JCB engineer scoops apprentice award

JCB engineer scoops apprentice award: A JCB Design Engineer is the toast of the UK today after winning a national apprentice award.

Louise Meredith, 21, scooped the title of Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year at the finals of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) Awards in London last night (Wednesday, November 27th) just weeks after winning the regional final.

JCB engineer scoops apprentice award

It was a night of success for JCB apprentices as Quality Engineer Tom Lomas, 21, from Cheadle, was also highly commended at the same ceremony in the National Advanced Apprentice of the Year category just weeks after he was named Regional Advanced Apprentice of the Year. Tom works JCB Earthmovers, in Cheadle.

Louise, a Design Engineer in the Loadall division at JCB World Headquarters, in Rocester, said: “I’m passionate about apprenticeships and undertaking a degree / higher apprenticeship has been a fantastic way to start my career, so to win this national award is just amazing. I still can’t believe I’ve been recognised in this way.”

JCB Director of Learning and Development Max Jeffery said: “We are immensely proud of the outstanding achievements of these award winners who have excelled in their studies at JCB. To be recognised at national level is testament to their hard work and commitment.  The company now has more than 400 young people on its apprenticeship, undergraduate and graduate training programmes, as we continue to invest in the next generation of engineering and business professionals.”

Louise and Tom are part of a group JCB apprentices who are proving they are in a class of their own when it comes to winning awards.  JCB World HQ Business Degree Apprentice Elena Newbrook, 20, of Nantwich, Cheshire has won the Regional Make UK Business Apprentice of the Year: Rising Star award and Morgan Smith, 21, of Handforth, Cheshire has scooped Regional Make UK Engineering Apprentice of the Year: Final Year. Degree Apprentice Morgan is a Hydraulics Design Engineer at JCB Heavy Products, Uttoxeter.  Elena and Morgan will now represent the region in the National Make UK Awards on January 29th, 2020.

In addition, two JCB apprentices were highly commended on the Make UK awards shortlist. In the Midlands awards Engineering Degree Apprentice Chris Owen, 19, of Newcastle-under-Lyme who specialises in Electrical Engineering, and Olivia Pearch, 19, of Derby who is a Business Degree Apprentice at JCB Power Systems were honoured.

Applications for JCB’s 2020 apprenticeship and graduate training programmes open in December. Visit www.jcb.com/about/careers for details.

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Huxley tees proving a return on investment

Huxley tees proving a return on investment: World leading golf surface experts, Huxley Golf, has completed a major installation of 27 all-weather tees at Poult Wood, one of the finest pay and play golf courses in the South of England. With this installation the facility will stay open for the enjoyment of resident and visiting golfers throughout the coming winter months.

Set in picturesque woodland near Tonbridge in Kent, Poult Wood offers a choice of two interesting and challenging courses for regular and casual golfers. It is run by the Tonbridge & Malling Leisure Trust, a not-for-profit organisation responsible for the delivery of sport and leisure facilities for Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council. As such, the course must be affordable, high quality and accessible to all members of the community.

Huxley tees proving a return on investment

Darren Lanes, Head of Leisure at Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, explains: “Our vision, in partnership with Tonbridge & Malling Leisure Trust, is simple: ‘more people, more active, more often’ and we’re delivering this through the provision of a wide range of facilities which enable participation in activities that promote physical and mental wellbeing. Consistency is incredibly important but this is naturally harder to achieve when it comes to enabling outdoor leisure pursuits given the vagaries of the British weather.

“This is why we have invested in renewing our all-weather tees at Poult Wood Golf Course. These winter tees have proven to deliver excellent value for money through operational resilience and an uninterrupted year-round revenue stream which we can reinvest in, extending our efforts for the whole community’s benefit.”

Huxley Golf used its Premier Tee Turf 2 across both the 9- and 18- hole courses. Each tee measures 12ft x 12ft (3.66m x 3.66m).

Poult Wood Head Greenkeeper, Stuart Crowley, said: “It’s safe to say that the Huxley Golf winter tees have been a real return on investment.

“We first installed all-weather tees with Huxley Golf twenty years ago and we’ve never looked back. With virtually no maintenance requirement, the use of these winter tees not only delights our customers, but it also frees my team up to ensure that the remainder of the course remains playable in increasingly challenging seasonal conditions. We renewed the tees after ten years in 2010 and we’ve just done so again, such is their considerable contribution to our well-regarded course.”

For more information about winter golf surfaces, call 01730 829608 or visit www.huxleygolf.com.

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Bobcat introduce new branding

Bobcat introduce new branding: Bobcat has introduced a new branding identity which reflects the company’s iconic ‘One Tough Animal®’ brand message, while representing more powerfully the core qualities of Bobcat equipment: Tough, Agile and Versatile.

At the same time, the new look unifies and strengthens the visual identity of all Bobcat product lines. The new styling is now more modular and can be applied to machines of all different types and sizes.

Bobcat introduce new branding

As the first step of implementation of the new branding, the machine design element of the new scheme was used in the 2- to 4-tonne R-series mini-excavators launched last year. New styling decals have now been added and are being launched to complete the new brand identity. In the EMEA region, the M-series loaders (S450, S510 and S530) will be the first product line to carry the new styling – and these machines will be commercially available from January 2020. The next product line with the full new design in EMEA will be the R-series loaders, also in 2020, followed by others later next year.

New Styling Displays Strength

For a number of years now, Bobcat’s products have enjoyed a strong identity composed of white, black and orange colours with the Bobcat logo.

“The simple vertical and horizontal character lines and the flat surface of the styling have served us well,” explains Jin Hup Yeu, from the Doosan Design Center in Seoul, who led the design team. “Yet, this is a completely new design for a new era – and the very attractive silhouettes and optimal proportions emphasize its unique personality. Moreover, the new 3D-effect decal creates a more dynamic, 3-dimensional look-and-feel with the machine’s exterior design, evoking more emotion in the viewer.

“The graphic design also radiates a compact and robust look well-suited to the equipment. Instead of simply straight lines, the new design uses a slight curve to better convey strength and toughness. And with a stronger, sharper-and-edgier profile, the new design communicates a more advanced, high-tech image. Moreover, the Bobcat logo on the back is finished with a stronger and more visible styling, with slight variations to accentuate the design of the particular product line.”

Synergy of Tough, Agile and Versatile

The design language is slightly different according to the type, function and size of the equipment. For example, the compact machines emphasize the ‘Agile’ and ‘Versatile’ qualities with a look that is stylish and sleek. On the other hand, the larger tonnage machines put the focus on their ‘Tough’ and robust qualities.

By anchoring the new styling in the Tough, Agile and Versatile keywords of Bobcat’s DNA, the designers have breathed new dynamism into the equipment’s distinctive silhouette and the unique, time-honoured Bobcat image.

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An update from Scott MacCallum

An update from Scott MacCallum: Well the countdown to Christmas is well and truly underway. We are being bombarded by the usual array of Christmas advertising which, increasingly, is failing to mention any of the products for which the company is known. However, we are all entranced by a dragon who inadvertently fired flames from his ears.

In our industry this time of year is a little weird. For some, golf for example, it is a time for winter renovation programmes. A chance to level that poorly constructed tee or carry out some much needed woodland management. Cricket, too, is off season, and work can be carried out to the pitch or outfield.

An update from Scott MacCallum

For football, rugby and horse racing, however, this is perhaps the busiest time of the entire year. Managers are jumping up and down about over congested fixture schedules, sneaky players are looking for that extra yellow card to give themselves a ban over Christmas and groundsmen are trying to produce surfaces in weather conditions which are not always conducive to the maintenance and growth of grass.

Whatever you are doing I hope that you achieve results you are happy with and can enjoy the run up to Christmas safe in the knowledge that, work-wise, everything is as good as it can be.

Best wishes

Scott MacCallum

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DLF announce SALTEX winner

DLF announce SALTEX winner: Paul Humphreys at Concord College, Shrewsbury and Taunton Schools’ Mark Jolliffe have been announced as the winners of the DLF/Johnsons Sports Seed ForthRoots Competition at SALTEX 2019.

Having successfully answered three questions on DLF’s 4Turf Tetraploid ryegrasses, they were rewarded with new innovative tools for effective on-the spot overseeding worth over £600.

DLF announce SALTEX winner

Pictured receiving their prizes from their respective DLF Regional Technical Managers, John Hughes and Ian Barnett, Paul takes home the ForthRoots MultiTool and Mark the ForthRoots Ryeseeder. Designed to fit perfectly into the scars and space left following matches or training, the interchangeable tine options on the RyeSeeder and MultiTool help to create the perfect seed bed for quick recovery.

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Power provider invests in JCB diggers

Power provider invests in JCB diggers: Electricity North West – providers of power to five million people – has invested in two brand new JCB electric mini excavators.

The company has bought the two 19C-1E fully electric models to help maintain a staggering 44,000 kilometres of underground cables.  Five times quieter than its diesel counterpart, the JCB machines are deal for use by the company’s engineers, who work 24-hours a day to maintain the network.

Power provider invests in JCB diggers

And Electricity North West is building on its eco credentials by charging the two machines using electricity generated from renewable sources at its depots across the region.

The investment is all part of a multi-million pound initiative by Electricity North West to drive down its own carbon emissions. Following a successful trial, the two machines are already hard at work across the region installing underground power cables.

Electricity North West’s Engineering and Technical Director Steve Cox “They are excellent machines. Our team finds them more powerful than diesel diggers and another major positive is the reduced noise levels. Power cuts can happen at any time of the day and night and sometimes we’re required to dig up roads and footpaths to repair faults. Using the new electric diggers, which have reduced noise levels, means we can work into the night without impacting our customers.”

JCB Chief Innovation Officer Tim Burnhope said: “I’m delighted to see Electricity North West lead the way by purchasing two of the electric machines. It reaffirms Electricity North West’s commitment to being at the forefront of transitioning to a zero carbon future.”

Electricity North West has made a commitment to phase out diesel mini diggers to reduce its carbon footprint as part of its ‘Leading the North West to Zero Carbon’ plan launched in March. The plan sets out how Electricity North West is investing £63.5 million over the next four years to drive down its own carbon emissions and help businesses and customers to do the same.
Steve Cox added: “The ‘Leading the North West to Zero Carbon’ plan demonstrates our commitment to be one of the businesses driving the region’s transition to a carbon neutral future. We’re looking closely at our own operations and how we can decarbonise them.  Collectively, small changes can make big impacts and this shows what can be done now to reduce carbon without having a negative impact on customer service, performance or cost.”

As well as lower emissions, the 19C-1E model is more cost effective with JCB research revealing that over the first five years, charging costs will be 50 per cent cheaper compared to using red diesel. Fully charged, the 19C-1E can put in a typical full day’s shift for a mini excavator.

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Rugby club’s open invite to vandals

Rugby club’s open invite to vandals: A rugby club has condemned the actions of vandals who drove on their pitch and left tyre marks strewn across the muddy playing surface.

But Phil Prangnell, facilities manager at Dereham Rugby Club, has urged those responsible to curb their ‘boredom’ by joining the team and trying their hand at the sport.

Rugby club's open invite to vandals

Mr Prangell first discovered the damage when he arrived at the club on Tuesday morning and immediately spotted tyre marks across the pitch.

It means the club – based off Moorgate Road in Toftwood – faces a race against the time to get the pitch back up to match standard ahead of their next home fixture.

“When you pull up at the club you cannot miss it,” he said.

“In the summer timer we tend to get kids on scooters and a few in cars on the pitch, but it doesn’t do a great deal of damage. Obviously at this time of year it’s a different story.

“We’ve now got to try and repair the pitch for the next match and just hope it grows again where the tyre marks are.

“Along with people who don’t bother clearing up their dog mess, this is a real frustration.

“Why would you want to mess things up for other people? I’m sure there are plenty of other places around here where they can go off-roading.”

Despite the inconvenience of having to rectify the damage, Mr Prangnell believes there could ultimately be a positive outcome.

He has invited the vandals to join the club and better use their time by playing rugby – instead of going out of their way to destroy the club’s property.

“If they are that bored they should come along to the rugby club and get involved,” added Mr Prangnell, who has been supporting the club for several years. “You never know – they might enjoy themselves.

“We’re a friendly club and players of all abilities are welcome. If you’ve never played before, we’ll you up to standard.”

Dereham Rugby Club trains from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday evenings. Matches are played on Saturdays.

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New TDR-15 for Culford School

New TDR-15 for Culford School: When Culford School in Suffolk were looking to replace their 10 year old Progressive TDR-15 they had demonstrations of various other roller mowers, but found none of them quite made the cut! Instead they opted for the new and improved TDR-15 model. Set in a 500 acre estate they use the TDR -15 to mow about 100 acres of amenity parkland, playing fields and footpaths per week in the height of the growing season.

Size, versatility and manoeuvrability were amongst some of the main reasons they wanted another TDR-15.Tom Atkinson Head Groundsman at Culford School says “Peoples initial reaction when they see the mower is surprise at how large it is and think that the only place it can be used is in big wide spaces. Our estate has tree plantations with random trees dotted all around and is situated in a river valley. Despite that the mower with a skilled operator can get into small spaces by reversing into small gaps and using the rear deck. Where some similar machines are configured as three abreast, having one deck to the rear with the TDR-15 is a real advantage. All the decks are hinged so they follow the ground independently of each other and as it’s a roller mower that leaves a fantastic finish.”

New TDR-15 for Culford School

They have also found the roller mower really user friendly, “All lubrication points are easily accessible and despite its size there aren’t many. The new mechanical locks mean you can pick the whole machine up to transit over roads or obstacles without shutting off the whole machine and folding it away and we run the mower behind a John Deere 4066R with an economy PTO. Such a robust machine that costs very little to run.”

If you would like to talk to The Grass Group more about your requirements and why the TDR-15 is right for you, give us a call on 01638 720123 or email sales@thegrassgroup.com

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Assistant Groundsperson

Basics

Assistant Groundsperson

Title of job vacancy: Assistant Groundsperson
Job type: Permanent, full-time
Hours: 4 days a week (9am – 4pm), Weekend mornings, Ad hoc as required
Region: London/South East
Closing date: 20th December 2019
Salary: £23k – £29k
Email address: owen_nige@hotmail.com
Website: https://www.teddingtoncc.co.uk/
Telephone: 07766 773209
 

Body

 
Client details: Teddington Cricket Club is a family-friendly local cricket club, located in beautiful Bushy Park in southwest London.

The club has two grass cricket squares and hosts a local school as its playing fields throughout the year and a junior football club too. This means the club needs to carefully manage and maintain football and rugby pitches on its cricket outfields and this is part of the reason for looking for an assistant groundsperson to work with our existing Head Groundsman.

Candidate profile: We require a motivated, skilled Groundsperson to join our small team. You will have ‘hands on’ cricket grounds experience. Ideally you will have NVQ Level 2 (or equivalent). Tasks will include the preparation of our sports pitches and operating modern grass cutting and grounds machinery. You will also be required to assist with general tasks to maintain the appearance of the grounds. The post holder will be expected to show flexibility and assist with other tasks of a similar nature.

You will be cutting and maintaining sports pitches to a variety of finishes using a variety of machines, including pedestrian operated, tractors, tractor mounted machinery and wide area mowers. Fertiliser and pesticide application and certification (PA1 and PA6) would be desirable. Knowledge of equipment maintenance, service schedules and ability to carry out minor repairs to equipment if required would also be desirable.

Other tasks will include:

  • Marking Pitches
  • Leaf-clearing and litter picking
  • Maintenance of car parks
  • Maintaining appearance around the clubhouse to a tidy and professional image at all times
  • Operating and maintaining tools and equipment in the correct and safe manner
  • Maintaining good relationships with other staff, members, tenants, visitors and neighbours
  • Weekend morning work for final preparation of cricket pitches
  • Ad hoc remarking of pitches during match intervals
  • Assistance during finals days or festivals hosted by the club
  • It is the post holder’s responsibility for promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children and young persons with whom s/he comes into contact, to adhere to and ensure compliance with the club’s Child Safeguarding Policy at all times.  If in the course of carrying out the duties of the post the post holder becomes aware of any actual or potential risks to the safety or welfare of children s/he must report any concerns to the club’s Child Welfare Officer
Essential requirements: > A full driving licence
> Experience of working on cricket squares
> Ability to work within statutory regulations
> Knowledge of Health and Safety requirements related to grounds
> Strong team player also with ability to work alone and use own initiative
> Suitable level of skill and dexterity to effectively and safely operate general grounds / gardens equipment
> Ability to manage and prioritise workload to ensure tasks are reliably completed on time and budget
> The ability to communicate appropriately and effectively with staff, members, pupils and visitors
Desirable requirements: > PA1 and PA6 certificates
> Lives locally to allow for ad hoc matchday needs and/or evening watering
Process to apply: For further details or to apply please contact Nigel Owen at owen_nige@hotmail.com

Green speed more than a number

Green speed more than a number: At The Open this year the green speeds measured at 10’1”, 10’2”, 10’3” and, with the threat of rain on the horizon, were slowed to 9’11” for the final day, with all 18 greens stimping within just 4 inches of each other. With that in mind, Golf Magic teamed up with BIGGA to learn more about green speeds…

BIGGA remains obsessed with the speed of our greens, with the implication for the golfer being that faster greens are saved for special occasions, such as club championships. As such, if you’re able to achieve those high speeds in everyday life, then yours must be a high-quality course, right?

Green speed more than a number

But how important are green speeds? Do they matter?

One of the most important innovations in golf course preparation since the 1970s was the stimpmeter. A stimpmeter is a simple device consisting of a long, narrow metal tray that enables greenkeepers to consistently replicate the roll of a ball across a green. It was introduced by the agronomy department of the USGA and is commonly quoted as an effective means of measuring speeds – you may have heard commentators at events discussing how fast the greens were “stimping” at.

However, measuring speed isn’t actually the stimpmeter’s true purpose. Tellingly, the device’s instruction manual reads: “the variations in speed, whether from one green to the next or on different parts of the same green, can do more to negate a player’s skill than ragged fairways or unkempt bunkers”.

That’s the leading authority for golf in the United States saying that consistent greens are more important than fairways, bunkers and even ‘fast’ greens. In fact, the pursuit of faster speeds by lower cutting heights often leads to the detriment of the putting surface, reducing consistency and “negating a players’ skill”.

The enjoyment of the average golfer also reduces as green speeds increase as nobody wants to keep three or four putting as their ball skids past the hole. In terms of pace of play, as little as a one-foot increase in speed can slow the pace of play by more than seven minutes per foursome.

If speed isn’t important, and consistency is, then what’s a ‘good’ standard of consistency across a golf course?

Well, like most things, that depends on the resources available to the greenkeeping team.

Dr Micah Woods is chief scientist at the Asian Turfgrass Center and he has undertaken a study to discover what the average differentiation is across golf courses. Taking 961 measurements at clubs in East Asia and America, he brought together a database of stimpmeter readings. He made three measurements on at least three different greens to come up with a ‘standard deviation’ of golf speed across each course.

Dr Woods said: “The ideal would be a standard deviation of zero, but that is only going to happen by accident because green speed will always vary, even slightly. But I wanted to find out what difference in speed was reasonable to expect? I discovered that 0.3 was the average, meaning that half of the data I gathered was below 0.3 and half was above it.”

He came up with a magic number of 0.3 feet or 3.6 inches. This means that if a greenkeeper reports a speed of 9 feet, the average speed on the course will actually be between 8.7 feet and 9.3 feet. And that’s just an average number for all 18 holes, so the actual spread will be wider than that.

And half of the golf courses Dr Woods measured had a standard deviation of more than 3.6 inches, with one measuring up to 1.5 feet. Consistency, it seems, takes incredible skill to achieve.

At the Ryder Cup in 2016 at Hazeltine, the green speeds for the three days of play were 12.4, 12.4 and 13.4. These are extreme tournament conditions at an American golf course prepared for one of the most televised sporting events in the world and as such there are an army of greenkeepers and volunteers working to get the course to incredibly high standards.

And yet as the green speed increased, Dr Woods discovered that the variability of speed across the greens also increased and the putting surfaces became less consistent. On the final day, with a reported speed of 13.4 feet, one green was even recorded as having an actual speed of 15 feet. That’s a difference of more than 19 inches!

So faster greens are also less consistent greens.

It was a trend that is echoed across every golf course, no matter the budget or resource. For consistency to be achieved, it’s Dr Woods’ opinion – and an opinion shared by the turf management industry – that we should stop obsessing with green speeds.

Rather than making a demand of your greenkeeper that you’d like to see greens ‘stimping’ at a certain amount ahead of the club championship, wouldn’t you rather see them concentrate on achieving greater consistency across the course?

“In visiting hundreds of golf courses, I’ve observed that green speeds are always given as a single number and I’m actually not going to advocate that we change that,” explained Dr Woods. “For the members and the guests who are coming to play a facility, it’s useful just to report a single number, that’s all they need to know.

“But I believe that turf managers should secretly keep the additional information to themselves. By making an explicit measurement of variability across their greens, they can identify problems and opportunities to improve that uniformity.”

If we’re to look at golfer enjoyment, what level of consistency can players actually perceive out on the course? A study by American professors Thomas Nikolai, Douglas Karcher and Ron Calhoun in 2001 concluded that the average golfer is unable to detect a six-inch variation in speed from one green to another and therefore that is “probably a fair definition of consistency on a golf course”. Anything less than six inches and your regular amateur golfer won’t be able to perceive the difference.

So which was the most important measurement at The Open? Was it the slower speed on the final day? In truth, the most important figure quoted is the 4” differentiation as it highlights an incredible degree of consistency. Across 18 holes on a links venue in changeable weather conditions, the greenkeeping team was able to achieve a margin of error of just four inches.

The greenkeepers at your course almost certainly won’t be able to achieve that level of consistency, and it’s unreasonable to even ask them to strive towards such levels. But the important thing to know is that they’ll have more chance of achieving consistency – and you’ll enjoy your round more – if unrealistic demands for ‘faster greens’ aren’t made.

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