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

May-June 2019 | £4.95

www.turfmatters.co.uk

How turf changed tennis

WIMBLEDON: Involving the STRI has helped improve the grass and reduced the ‘bad bounce’ MEET The BELFRY’S ‘NINJA GREENKEEPERS’

RIDE-ON MOWERS

DRAINAGE: WE’RE GOING UNDERGROUND

16 TOP COURSE’S TIPS

22 WHAT’S OUT THERE

46 Working wonders


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WELCOME

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iWelcome

Really love that Tiger feat Don’t forget Sport… Even the most optimistic of supporters didn’t really believe it would The last months haveWoods been arolled nightmare for years manyand people inhis certain happen buttwo he did it. Tiger back the won first parts country and myMasters heart goes outin toall everyone dealing with Major inof11the years and his first – fifth – in 14 years. the aftermath of of unprecedented flooding and devastating erosion. The last 10 years his life have been tumultuous to say the least but The bestwas case scenario for amany is months of temporary living. For while Tiger trying to find way back, battling personal demons and lives willof never return what were. for decades, the game theothers, consequences pushing histobody tothey extremes While thefrom fate of sports grounds and golf clubs might seem was suffering a downturn. inconsequential the dropped face of such at Turf Matters Playing numbersin have and hardship, golf clubs,we many of them wellhave a particular empathy with who hasfor seen years agronomic established, closed. There areeveryone several reasons this, slowofplay, husbandry literally washed inat the spacelevel, of a few sexisim, lack of support for theaway game junior but weeks. one reason It must be hoped that banks – the financial institutions, not which undoubtedly played a part was not having Tiger at the topthe of things which edge overflown rivers – take an understanding approach leaderboards. to sporting facilities which have been unable to service loans as a The impact Tiger had on the game in the late 90s and 2000s was a result of them being unplayable and so unable to bring in revenue. tangible phenomenon. He was, by far, the biggest name in sport and the As we have seen with the recent Winter Olympics, sport has such a fact that his particular sport was golf, gave the game a genuine boost. galvanising effect on society and can be the catalyst for so much good, He was an idol to young children across the world and the game was that it is imperative sporting facilities are not forgotten when the embraced by a completely different demographic. promised assistance is being allocated. Then his well documented issues arose and his back problems On the issue of improving sporting facilities, we have been surfaced and we all thought that&was that. Multiple back surgeries invited by Briggs Stratton to become involved in itsand Pitch a struggle to walk never mind play golf. There were aseveral to Win competition, which provides £3,000 aborted makeover for attempts at comebacks then of more what isand judged totalk be the Undersurgery. 18s football pitch in most All the time theneed game was changing and where Tiger had – find out more on pages 16-17. I am onan the judging advantage in terms of athleticism over resttoofa the field, that was panel and visits will bethe made shortlist of deserving gone and playerspitches were bombing it will pastbe drives Tiger once soon. We looking notwould so much athave the considered among his best. DESSO but the desperate! So what happened was remarkable record Onat a Augusta final note, I am thrilled byand the Jack’s reception thatofthe 18 Majors mustofagain in doubt. The next couple of have years first issue Turf be Matters received. Many people will betime exciting and golf willthey receive a much needed taken to say how much liked the look of the popularity onceenjoyed again. the articles. We’re all magazine andboost how they The game must waste this unexpected reprieve. pleased you found it tonot 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

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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..........................................................4-15 News .........................................................4-15 Tea Break Teaser.......................................14 Pitch to Win........................................16-17 The Belfry. ............................................16-20 Mowing .................................19-22, 24-27 Ride-on mowers...............................22-24 Tea Break Teaser ......................................29 Wimbledon, natural turf..............26-35 Gleneagles..........................................30-35 Goodwood. BTME review..........................................37-42 ......................................36-41 Water management........................44-45 Diary of a Golfing Nobody.................42 Drainage/Synthetic surfaces.....46-48 As seen on Twitter..................................43 Buyers’ Guide.....................................52-53 Golfingout Nobody’s Blog..........................54 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 GLORIOUS GOODWOOD: The work of Phil Helmn, pages 37-42 Next magazine distributed July 2019 Subscribe FREE to our e-zine: Details at www.turfmatters.co.uk

Turf Matters | March-April Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE2014 2019| 3 |3


NEWS

SMART TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE FLEET MANAGEMENT STIHL is to introduce a new smart technology that will give professional users a detailed overview of key power tool data via a portal in order to enhance maintenance programmes and fleet management efficiencies. STIHL Connected comprises of three central system components; Smart Connector, app, and connect pro portal. When used in conjunction, it enables professional users to analyse easily key machinery performance data that can be used to not only improve daily work processes, but also help achieve optimum task scheduling. It is easy to install and transmits the most important power tool data via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet, giving users universal transparency about where power tools are being operated and their current status. With the app, professional users are given a detailed overview of their power tool run time, as well as being able to schedule and document work tasks. The connect pro portal enables the digital management of an entire machinery fleet, meaning users can add or remove power tools, schedule work to best effect and view pending maintenance appointments. Users can also see the last position of an active power tool, giving them complete visibility of the whereabouts of any tool, as long as location services on the connected phone are enabled.

4 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

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State-of-the-art home for Toro at Royal Norwich The state-of-the-art greenkeeping facilities and workshop at Royal Norwich are now complete. Only the second all air-conditioned facility in the country, the building was reclaimed from an old refrigeration warehouse and now houses a team room with pool table, meeting rooms for business meetings, workshop and parts storage, a ‘boot room’ with washing machine and dehumidifier, showers, every convenience has been considered. “It’s completely insulated, so will be highly efficient. All of our daytime power is generated from the solar panels on the roof as well as supplying 40% of the clubhouse electricity needs,” explained Director and Estates Manager, Peter Todd. The facility has been home to a loan fleet of used Toro equipment, compiled to accommodate the growing-in phase of the courses, but now it welcomes the beginning of Peter’s Toro fleet. Trevor Chard who has worked with Peter for more than 18 years, first at The London Club where they introduced of a new Toro fleet of machinery and

now at Royal Norwich. “There are so many different requirements when tending new and growing-in turf. It’s tough, unforgiving work for the fleet, there’s a lot of dust and stones to contend with as the earth moves and settles into its new formation,” said Trevor. “If my time working on construction at Gleneagles taught me anything, it’s that you can never predict what a new course will throw at you. One thing I didn’t envisage was using rotary mowers on the tees for example! But dwarf perennial rye grass in a blend with fescue took hold and grew so quickly in those early days, we needed to get on top of it fast and

only a rotary would do.” Now joining that loan fleet which has worked so hard in the early stages are four Flex 2120 pedestrian mowers for hand cutting the greens, the Greensmaster 1600 is Peter’s top choice for the tees and the Groundsmaster 4500-D and Groundsmaster 3500-D are taking on the initial mowing of the fairways and semi-roughs. “I knew I needed a machinery partner that would be flexible and accommodating. I respect the Toro brand and have enjoyed working with Trevor, but I needed to know I had immediate support, Reesink’s East Anglia service division gave me that,” said Peter.

BERNHARD’S NEW TURF TECHNOLOGIES MANAGER Bernhard’s have appointed Scott Forrest as its new turf technologies Territory Manager. Scott has a vast experience in the turf industry, including over 30 years at Ransomes Jacobsen where he developed and created new business opportunities in the UK, Europe and around the world, including India, Scandinavia and Russia. “We are delighted to have Scott Forrest on board,” said Scott Purdy, Sales Manager for Bernhard’s.

“Scott’s wealth of experience will strengthen our ability to reach our customers

and business partners. Thanks to the turf technologies portfolio he will be able to help customers with projects through from conception to completion, offering expertise and assistance all the way.” Scott added that he had worked alongside Bernhard and Company closely for many years. “I am very excited to be joining a passionate team and looking forward to developing the turf technology business for the company.”


NEWS

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Don’t be fooled by high voltage claims It is a common misconception that the higher the voltage the better the machine; but it couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to performance. Les Malin, Managing Director of Etesia UK, who distribute Pellenc equipment explains why… Groundscare professionals could be forgiven for opting to choose a new battery powered machine based on the high voltage it offers – after all, most marketing strategies tend to shout the loudest when it comes to voltage.

However, what often goes under the radar is that the voltage of a battery purely indicates how much potential is in a battery, but that potential is not a measure of energy. Voltage will only tell you how fast that power tool will want to operate, it doesn’t tell you how strongly it will operate and it will not tell you how long it will operate for. You can think of volts as horsepower for cordless tools. The higher the volt, the more power it can use for higher drain applications. However, you can have

all the voltage you want in a machine but with low amperage the machine would not be much use at all. Think of a small hose pipe struggling to squeeze a large amount of water through it. You would have low volume and high pressure. Alternatively, the same could be said for a machine that has high amperage and low voltage. It would be the same as having an extremely large water pipe which only manages to trickle a few drops of water through it. For a cordless tool, you really need volts and amps

to work together for higher demand applications. You will need them to both flow at a similar rate and that is exactly what you get with Pellenc technology. Pellenc scores well when it comes to the volts/amps balancing act and boasts 43,6 volts and 35,2 amps. As a result, operators using Pellenc equipment have leverage over their competitors. They will have the latest generation and top performing technology meaning that their tools will run with more power for a longer period of time.

KILEEN CASTLE INVESTS IN FUTURE Killeen Castle Golf Club, in Co Meath, is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, as well as its recent investment in a state-of-the-art golf course equipment fleet deal with John Deere and local dealer Dublin Grass Machinery worth over €500,000, with finance arranged through Deere’s partner Bank of Ireland. The machinery acquisition represents a significant investment on the part of Killeen Castle in the future of the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, as the club enters its second decade of golf operations. The championship golf course which opened in 2009 and was described by Nicklaus himself as “one of my proudest designs”. The upgraded equipment fleet includes tees, fairway, greens and rough mowers,

6 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

utility tractors, Gator utility vehicles, sprayers, top dressers and bunker rakes – with the latest John Deere E-Cut hybrid electric mowers now playing an important part in future-proofing the work of Course Superintendent Mark Collins and his team.

The castle will become the focal point of the estate following a recent grant of planning permission for a 177-room luxury hotel. The investment in new equipment also included an upgrade and enhancement of the club’s rental golf cars

and trolleys to the latest state of the art GPS units, as well as re-kerbing of the entire clubhouse compound. This was in addition to significant works around the golf course and peripheral areas to enhance the sanding and drainage profile of the course. “There were many key factors in choosing John Deere equipment,” said Mark. “The relationship with Dublin Grass Machinery and sales manager Noel Bennett was high up the list, with the excellent technical and back-up service provided for the past 12 years. “The quality of John Deere machinery is quite simply second to none, and the company’s advances in technology with the hybrid electric mowers made the decision an easy one.”


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New solution for pathway challenges Mike Kostorowski, of Landlock Natural Paving, discusses the challenges facing golf course paths and environmentally friendly solutions to transform them. Some of the most prestigious golf courses in Europe, USA, and Asia are embracing new technology to increase their revenue and improve the golfer experience. Golf cart paths may not seem like an obvious area for investment, however, a comfortable ride means more cart hires, return visitors, and happier members. Gravel cart paths suffer greatly from erosion when it rains. Small stones wash into fairways and in the summer when it’s dry, gravel becomes a dusty mess. Even asphalt paths can quickly degrade. This is why many courses have embraced polymers as

their paving solution. Polymeric emulsions are highly engineered glues that can be customised to work with native soil and aggregates, not against them. They bind these materials to create a solid, smooth surface that blends in with the surrounding landscape. It is important that clubs only engage with suppliers that create bespoke solutions that specified by design and contain high levels of active binding ingredients. A word of warning here – some less reputable outfits use waste stream by-products that will not provide durable, long-lasting surfaces. They could also pose serious environmental impact. For courses that want to rehabilitate failing asphalt, a very strong base can be created by pulverising the damaged asphalt and mixing it with polymers using a small milling machine, which works within the footprint of the

path. After being compacted and sealed, the surface will require only require minor maintenance with additional seal coating in the years ahead. This process is called Cold In-Place Recycling. The installation process is simple and uses standard road building equipment. Unlike asphalt, polymeric emulsion installation is a nonheated process, which means less CO2 emissions. As a natural

product itself, no toxic chemicals leak or drain into the local ecosystem. Regions around the world that face tougher building compliance and clubs that have an environmentally conscientious membership fully appreciate the technology’s green credentials. Using advanced, custom engineered polymers can be 15%30% cheaper than asphalt, much more durable than gravel, and more environmentally friendly.

Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 7


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HAPPY CUSTOMER: Course Manager Callum Wark

Riptide plays key role at new JCB Golf and Country Club ICL’s Riptide has played a key role in the development of the greens at the new JCB Golf and Country Club. Set amid the lush green countryside of Staffordshire lies one of the most exciting new golf courses to be built in the UK over the last decade. “This is a high end facility that people might only visit once a year, or even just once in their lifetime. The whole experience has to be there and it is down to us to deliver that on the golf course,” said Course Manager Callum Wark. “Myself and four senior greenkeepers were equally involved in all aspects of construction,” said Euan Grant, General Manager, who himself has a impeccable greenkeeping pedigree having been the Head man at not only the Old Course, St Andrews but also Turnberry. “We had all been around constructions in the past but none of us had ever had direct construction experience. We have been fully engrossed in the project working seven days a week making the best of the weather when we can.” It is no wonder that Euan, Callum and the team speak about their involvement with an overwhelming sense of pride. After all, they have helped to create a world-class golf complex that will stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best. However, these modest greenkeepers are not allowing themselves to get that far ahead…yet. “The tournaments will happen but first of all we need to achieve agronomic excellence,” said Euan. 8 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

“In order to achieve that, and in order to host tournaments, you have to be in that top percentile of golf course reputation and quality,” added Callum. With the construction coming to an end, their attentions quickly turned to ensuring that they had the correct suppliers and products in place which would indeed help them to reach that top tier – and the greens were the first port of call. In order to select the ideal grass seed for the greens, Euan created a trial area and split a nursery into five different rootzone amendments which consisted of a profile product – which was porous ceramic, a green waste product, two zeolite products and a straight sand. Six different grasses from six different suppliers were then applied to the rootzone plots. “We monitored the germination rates, density, colour and disease to find out which product would be the best for our site,” said Euan. “We didn’t put any fungicides on them throughout winter because we wanted to know which diseases would be more prevalent. Based on all of the results, and also by looking closely at which was the strongest grass coming out of winter, we decided that we would go with ICL’s Riptide on a green waste compost/sand mix as per USGA guidelines.” Exclusive to ICL, Riptide is the no1 ranked creeping bentgrass variety, it is ideal for seeding new areas or when used for interseeding as part of a course

renovation programme. This fine-leaved, densely-shooting, creeping bentgrass establishes quickly, especially in spring, growing upright but low to the ground with high tiller shoot density and keeping its bright mid-green colour right through autumn and winter. Riptide responds very well to lower nutritional inputs and less frequent watering, potentially significantly reducing costs involved in a higher maintenance programme and offering a more sustainable approach; less fertilizer, fungicide, scarification and verti-cutting. Furthermore, Riptide was given top rankings for quality of appearance and disease resistance by the STRI and the United States based National Turfgrass Evaluation Program.. Sowing at an application rate of between 6-8g/m², the team used Riptide to seed and grow-in eleven greens in the first year and then nine the following year. “We were germinating in five days and mowing in ten days,” said Euan. “Because it was our first year and it was a soft opening, we were under no pressure whatsoever to cut the grass down to achieve fast speeds. However, we were still getting 10.5ft without significantly chasing that. It is a very fine grass.” Commenting on the use of Riptide at the JCB Golf and Country Club, Emma Kilby, Technical Area Sales Manager for ICL, said she was really proud that Riptide has played a big part in the greens.


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Bionema’s link with university Abby Cooper explains the benefits to the recently formed relationship between her university and Bionema. Bionema has partnered with Swansea University School of Management to act as a commercial supervisor for a group of six final year Business Management students working on their dissertation project. Students Sarah Wilson, Laura Morris, Elle Williams, Beth Feetham, Chloe Soanes and Group Leader, Abby Cooper, have worked on a research assignment for Bionema; looking into brand awareness and marketing practices in the biopesticide industry. Our group have undertaken marketing research and looked at how competitors are trying to attract consumers towards using biopesticides. As a group,

we have been able to take a step inside the business and be in a position to utilise all the knowledge we have learnt at university and put it into real-life business practice. We have learnt workplace skills such as working towards project briefs and creating reports for Bionema; alongside developing practical qualities such as communication and time management. Being able to work and collaborate with Bionema, who are willing to listen to our ideas, has proved extremely beneficial to use as Business Management students, and allowed us to gain invaluable industry knowledge and experience. Moreover, we have been able to learn about the benefits of biopesticides, and how more businesses should adopt environmentally friendly pest

management solutions. Dr Minshad Ansari, Founder and CEO of Bionema, explained that many students at Swansea University choose to spend some time in industry as part of their degree, which can have huge benefits for the company involved and the students working within the company. “Industry experience will increase students confidence, enhance their employability, improve both technical and nontechnical skills through company training, increase awareness of the importance of real-word priorities and deadlines, reporting and presentation skills into action, develop network of contacts in the industry and improve awareness between academia and business,” said Dr Ansari. Bionema is a biopesticide product testing and technology development company,

specialising in chemical-free, organic crop protection. Research is focused on the development of natural products to protect crops from insect damage, reducing the use of synthetic pesticides, enhancing food security and increasing crop yields. Bionema supplies specialist bio-control products to the horticulture, turf and amenity, and forest sectors; providing training aimed at increasing the product efficacy.

Lawn Master welcomes new franchise owners As the only national lawn care company to require its franchisees to be experienced turf professionals, Lawn Master has welcomed its latest cohort of franchise owners. Geraint Scannell started his turf management career 25 years ago at The Vale Resort & Spa. He later became Head Groundsman at Dragon Park, preparing pitches for the British Lions, Premier League teams and high-profile visiting sides. He now runs Lawn Master in Cardiff & Pontypridd. Husband and wife team Andy and Lyn Slingsby (pictured) are both former greenkeepers with more than 40 years’ experience between them, having worked across the country. Together they now run Lawn Master in Bradford, Leeds and Harrogate. Also keeping it in the family is father and son duo Chris and Dan Mulcahy who now run the company’s depot in Bolton, Wigan and Bury. They have a wealth of experience in turf and amenity management between them. Chris holds a Foundation

Degree in Sports Turf Science from the University of Central Lancashire. Dan has worked with his father for a number of years. After university he became an invasive weed specialist, going on to become a Certified Japanese Knotweed Surveyor. Managing Director Bob Underhill confirmed that more turf professionals than ever are considering business ownership. “Budget cuts, course closures and employment uncertainty, especially in golf, are making turf managers rethink their future plans. They still want to do the job they love, but they want greater reward for their efforts and more autonomy over their work and lifestyle.” Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 9


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Spurs’ evolution continues After almost two seasons of calling Wembley home, Tottenham Hotspur have finally started to play at their new ground. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is jam-packed with delights, from the revolutionary to the retro. The picturesque exterior to the sweeping curves of the stands, the stadium is a spectacular addition to the country’s capital. Planning permission was submitted in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2015 that construction could finally begin. It was originally proposed that the stadium would hold 58,000, but the capacity gradually increased as the plans evolved. The final capacity was confirmed last year as 62,062 – a considerable increase on White Hart Lane’s 36,284. The stadium is now the seventh biggest in the United Kingdom, and the second largest in the Premier League, behind Old Trafford. Spurs fans will be able to watch their goal replays on

the highest quality screens, the largest of any ground in Europe, which stretch to 325m2 . There are also 1,800 smaller high definition televisions around the interior. The stadium is the first of its kind in the UK to have two pitches inside the same bowl. The retractable, natural turf surface splits into three pitchlong steel trays. When the trays slide together, the join is invisible and imperceptible to the players. The trays, weighing more than 3,000 tonnes each, can be rolled under the new South Stand to reveal the artificial surface in a process taking about 25 minutes. When the natural turf pitch is not required, it will live under the South Stand, for up to 10 days thanks to LED lighting, unique cooling and irrigation systems. Tottenham have agreed a 10-year partnership with the NFL, making the new stadium a dedicated home for the sport in the UK. Alongside this, Saracens Rugby Club have a five-year partnership with Tottenham

The stadium is now the seventh biggest in the United Kingdom, and the second largest in the Premier League, behind Old Trafford. 10 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

to play their annual showpiece fixture at the new stadium. Harrod Sport and Tottenham Hotspur have a 25-year strong relationship, and with the obstacles surrounding Football, American Football and Rugby all being played at the stadium, it was important for Harrod Sport’s involvement in the early stages. In October 2017, Mark Smith, Design Manager at Harrod Sport, and Sales Manager, John Robinson met with the design engineers, the principal pitch contractor and Tottenham Hotspur’s Head of Playing Surfaces. The physical workings of Spurs’ stateof-the-art, retractable pitch were viewed and discussed. The challenges faced as a company were extensive. The distance between the single tier and the goal line is just five metres – meaning fans will be closer to the action than at any other newly developed Premier League stadium. This resulted in the pitch having a dramatically angled run-off. Due to this, advice was needed on net support locations to meet Tottenham’s net requirements with bespoke runback depths. The sockets were set into the steel framework and the run-off required specialist net supports to fit. The NFL posed differing

problems. One was designed around the centre rail that the natural turf pitch rolls out over. To overcome this, the NFL foundation was designed to fit underneath the central rail with a removable hinge assembly attaching to the bottom section of the upright. Special sockets were also manufactured for the rugby posts to fit into pre-formed sleeves under the artificial pitch. For the natural turf pitch, the rugby post foundation needed to be mounted directly to the large metal structure making up the pitch tray and required bolt-down hinge adaptors and specialist turf trays. To date, Harrod Sport has supplied their unique Stadium Pro Football Goals, NFL Posts, Millennium Rugby Posts, Turf Trays, Crowd Protection Ball Stop Systems, NFL & Rugby Lifting Devices, Goal Post Storage Trolleys, NFL & Rugby Post Protectors, Corner Poles, and Bespoke PVC Foam Wedges. The club have without a doubt created one of the finest stadiums in the world for spectators and visitors, and in turn delivered a major new landmark for Tottenham and London. The extraordinary design will reset parameters surrounding what is achievable with multi-sport venues.


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Volunteers applauded A Wiltshire rugby club which took a huge step four years ago to keep its five pitches and training areas playable has received a massive boost from one of the top names in English rugby. In 2015, Royal Wootton Bassett RFC successfully applied for funds for grounds maintenance equipment. After receiving expert advice from Keith Kent, Twickenham’s Head Groundsman, through the RFU’s ‘Groundsman Connected’ scheme, they chose a Terra Spike XF6 refurbished through Wiedenmann UK’s own workshops. The South West 1 club runs three regular senior teams, six 13 – U18 junior teams and six age groups from Under 6-12 years. Fast forward four years

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and Keith Kent on his return celebrated the efforts of the dedicated volunteer grounds team. Assessing the club’s Ballards Ash facility as part of a review programme, he reserved highest praise for those who give up their time for free. Special praise was also extended to contractor, Bretton King, who is employed to implement major improvements. Keith said: “The renovation works are all in hand with sand, aeration, seed and feed all done to the highest

standard. If we get a half decent summer, pitches will bounce back and be at their best. Please keep up the maintenance work on your pitches in-house. The chain harrows are a great piece of kit and your very own Wiedenmann XF6 has made such a difference to your pitches. Congratulations on buying this machine. I have one at Twickenham and wouldn’t part with it for the world. It is an awesome piece of kit and one that you must use as often as you can. It is the difference between having good pitches and not.” Realistically volunteers try to aerate a full pitch every week in rotation. Applauding Royal Wootton Basset’s future proofing, Keith added that their equipment shed was just awesome.

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PRAISE FOR COMBISEEDER Bancroft Amenities has added a GKB Combiseeder to its large fleet of contracting machinery. “We like the fact it is a dimple seeder, it gives a lot of holes per square mtre and the use of the machine for the operator is very simple. We like the small compact size and its ability to seed at very low rates. The GKB build quality is very good and strong,” explained Stuart Thompson, Director of Bancroft Amenities Ltd. Bancroft Amenities maintain both natural and artificial sports surfaces with a large range of equipment. The GKB Combiseeder will be a new and valued addition to a fleet, they also run a comprehensive range of GKB synthetic turf maintenance machinery, which includes two GKB Quick-Brushes, a GKB Quick-Clean and GKB Rotobrush. “The quality of service we get through Tom (Shinkins, GKB Machines’ Operations Manager for UK & Ireland) is very good but just in general, GKB’s business model, their costs and what they offer makes them easy to work with,” said Keith. The GKB Combiseeder is a fast and efficient way to seed or overseed your golf course or sports pitch, offering both solutions, as well as the possibility to seed multiple types of grass.


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TEA BREAk TEASER

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Tea Break Teaser A summer of cricket

1. In which year as the first ever cricket World Cup held? 2. Who, with five wins, has won it the most often? 3. Glenn McGrath has the most wickets in World Cup history. Has he over 50, over 60 or over 70? 4. In which year was the fielding circle brought into the World Cup? 5. Who scored a century in the first World Cup final? 6. Which notable current team was missing from the first World Cup? 7. When was the white ball introduced to the World Cup? 8. How many times have England won the World Cup? 9. The first three tournaments were held in England but where was the first nonEnglish tournament played? 10. In which year did Sri Lanka shock the world by winning? 11. Which batsman has scored the most World Cup runs? 12. Where is the 2023 tournament to be played? 13. What significant change to matches was introduced in 1987? 14. Which country has won four out of the last five finals? 15. When did England last appear in the last of their three finals? Answers on page 53 14 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019


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Chemical cause for concern With a dwindling chemical arsenal, more greenkeepers are embracing natural alternatives, chief among them being enriched biochar from UK company Carbon Gold. But who are Carbon Gold, what is enriched biochar and, critically, does it work? Now with iprodione banned and propiconazole and chlorothalonil on their way out, the three “silver bullets” of professional sports turf, which the entire industry has relied on for decades to keep our various courses and pitches green and playable, are all at once unavailable. Compounding the issue, it’s almost certain that nutrient application will be stymied on environmental grounds to prevent run off into the water table in the near future. However, although it’s no

doubt a source of anxiety, few greenkeepers are truly despairing just yet, and some are completely at ease having already introduced an organic alternative before the chemicals have stopped being sold. That organic alternative? Carbon Gold’s enriched biochar product, Turf Improver. Biochar is a high-carbon form of charcoal that improves the water-holding capacity, nutrient retention, aeration and structure of soils and substrates. It also provides a permanent protective refuge for beneficial microbiology. Carbon Gold’s Turf Improver is biochar enriched with beneficial fungi, nutrients and bacteria and delivers improved turf health and vitality, improves rooting and nutrient retention.

At Mullion Golf Club, the most southernly course in the country, enriched biochar Turf Improver was incorporated into the 14th green which was considered the course’s problem green. Just eight months on, despite an outbreak of Fusarium on some of the course’s untreated greens in the autumn, the green is completely disease free, the grass is showing better rooting, feels firmer and is looking much healthier. At Okehampton Golf Club in Devon, the incorporation of enriched biochar Turf Improver into the 5th and 12th greens resulted in a 20% fertiliser reduction and a 100% fungicide reduction on both greens. Carbon Gold was founded by Craig Sams, founder of Green & Blacks Chocolate, in

2007 as an organic, peat-free planting aid for the retail sector. But with a few years of excellent results from thirdparty scientific trials looking into enriched biochar’s effect on plant health in the commercial crop growing and tree care sectors, trade eventually superseded the company’s retail offering. Enriched biochar is used extremely effectively in the incredibly controlled growing conditions of both organic and conventional greenhouses in the UK and Europe, and is quickly establishing itself as the standard for tree planting and care. It was introduced to the professional sports turf market by Carbon Gold a year ago but has already picked up the distribution support of Sherriff Amenity.


THE BELFRY

Memories are made of this

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Scott MacCallum returns to a place where he has spent quite a bit of time and created many wonderful memories, as he talks with Angus McLeod at The Belfry

There are some places with which you just have a connection. Somewhere which see memories reignited or future memories created. The Belfry is one such place for me. I visited for the first time in 1985 when my younger brother and I drove down from Scotland to watch the final two days of the Ryder Cup. It was the furthest I’d ever driven and remarkably at that time you could just pay at the gate for the Ryder Cup. On the Sunday afternoon we } Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 17


THE BELFRY

BEAUTIFUL: Sam’s Clubhouse, above. Previous pages: Brabazon

Angus has been at The Belfry for seven years and while he still pinches himself that he is in charge of such a world renowned venue, he is also extremely comfortable in his surroundings. } shouted some words of encouragement to Sam Torrance as he played the 10th, three down to Andy North. We were the only ones lining that particular fairway and I reckon Sam heard. He did look over, somewhat disconsolately it must be said. Anyhow we know what happened after that and we were positioned alongside the 18th fairway when Sam clinched the Cup for the first time in a huge number of years, raising his arms in that pillar box red sweater. I suppose my brother and I could claim some credit for that pep talk and turning Sam’s fortunes around, but we have let Tony Jacklin take most of the plaudits for the win. Since then I have won a Pro-Am over the Brabazon, winning a lovely print of the 10th hole; I won a raffle for a fourball which ended up costing a small fortune as we stayed for two nights and racked up quite a bill. I also chatted with Ryder Cup

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Captain Bernard Gallacher while we stood alone on the 18th fairway, watching Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie narrowly lose their Saturday afternoon fourball to John Cook and Chip Beck during the ’93 Ryder Cup. It was a nice memory for me, not so much for Bernard. It is a place with so many recollections for me, for sure. So, it was great to visit once again and catch up with Director of Golf Courses and Estates, Angus McLeod. The chat was videoed and we had the privilege of sitting in the Ryder Cup room, overlooking the iconic golf course to conduct it. Angus has been at The Belfry for seven years and while he still pinches himself that he is in charge of such a world renowned venue, he is also extremely comfortable in his surroundings. So much so that he and his team tackled a re-design of that

very 10th hole, the one where Sam received those words of wisdom from two young Scottish lads. It is probably the most famous short par-4 in world golf but Angus believed that, by undoing an amendment that had been made earlier and returning it to something more closely resembling its original guise, an improvement could be made. “When you look at YouTube videos of the original 10th it had three bunkers on a plateau on the right side of the green. That changed with one massive bunker which went right up the bank. In all honesty it didn’t look very good and it was a nightmare to maintain. So, we took the bold step of taking it back to the three bunkers again. We wanted to reinvent it,” explained Angus. The hole came to the golfing world’s attention when Seve famously drove the green – there is a plaque on the tee to commemorate the feat – and Angus didn’t want to stop big


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Clockwise from left: Director of Golf Courses and Estates, Angus McLeod; inside the Golf Academy; work on the holes and minute attention to detail

hitting visitors from attempting to emulate the late lamented Spaniard by reducing the size of the green. “We wanted to encourage golfers to have a go, so we wanted to keep the width the same and put in the three bunkers towards the edge of the green,” explained Angus, of work which was done entirely in-house. “Dave Thomas one of the original architects is sadly no longer with us, while the other, Peter Alliss, is now retired from course design otherwise we would have involved them,” said Angus, who met the world famous commentator at a recent awards’ ceremony in Portugal and had a long chat with him about The Belfry. “It is something we do following consultations with our bosses and we always have the architects’ original intent very much in mind. It was something we did for playability reasons and I’d like to think that we have helped the course.”

They have also worked on the 11th, adding in three new bunkers and realigning the green. In truth, has been quite a bit of work done on the course since that Ryder Cup back in 1985. Then the notably holes were the 9th, 10th and 18th, each with water adding to the jeopardy. Those holes are still superb but they have been joined by many more outstanding holes. “There is no weak hole on the course. My favourite is the par-5 3rd with the lake on the left hand side. The green used to be tucked up on the right and it was a fairly benign hole but now there is a real risk and reward and it makes us such a great matchplay venue.” As a place which many people aspire to play and perhaps only have the opportunity to visit once the onus on the greenkeeping team to ensure championship conditions every day is very much at the forefront of minds. Essential work still needs to be

carried out to achieve standards but that explanation won’t wash if it is being carried out on a visitor or corporate guest’s one and only visit. “It is very tough to achieve. I have a fantastic team and standards and expectations are high so we try to produce a golf course to tournament condition every day – not easy to do.” So how is it done? “We’re like Ninja greenkeepers,” laughed Angus, whose role is very much now strategic but who always makes sure he divots the tees each morning. “It allows me to see the golf course but my friends say that I’m the most highly qualified divitor in the history of greenkeeping,” said Angus. “We try to do everything sympathetically, whether it be renovation work or aerification because we know we are a 365 venue. We try never to close the courses. We are lucky that we have 60 greens on site which } Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 19


THE BELFRY

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“I had a really good job at a really good club and could have retired there but I needed another challenge and it opened the door to moving into working at big resorts.” } are all pure sand and are very free draining. “The level of intense aerification has reduced over the years. We still punch holes but it is very much with a small tine and we roll straight away afterwards. Also we aren’t too wet – 600mil average – as most rain comes from the west and it usually dissipates by the time it gets to us.” A man of Inverness, Angus moved south from his local club to Wales and Newport Golf Club before entering the world of Resort Golf when he took over at Belton Woods, in Lincolnshire. “I set goals for myself over the years and that is something I do with the team here. There are so many parts of our industry that you can diversify – turf management, workshop, irrigation etc. You can find a niche and there is a defined career path.” “I tell the boys that there are opportunities out there for them 20 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

but that they will have to get out of their comfort zones. Angus is a prime example of somehow who practices what he preaches. He pushed himself to go to college when he felt he needed qualifications to make the next step on the ladder. “I went to Pencoed College, in South Wales and did a two year management course. This was a mandatory requirement for this job. It was tough as I was still running a golf club and as you get older it’s tougher to retain information. “I had a really good job at a really good club and could have retired there but I needed another challenge and it opened the door to moving

into working at big resorts.” And it has paid off. A couple of days before our interview Angus and colleagues from The Belfry had been in St Andrews where they picked up the top award at what are the equivalent of the Oscars – the 59 Club. “We were judged on all aspects of the Resort with 60% of the overall rankings down to the golf course and it’s marked on a mystery shopper basis. “We won a Golf Flag for the PGA National and the Brabazon courses for venues over £75 and then picked up the Ultimate Venue Award at the end of the night which was fantastic.” It looks like The Belfry is continuing its reputation for creating wonderful memories!


RIDE-ON MOWERS

Not just any mower, but many mowers

In the area of sports turf and general grounds maintenance the Ventrac 4500 comes into its own. It has five different mowing decks, all attached with a unique coupling system, enabling the experienced operator to switch between mowing options in less than one minute. The HM and HP Mower Decks utilise a rugged all-steel frame design providing highly efficient grass discharge, moving more grass through the deck tunnel. With the removal of two pins beneath the cross frame, the deck can be easily tilted to a near vertical position for maintenance and storage. The HM decks come as 1.83 metre side discharge with an optional mulching kit available or 1.52 metre rear discharge. The HP deck is a 1.83 metre side discharge with an offset to the left side of 165 mm. This aids mowing along ditches, ponds and trimming around obstacles, keeping the tractor on solid ground. The offset also makes for a smaller cutting radius 22 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

increasing productivity. All HM and HP decks offer full-width rear rollers with large pneumatic front swivel caster tyres to float over the terrain independent of the tractor. The Contour Mower features a 2.13 metre working width making quick work of any mowing job regardless of the terrain and without sacrificing quality of cut. Three rear discharge decks float independently and follow the contours of the terrain with up to 40 degrees of motion for each side deck. Full length rear rollers facilitate even cutting and striping and the flip-up deck design allows easy maintenance. The MR740 Triplex Reel Mower is designed to be the ultimate trim and surround mower. With a 1.88 metre width of cut, variable speed hydraulics, standard back lapping valves, and offset capability, the MR740 includes many features to ensure superior, low-maintenance performance. When powered by the all-wheel drive Ventrac 4500 tractor

with dual wheels, the MR740 can be operated on hills and slopes up to 30 degrees – allowing the operator to go where no other reel mower can go. The final mowing option is the HQ680 Tough Cut deck, specifically designed for mowing high grass, thick weeds and heavy brush. A large baffled front opening helps direct materials into the deck and helps hinder debris from escaping. Three heavy-duty blades counter rotate to cut and deposit waste evenly without windrowing. The blades are sharp on both sides so they can be used on right or lefthand spindles, allowing for extended blade life. Capable of tackling saplings up to 2.54 mm (1 inch) in diameter, the Tough Cut makes short work out of overgrown thickets. The Tough Cut can be adjusted to three cutting heights: 76 mm, 92 mm and 108 mm. Easy servicing of belts and pulleys is provided by the hinged and removable cover. The tilt-up deck provides easy access to the blades.


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Maximum area in minimum time Toro’s Grandstand combines the speed and comfort of a zero-turn mower with the benefits of a professional walk-behind. Fast and manoeuvrable, this mower ensures the user can cover maximum area in minimal time. The cushioned suspension system, rear-discharge deck, and twin-levered steering controls also makes mowing easier for the operator. The Grandstand 36” and 48” models both feature a fold-up operator platform to allow the mower to convert to a walk-behind, ideal when operating on sloped terrain, saving room in workshops or when in transport. The 36” model also has an ultra-compact footprint, making the mower ideal for smaller residential properties or areas with gates and tight spaces. Where traction and handling are concerned, a wide stance and optimal balance enhance hillside stability and control, and the antifatigue rubber mat helps to reduce vibrations and improve footing.

Both Grandstand 36” and 48” models are available with an optional Recycler kit, which turns grass clippings into a fine nutrient rich mulch to nourish lawns all season. Also available is the Rear-Roller Striping Kit, which allows landscapers to create professional looking stripes and patterns in the lawn as they go. The kit is easily attached and detached from the mower, making it a great choice for those who want a little more versatility when they mow. Additional accessories, including lighting kits and flashing amber beacon kits, are also available. “We are really pleased to offer the UK and European markets an alternative to the conventional ride-on mower with the Toro Grandstand,” said Christopher Cooper, Product Marketing Manager for Toro and Hayter. “It was designed with landscape professionals in mind to offer a compact, operator-first machine, combining the benefits of both a

ride on and a walk-behind mower. In the early stages of developing the Grandstand, Toro wanted to overcome the challenges seen in some of the existing stand-on mowers in the market. The majority of stand-on mowers have the operator platform located between the wheels, which means the heat generated from the hydraulic motor goes straight to the operator’s feet. Toro looked at several solutions to remove this heat cast and decided on a design that allows the operator platform to be suspended behind the machine rather than above the motor. This solution also allowed for the Grandstand platform to be foldable and give operators further versatility to use the machine as both a ride-on and a walk behind. The curved shape of the platform offers a larger open area for the operator to move around to ensure comfort and balance even when cutting on sloped surfaces.

Meeting mowing challenges head-on The 50:50 articulated steering makes the Park Pro Front cut mowers agile, perfect for large complex areas where manoeuvrability is tight around rocks, trees, corners and confined spaces.

4-wheel drive, power steering, electric height of cut and a range of other professional features come as standard. The RAC Quick Connect system allows you to switch implements in minutes.

No tools are needed – just click them on and off! With a selection of seasonal implements ranging from sweepers, snow blades, flail mowers, rakes and carts these mowers are truly versatile. Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 23


RIDE-ON MOWERS

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Eclipse has environmentally-friendly features The latest in hybrid drive technology and the ingenuity of Jacobsen’s unique mower control systems combine to make the Eclipse® 322 a leading contender when considering low emission mowers. This ride-on greens mower has a number of environmentally friendly features alongside superior mowing capability that make it the industry’s leading ride-on hybrid greens and fine turf mower. Customers can choose from three power sources – battery, hybrid diesel or hybrid petrol. Fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 50% using either hybrid option, with the battery-powered model completely eliminating the need for fuel.

The machine is also the industry’s only 100% hydraulic-free small area reel mower with full electric traction drive, lift/lower, reels and steering, eliminating all waste hydraulic oil and risk of leaks. An impressive statistic related to the all-electric version is that, depending on the number of hours the machine is used, a user can save up to 2864 litres of fuel and up to 118 litres of waste oil per year. Jacobsen’s enhanced mower control systems joins all of these environmentally friendly features. The Eclipse 322 is the only ride-on reel mower that allows you to programme and set the frequency of clip to suit your turf conditions and ensure consistent

results regardless of who is operating the machine. Clip rate has been independently shown to affect green speed, trueness and smoothness. By maintaining the clip rate, regardless of forward speed, the Jacobsen Eclipse 322 gives a Course Manager the best opportunity of improving green playability from mowing activities alone. Operators also have greater control over their cutting pattern with reels that can be independently lowered and lifted, with the centre reel on a swing-out mechanism for easy maintenance. All models come with a complete greens management system, including TrueSet cutting units with Classic XP reels.

Etesia Hydro 80: an all-round performer John Maxwell, Managing Director at Inverallan Landscapes, has reported a number of benefits from using the Etesia Hydro 80 MKHP ride-on mower. Established in 1998, Inverallan Landscapes is a family run business based in Stirling. Over the past 21 years the company has specialised in grounds maintenance contracting and has a large client base which includes sites such as business parks, office developments, tourist attractions, churches, nursing homes, hotels, car dealerships and residential developments. John is quite particular when it comes to selecting machinery, insisting on using only equipment of the highest standard. Therefore, when he needed a new ride-on mower he was careful to ensure that it ticked all of the necessary boxes. “I wanted a ride-on mower that was compact, light and offered 24 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

excellent performance,” he said. Measuring less than one metre wide, the Etesia Hydro 80 is easily transported in any vehicle whether it be a van or a trailer. Its compact size means that this impressive machine can pass through most gateways and its tight turning circle makes it ideal for small or awkward areas. It mows close to walls and fences and is highly manoeuvrable. Also, with its large-sized front wheels, the Etesia Hydro 80 easily overcomes all obstacles such as pavement kerbs. It has been designed to cut and collect both long and short grass, without clogging. Add to that its compact dimensions, ease of use, hydrostatic drive and powerful 15hp twin-cylinder Kawasaki engine, and you have a highly efficient machine offering the kind of output that would easily replace three walk-behind mowers. The Hydro 80 has been robustly built

and requires minimal maintenance. Operators have access to the engine and all working parts and the hydrostatic transmission system is maintenance free. The specially coated 60 mm tubular chassis is also designed for strength and long-life. “We have had the Etesia Hydro 80 for three seasons now and it is used mostly every day between four different vans. It is nice and light as opposed to some of our other larger equipment too. Up here the ground can be very wet and soft at times so the Hydro 80 is the ideal machine to get on and get these areas cut. We have the flexibility to mulch or pick-up the grass which is beneficial too. “It is also brilliant when attending to large grass areas because as opposed to having two or three operators using push mowers, we can just have one person covering the whole area with the Hydro 80.”


TENNIS, TURF AND WIMBLEDON

How turf changed tennis 26 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019


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TENNIS, TURF AND WIMBLEDON

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The STRI’s Mark Ferguson explains how an improvement in the grass deployed on tennis courts changed the way in which the game was played, writes Scott MacCallum.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Dan Dean at Wimbledon

Remember back to the Wimbledons of the 70s and 80s. There was little British involvement beyond the second round; in the second week the courts looked like a yellow massive “T” surrounded by varying shades of green; and, for the men at least, a rally of over five shots was something of a novelty. It was the days of Ilie Nastase, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Roscoe Tanner, and the man with the best name in the sport – Vitas Gerulaitis. It was all white balls and wooden racquets. It was also the days of the “You cannot be serious!” and “Chalk dust blew up!” moments, and the bad bounce. To a significant degree it was the bad bounces which forced players to adopt a serve and volley approach, rather than remain at the back of the court trying to work openings but risk a low bounce ruining all the great

lead up work. Racquet technology improved dramatically in the 80s and led to the grass court game becoming dominated by big servers. This meant that the game was dominated by short rallies and became predictable. That was all to change in the 90s. The STRI had always been involved with Wimbledon on an advisory basis, but it was in the early 90s that they became more heavily involved with the All England Club and The Championships. As part of that a whole raft of research, surveys and botanical assessments of the courts were carried out – a programme which continues to this day. “The most important trial was the ‘Grasses for Tennis’ trial which was set up in 1993,” explained Mark Ferguson, the STRI’s Research Manager. }

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TENNIS, TURF AND WIMBLEDON

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With the arrival of the new rye grasses the game changed, the courts became much more consistent and players were confident enough to play from the back of courts which performed a bit more like hard courts, albeit the ball came through much more quickly }

“What quickly became apparent was that there were better grasses out there which could be used on the courts. That wasn’t the fault of anyone as no research had been done prior to that and new breeding technology had only recently brought in new varieties.” The new cultivars of perennial ryegrass provided a much better surface. More consistent than the old seed mixtures that had been based on golf course grasses such as bent and fescues, which quickly became invaded with annual meadow-grass. “At the start of The Championships, the surface had a low bounce due to the cushioning effect of the poa, but as it wore down (to avoid using out twice?) whole plants kicked out, leaving bare patches which led to unusually high bounces. This encouraged players to keep rallies short. With the arrival of the new rye grasses the game changed, the courts became much more consistent and players were confident enough

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to play from the back of courts which performed a bit more like hard courts, albeit the ball came through much more quickly.” explained Mark, who has been STRI’s Mr Wimbledon for 13 years. “The work that has been done on grasses has played a big part in the way the game has been played.” The current Wimbledon mixture is supplied by Limagrain and has been used for the last 10 years. It comes from three cultivars – Melbourne, Malibu and Venice. “Breeding has hit a bit of a ceiling, improvements are now more marginal. Ryegrasses have become so good now that it is difficult to genetically engineer something which is better. There are some coming through and there are some excellent companies out there which have had great success in trials and they are tested at Wimbledon as part of the trial work.” As part of Mark’s wider role, he is involved with the Lawn

Tennis Association, ensuring that all the venues used by the LTA receive support and advice. This is important as a few years ago the future of grass court tennis was in some doubt particularly with the US Open moving away from grass courts in 1975 and the Australian Open following in 1988. “Funnily enough I’ve just finished writing an article called the ‘The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Grass Courts’. When tennis became a sport everyone played on grass. Clay became an alternative in Europe and then in the 70s and 80s we got the hard courts as the game became much more fashionable. These courts were much more maintenance friendly, although I only recently learned that the US Open courts are resurfaced every year,” explained Mark, adding that the ITF now recognise 10 official surfaces but there are hundreds of variants within them. Mark spends time visiting lawn }


TENNIS, TURF AND WIMBLEDON

There has to be a grass court legacy within the UK for Wimbledon to survive as a grass court tournament. There has to be a grass court season so that players can become accustomed to the grass each year and that Wimbledon doesn’t become a grass court tournament in isolation } tennis clubs up and down the country

offering advice and support at places which don’t have large budgets – perhaps a one-man band looking after the courts. It is part of the LTA’s use of the revenue – £40 million a year is the latest quoted figure – which comes from The Championships. “They can’t afford to do everything they would like, but they are doing their best to prepare a good surface and we can really help these people. “There has to be a grass court legacy within the UK for Wimbledon to survive as a grass court tournament. There has to be a grass court season so that players can become accustomed to the grass each year and that Wimbledon doesn’t become a grass court tournament

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in isolation,” explained Mark. Today’s Wimbledon is a massive sporting event – Mark believes that it is the biggest annual sporting event in the world – and Mark and his four strong team attend from the week in advance of The Championships each year. They take daily measurements on each court, including practice courts and the qualifying courts at the Bank of England Sports Club, using the famous old Clegg impact hammer, to measure surface hardness. Soil moisture readings, ball bounce, chlorophyll index and live grass cover is also measured. “To measure live grass cover we go to the same eight areas on each court, every day and take a count of live grass, that’s 800 spot

identifications per court, per day.” All measurements are processed and made available to Neil Stubley to direct specific management on Championships and practice courts. If, for example, a player questions the playing quality of a court, the measurements can prove that surface characteristics are consistent with other courts and other Championships. “We have readings for every court going back to the 1990s so we can demonstrate objectively how a court is performing compared to previous years.” Mark is a friendly, interesting and open interviewee, but there was one question which elicited a more cautious response than the others.


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“Can we say now that the courts are measurably better than they were a number of years ago?” That was the question. “I hate to use the phrase ‘better than ever’ as it is a real hostage to fortune and can become a stick to beat you with. We aim for surface characteristics to fall within certain parameters, but there are a number of factors that can influence how courts play, the weather is an obvious one, also hours of play, type of play etc”. “Last year for example the two men’s semi-finals went to five hours 15 minutes (DjokavicNadal) and six hours 36 minutes (Anderson-Isner) and that put so much wear into Centre Court for the final two days. A year before there were much shorter semis and the wear would have been much less. However, Centre Court still played great for the final weekend.” By the same token the Centre Court roof has not had a real impact on the day-to-day condition of the surface, but in another way, it does make a difference. “The roof on Centre Court is at the north end so it doesn’t impact in terms of shade but what the roof does bring is continuous play when the rain comes. Live TV want play all the time so there

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is a temptation to overuse the court, and it needs to still be in good condition on day 13. Other courts are brought out of play as the fortnight progresses and there are fewer matches to play.” With the No.1 Court roof coming into use at this year’s Championships the Centre Court workload can be managed a little more easily. Mark is seen very much as part of the Wimbledon team, travelling down from his base in Bingley once a month throughout the year and more regularly as The Championships approach and he works very closely with Neil and his team. Mark is immersed in tennis and doing what he can to ensure that the traditions and beauty of the grass court game are maintained, but he certainly doesn’t see it as a chore. “For me it’s not just another job. It is an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be involved with Wimbledon. It’s an honour to be down there each year and to have an input in a positive way on what goes on.” It’s fair to say that with Mark’s expertise and the talents of Neil Stubley and his team the future of Wimbledon is secure for the long, long term. Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 33


TENNIS AND TURF

Paul Fidgett advises to think ahead when you plan a new tennis facility and you can multiply the sports your area will cater for. We’ve sold a lot of tennis mesh since British tennis returned to the world stage, won its first Davis Cup for almost 80 years and regularly had players in the world’s top 50. And we continue to make enhancements to our mesh fencing system, the only one in the UK designed specifically for tennis courts. Traditional tennis chain link fencing deforms over time and is easy to cut, disfigure and vandalise. It also traps, or even lets through, tennis balls hit at velocity. By contrast, Zaun’s Advantage Tennis mesh employs Duo fencing with vertical wire centres spaced every 42mm, rather than 50mm, ensuring balls are retained within the court even under heavy use while allowing

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Another fine mesh easy viewing of the on-court action. But with the prevalence of bad weather during British summers and the shortness of the tennis season, it makes economic sense for clubs, councils and schools and colleges to maximise the use of their asset by planning for courts to accommodate other sports. Specification of Super Rebound means a tennis court can stage many other games. Think about the orientation of play. You might want capacity for a full-sized football pitch, with smaller five-a-side variants at right angles. A single orientation of play might let you reduce side fences to just 1.2m to reduce cost and create a less caged-in field of play. We often specify combined basketball hoops and back boards with football

goals, or incorporate full size goals with recesses to store them in. The ultimate solution would be Super Rebound all the way to 3m high behind sloped goals – as opposed to typical 2.7m high chain link fencing – with the lowest 200 or 400mm with additional wires to provide a hockey effect absorption of high-impact balls without high-maintenance. With sufficient forethought, fencing can keep balls in play, reduce maintenance, provide safety and security, deter vandalism and graffiti and even be an integral part of the field of play. So think about your needs, as the more you can plan and specify usage at the outset, the more you can keep cost down as it evolves.


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Declining biodiversity – how can turf play a part? Biodiversity, conservation and urban greening are all hot topics and high on the agenda of Government, conservationists and landscaping bodies around the world. As an industry we are looked at to play a critical part in the sourcing and implementation of solutions that will address the serious challenges we are facing surrounding the decline and potential extinction of many species of pollinators. Biodiversity includes all species of animals and plants – basically everything that is alive on our planet; including human survival which depends upon it. It’s been well reported that the number of insects is falling at an alarming rate and that our own future could be at risk if nothing is done to halt the decline. But, how can we collectively help? Can one industry really make that much of a difference? And where do we even start? As an industry we produce beautiful green

spaces; create community spaces on the top of buildings and design breathtaking landscapes; but can we go further? In short, yes, we can help; from the landscape architects to the garden designers and the contractors we can all play our part. Together our joint contribution and commitment to changing the future will make a difference. Installing wildflower matting is one positive step we can take and will help bees and other pollinators. Wildflowers provide lots of things that insects need: food, shelter and places to breed. In return, insects pollinate the wildflowers, enabling them to develop seeds and spread to grow in other places. These insects are then eaten by birds, bats, reptiles and small mammals, all of whom contribute to the life cycle and so on it goes. Wildflowers are also really helpful in keeping soil healthy. As they become

established, their roots spread and they stabilise the surrounding soil which is especially important on hillsides, where sloping ground is easily washed away if there aren’t roots to help hold the soil in place. If soil isn’t stable, it’s easier for nutrients to be washed into nearby water systems. Where there are wildflowers there will be insects and pollinators; there will be biodiversity. John Chambers Wildflower Matting is easy to install and more landscapers are incorporating wildflower matting on roundabouts, roadside verges, embankments and green roofs – what they can add to an urban scheme pays dividends. It is pre-grown under controlled, specialist conditions and delivered directly to site to provide instant impact and wildlife benefits. As well as ground coverage there are beautiful long-flowering diverse displays.

Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 35


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GOODWOOD

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GOODWOOD:

A great place to be Scott MacCallum catches up with Phil Helmn, the man with the most diverse job in turf management… I often interview turf managers at multiple use venues and marvel at their ability to switch from preparing a high quality cricket pitch to mastering the intricacies of marking out a 400 metre athletic track. However, I have just spoken with a turf manager for whom no turf related scenario is out of bounds. Phil Helmn is General Manager Sports Turf Grounds and Gardens at the iconic and wonderful Goodwood Estate and in addition to managing the golf courses, the cricket pitches, and all the areas around the famous house, at the hotel he also has kennels under his remit, and has to ensure that

the grass airfield is functioning well and entirely safe for aircraft to land. Oh yes, and he must ensure that the grass in the Estate fields operates at maximum yield for the cattle and sheep to eat while at the same time ensuring that the surface is strong enough, and of a suitable mixture, to recover from hosting marquees and structures which form part of the many huge events held at Goodwood. Unless anyone can tell me differently I can’t think of any turf manager dealing with such a diverse portfolio, even allowing for the fact that Phil’s extensive remit doesn’t

stretch as far as that other iconic Goodwood feature – the racecourse. “That might be true, but I can’t honestly say I’m winning at any of it,” laughed Phil, for whom the comfort zone was very much golf course management until his talents, ability to take on challenges and manage a large team was identified by the Goodwood Directors and his job grew. “We are, however, all working hard to ensure we get the best results we can.” Phil arrived at Goodwood five years ago as Course Manager for the Parks and the Downs 18 hole courses. “I was promoted two years later } Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 37


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No turf should be without it during the summer! Provides rapid relief from photosynthetic and respiration stresses caused by high humidity and heat, low light and/or saturated soil conditions. An advanced formulation of readily available calcium and carbohydrates complexed with a proprietary blend of patented phytochemicals, antioxidants and amino acid chelates.

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38 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

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GOODWOOD

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“A golf green has to perform differently to a cricket wicket and they both have to perform differently to a grass runway.” – Phil Helmn } and now have a team of 30 full time

and 15 seasonals in the summer to look after all aspects of our grounds and sports facilities. The whole site is 12,000 acres, much of it forestry, but that’s a heck of a lot and even with 45 staff in the summer it’s not really enough. We could really do with more.” Phil is in charge of six departments in total – Simon Berry is Head Greenkeeper for the Parks Course; Rob Dyer for the Downs Course; Andy Boxall is the Head Groundsman for the Airfield and the Main Grounds; Richard Geffin is the Head Groundsman for the cricket; Adrian Gale is the Head Mechanic and Georgina Page is the Head Gardener. He himself reports to Adam Waterworth, Goodwood’s Sports Director. Ultimately they all report to the Duke of Richmond, whose vision was the current Goodwood Estate back in the early 1990s and whose ability to harness a high quality team made it all happen. Phil meets with each Departmental

Head on a one to one basis every week and while keeping on top of things is manageable, balancing the ying and the yang of the job is a task. “A golf green has to perform differently to a cricket wicket and they both have to perform differently

to a grass runway. The lawns are all different too, and then there are the fields where there is a conflict between parking 10,000 cars for a Festival of Speed or a Revival, and having grazing sheep and cattle. I have to learn about the right grass for a dairy herd so that they produce more milk or that sheep can be sold to market earlier.” As for that runway, “MJ Abbott were contracted to level it recently. It is predominately rye grass with elements of the new tetraploids to assist with wear and tear,” he revealed. While the diversity of challenge is what keeps his juices flowing it was golf which was his calling card into Goodwood. “I grew up with golf, my dad was the pro at Morecambe Golf Club and I went to Myerscough College to study turf management,” explained Phil, whose career took him to the States and Cyprus before working on a new project at Heythrop Park, in Chipping Norton. From there to Goodwood, initially }

Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 39


GOODWOOD

} to manage the two golf courses.

Phil attributes much of his success at Heythrop to the quality of his greens. This is where he worked initially with David Snowden of Agronomic Services Ltd. With this target in mind, when he arrived at Goodwood, he chose to call upon Agronomic Services Ltd once more and work again with David

40 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

Snowden, whom he describes as an extended member of the team. “He’s a very clever man, and while he doesn’t wear a Goodwood t-shirt we definitely see him as one of our team. Phil jokes, “perhaps we should get him a Goodwood t-shirt.” “The mind set I had at Heythrop was that it was all about the greens. If you

can get them right most greenkeepers will tell you that you are pretty much on a winner. So, with David’s expertise, we worked out the best programmes based on Ana-Lync and we really got them singing. It was satisfying to see that when I left, they were in lovely condition,” explained Phil. “Coming to Goodwood I had a great working relationship with David and knew that the products he used would definitely make a difference. Hey presto we’re five years in and we have achieved what we were looking for from our greens.” “Heythrop was a complete new build 80-20 fen dress to a USGA spec. Here The Downs course is on pure sand on top of a chalk hill so it’s extremely challenging. The Parks course is a different beast, a standard 70-30 mix and much easier to manage. We describe it as a mellow pensioner whereas the Downs is a temperamental teenager. With two courses which are almost polar opposites Agronomic Services Ltd had to find two different types of solutions for separate growing conditions and different soils on the two courses, which each raised their own unique challenges. David works very closely with Simon and Rob communicating on a regular basis and bringing his expertise, combined with the work and day to day knowledge of the Head


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While the work with Agronomic Services allows them to control the controllables Phil knows there is much more he can’t do anything about. “I know sports turf people will be able to empathise with me. My moods swings are tied in to the weather.” Greenkeepers and their teams. Producing the desired results certainly didn’t involve a one-sizefits-all approach. Regular course walks with David, followed by soil and water testing utilising Ana-Lync for reporting and analysis, and then the creation a bespoke roadmap (Turf Action Plan) for each course, individually. The constant and combined monitoring of the course by the Head Greenkeepers and the team and the technical support, all come together to create excellent results. The Downs was tackled with a combination of RZA Ceramic Granules, Eon Bio and soil enhancers, which enabled ‘tied up’ elements to become unlocked and therefore available in the rootzone. “The products are great. They do exactly what they say on the tin and with David’s skill in combining them, it means that we can fine tune to exactly

what we need. They are definitely the Rolls Royce of products – not cheap but I made savings elsewhere within my budget so I knew that I could have the control we need using the Floratine foliar feeds, combined with Agronomics soil liquids.” While the work with Agronomic Services allows them to control the controllables Phil knows there is much more he can’t do anything about. “I know sports turf people will be able to empathise with me. My moods swings are tied in to the weather. If it’s good grass growing weather I’m usually pretty chipper but if it’s too dry or too cold I’m in a much lower mood. “But what I’ve noticed most here is that if I’m praying for rain because I want to put on some fertiliser on the golf course I also need it to be dry over on the runway or the fields because I want those areas to be dry to peak. There is no perfect weather

Goodwood’s greenkeeping team, above, and opposite, some of the extremes of what their estate is used for – golf and Spitfires

now for me now there are so many different areas with different needs.” However, with a glass half full rather than the reverse approach, Phil is adjusting his thinking. “I’ve learned that whatever the weather it doesn’t matter. If it’s wet it’s going to suit the golf and if it’s dry it’s ok because I can do some topdressing. The area we look after is so huge each area will need different things. No matter the weather it’s ideal for something! So, to be honest, it’s fine I just have to take it as it comes.” With the great and the good, not to mention the “A” list stars converging on Goodwood on a regular basis, particularly for the Festival of Speed and the Revival events, Phil has to pinch himself that he is a key part in the success of it all. “It’s probably the best place I’ve ever worked, and I have worked at some lovely places and I’ve had a blast in } Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 41


GOODWOOD

Phil Helms, left, with David Snowden of Agronomic Services Ltd

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With the great and the good, not to mention the “A” list stars converging on Goodwood on a regular basis, particularly for the Festival of Speed and the Revival events, Phil has to pinch himself that he is a key part in the success of it all. } my career, but the culture here on the Estate is fantastic, the diversity of what we deal with is also fantastic. But it is the culture which has got me the most. It is very nurturing full of excitement and enthusiasm – let’s work out how we can do it, rather than thinking we can’t. “It’s all positive vibes and a ‘Let’s go get ’em” attitude and it suits my

personality and character perfectly.” That’s not to say that he revels in the excitement of mixing with Formula One drivers and Hollywood stars. He never switches off fully. “The events are wonderful here but, of course, like any greenkeeper will tell you, you walk around with a notepad thinking this will need doing tomorrow and I just get the lads to

do that. Maybe a marquee could be moved six inches because it’s nudging up against a hedge. It goes with the territory. Even when you are off duty you are thinking ‘That’s going to be a mess when they take that tent down’.” Speaking with Phil you do get the feeling that no matter what he is left to clean up at Goodwood he will do so with a broad smile on his face.

Win an overnight stay at the luxury Goodwood Hotel! Enjoy dinner, wine, bed & breakfast and a round of golf with thanks to Agronomic Services. Simply answer some simple questions to be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize! Correct entries will be entered into the prize draw announced on Friday 17 May 2019. Winner will be the first correct entry drawn at random. Good luck!

To take part, go to https://turfmatters.co.uk/competition/ 42 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019


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WATER MANAGEMENT

Conserving water for the fut It’s official – fresh water supplies are dwindling, demand for water is steadily rising, and regulations on how much and for what purpose water can be used are becoming increasingly tightened. Finding ways to use water more efficiently is no longer an environmental nice to have; it’s a fact of life for most courses today and imperative for our industry’s future. As a turf manager you’ll always need water – it’s a fundamental building block of turf – but there are a number of steps you can take to influence how much water you need. New course designs utilise contours and land features to guide water and minimise irrigation requirements. While this is certainly easier

44 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

to do when building from scratch, existing courses can also make small changes on their properties that can equate to big savings. One of the biggest potential impacts on your water consumption can be made by redirecting water that already exists. Think of the amount of rainfall that lands outside of turf areas on your property over the course of the year. You can recoup some of this “lost” water by creating contours within the course layout, as well as using strategic grading and curb cuts on hard surfaces such as buggy paths and parking areas to collect run-off and channel it to storage areas. Even rainfall redirected from roofing surfaces can be a good source of “extra” water.

Plant selection can also play an important role in how much water is needed to keep your property at its visual best. Choose turf varieties such as fine fescues that require less water than others such as perennial ryegrass. Other water-saving strategies include naturalising areas that are not part of regular play, and landscaping with native plants that thrive under local conditions. This also reduces the energy and labour required for maintenance, and the effect can be visually stunning. Even with these changes, irrigation is still essential and ongoing maintenance of your irrigation system is an effective way to reduce the amount of water wasted. Moisture sensors, weather monitors and other hightech tools are also available to help you use your water conservatively. By combining information on the actual moisture status of your soils with evapotranspiration and expected rainfall, these tools can help you maintain quality growing conditions with the least amount of water necessary. Even after irrigation, there is still one more hurdle to getting water to your turf as efficiently as possible: your soil. How well your soil performs can have a tremendous impact on how much water you use. Soil:water repellency interferes with how even the most well-placed water moves, leaving some areas a little too dry while making some a little too wet. This is certainly not a new phenomenon, but research indicates that it is much more common than previously thought. Telltale signs of water repellency issues include erratic wetting patterns and localised dry spots, but not all water movement issues can be seen at the surface.

How well your soil performs can have a tremendous impact on how much water you use. Water droplet penetration tests and sampling with a soil moisture probe can give you a better idea of issues below the surface that may be impacting the amount of water you use. Water repellency is one of the most pervasive water use issues, and it is also one of the easiest and most cost-effective to fix. Soil surfactants lower the surface tension of water and restore the wettability of effected soils, allowing water to move into and through the profile more efficiently. This reduces the amount of water lost to run-off and preferential flow. In fact, using surfactants as part of an ongoing maintenance program can reduce the amount of water needed by 20% – 50% without negatively impacting turf quality. “Revolution is one of the very few products that makes a dramatic difference and actually changes the way turf is managed. It affects everything including the turf, the distribution of water, fertilisers, and other materials,” said Sam Rhodes, Woodhall Spa GC. Most courses have best management practices in place for their properties, but not all commit them to paper in a formal document. There are a number of resources available that provide guidance and templates for creating one, but should you bother? Absolutely. Best management practice is more than just a piece of paper; it is a communication


making turf turf matter matter making

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ure of turf sports tool that can help you better negotiate potentially difficult relationships. It gives you a clearly defined way of documenting and monitoring your water use and measuring the progress of your conservation efforts. Ongoing documentation can help you communicate your commitment to responsible water use more clearly to those that can be most critical: your superiors, your membership, your community. Perhaps even more importantly, this documentation can act as a bargaining chip with regulating authorities who are charged with lessening the strain on shrinking water supplies but don’t have a true understanding of how detrimental their decisions

can be on our industry. By providing them with proof that you are actively monitoring your usage and looking for ways to use water more efficiently, you have a better chance of negotiating regulatory water use decisions that work within your needs, rather than having them mandated to you. Water conservation is a realistic goal, with both environmental and financial upsides. Like it or not, the call for sustainability – and the challenges that presents – are going to be big issues for a long time. Doing what you can at your course does more than just protect a diminishing global resource – it protects your course, your job, and the future of the sports turf industry.

Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 45


DRAINAGE

Going underground Correct primary and secondary drainage systems can work wonders, reports Penny Comerford Sports pitches which remain consistently waterlogged despite routine aeration and surface maintenance may well have reached the point where installation of primary or secondary drainage systems is the only means of alleviating the problem. Primary drainage comprises a matrix of underground pipework that allows water to enter the pipes and then be carried away to an outfall point – usually a ditch but sometimes a soakaway system. The matrix is made up of a main or carrier drain that has a system of lateral drains feeding

46 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

into it, with the laterals usually being confined beneath the playing surface. The spacing between these laterals is determined by influencing factors, for example, soil type, annual rainfall

data for the locality and level of use required and this leads to a range of between 3m and 6m spacings. Following the creation of trenches, pipes are laid within them and


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A playing surface which already has a primary drainage system beneath it but is still unacceptably wet, could benefit from a secondary drainage system placed 90° to the primary trenches. covered with specified gravel, before the upper section of the trench is topped with a suitable high infiltration rate sand-based rootzone. Seeding completes the operation. A playing surface which already has a primary drainage system beneath it but is still unacceptably wet, could benefit from a secondary drainage system placed 90° to the primary trenches. Most recent designs have acknowledged that a secondary system should be installed in addition to the primary one, and thus they are specified from the outset. This secondary system can be excavated sand slits (such as those installed by the KORO Topdrain) or they can be excavated gravel and sand slits (installed with a wheel-type trencher) – in both cases, these are created as a grid, perpendicular to the primary system. The principle is to create an intensive, narrow-spaced system of slits over the top that gives a link between the playing surface and the gravel infill above the pipes in the primary system. The spacing between these slits is again influenced by the same ones used to design the primary system – the intention remains the same, which is to transport water off the surface, into the slits, along the slits to the primary drain trench and then away via that system. Ecosol Turfcare will undertake projects from the creation of new winter sports pitches where drainage systems are included in the specification, to smaller customised projects where localized pitch areas need draining, re-grading, in-filling or extending. “We have produced and completed projects for a range of clients, including the RFU, Sport England and private clients. No matter what the requirement, we help provide the solution to the drainage problem,” explained Darren Matthews, Ecosol Turfcare’s Operations Manager, The South-West based company install primary and secondary drainage systems using a variety of equipment from manufacturers such as Shelton, Imants, Dakota and BLEC – all with the goal of providing a club with the customised system that is tailored to their location } Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 47


DRAINAGE/SYNTHETIC SURFACES

“The grid system they created is brilliant. I feel that I know my pitch again now…” } and specific playing demands.

Clients range from Premier league clubs and equestrian arenas to village sports fields. Harlequins Rugby, in Twickenham was a satisfied client. “We had reached crisis time with our pitch. The playing surface in the south-east corner of the pitch had gone black with algae because it was constantly waterlogged. Initially, Ecosol Turfcare came in to Drill n Fill it but we then discovered that the drain had failed in that area,” sad Paul Sykes, Head Groundsman. Paul had a new main drain installed which ran the length of the pitch and was reconnected to the existing lateral pipes (which were spaced at 7m intervals transversely aligned across the pitch). However, the pitch was still slowdraining and kept cutting up. “Ecosol Turfcare then boosted the primary drainage system by installing further lateral pipes in between the existing ones and thereby reducing the distance between

laterals to 3.5m,” added Darren. “This was backed up by a secondary system of excavated sand and gravel slits placed at 90° to the laterals to carry water off the surface promptly.” The results have delighted Paul. “The grid system they created is brilliant. I feel that I know my pitch again now – how to treat it, when we can get on it – it drains quickly after heavy rain and the grass is green and healthy.”

Syn-Pro A range of Syn-Pro equipment by SISIS is helping Cameron Flitten, Head Groundsman for De Montfort University at Beaumont Park, keep the synthetic surfaces in impeccable condition. With the emergence of synthetic surfaces becoming more common over the years in a wide range of sports, the SISIS brand has continued to go from strength to strength with its impressive Syn-Pro portfolio. Today synthetic surfaces are playing such a large role in a groundsman’s overall responsibilities, many have turned to the reliable and efficient Syn-Pro range and Cameron is no exception. Originally from New Zealand, Cameron’s career in sports turf started with an apprenticeship on a golf course before landing a role working on the cricket squares at Loughborough University and then progressing to being in charge of the rugby and football pitches. Three years ago he became the head groundsman for De Montfort University, which coincided with the university agreeing to lease the vast playing fields at Beaumont Park. The site received a multi-million pound investment and transformed the facilities into some of the best in the county. Along with seven other members of staff, Cameron maintains the wide array of sports surfaces at Beaumont Park which now includes two recently built all-weather 3G synthetic pitches. To maintain these two pitches, Cameron chooses to use the Litamina 1200 and a combination of the Flexicomb fitted with straight and zigzag brushes. The Litamina 1200 is a compact sweeper for efficient collection for unwanted debris from sand filled or rubber crumb synthetic surfaces. With its spiral design brush helping to stand up the pile and improve collection, and a large capacity mesh hopper collecting debris but allowing infill to be returned to the surface, the Litamina 1200 is ideal for helping to keep surfaces free of contamination and harmful debris. Designed primarily for use on synthetic surfaces, the Flexicomb ensures even distribution of infill materials and lifts the pile.

The Litamina 1200 is a compact sweeper for efficient collection for unwanted debris from sand filled or rubber crumb synthetic surfaces. 48 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019


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by SISIS thrives at Beaumont The adjustable setting ensures the effect of a rake, but with the softness of a brush, reducing the risk of damage to the fibres. “We use the Flexicomb with the zigzag or straight brush three times a week, especially now with the high usage the pitches get. It helps to de-compact all of the rubber, levels it all off and stands all of the grass fibres back up. “The Litamina is an essential piece of equipment and this is used at least once a month, sometimes more if there are a lot of leaves on the surface. It is perfect for removing all of the rubbish and debris from the surface. “These two pieces of equipment are all I need for my synthetic surface maintenance and you can always rely on them to do a brilliant job. I like that they are solidly built but I also like the simplicity of them. You can tell that SISIS have thought a lot about the groundsmen using them because they are easy to set-up and are generally very userfriendly. They also never break down either.”

Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 49


CRICKET GROUNDCARE AWARDS

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Cricket Groundcare Awards 2019

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Get your entry in

your phone viduals Scan putwith into to go straight to a es in the UK and Ireland. nomination page:

of nd

50 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

Following a successful launch, at the recent Dennis SISIS Seminar, held at St. Albans School, Woollam Trust Playing Fields, the Cricket World Turf Matters Cricket Groundcare Awards are already attracting nominations and entries. 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 recreational clubs, schools and universities in the UK and Ireland. Rigby Taylor, Dennis, Iseki and SISIS have been joined as supporting partners by Boughton Loam and attention will turn to the judging process once the nomination process has been completed with the presentation of the Awards at the home of cricket – Lord’s in September. Nomination Forms can be found online at www.cricketworld.com and www.turfmatters.co.uk websites.


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Sam on a mission for young people Young entrepreneur Sam Cain has joined the IOG’s Young Board of Directors, sponsored by Toro and Reesink Turfcare, to show young people the wide range of career opportunities available in the industry. Sam, at 23, has his own business specialising in line marking and playground design. “I’m really excited to begin my time on the board. Showing the range of career opportunities available within the sector will encourage young people to get more involved, at the moment I think the perceived lack of options is a barrier,” said Sam. “Ultimately, I want to redefine what being in groundscare means, and make people realise how many different options there are and how much choice there is; there are so many more options than just working at a football club for example.” After having studied Graphic Design and Communication, Sam recognised a gap in the market and began his own business creating innovative line marking designs for underused open spaces in schools and public areas. His business, Cain Markings, now designs, produces

and maintains high-quality line markings for a host of surfaces and venues. Sam credits the experience and skills he gained at university in helping him succeed, and his Dad, who worked his way up in groundscare from an apprentice to an operations director, as his biggest inspiration. “I’ve grown up around groundscare, so it’s always been in my blood. It hasn’t been an easy ride starting my own business. It’s been a challenge and a huge learning curve, but I don’t regret it one bit. I really enjoy my work; it’s so rewarding to be able to see a process through from beginning to end. Helping the client by coming up with innovative ways to solve problems and seeing how happy they are with the finished result provides so much job satisfaction. “When you look at the board, it’s mostly made up of groundsmen at football clubs, so I’m one of the odd ones out. My involvement in the business side should go some way to show there are lots of opportunities and career paths you can take in grounds! There are also jobs and opportunities in technology and at other sports venues such as tennis and basketball courts.”

Sam also feels compelled to promote the difference the younger grounds generation can bring to the industry. “The industry is predominantly made up of an older generation and while many are really supportive of the young ones coming through, there’s always more we can do to promote their ideas and contribution within the sector, to make sure their voice is heard and taken seriously.” David Cole, Reesink Turfcare’s Managing Director, is delighted that Sam has joined the board. “The reason we got involved in sponsoring the board was to give people like Sam as much of a voice to help promote the benefits of a career in grounds as they feel will make a difference. It’s one of the most important things we can do as a company in a position to provide sponsorship. The young generation has so much passion for their sector and this will only help inspire others and help break down any barriers that exist.”

Nowlan Park receive GAA County Pitch of the Year award Nowlan Park, Kilkenny, has been presented with their 2018 GAA County Pitch of the Year Award, sponsored by Campey Turf Care Systems. As part of their prize the grounds team at Nowlan Park will receive a specially commissioned award and pitch supplies from Campey and fellow sponsors Irish Turfcare and ICL. The Kilkenny city venue was chosen in August 2018 after a thorough adjudication process, with McGovern Park, South Ruislip in London announced as the runner-up. Other venues including Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon, Semple Stadium, Tipperary, Innovate Wexford Park, Wexford and Netwatch Cullen Park, Carlow were shortlisted as high achievers in the competition for excellence in playing surfaces. Assessment of the grounds nationwide was completed by Stuart Wilson, Pitch Manager at Croke Park and the GAA National Games

Development Centre, and by Dr Stephen Barker of the Sports Research Institute, who visited all six venues. The process involved scoring and feedback from referees during the National Leagues in spring and took into consideration a Pitch Quality Assessment based on performance standards, construction, management program, environmental conditions and usage levels. The awards scheme is part of a wider initiative to improve the standards of playing surfaces around the country and to share some of the expertise and experience used at Croke Park and from the GAA’s National Pitch Committee. “I would like to congratulate all the team who are responsible for the pitch in Nowlan Park on winning this award,” said GAA President John Horan. “It’s a pitch that gets more than its fair share of important, high profile

matches and thanks to the time, dedication and investment, there is a surface there worthy of the great occasions hosted by Nowlan Park. “This is an important scheme for the GAA to champion and I want to thank Stuart Wilson and also the National Pitch Committee for setting standards and encouraging our ground staff around the country to ensure that our pitches are in the best possible condition for our great Games.” Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 51


BUYERS’ GUIDE

BUYERS’ GUIDE Statistics reveal scale of

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

AGRONOMY SERVICES MOWERS

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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

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52 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

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Turf Matters | February-March 2016 | 33

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Table 2 Turf Matters | February-March 2016 | 33


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www.turfmatters.co.uk Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019 | 53


COMMENT

How many of you watched the first Augusta National Women’s Amateur? Wasn’t it great to see young Jennifer Kipcho tear up the back nine and finish off by holing a 25 footer across the 18th green. It was a symbolic moment heralding a true sense of equality at a venue which only recently opened its doors to the ladies – Condoleezza Rice became the first female member of the club in 2012. Anyhow, now that that particular glass ceiling has been broken, I’ve got an idea and I’m working on making it come true.

54 | Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2019

If discrimination against women at Augusta National is now a thing of the past, why should there still be discrimination of, let’s just call us, poorer golfers. So, I’m advocating an Augusta National Duffers Championship and I have already written to Augusta National Chairman, Fred Ridley, to ask if he can free up a Saturday sometime in September. I have also volunteered to take part and bring over my regular fourball partners to help bolster the field, should Fred struggle to find a quorum of poor golfers from within his own golfing circle. Confident that it will happen I have started preparing – mentally and physically - for the challenge. I’m told that it is a tad hilly and recalling Sandy Lyle’s amazing bunker shot in 1988 I also remember the Cardiac Hill that represents the 18th fairway. I’ve been visualising the day – drive up Magnolia Avenue, the walk to the 1st tee etc. I’m actually comforted by the fact that, unless I’m mistaken, the clubhouse doesn’t look onto the tee, so that pressure of everyone gauking at you through the bay windows doesn’t exist. What a bonus! The 2nd is a downhill par-5 so I’m expecting to be able to run up a 7 there which would represent a pretty solid start to the round, particularly if I can keep my score down the 1st to single figures. I’ve learned over

the years that the trick around Augusta is to keep the ball below the hole. I’m sure that on most holes I’ll eventually finish below the hole which will give me that all important uphill putt. I’m particularly looking forward to Amen Corner and that 12th hole. Now every season I hit probably a dozen very good 6-irons so I’m confident that that 135 yards gives me a decent chance of hitting the dance floor. Once there anything came happen and, using the well trodden analogy that put a chimp in a room with a typewriter and eventually he’ll produce Shakespeare, that putt might just go in. I’ve mentally got me down for a 2 there anyway. Those two par-5s on the back nine the 13th and the 15th are there for the taking and I’ll tell you why. Being rubbish does have its advantages. Not for me the dilemma of wondering whether to go for it in two. I know full well I’ll be sitting in front of the creek on the 13th or lake on the 15th in five or six and again, I have been known to hit a decent wedge in my time and who knows… My only hole-in-one happened in the States. It was 1994 and it was the 156 yard 8th at Meadowbrook golf course, in Rapid City, South Dakota. So I’ve done it once, wouldn’t it be great to repeat the feat on the 16th? And let’s face it the hole does give a bit of margin for error. Lump it on to the top side of the green and nine times out of 10 gravity will pull the ball into the hole. We’ve seen it time and time again. So I might not win the whole event but with a two and an ace on the back nine I will be the one creating the headlines. It’s just a case of waiting for Fred to get back to me with confirmation, booking a few flights to Augusta, via Atlanta, and getting going. We wouldn’t want Augusta National to be seen to be prejudiced against duffers now would we. *As told to Scott MacCallum


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