a range

of SMARTCut cassettes to aerate, brush, de-thatch, scarify, top-dress, groom, level and of course mow with the basic power unit. The FX also offers the ability to parallel the whole machine on the rear traction roller to keep the machine cutting true.

Jacobsen mower set up via LCD screen Jacobsen have serious form when it comes to both full electric and hybrid mower development, to include the first full electric ride-on model, the Eclipse 322, back in 2010 and now offered in hybrid form as the Eclipse 322 Hybrid. Like the pictured ECLIPSE2 pedestrian mower, these models major upon the

ability to manage the cutting unit to deliver a repeatable high quality of cut across multiple greens. This is achieved by setting up the mower via an LCD screen, access to this having password protection. This ensures that once the mower is set up it cannot be altered by the operator.

Cadet INFINICUT mowing system is designed to allow a range of different cassette systems to be slotted into the basic ‘power unit’, the electric drive motor simply clipping on and off the selected unit for speedy swaps. It is a really interesting design. A decade ago, the use of electric cylinder greens motors really started

to gain ground. It is fair to say some of the first electric and hybrid mowers delivered all that they promised in some instances, but as user and maintenance experience has grown, electric drive is both more familiar and becoming the new normal. If you have yet to try an electric or hybrid mower, you could be missing out.

AS Motor mulching mowers cut and chop as it goes AS Motor mulching mowers allow timesaving care for lawns – the grass is cut and remains in place. Achieve outstanding results with mowers that cut and chop the grass while pushing it into the ground as

fertiliser – with the AS 510, you can even cut medium height grass in a timesaving manner. The special feather steel blade inside the stable mulching bell splits the grass so thinly, that time consuming

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grass collection is not necessary. Thanks to its perfectly balanced, stable and light weight design, you can mow away effortlessly. When mulching, the grass is first cut several times and then whirled like in a fan

to the top, only to be pushed in the same process immediately down to the bottom. The cut grass is so finely shredded that it simply disappears between the stems left standing and then quickly rots and turns

into fertiliser. Advantages of mulching include cutting, maintaining and fertilising in one process; no collection bag, no disposal of the cuttings; improves the quality; and protects it from drying out.

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ATCO’s ultimate roller mower ATCO have been manufacturing fine quality lawnmowers since 1921 and the brand is synonymous with its range of roller mower. The Liner 22SH BBC tops this range and is packed with innovations including Blade Brake Clutch technology, that makes it the ultimate roller mower for both homeowners and professional users. The BBC enables the disengagement of the drive to the blade when the user releases the safety handle. The benefits of this feature are that you can empty the grass collector without having to re-start the engine, and as the blade is stationary you can power the machine between lawns without worrying about any damage you may do to connecting ground or of course picking up dangerous debris with the rotating blade. Fitted with a 163cc Honda

GXV160 engine, the large diameter steel rear roller is driven by a heavy duty Hi-Torque cone clutch transmission which provides a smooth acceleration through a range of cutting speeds. Featuring state of the art cutting technology, the Twinclip blade has four cutting edges instead of two to make tackling the grass an effortless task. The leading edge reduces the initial length of grass with the following edge cutting the finished length down to the desired height. The extra finely cut clippings are blown into the large 80 litre collector and deliver a typical 20% increase in collection capacity. The chassis is a unique hybrid design with a galvanised and powder coated deep drawn pressed steel cutting chamber with a J-section lip for increased stiffness and the rigidity of the cast aluminium conveyor at the rear of the machine incorporating the lower handle bar mountings. The conveyor is the perfect shape to maximise air flow which is further enhanced by fins moulded into the anti-scalp plate at the front of the mower. This premium roller mower produces an outstanding striped finish and is truly a rotary revolution in grass cutting technology.


Versatility is key with John Deere mowers John Deere’s latest walkbehind rotary mowers are versatile and simple to operate. The C52KS commercial and updated R54RVB models are powered by Subaru and Yamaha petrol engines respectively, for high performance and reliability in tough conditions as well as easy starting. The 52cm C52KS features variable-speed drive, enabling the operator to cut or even mulch at the optimum speed – a mulching kit is optional. With a choice of speed ranges from 1.8 to 3mph, the C52KS easily adapts to all grass conditions on

areas up to 5000m2 . The durable transmission provides smooth engagement, while the ergonomically designed soft-touch handlebar results in lower vibrations, to reduce pressurerelated hand fatigue. The foldable handlebar also makes transport and storage very easy. Suitable for mowing areas up to 2500m2 , the variablespeed R54RVB has a cutting width of 54cm and a steel rear roller for a striped finish, a blade brake safety clutch and a TurboStar fanassisted mowing system to ensure a precision cut and efficient grass collection.

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Dennis Razor looks sharp Consistency to pedestrian mowing Bringing a new level of consistency to pedestrian mowing is Toro’s new Greensmaster 1021 with patent-pending features to improve the operator’s experience without affecting the quality of cut. Part of a new series of fixed-head pedestrian greens mowers, the 21-inch mower, which launched at BTME 2019, benefits from a number of features designed to take performance cutting to the next level. The innovation in the new series of pedestrian greensmowers takes what was loved and appreciated in the enduring success of the Greensmaster 1000 mower and makes it even better. “This is Toro innovation at its best – taking something you think can’t be any better and doing just that,” said Jeff Anguige, National Sales Manager for Reesink Turfcare. The most significant design development comes from the new telescoping loop handle which can be easily adjusted to accommodate operators of all heights and skill levels, while handle isolation mounts give the cutting unit constant contact with the ground throughout the mowing process. New operator controls in conjunction with a shorter distance between the roller and the drum also means handling is more precise. And it now only takes minutes to replace an entire cutting unit or engine assembly.

According to Deputy Head Greenkeeper and Mechanic Michael Dickson, there has been a notable improvement in the quality of the greens at Mapperley Golf Club in Nottingham since purchasing two Dennis Razor mowers. Michael is part of a four-man greenkeeping team that works tirelessly to keep the course in immaculate condition all year round. He admits that it can, at times, be a challenge with just four in the team and that it is therefore imperative they have the correct maintenance equipment in place. In particular, cutting by hand in summer at Mapperley is just too tall a task for the four-man team but in winter there is no other option. “Our previous greens mowers were getting old, they were always breaking down and the quality of cut was never brilliant so we knew that we wanted to upgrade. Ultimately, what we wanted was a good quality mower to cut the greens in winter.”

Michael visited BTME to see what was on the market and drew up a shortlist of potential greens mowers – one of which was the Dennis Razor. “We had the Razor on demo and were instantly impressed. The members loved it and they could instantly tell which green it had been demonstrated

on. Even when the treasurer came out, he saw the quality of cut and said ‘right, we’re having them now’.” Superbly balanced and ideal for golf greens and other fine turf surfaces, the Razor features a 560mm, 11 blade cutting cylinder for a perfect finish. An ultra-short wheelbase ensures easy manoeuvrability and excellent performance, even on undulating surfaces. The Dennis Razor encompasses the simple ‘no tools required’ click height adjusters for quick and easy operation, a feature which particularly struck a chord with Michael and his team. “I don’t like machines with too many gizmos – I like one that is simple, straight forward to use and does the job which it is supposed to do. We’ve been using the Razors for a year now and they have been fantastic. “In my opinion the best features on the Razor are that they are reliable, incredibly well built and easy to use.”

Slowly but surely, this Fox is making his mark Let’s take you back to 1830. Edwin Budding wiped the sweat from his brow, stood a step back in his workshop in Stroud, Gloucestershire, a smile of satisfaction spreading across his face as he studied the result of his labours. He loaded his new-fangled machine into the back of his vehicle and took it to his expectant customer. It may not have happened just like that, but it can’t be so far from how the very first mower made it to the very first end user. Now, nearly 190 years on, a modern day version of that world changing event is happening not too far away in the heart of Somerset. Andrew Fox, pictured above, builds his own cylinder mowers, in his home workshop, loads it into the back of his van, drives the personally signed mower to his customer, gives a demo to ensure safe and efficient usage – free of charge – before returning home to start work on the next one. In this world of big business it sounds a romantic, but completely impractical, business model but Andrew is one of this country’s one-of-a-kind characters who with his love of cricket and

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entrepreneurial skills is succeeding. Andrew, a club cricketer and volunteer groundsman of 30 years standing, became frustrated that lack of funds prevented his club from purchasing the type of machine which produced a really top quality finish. So he started buying up old machines, restoring and refining them so they could do a better job. He then started selling them to clubs in a similar position for a few hundred pounds. This proving an overwhelming success. Andrew then teamed up with a New Zealand company who provided him chassis and engines while he home-sourced cylinders, bottom blades, front rollers, which he had coated with a non-stick finish, etc. Working alone in his workshop, and with the bit firmly between his teeth, he then took the decision to produce his very own FoxCM machines – in two models – the Briggs & Strattonpowered Green and the Honda GX200powered Black, at a cost attractive

enough for the average club treasurer to produce the cheque book, but boasting an unprecedented 14 blade reel and a Japanese-sourced tungsten bottom blade to produce a truly fantastic finish. Self taught, his inauspicious launch into engineering came at 11 years of age when he dismantled his father’s three-week-old – and rather expensive – Atco Cylinder mower, only to fail to “remantle” it again successfully. That time spent in the family dog house didn’t put him off and he now knows cylinder mowers inside and out. With the Green machine taking seven Andrew-hours to build and the Black, nine, he is currently working on machine number 51 which, once completed he will sign, pack up and drive to its grateful owner no matter the location in the UK. “It is a real passion for me and knowing that I’m helping to provide mowers for cricket and bowls clubs which would otherwise struggle to afford mowers capable of doing the job to the standards required, makes it all worthwhile,” explained Andrew.

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Etesia launch pro pedestrian mowers Etesia has launched two new 46cm cutting width professional pedestrian rotary mowers ahead of the 2019 season. The PHTS3 is a single speed self-propelled mower, while the PHE3 is a push variant. Following the same concept of the PRO46 range of pedestrian mowers first launched in the early 1990s, both models feature Xenoy cutting decks for increased strength, shear washer crank protection, individual height of cut adjusters, a new 22mm handlebar design, the latest Honda GCV170 engine and are supplied complete with 80 litre grass box and rear deflector as standard. The Honda GCV Series of engines provide best in class power and torque with easy and reliable starting with reduced noise and vibration levels. Easy service and maintenance with large petrol filler cap

allowing operators to view the fuel level while filling, extended oil dip-stick makes filling easier and a host of other features expected from a professional machine. Extremely versatile, both new models are capable of mowing with or without collection in all conditions, or for high-quality mulching with the addition of a mulching plug kit accessory. The design has been proven over many years and has an unbeatable record of

Compact and robust walk behind mower from Husqvarna The Husqvarna LC 551VBP is a high performance, fully professional variable speed self-propelled petrol lawnmower, designed for full-time use. It’s a compact yet robust walk behind mower with a commercial specification Kawasaki engine, high capacity fuel tank and highly durable cast aluminium deck offering excellent collection performance. Featuring variable speed, the operator is able to easily adjust the ground speed based upon the application or their walking speed and the blade brake clutch improves efficiency when frequently emptying the collector. Key features include: n Strong and durable – cast aluminium deck with side protection bumpers for additional protection. n Powerful – Commercial specification pressure fed Kawasaki FK180KAI engine with 1.9 litre fuel tank for increased cutting capacity n Blade Brake Control stops the blade from turning and leaves the engine running, enabling off-turf traversing and convenient stop and go operation. n Variable drive speed - Easy to

adjust the ground speed according to your needs and the condition of the lawn. n Ergonomic and intuitive controls – height adjustable and easy foldable handle bar easily fold the handle to minimise space required for storing and transportation. n Central cutting height adjustment - quick and easy adjustment of the grass cutting height with the use of just one lever. n Collection performance – Superior airflow thanks to the combination of deck design and high performance collection blade. n High capacity 65 litre dust blocker collector - a collector designed to keep dust into the bag whilst damping the noise generated by the blade. The bag is easily removed through the handles. n Low vibration levels – 4.5 m/s2 n Weight 53kg.

quality and performance unrivalled in its class. It provides outstanding collection performance, even if the grass is long and wet – something that Etesia has prided itself on over the past 30 years. “We have gone back to basics with these two new models and to what people expect from an Etesia mower – robustness, reliability and able to cut, collect or mulch in any weather condition,” said Etesia UK Managing Director Les Malin. “They both have the Xenoy cutting decks which have proved so popular with contractors, landscapers and local authorities and we are very hopeful that customers will see the benefits of reduced maintenance costs and extra reliability. Dealers are already taking orders for these new models.”

Hayter introduces new Harrier 58 and 56 models Hayter is are preparing for the arrival of two brand new Harrier models to its dealerships this spring. Designed for landscape professionals, the Harrier 48 and 56 Pro mowers are all-new additions to the Harrier rearroller mower line. Since the first Harrier professional lawn mower was introduced over a decade ago, the range has been completely overhauled. The latest Harrier Pro mowers have been designed to be robust, vigorous and flexible to enable users to tackle a variety of turfs with ease. Featuring an all-new cast aluminium cutter deck, transmission system and blade design, the Harrier 48 Pro now features a Honda GCV160 engine, with the Harrier 56 Pro featuring the new Briggs & Stratton 850 EX I/C engine. Innovation is at the heart of the brand new designs, as both machines feature the Crank-Safe Blade Brake Clutch system, an exclusive feature to Hayter and a first-of-itskind in the industry. The Harrier 56 Pro provides the widest rear-roller in its class, allowing operators to not only ensure the classic British striped finish, but to also increase productivity by reducing mowing time. Other notable features include Hayter’s Vari-Pitch technology – a favoured feature from the Harrier 41 series. This cutting technology automatically adjusts the cutter deck to increase air flow when set to cut longer grass. “Both the Harrier 48 and 56 Pro models are welcome additions to a range integral to the Hayter portfolio. They are an ideal choice for landscaping professionals, providing both productivity and reliability,” said Christopher Cooper, Product Marketing Manager at Hayter. Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019 | 41


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Cricket Groundcare Awards 2019

Get your entry in

Following the announcement of the Cricket Groundcare Awards 2019 in our last issue, Alastair Symondson, Head of Media at Cricket World, looks back at some of the previous winners of the Awards and what it meant to one particular individual. As a School, Club and University cricket player I have always recognised that without the curators of our playing fields, there is no recreational sport. When we first decided to set up the Awards our main aim was to inspire and recognise the hard work of all the groundcare teams and individuals around the UK and Europe. We worked at that time with the ECB (through Chris Wood) and the ICC Europe office to make this happen. We are similarly pleased again to be working with Chris Wood (ECB

Pitches Consultant) and other pitch advisors around the UK and Europe. Over the years, winners have included individuals from clubs and schools all over the UK and Europe, from village greens to premier league clubs and University curators. Some of our winners were inspired by the Awards and the recognition to strive for more – for example, Keith Exton – Educational Establishment/ School category – (Oakham School) Vic Demain – Cricket Club category (Uxbridge CC) and Karl McDermott ICC Europe category (Clontaf CC) have all moved on since they were nominated for an Award to being top Groundsmen at International cricket venues like – the Emirates Riverside, Sofia Gardens and the Ageas Bowl – and now Lord’s – Karl McDermott

has recently taken up the position as Head Groundsman at the Home of Cricket. Karl recently commented on what } the Award meant to him at the time:

Previous winners, at Lord’s

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We hope to continue to raise the profile and awareness of ground care staff (without whom there would be no cricket) and encourage and promote the Groundcare industry. } “Winning the ICC Europe Award in

Previous winners, at Lord’s

2007 was a huge honour for me. The recognition of such awards makes all the hard work and dedication worth it. “Awards are not something I personally strive for but when you win one it gives you a great feeling of pride and satisfaction, and it confirms that you are doing something right in an industry

where so much could go wrong! “The presentation was my first ever trip to Lords, and looking out across the ground gave me great inspiration. Little did I know that I would be Head Groundsman here 12 years later!” Alastair continued: “We are delighted to be running these Awards in association with Turf Matters. We understand the dedication and hard work that goes into preparing cricket playing facilities throughout the summer and it is nice that we can recognise their hard work and endeavours in some small way.” The Awards have been introduced to recognise the dedication and hard work that groundcare individuals put into maintaining and producing cricket squares and outfields, for reactional clubs, schools and universities in the UK and Ireland. We hope to continue to raise the profile and awareness of ground care staff (without whom there would be no cricket) and encourage and

promote the Groundcare industry. There will be seven award categories and the judging process will take into account the quality of the playing surface, general upkeep of the ground, longevity of service ,an ‘against all odds’ and an overall Groundcare person of the Year and the winners will be invited to a special presentation at Lord’s Cricket Ground, in London. All you have to do to nominate your ground care staff or individuals is to fill in the form online and it will go forward to the judging process.

Nomination forms can be found online at the www.cricketworld.com and www.turfmatters. co.uk websites.

Previous winners, at Lord’s


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Eric O’Donnell, Managing Director of Sports Labs, adds insight into the recent highly publicised debate in Scotland regarding players’ reluctance to playing top league matches on artificial pitches.

Coming to terms with artificial turf pitches PFA Scotland released a press statement regarding the state of pitches in the Scottish football Leagues with the headline statement requesting the ban of artificial turf pitches in the Scottish Premiership. There were many other points raised such as a request for increased monitoring, testing and support to groundsmen, but these were naturally overlooked in the mainstream media coverage. This demand had the foundations of a player petition, however there was no differentiation between players who train and play on artificial surfaces because their Club has one, or those training or playing on natural pitches. This demand needs to be tempered against the implications of such a measure and not a knee jerk reaction based on a player petition. This petition was carried out by the PFA Scotland with their members, however, it is a much more complicated debate as to what is right for the development of the game in Scotland. They only called for the ban on artificial pitches in the Premiership when their members spread across four leagues. There are many contributory factors to this discussion,

such as player safety, participation numbers, player performance and the well highlighted financial impact of utilising artificial surfaces. The headline-maker, it’s stating the obvious to say that any future ‘ban’ would have significant implications for the clubs involved in a number of ways – promotion and relegation, clubs’ long term planning and of course the day to day commercial consequences. All of these would require any proposed ban to be phased in over an agreed and likely lengthy period of time to allow the clubs affected to consider fully, then prepare for, the implications specific to their league status/circumstances at that time.

Currently, there are three artificial pitches in the Scottish Premiership, Hamilton, Kilmarnock and Livingston, however if we look at other leagues there is a much larger presence of artificial pitches with little negative publicity. So, we pose the question can we learn from the other leagues and the systems they have installed? Do they actually differ to ours, or are the players just more accepting of the artificial surface in these territories? n 69% Norway – 11 of top 16 clubs in their premiership use artificial n 56% Sweden – 9 of 16 clubs in their premiership use artificial n 42% Finland – 5 of 12 clubs in their premiership use artificial }

…if we look at other leagues there is a much larger presence of artificial pitches with little negative publicity. So, we pose the question can we learn from the other leagues and the systems they have installed? Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019 | 45


There were also clear findings that players preferred artificial pitches for some criteria and natural pitches for other performance rating criteria. The data can be interpreted many ways. } n 25% Scotland – 3 of 12 clubs in

their premiership use artificial n 14 clubs out of 42 (33%) in the four Scottish professional leagues. To ban artificial pitches in the Premiership would, of course, have a direct impact on grass roots acceptance and will likely have negative impacts on player pools, wider club staffing and crucial internal club structures – perhaps the most concerning from a football development perspective being the youth set ups. The PFA ultimately used a closed petition with their members but referred to some studies previously carried out such as a player survey in 2012 and the player perception APP carried out with Sports Labs and the Scottish FA. The player perception APP rated surfaces by the players, but also asked a series of questions to understand surface better to improve them.

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Many findings came from the player perception APP data which was used by the PFA to shape their demands in the press release, but the mainstream media focused on the poor ratings on the Premiership artificial pitches. There was quite substantial data to suggest there was underperforming natural pitches across all leagues, particularly with the two largest clubs in Scotland not making the top 10 of which an artificial pitch achieve. There were also clear findings that players preferred artificial pitches for some criteria and natural pitches for other performance rating criteria. The data can be interpreted many ways. So, what exactly did the PFA Scotland press release say: Following consultation via a research survey, the PitchRater App results from season 2017-18 and recent club visits, our members in the

Premiership call for the following: n Regulation be introduced prohibiting clubs from having artificial surfaces while playing in the Premiership n Increased and random testing of all pitches be introduced, including grass pitches n Grass pitches must be kept to a high standard and there should be sharing of best practice between all club groundsmen at Premiership level n The SPFL should work with PFA Scotland to use the results from the PitchRater App to introduce its own marking system and to continue to improve pitches n Players’ marks to be used by the Scottish FA for Club Licencing purposed rather than those of referees n Pitches falling below a certain standard will have an improvement and support plan put in place,

making makingturf turfmatter matter

which will be monitored n In conjunction with Hampden Sports Medicine Clinic, a centralised reporting system should be introduced, with mandatory participation by all 42 clubs reporting instances of injuries and where/how they occur n This would create a database used for research and comparison into injuries to be used for the sharing of recovery rates and techniques n In addition to the above, proper research must be introduced immediately into the affect artificial surfaces have longer term on players, especially wear and tear on body/ joints n Attendance from each club’s head groundsman at the annual Pitch Conference, run earlier this season, must be made mandatory. If the request was upheld can the clubs maintain their balance sheets with external facility charges now on a head-on collision. Playing hours on artificial pitches are considerably

more compared to natural. One of the benefits of having the artificial surface is the improvement in social interaction with the local community. Both Hamilton and Kilmarnock have commented on the positive impact of being able to train and play locally. Kilmarnock previously travelled to Glasgow to train. There was reference to long term injuries, wear and tear but the reality of testing data collection would tip the scales in the opposite direction against natural. There are no safety standards on surface hardness, surface traction not to mention ball surface interaction for natural pitches. So, the question must be posed; how does one quantify the surface hardness and deem it safe and in playable conditions for natural or artificial. There is a distinct difference in natural turf quality during different times in the season. For artificial turf there is tight FIFA tolerances set and they continually evolve through ongoing research. We can at least say all artificial surfaces

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in the Premiership in Scotland have a shock absorbing performance of 6070% softer than concrete, in line with FIFA Quality Pro tolerances. We can also say every surface has a rotational resistance performance 30 – 45 Nm in line with FIFA Quality Pro tolerances. Furthermore, there is surface deformation and ball surface interaction tests. Surely the motion should be to quantify what is a good natural pitch in modern times? Would that not help re-align pitch quality and safety? Unlike any other league, Scotland implements random spot checks three times a season on artificial, so why are the players not accepting of artificial? We want to use the data and feedback to improve the products used. We have the opportunity to improve surfaces for all users if we can marry the player perception with quantifiable data. There were many positive outcomes of the player perception APP such as an interactive Scottish Artificial and Turfgrass Seminar with ground staff to support them, the presence of a leading UEFA turf consultant and the inauguration of an active groundsman’s forum. Using the player feedback, engaging with the groundsman and using quantifiable test protocols based on player feedback is a very good option. So, in summary, we revert back to considering all implications and having a balanced debate for the development of the game. Is banning artificial in the Premiership the right move or as we have suggested sure there not be a call for information and investigate other corrective action that can be taken to listen to players and improve artificial and, yes, natural as well.

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BUYERS’ GUIDE Statistics reveal scale of

To advertise contact Marie Anderson Email: marie@turfmatters.co.uk





success of Saltex 2015

n Agronomy Audits n Advisory Services n Project Management n Construction over 70% of visitors said that there was an The 70th SALTEX exhibition exceeded all n Budgets after an independent audit excellent mix of products on display. Table 1 expectations www.gregevansmg.com shows what visitors were looking for. confirmed the exhibition as the largest turf www.campeyturfcare.com Call: 07951 157208 or email: Exhibitors at SALTEX 2015 reported management event in the UK with a total Telephone: 01260 224 568 gregevansmg@gmail.com 0118 Email: info@campeyturfcare.com huge3914540 success at the show, suggesting that of 8,714 unique individuals attending. Now, jamie@advancegrass.com 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 GOLF COURSE TYRES then on the show floor, it’s no surprise to see into the visitor profile of the show. MANAGEMENT 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 AGENTS £100,000. over 70% of the visitors rated their overall WETTING Golf Course Management As for the type of facilities that the SALTEX experience as being good, very SOIL SURFACTANTS Consultant visitors were responsible for, it was great to good or excellent. ORGANIC FERTILISERS see such a wide array of visitors (table 2). Over Golf 65% Course of visitors said that they Advice; LocumSALTEX Greenkeeper Service; Visitors also found the more central attended to source new products, 01233 633267 Projector Management; Practical location of the NEC to be more accessible services suppliers, while 20% wanted UK.aquatrols.com Genuine with 70% stating that the new location was toSolutions make thefor most of theProblems free educational www.billymcmillanassociates.co.uk LINE MARKING either good or excellent. Within the halls of LEARNING LIVE seminars and to receive Fer�lisers | Bios�mulants | We�ers 07774through 632747 the IOG’s Ask the NEC, visitors favoured the more compact one-to-oneTel: advice over 50 professional products setting with over 70% rating the layout of the Expert feature. With so much on offer the event either good or excellent. at SALTEX, there was something for MACHINERY MACHINERY 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 Toro Reelmaster 5010-H with PowerMatch quality of attendees – further enhancing their objectives. Horsepower SALTEX as the must attendFleet event Line of theMarkers Ltd With such a large number of visitors on Demand year. attending SALTEX to source new products World leaders in the field of SALTEX 2016 will be heldline atmarking the NEC, and services; they certainly came to the paints and machinery. Birmingham on 2 and 3 NovemberTel: 2016. For573535 right place. The exhibition is a great way 01684 more information visit www.iogsaltex.com to launch and showcase new products and sales@flmuk.com www.flmuk.com www.velvit.co.uk




ble 1

Available through your local distributor

21/12/2015 design


Golf Course Management

Consultant www.lgseeds.co.uk Golf Course Advice; Locum Greenkeeper Service; Project Management; Practical Solutions for Genuine Problems EQUIPMENT

MACHINERY Bringing technical excellence and service Toro Reelmaster 5010-H with PowerMatch to Horsepower turf and groundcare


n Agronomy Audits n Advisory Services n Project Management n Construction n Budgets www.gregevansmg.com Call: 07951 157208 or email: gregevansmg@gmail.com

www.billymcmillanassociates.co.uk Tel: 07774 632747


TC1038 Turf Matters Buyers Guide.indd 1 ing by



on Demand

• Turf Cutters • TurfBringing Aerators technical

The industry’s first true hybrid-drive fairway mower has arrived.

excellence and service to turf and groundcare

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• Core Collectors


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ble 2

48 | Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019


One of the UK’s

EQUIPMENTleading natural and artificial sports turf

Turf Matters | February-March 2016 | 33


Table 1


specialists. From TC1038 Turf Matters Buyers Guide.indd 1 21/12/2015 17:35 initial concept and planning through Contractors to construction, Good Grounding in Sport drainage, renovation Bringing technical and maintenance.


n Agronomy Audits n Advisory Services n Project Management 14:05 n Construction n Budgets www.gregevansmg.com Call: 07951 157208 or email: gregevansmg@gmail.com

excellence and service towww.agripower.co.uk turf and groundcare Tel: 01494 866776

Agripower Contractors, Broomfield Farm, Rignall Road, Great Missenden, Bucks HP16 9PE

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Table 2 Turf Matters | February-March 2016 | 33

making turf matter







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1. Longcham p; 2. Zadok th e Priest; 3. Ita Nilbali, of Ita ly; 4. 11; 5. V ly, in 2014; 6. incenzo Bayern Mun – in Italy’s fir ich (2012/13 st ever 6 Nat ); 7. Scotland io ns’ match in 9. Netherland 2000; 8. Bel s; 10. Eric Can gium; to Rangers (Eur opean Cup W na; 11. Celtic (European Cup, 1967), inners’ Cup, (European C 1972) and A up Winners’ berdeen Cup, 1983); 14. Philippe 12. San Siro; Chatrier; 15. 13. Nine; Portugal

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www.turfmatters.co.uk Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019 | 49


Well the season is now underway and I’ve tooled up for the long Saturday mornings ahead. I’ve treated myself to some new clubs, a new bag and my wardrobe is jam packed with new clobber so I can face every weather condition I’m likely to face with equal bemusement. Oh, and my club has just invested in a brand new covered driving range so I have rededicated myself to discovering a swing which might just justify the investment I’ve mentioned in the opening paragraph. It’s great I can stand there, spray the balls about and a guy in a covered buggy drives about scooping them up. It’s funny I used to watch Tour events in the old days when caddies stood out on the practice range with a baseball mitt and “shagged” (that’s what it was called

50 | Turf Matters | MARCH-APRIL 2019

readers) the balls fired at him by his player. If the player was in the groove he barely needed to move more than a few feet and nonchalantly plucked the ball out of the air and returned it to his bag. My poor buggy driver has to drive the width and length of the range to pick up just half a dozen of my 5-iron efforts. Now I know, if you re-read some of my older blogs – and diaries before I joined the digital age – you will uncovered the painful fact that you are now reading the work of a hypocrite. Yes, I have said that all practice was tantamount to cheating – giving an unfair advantage to those people who sneaked off to the driving range while the rest of us worked or lounged about on the sofa. So, I admit it. I’m staring longingly at players who I would once regard as equals leave me for dust, all because they’ve dedicated to improving themselves through lessons and practice. They have reaped the rewards of places in the top four of their medal category and a regular share of the 2’s pot. At the same time I’ve been weighing up whether three consecutive sevens and a nine makes it worth returning my card or having yet another NR. With all these changes in my own golfing life I’m having to get my head around the new rules. And I must admit I’m not too chuffed by some of them. What’s this dropping the ball from knee height business? One of the few advantages we, short of height, had was that when we dropped the ball from shoulder height it gave us a slight benefit over those golfing giants whose shoulder height was about a foot more than ours. Now all our knees are pretty much equidistant from terrafirma – ours no more than a couple of inches different from those six foot four guys – and one of the few benefits of being shorter of stature has been tossed away. And what about this leaving the flag stick in? I’ve spent decades

learning to dying the ball into the front of the hole – I grant you that it is much easier to do from a foot away which is normally the length of my fourth putt – but now those “confident” chaps who work on the “hit it 12 inches past” speed theory have a back stop! The rules do seem to be stacking themselves against me and giving others a leg up. While I’m at it slow play seems to be getting worse. Did you seen that guy Bryson DeChambeau recently. His swing and putting stroke look like something off the local municipal but they seem to work. He’s known as The Scientist and there’s the rub. He doesn’t play a shot until he’s thumbed through to the appropriate page of his thesis, read the relevant chapter, checked his lie and the weather conditions, had a one-toone with his tutor/caddie selected a club – they are all the same length by the way – and then, only then, played the shot. He does say that he’s pretty speedy between shots, but really? And then there’s JB Holmes. His partners can be in all sorts of bother, bringing in rules officials etc, but when they’ve played and it’s JB’s time to shine. Is he ready? Of course, he’s not. He then takes out his yardage book, or one of those infernal greens’ maps, and starts to study. And he’s not a sharp student. He is, bless him, one of those plodders, when it comes to taking information on board. Then he has to visualise the shot he’s going to play and, if there is any distraction whatsoever, that visualisation process has to start again, right from the very beginning. Now the worst thing is that both of them, Bryson and JB, have won big recently. So these laborious techniques have been proven to work. Heaven help us when we are stuck behind a group of their disciples on a Saturday morning. At least I’m be nice and warm in my newly acquired all-weather gear! *As told to Scott MacCallum

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Turf Matters March / April 2019  

In this issue: Exclusive behind the scenes look with Cheltenham head groundsamn Ben Hatie, the latest developments in grass seed, fertiliser...

Turf Matters March / April 2019  

In this issue: Exclusive behind the scenes look with Cheltenham head groundsamn Ben Hatie, the latest developments in grass seed, fertiliser...