An Update From Scott MacCallum

An Update From Scott MacCallum: How many of you were caught up in the Extinction Rebellion protests around the country? I must admit living on a pretty remote Scottish island it’s not something me or the other 2,999 islanders were ever likely to face. Let’s face it, my carbon footprint is pretty small although to get anywhere does involve either a ferry or a plane.

When it comes to the overall picture I do think our industry is more than doing its bit when it comes to fine environmental stewardship. Golf Course Managers have been maintaining patches of land, which often haven’t changed markedly in over 100 years, long after housing developments have swallowed up other patches of green and pleasant land.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

Whenever you ever visit a golf club you usually find someone who is so dedicated to the environmental custodianship of the golf course and its surrounds that it is more a vocation than a job. However, the game does get a bad rap from those who only ever imagine chemical and water overuse when they think about golf.

Let’s face it when it comes to golf, or any other fine turf maintenance, people don’t throw around expensive commodities like chemicals, or a valuable commodity like water, willy nilly. Overuse is a myth or, at the very least, something which occurred during the 70s and 80s when overfeeding was a little more prevalent.

Huge credit must be given to Aquatrols and their Fairways Foundation will be another way of ensuring that the many wonderful ideas that emanate from the greenkeepers’ mess room are given the financial impetus to make them a reality. Thanks to Matt Foster, of Aquatrols, for launching the Foundation as not only will it be allowing some wonderful work to happen, it will allow the industry to be seen to be doing that wonderful work.

Keep up the good work and let’s hope we don’t hit the headlines when someone superglues their breasts to the top of your sprayer!

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How To Choose A Waterer

How To Choose A Waterer: Plants and trees can be expensive to replace, and keeping them healthy is the passion and expertise of SCH Supplies. As manufacturers of waterers, no one understands the importance of adequate hydration better.

SCH manufacture essential plant saving watering units, with capacities from 50 to 2000 litres. These watering units are typically towed behind a ride on lawnmower or a small tractor, but some can be pulled along by hand.

How To Choose A Waterer

An unpowered waterer is typically used to refill watering cans. They are also suitable for flood watering as the valve can be opened and left until the vegetation is sufficiently hydrated. If the waterer is fitted with a water bowl and float valve, it is ideal for livestock that are far from a fixed water source. However, if you need to get your watering done without delay, a powered waterer is for you. A powered waterer lets you spray huge quantities over vast distances, and flood watering can be done in a fraction of the time.

How To Choose A Waterer

The next decision to be made is between a petrol engine and electric motor. There are many different sizes of both, however petrol will typically outperform an electric motor of similar size when it comes to flow rate. A petrol engine is best suited for the groundsman that needs to go all day; as long as you keep a container of fuel with you, the waterer can be used with continuously, whereas a battery powered waterer will need recharging. With some waterers, it is possible to attach your electric motor straight to your towing vehicles battery, and if your vehicles alternator is sufficient, it can power your electric motor for a significant time. The benefits of an electric motor include its low noise output, which is essential for those that enjoy peace and quiet.

How To Choose A Waterer

The style of wheel is very important on a waterer. Large low ground pressure flotation wheels help reduce track marks in the grass, and give the trailer stability and cushioning when on rough unfriendly ground. Two sets of wheels are required on some of the larger bowsers which allow them to stay upright and stable when detached from the towing vehicle. Fast tow wheels, paired with a road legal chassis is required when the tank is to be taken on the road. A baffled tank is essential for on road use, as it prevents the water from causing dangerous imbalances during turning and acceleration.

Skid mounted waterers are perfect if you already own a trailer or have a vehicle with a flat bed. These waterers can be easily stored when not in use, and most can be maneuvered on and off the vehicle unassisted.

Many powered waterers are designed to be used with a telescopic lance which can reach up to 6 meters. These are ideal to water hanging baskets. These are available in any combination of the above styles, and are popular with zoos, stadiums and leisure parks.

How To Choose A Waterer

Contact SCH for a free brochure featuring over 200 British products on 01473 328272, email sales@schsupplies.co.uk, or visit their website to find out more www.schsupplies.co.uk

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400 Mile Mower Journey

400 Mile Mower Journey: Five former students who drove a Ransomes Matador mower non-stop from Edinburgh to London’s Hyde Park back in 1959, were reunited recently to commemorate their epic journey. The University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield hosted a celebratory lunch and tour of the current Engineering faculty to celebrate their remarkable achievement.

Back in 1959, Tom Hudson, Mike Smith, Mike Savage, Hugh Tansley and John Wilson, who were all apprentices at the De Havilland Aircraft Company and day-release students at Hatfield Technical College, decided they wanted to test the reliability of small petrol engines, so they hatched a plot which became known as Operation Matador, to see if they could drive a mower from Edinburgh to London.

400 Mile Mower Journey

They contacted the management at Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries, the forerunner of today’s Ransomes Jacobsen company, who quickly agreed to help them out. Ransomes provided a standard Matador walk-behind mower, slightly modified with a larger sump added to the 288cc Villiers engine to provide enough lubrication for the non-stop 400-mile trip. A team of four apprentices tested a couple of prototypes, running them around Ipswich for 90 hours, which was the estimated time it would take to travel at 3 mph down the A68 and A1.

With the trials successfully completed, the date for Operation Matador was set for Easter 1959. The five students left Edinburgh Castle with Tom Hudson driving the first leg and the others crammed into a Bedford Dormobile, which was to be their mobile home for the next four days. A gift of a haggis was placed in the grass box of the mower to be presented to the Keeper of the Royal Parks in London – a Scotsman – at the end of the journey.

Four days and three nights after leaving the appropriately named Lawnmarket in Edinburgh, the students rode into Hyde Park to be greeted by a high-powered reception committee of Royal Park’s staff, Ransomes top management and dealer representatives, a BBC television crew and the press. The haggis was handed over to the Keeper of the Royal Parks and a ceremonial strip of Hyde Park grass was mown to Ransomes perfection.

Back in 2009 Ransomes Jacobsen helped the team celebrate their 50th anniversary by organising a two-day visit to their head office in Ipswich, which included a replica of the

Ransomes Matador mower complete with the number plate and signage from 1959.

Ten years on the mower, now in the safe hands of the Ipswich Transport Museum, was parked on the lawn at the university to greet the intrepid Operation Matador team as they arrived.

Professor Quintin McKellar CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Hertfordshire, welcomed the illustrious alumni saying,

“I am delighted to welcome you all to this amazing celebration, some 60 years on from that epic Easter weekend back in 1959. It was an incredible feat and a credit to yourselves, Hatfield Technical College as it was then, and the Ransomes company. You have entered the annals of the history of the University and it’s a pleasure to welcome you and your wives on this historic occasion, and to get a shot driving the lawn mower!”

Mike Smith, one of the ‘masterminds’ behind the ride added,

“We keep in touch with each other, but it has been 10 years since we were all together. What’s really amazing is that we are all still here to celebrate again a decade later and we are truly grateful to the Vice-Chancellor and his staff for this generous recognition.”

The celebrations concluded with a tour of the university’s Engineering department to see the recently installed driving simulator in the Automotive laboratory, various flight simulators and the latest Student Formula racing car being designed and built by the engineering students.

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Toro Technology Impresses

Toro Technology Impresses: Leading the way with the latest technology in turfcare, Toro’s myTurf Pro fleet management software program is proving to be a popular addition at UK golf clubs across the country.

Word is spreading about the software which automatically logs information about all machines in operation at the club meaning greenkeepers can track data for their Toro or non-Toro equipment, order parts, schedule services, and gain access to information such as parts and service manuals. And so far, it has not failed to impress.

Toro Technology Impresses

Neil Mcloughlin, course manager at Deeside Golf Club, says that having myTurf Pro has made a “real difference” at the club: “We have a full fleet of Toro machines at Deeside. Being able to log everything from scheduled maintenance to our inventory, all in the same place, is incredibly useful. Plus with service and parts manuals accessible as well, all the information that I might need is just a click away.”

Designed to make a difficult job easier, having everything at your fingertips has shown to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of greenkeeping fleet management. Something Andrew Airlie, mechanic at The Royal Automobile Club, wholeheartedly agrees with.

“It gives you easy access to everything you need, which has made a huge difference,” he says. “For example, we used to spend endless amounts of time logging the hours on machines manually, but with myTurf Pro, it submits the data in real-time via wireless internet connection. Now we spend less time logging data and more time focusing on maintaining the machines to a high standard.”

As well as providing information and logging data automatically, myTurf Pro also sends notifications when a machine needs servicing, which has been a “huge help”, says Neil Corley, head mechanic at The Grove Golf Club.

“We used to do all of our servicing at the end of the year. But with myTurf Pro, it notifies you when machines in your fleet need to be serviced,” explains Neil. “Now, our servicing is spaced out across the year which is great. It means we can take preventative measures, rather than trying to fix bigger problems which is often harder to do and more expensive. We can spread out our budget throughout the year, which helps us financially.”

He continues: “The software is so simple to use, and it’s made it easier to stay on top of everything. Now that we have myTurf Pro, I don’t think we can manage without it.”

With its many features created to help with the maintenance of greenkeeping machinery, regardless of brand, the myTurf Pro software is becoming a fast favourite for UK greenkeepers.

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Campey’s Mick Parks Retires

Campey’s Mick Parks Retires: Campey Turf Care System’s outside service engineer, Mick Parks, has retired from his role after 27 years at the company.

Mick started his job with Campey in July 1991 and has been a valuable member of the team ever since. His qualities, not only as an engineer but as a person, will be missed by everyone at Campey and the many customers he worked with throughout the years.

Campey's Mick Parks Retires

Mick was well known to his customers especially in the North West of the UK. When needed he would turn up at the customers site and fix many problems himself reducing downtime and allowing the greenkeepers or groundsmen to continue their work.

Speaking about his time at the company, Mick said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Campey , and I wouldn’t change it. Richard has always let me get on with the job and despite working alone most of the time I’ve always had the support of the Campey team and I’ve valued the support and friendship of my colleagues and Richard.”

Mick’s contribution has been greatly valued by Richard Campey, who is sad to see him go after so many successful years.

“Mick has been with us for a long time, and he epitomises everything that is good about the company,” he said. “He has represented us out in the field and always delivered excellent work, and he has been an esteemed member of our team throughout his 27-years with us.

“I’m sorry to see him go, but I’d like to thank him for his service and wish him all the best for his retirement.”

In retirement, Mick intends to spend a lot more time with his family, particularly his grand-children, and indulge his hobbies of cycling and walking.

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Bruntsfield Links’ New Toro Fleet

Bruntsfield Links’ New Toro Fleet: A £1.2 million investment in the 18-hole course at one of the world’s oldest golf clubs, Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society in Edinburgh, has concluded with the arrival of a brand new Toro fleet of machinery to safeguard the investment.

As course manager Neil Hogg says, you don’t create something of this quality if you don’t have the machinery to keep it at its best: “This is our first package deal and the timing coincides with the conclusion of the extensive revamp of the course by golf course architects Mackenzie and Ebert. The course has been designed around a very modern spec and reflects the way golf is played in the 21st Century. We knew we needed a package deal to take care of the course and deliver the results it deserves.”

Bruntsfield Links' New Toro Fleet

The main objective of the redesign was to keep the original Dr Mackenzie shapes and feel but bring it up-to-date. Mackenzie and Ebert follow in the footprints of past course work completed by Willie Park Jnr, Dr Alister Mackenzie, James Braid and Fred Hawtree.

“Despite being an Open qualifying venue since 2011, there hadn’t been any changes to the course since the early 1970s,” Neil says.

There are now eight new holes and more than 80 bunkers which have been redesigned and repositioned to reflect the distances club golfers are now striking the ball, plus the course has been restored to a par 71 to create longer play. The 12th & 13th holes were combined to create a challenging dog leg par five into a prevailing wind and a new signature par three hole at the 16th over a pond has been introduced.

And already Neil notes the improvements are making a big difference for the club: “The course improvements were designed to elevate Bruntsfield to be one of the top parkland courses in Scotland. The works have only recently finished, but have made such a difference and been so well received, we’ve surged up the Top 100 Golf Courses list by 69 places. Plus, we’ve seen an increase in membership too and now have an extensive waiting list in place.”

However, the equipment in the shed wasn’t quite so shiny and new, as Neil explains: “The shed was previously a mixed bag of machines. Some were getting on for 30 years old and the machinery that made up the fleet as a whole hadn’t really been considered. With Dougie, our CEO’s guidance, plus that of Reesink’s Stuart Tait and David Raitt, we looked at how we could streamline things and ensure the best for the future of the course.”

Dougie Cleeton enjoyed a successful tenure as managing secretary of Blairgowrie Golf Club before joining Bruntsfield and bringing with him sound knowledge of what to expect with the redesign of a course, says Neil: “We were lucky to get Dougie, he’d been involved in similar projects before and brought with him a wealth of experience. Together we went through the machines in the shed and planned the new fleet.”

Included in the deal are two Reelmaster 3575-D fairway mowers, two Reelmaster 3100-D mowers with Sidewinders, five Greensmaster 1000 pedestrian mowers, two Greensmaster 3250-D ride-on greens mowers, a Workman MDX utility vehicle and a TYM 503 heavy-duty tractor.

“The new fleet is delivering on our expectations. All the staff love using the machines, the fairway mowers are so nimble and light, and the pedestrian mowers in particular are a big hit. Plus, maintenance and servicing are a lot easier.”

Neil finishes by saying: “It’s the perfect end to a successful project. We started out with quality and longevity in mind and we conclude with it too. The machines will respect the course and bring out its best for years to come.”

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Ipswich GC Purchase Terra Rake

Ipswich GC Purchase Terra Rake: Graham Brumpton, Course Manager at Ipswich Golf Club, has a sizeable list of duties earmarked for his new 2.3 m Wiedenmann Terra Rake.

“In all honesty we’ve wanted this machine since the day it was released. We purchased a rival machine literally weeks before the Terra Rake launch and had a severe case of machine envy ever since. Now we finally have one,” he said.

Ipswich GC Purchase Terra Rake

Graham Brumpton’s first trial of the machine was actually on the Suffolk  course’s Purdis Heath 18th fairway on the day it was delivered.

“I couldn’t believe its productivity and speed. My team were looking on impressed… the more momentum, the better the results.”

An immediate project for the Suffolk club, which comprises both an 18 hole and a 9 hole course, is thatch and moss removal.

“Off the back of the drought last summer – and bearing in mind we are a heathland course – we applied generous amounts of iron. Now we want to remove all organic matter that we can from the surfaces to open up the turf, letting moisture and light back in. We also drilled seed last year.  With such a dry autumn we didn’t get much of a take on germination. Then a very dry winter followed. I’m hoping despite everything, the seed bed is still in there.  The Terra Rake is exactly the kit to open it back up to return water and light.  There’s a still a hope to get germination from the seed.

“All fairways were terra-raked in March with a double pass.  It really rips into remove the organic matter but it also helps stand up the grass.  We’ve followed on behind with our blowers and collecting units and it’s made a real difference.  Like many greenkeepers in this part of the country we in the lap of the gods praying for significant rainfall to reap rewards of hard work done.”

Graham joined the club straight from school in 1990 and became course manager in 2012.  He now heads a team of eight.  Ipswich GC also purchased  a  Wiedenmann Terra Spike GXi8 HD at the same time, the club’s third Terra Spike to speed up greens aeration and micro-tining.

Co-ordinating the delivery and set up of both machines was Eddie Jack, Field Sales Manager from dealers Ernest Doe & Sons at North Walsham.

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SIS Pitches’ Factory Investment

SIS Pitches’ Factory Investment: A leading UK-based pitch manufacturing company has invested £1.8 million in a new turf production facility, safeguarding more than 50 jobs, and creating an additional 15 positions by 2022.

Despite the uncertainty facing UK businesses through Brexit, SIS Pitches has re-affirmed its commitment to British manufacturing with this major investment.

SIS Pitches Make Factory Investment

The purchase of a new backing plant will allow SIS Pitches to extend its current site in Maryport, Cumbria, increase production volumes and grow its workforce.

It’s welcome news for Cumbria, where unemployment rose by 1.5% between October and December last year, as recorded by the Office for National Statistics.

SIS Pitches is a world-leading full-service provider in specialist sports pitches and landscaping grass. Last year, SIS Pitches designed, constructed and installed SISGrass hybrid pitches at six 2018 World Cup venues, including the Luzhniki Stadium pitch for the opening match and the Final.

The new factory, which covers an area of more than 2,100 square metres, is one of the most technologically-advanced production facilities in Europe. The company will use the new factory to deliver the highest quality, long-lasting synthetic surfaces.

George Mullan, SIS Pitches Owner and CEO, said: “This investment in new state-of-the-art facilities and technology will support our ambitious growth plans while also creating and safeguarding jobs in the local community.

“The Glasson Industrial Estate has been at the heart of manufacturing for more than 50 years and, despite business uncertainty in the face of Brexit, we are very proud to be able to continue that tradition through this significant investment. We are also grateful to Cumbria LEP for their investment in the project.

“Our new factory will ensure we continue to provide the highest quality products and increased output, maintaining our position as the market leader in the manufacturing of synthetic turf.”

The expansion plans at the Glasson Industrial Estate has benefited from a £274,000 Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership investment, which supports wide-ranging projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences through its Local Growth Fund.

SIS Pitches Make Factory Investment

The site has been home to UK turf manufacturing since 1966, when Palmyra Ltd, the UK’s largest polypropylene artificial grass manufacturer, relocated to the north west of England as part of its expansion plans.

The new SIS Pitches facility utilises the latest technology in thermal insulation, LED lighting, laser-fire detection and advanced cladding systems, while the new backing plant will be the most advanced turf backing system in the UK.

The state-of-the-art coating line, the most advanced in Europe, provides SIS Pitches with the option to run either new standard latex coating or their new ‘SISBond’ Polyurethane technology, both of which are applied to the back of the synthetic turf during the manufacturing process to secure the artificial grass fibres to the backing cloth. The line also comprises new turf straighteners and guidance units to ensure products are fit for purpose, plus an advanced roll-up unit to eliminate creasing and enable turf to be rolled tighter than before.

SISBond Polyurethane has been specially engineered to provide a much stronger and durable backing than other systems. It is primarily used for elite performance, providing enhanced fibre retention and greater resistance to moisture.

In addition, SIS Pitches has also developed and launched a new UK-made premium yarn that is designed to maximise durability and fibre resilience, thus further enhancing their reputation as market-leaders in turf innovation and technology.

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MHM’s Leonie Wins Award

MHM’s Leonie Wins Award: A talented young apprentice from Treherbert, in the Rhondda, South Wales has scooped a top prize in the 2019 Hire Awards of Excellence.

Leonie Morris, who works as an apprentice fitter for the equipment supplier firm MHM Plant Ltd, has been judged as ‘The Apprentice of the Year’ at a glittering ceremony held at the Grosvenor Hotel, London. Her prize was awarded to her by BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, Anton Du Beke.

MHM’s Leonie Wins Apprentice Award

Leonie (22) joined the company in August 2017. She extends her time repairing, maintaining and servicing a wide range of power generation and associated equipment, alongside her studies at Bridgend College.

The Hire Awards of Excellence celebrate the amazing achievements of hire and supply companies across the UK and Ireland’s plant, tool, equipment and event hire industry. Crucial recognition is also given to outstanding individuals who have consistently stood out from the crowd and achieved and set some of the highest standards in the industry. All the winners have been independently judged against stringent criteria, with the awards providing an excellent way of acknowledging and showcasing some of the very best practices that the hire industry can offer.

Commenting on winning this award, Leonie said, “I am honoured to have been given this award. It’s a great feeling to be formally recognised for doing a job I genuinely enjoy.  I am lucky enough to be surrounded by enthusiastic and talented people, who always have the time to help me progress. I hope that my success will encourage other young men and women to take up an apprenticeship in the UK hire industry, as it’s a great business to be in.”

Steven Jones, Workshop Manager, MHM Plant Ltd added, ““Talent isn’t a word I would use lightly, but in Leonie’s case, it applies. She is equally at home with petrol, diesel, mechanical and electrical equipment. I’ve worked with a few apprentices in my time, but none achieved, so early in their growth, the very high standards that Leonie sets out for herself.”

MHM Plant hires and sells a wide range of power, fuel storage, lighting, welding and associated equipment for the UK and Ireland rental markets. The company was incorporated in February 2010 and has their headquarters in Port Talbot, South Wales. They operate nationwide from two locations. MHM West is located in South Wales and MHM North in Coatbridge, Scotland. A London depot, MHM South, is currently under development.

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Tractor Stolen From Football Club

Tractor Stolen From Football Club: Staff at Eastleigh FC say they are “gutted” after a tractor worth £19,000 was stolen from their ground.

It happened at the Silverlake Stadium on Sunday night.

Tractor Stolen From Football Club

The Head Groundsman Dan Barnes arrived for match day preparations on Monday to discover the tractor had been stolen and the extent of the damage left behind.

Dan says there was “no remorse” by the people who stole it.

“It’s extremely upsetting. Not just for myself but for the football club as a whole. It’s a massive inconvenience financially and we now have to go through insurance claims. In terms of using the tractor itself, we’re now approaching renovation periods and that’s one of my main pieces of equipment that I’ll be needing to overseed and prepare the ground, so it’s a massive inconvenience.”

The tractor is used primarily at the end of a season, where it is used to overseed and prepare the ground for pre-season friendlies in July.

Hundreds of people on social media have been retweeting the picture of the tractor in the hope of helping the club to recover the vehicle.

Click here to read the original article

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