Groundsman

Bordering the Thames in Fulham and set in 42 acres of magnificent grounds, The Hurlingham Club is a green oasis of tradition and international renown. Recognised throughout the world as one of Britain’s greatest private members’ clubs.

Groundsman

Groundsman

The Grounds Team are part of the Estates Department and are made up of 26 professional and highly motivated individuals who pride themselves on the maintenance and upkeep of the prestigious grounds. The grounds of the Club include ten croquet lawns, thirty grass tennis courts, a cricket ground, a nine-hole golf course, two bowling greens and over a hectare of trees, flowers, shrubs and ornamental lawns. It is through the efforts of the Grounds team that the Club’s members are rewarded year on year with award winning sports surfaces and stunning season changing flowerbeds.

As a Groundsman you will work a 39 hour week with regular weekend work (compulsory but not guaranteed). Typical duties will include:

  • To undertake general turf and grounds duties.
  • Reporting and treating common pests, fungi and diseases.
  • Setting out sports areas.
  • Operating lawnmowers and other horticultural machinery.

Candidates will embody our Club values; excellence, prudence, integrity, courtesy. Previous grounds or turf experience advantageous. Those with NVQ 2 in Greenkeeping / Sports Turf Management and PA1 and PA6 Spraying qualifications will be at an advantage. Candidates will have a hands-on approach, the ability to work under pressure, have excellent attention to detail and will be friendly, polite and diplomatic.

Our benefits include 23 days’ holidays (rising to 28 days after 5 years’ continuous service) plus Bank Holidays, life assurance, Group Income Protection, meals on duty, uniform, onsite parking, a discretionary annual bonus scheme and an annual performance pay review, along other discretionary benefits.

Please apply by email, enclosing your covering letter and CV to:

Neil Harvey,
Grounds Manager

neil.harvey@hurlinghamclub.org.uk

95 years of Fields in Trust

95 years of Fields in Trust: Through the COVID-19 lockdown we have realised just how valuable local parks and green spaces are to our health and wellbeing and as places to meet loved ones safely.

Green space charity Fields in Trust, who are celebrating their 95th anniversary this week, are calling for the revaluing of parks and green spaces to take account of what they contribute to communities – not just what they cost to maintain.

95 years of Fields in Trust

95 years of Fields in Trust

As the UK was rebuilding after World War I and a devastating influenza pandemic, the future King George VI convened the inaugural meeting of Fields in Trust (then known as the National Playing Fields Association) at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 8th July 1925. Since then, the charity has legally protected 2,852 parks and green spaces in perpetuity – ensuring they are available for play, sport or relaxation. However local green spaces remain at risk of loss to building development despite their health, wellbeing and community benefits.

The publication in May of Fields in Trust’s Green Space Index revealed that across Great Britain 2.7 million people already live more than a ten-minute walk from a public park and a further 170,000 people could be in the same position in the next five years as population increases. Earlier research from Fields in Trust, valued the physical health and mental wellbeing benefits for communities at more than £34 billion each year, They found regular users of parks have fewer visits to their GP resulting in a saving to the NHS alone of £111 million pa; the equivalent of 3,500 nurses salaries.[1]

Fields in Trust are each calling on the Government to ensure the protection and provision of parks and green spaces for community wellbeing.

Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said:

“Parks and green spaces play a vital role in people’s health and wellbeing, and these benefits have been shown even more starkly during the really difficult times our country has faced in recent months. Our local parks and green spaces have been crucial during the crisis and, just as they did 95 years ago, they will have a significant part to play in our recovery.

“Yet our research shows that over 2.7 million people don’t have a park within a short walk of home and this number is forecast to grow over the coming years. This doesn’t have to be the case and that’s why we’re calling for a national strategy to recognise their value by ensuring access to parks and green spaces is guaranteed both now and in the future in areas where they are most needed.”

The Green Space Index – Fields in Trust’s barometer of publicly accessible park and green space provision and distribution – found that, as a region, London has the lowest amount of green space per person, with just 18.96 square metres for each person. Figures recently released by the Office of National Statistics found that Londoners are also the least likely to have access to a garden.

In addition, the Green Space Index also ranks Britain’s regions and nations against a minimum standard of park and green space provision (data sheet attached). London, Yorkshire, and the North East fall well below the minimum score. Scotland continues provide more provision per person than both England and Wales. It is also likely that any future loss of parks and green spaces will disproportionately impact disadvantaged and underrepresented communities who ascribe a greater value to local parks and green spaces than average in the Fields in Trust research study.

The Green Space Index is an annual report from the charity Fields in Trust which analyses provision of park and green spaces. The report was first produced in 2019, and this year is the Index’s second edition. People can find out more about the green space provision close to home by using the interactive web apps on the Fields in Trust website.

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Could seaweed help keep nematodes in turf grass in check?

Could seaweed help keep nematodes in turf grass in check?: More and more greenkeepers are talking about problems with parasitic nematodes affecting their turf. Seaweed could provide a sustainable, novel solution for reducing plant-parasitic nematodes in turf grass.

Without previous extended research into this subject, Royal Holloway (University of London) and ICL joined forces in 2018 for a four-year PhD research project thanks to funding from the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) and ICL. Halfway through now, we spoke to Tamsin Williams, the PhD student working on the research project to find out how it is going.

Could seaweed help keep nematodes in turf grass in check?

Could seaweed help keep nematodes in turf grass in check?

Tamsin completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at Royal Holloway, University of London. The degree was broad, looking at everything from biomedical sciences to field ecology. After passing her undergraduate degree, Tamsin worked at CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International) as a research assistant in the bio-pesticides division. CABI is primarily a non-profit organization working a lot with agriculture in developing countries, helping small subsistence farmers.

“We were trying to develop mainly fungal bio-pesticides to help improve crop yields, for example, but also many other projects. And to develop products that are environmentally friendly and sustainable and could be used by small-stakeholder farmers abroad, as well as in the UK. From that I went straight to my PhD. While I was at CABI, I was also doing a lot of pest pathology and a bit of Nematology (study of nematode worms). My PhD has an element of Nematology and nematode identification which is a direct link and this is a subject I find interesting and enjoy, which helps!”

An important research topic for the Turf industry

There are multiple reasons why Tamsin’s PhD research is important. “One is plant parasitic nematodes seem to be on the increase: this could be due to environmental factors, so as we get warmer temperatures we’ll get warmer soil temperatures, and when the soil temperature is warmer we generally get this faster cycling of the nematode life cycle. The time between laying their eggs and hatching will be shorter. When this occurs, you’ll get these big population booms in nematode numbers, because they’re hatching a lot quicker. Potentially we’re seeing greater numbers of nematode infections and turf damage, but also coinciding with that is that there are virtually no available chemicals (nematicides) for amenity turf. So, there are very few options available to control an increasing population. We’re trying to find something that people can use, that works, whilst not harming the environment and is sustainable.”

The problem with nematodes

Nematodes are tiny microscopic parasitic worms. “They pose a problem, because they parasitize the plants, some of them complete part of their lifecycles inside the plants themselves, they can hijack the plant’s machinery to make it work for them (…which is quite clever, really…).” When nematodes feed on the plant or when they move inside the plant, they cause a lot of cell death. This cell death will accumulate, which is when you get the visual symptoms that you might see on the playing surface, the pitch or golf green, where you get yellowing and turf wilting. Eventually the plant may even die.

Tamsin: “So that is not ideal when you’re trying to manage a turf surface (or a commercial crop). There will be nematodes in the soils of a golf green or sports field at all times, and not only plant parasitic nematodes, there are also scavenger nematodes that might feed on bacteria and fungi, as well as cannibalistic nematodes, so there’s a whole range of them. Plants can withstand a bit of nematode feeding from some of the nematodes, but it’s when the numbers are too high, that you start to see the visual symptoms. And the visual symptoms will only occur once the nematodes have started attacking, essentially. With few products available to use, an integrated approach utilizing cultural practices and maintaining soil and plant health is definitely the key.”

Seaweeds as part of sustainable integrated pest management

That is where seaweeds may come into play. Seaweeds are complex. They have evolved to survive in quite harsh and changing conditions, cold salty sea, being up on the beach, perhaps drying out as well. To deal with these completely different environments, seaweeds have a range of unique complex carbohydrates and proteins. It is thought that some of the compounds can ‘kick-start’ the plant’s own resistance to pest attack.

Different seaweeds extracted in different ways will contain different components, so expect the plant response to vary. Tamsin: “I am studying the ICL seaweed product SeaMax from Acadian. This is an alkaline extracted Ascophylum nososum seaweed, which has already got some impressive research published on its benefits to crops. Since the start of the PhD in 2018, we’ve seen from some controlled laboratory trials that this seaweed may be able to reduce abundances of one type of plant-parasitic nematode, which is the spiral nematode. But this is only when starting nematode population density is quite high, so good results depend on nematode density as well as nematode species.”

But even if the seaweed only potentially reduces those high numbers when there’s big population booms, that would still be valuable to the turf manager. Tamsin explains: “This effect has also been seen in field trials, which are at their early stage. The results are not due to any form of nematocidal effect, so the seaweed does not kill the nematode directly, we have done a series of lab assays checking this. So it must be affecting their populations indirectly through some sort of plant modulation or modulating the soil microbiology.”

Could seaweed help keep nematodes in turf grass in check?

Could seaweed help keep nematodes in turf grass in check?

Next, Tamsin will be looking for this underlying mode of action as well as fine tuning the field trials to try and get more dramatic results for more nematode species. “Basically, what the seaweed may be doing to the plant itself and the microbial ecology in the soil, as this is ultimately how it’s going to be affecting the nematode.”

Executing the field experiments is a laborious task that takes about two weeks to set up. That time is used to take initial samples to check nematode pressure and do counts from those samples. Then the trial itself will run for about three months. Tamsin: “Then at the end of three months I’ll take my final counts, that means taking the samples and literally counting them one by one under a microscope. Including everything else that I’ll be doing, it’ll take me a month until I have the final nematode counts and pop it in the statistics package so probably about four to five months. In a year you’re looking at maybe two field trials.”

At the end of her four-year project, Tamsin would like to be able to give a greenkeeper or groundsman tips when it comes to parasitic nematode management. “I’d like to get to the end of it and say, here’s some sort of sustainable and environmentally-friendly integrated pest management that you could use on your greens. That’s probably quite ambitious, but something along those lines!” The outcomes of Tamsin’s research will provide valuable scientific support for ICL’s further research and development in seaweed products.

Not a day is the same

With about half of the project to go, Tamsin still has lots to do. As the coronavirus outbreak has hit Europe in the past weeks and months, the university is currently closed and Tamsin works from home. “Most of my work is now on hold, with no experiments or field trials currently taking place, and I will not be able to continue until after lockdown. At home my focus is primarily on a meta analysis. Normally, my days are different all the time. Every experiment is different, so you can have days focused on reading published papers, days spent in the lab working on an experiment, time looking down a microscope identifying individual nematodes or counting mycorrhizal infection, and days in the field setting out and running field trials, perhaps all these in a single day! Then generally I’ll be looking after things like my nematode cultures, so constantly having to keep them in plants, refresh them, look after them. They’re like my nematode babies… As I progress, I will need to focus more on writing and analyzing the results which can be quite complex.”

A PhD is definitely not only laboratory work and Tamsin says it has given her the opportunity to learn new skills, invaluable to any researcher. “Firstly, how to come up with ideas and problem-solving. Developing presenting skills, which is an ongoing process, and also specific skills like statistics and field trial skills. I like the hands-on stuff, but the PhD has taught me how to actually get behind my computer, do the maths, and work with new programs that I hadn’t worked with before.”

Towards greener research

In the future, Tamsin would like to stay in science and perhaps even research in some way, whether that is academical or commercial. “It’s good how ICL are looking to support and fund research. As I’m aware not many other companies seem to do that. I think it’s very important to have trial work and science to back up product claims that you are making. This gives products credibility and an end-user confidence when selecting products to use.”

“ICL are looking to fund more green technologies, so PhDs that look at sustainable products or alternatives. There is another research project being funded that is looking at saving water on sports surfaces, and another that is looking at recycled phosphorus, which is very impressive: stripping nutrients from waste water and turning it into fertilizer. ICL is moving towards a greener research.”

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

For more news and insightful views, you can follow ICL on Twitter @ICL_Turf

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Education City & John Deere deliver quality

Education City & John Deere deliver quality: The 2020 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in March moved across the Qatari capital for the first time in its 23-year history to Education City Golf Club.

As a partner and equipment supplier, John Deere brought key customers to this prestigious event in order to review course maintenance solutions and performance under unique climatic and championship conditions.

Education City & John Deere deliver quality

Education City & John Deere deliver quality

Designed by two-time Masters Champion José María Olazábal, the venue comprises 33 holes split into three courses of 18, nine and six holes. The golf club also sits in the noticeable shadow of Education City Stadium, one of the host venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Education City also includes a state-of-the-art learning and practice facility housed in the venue’s Centre of Excellence and is at the heart of Qatar’s vision to grow the game in the Middle Eastern country.

John Deere was initially chosen as the club’s preferred equipment supplier when it opened in 2018 and became the Official Golf Course and Turf Maintenance Machinery partner. The John Deere brand has a long association with professional golf and is an official PGA Tour and Ladies European Tour supplier.

The Education City course is fully equipped with a comprehensive range of John Deere machinery, including the latest E-Cut hybrid electric greens and fairway mower technology. The local John Deere dealer, Progressive Trading, has supported the golf course throughout the partnership with machine selection and set-up, to ensure that the entire fleet delivers a first-class, quality finish to the playing surfaces.

During the 2020 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, John Deere and Progressive Trading were able to invite key customers from diverse countries to visit the venue and meet the greenkeeping team to exchange information about local challenges.

“Such an event is a great opportunity for customers to experience turf management from a new perspective, in a different part of the world with different challenges such as high temperatures,” said Carlos Aragones, John Deere’s Manager Sales & Marketing, Golf & Turf Europe, North Africa, Near & Middle East and CIS.

“All this was represented at Education City Golf Club’s state-of-the-art venue. My sincere congratulations go to the event management and greenkeeping team for the outstanding quality of presentation and the tournament’s success.”

Education City General Manager Michael Braidwood added: “Our guests were particularly impressed by the facilities and extremely high standards of course maintenance. They also appreciated how Education City Golf Club organised and delivered a very successful championship tournament, while supporting the continued growth of the game of golf in the Middle East.”

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A spotlight on Martyn Parrish

A spotlight on Martyn Parrish: Prior to the launch of Agrovista Amenity, Martyn Parrish was a technical area sales manager for Maxwell Amenity. He had been in the role for two years before the acquisition.    

“We’ve become one of the largest companies in the sector, and are able to support the industry and create something very special,” he said. “Merging two companies of that size is no easy task but I have been extremely impressed with the work that has been done. I feel proud to be working for this company.”

A spotlight on Martyn Parrish

A spotlight on Martyn Parrish

Martyn has spent most of his career in greenkeeping and started working at his local golf club at the age of 16. During his time as a greenkeeper, he completed his foundation degree in Sportsturf Management at Myerscough College and participated in the Ohio State Programme on a 12-month internship in which he worked on a Jack Nicklaus course construction and a grow-in in Texas – something which he pinpoints as a career highlight.

Before moving to Agrovista Amenity, Martyn was tempted away from golf for six years working as a grounds manager on an ambitious landscape construction project of a 400 acre site in Henley on Thames. Commenting on this role, Martyn claims that it was “extremely challenging but ultimately a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

He admits that moving into sales was a transition which took some time adjusting to. However, in the past three years Martyn has built up an impressive portfolio of clients and now looks after an area spanning from Berkshire across to Essex and up to Northampton.

“The commercial side of the industry was completely new to me,” he said. “I have some great colleagues that helped me a lot during my early days. With my background, I felt most comfortable in the golf sector to start with, however I was very conscious to get in there and experience all parts of the sportsturf and amenity industry. Sometimes you can get locked behind your own gate and you only see what is behind it.

“I quickly learnt not to be afraid of my weaknesses – the more you talk, the more you interact with people and the more you immerse yourself in education – the more you will learn about the parts of the industry that you didn’t know as well.

“I now have at least one customer that covers every area in sportsturf and amenity and can often have five visits a day that are radically different. My first visit might be a golf club followed by a local authority, then I might well move on to a football ground or a cricket ground and then visit a school in the afternoon.

“There are so many great people in the industry, and I love interacting with all the different people from the various facilities and sectors – it is the best part of my job.”

While Martyn is excelling in his current role, he admits that it is not without its challenges.

A spotlight on Martyn Parrish

A spotlight on Martyn Parrish

“The changes in legislation are probably the biggest obstacle to overcome,” he said. “It has changed the way we manage surfaces and it will continue to do so. The loss of products and the sustainable use of resources have been difficult. You have to change the way you think and the way you approach your job, but fortunately we have some amazing people in this industry that are creative and exceptionally good at overcoming problems.”

With the acquisition bringing together two of the most experienced and progressive teams in the amenity turf market, Martyn believes that Agrovista Amenity is now well placed to be at the forefront of these creative solutions.

“In terms of research and development, I feel we are in pole position,” he said. “The company is now able to lead the way in terms of introducing new ideas, new products and proven solutions to the market. We can also distribute these solutions and our products far and wide.

“Previously we only had ten people on the road – now there are well over 40 and that will continue to evolve.”

Outside of work, Martyn is recently married and admits to being addicted to sports and keeping fit. As well as playing football and golf regularly, he has completed three Iron Man races across Europe and has represented Great Britain in the World Triathlon Grand Finals.

For more information, visit www.agrovista.co.uk/amenity.

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JCB leads the way

JCB leads the way: JCB has developed the construction industry’s first ever hydrogen powered excavator as it continues to lead the sector on zero and low carbon technologies, the company announced today.

The 20-tonne 220X excavator powered by a hydrogen fuel cell has been undergoing rigorous testing at JCB’s quarry proving grounds for more than 12 months. The exciting development means JCB is the first construction equipment company in the world to unveil a working prototype of an excavator powered by hydrogen.

JCB leads the way

JCB leads the way

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “The development of the first hydrogen fuelled excavator is very exciting as we strive towards a zero carbon world. In the coming months, JCB will continue to develop and refine this technology with advanced testing of our prototype machine and we will continue to be at the forefront of technologies designed to build a zero carbon future.”

Lord Bamford’s son Jo Bamford spent 14 years at JCB before moving into the hydrogen sector, setting up Ryse Hydrogen and then buying Northern Ireland bus giant Wrightbus. He has won contracts to supply the world’s first hydrogen double-decker to cities such as London and Aberdeen.

Jo added: “I truly believe hydrogen is the UK’s best opportunity to build a world-leading industry which creates UK jobs, cuts emissions and is the envy of the globe.”

Power for JCB’s prototype excavator is generated by reacting hydrogen with oxygen in a fuel cell to create the energy needed to run electric motors. The only emission from the exhaust is water.

The development comes after JCB made manufacturing history last year by going into full production with the construction industry’s first fully electric mini excavator, the 19C-1E. JCB has also extended electric technology to its innovative Teletruk telescopic forklift range with the launch of an electric model, the JCB 30-19E.

Through constant innovation and design improvements, JCB has also been leading the way on clean diesel technology to meet Stage V EU emissions regulations and has almost eradicated the most harmful emissions from its latest range of diesel engines. Nitrous Oxide (NOx) is down 97%, soot particulates down by 98% and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions down by almost half.

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