Reesink Grow Training Programme

Reesink Grow Training Programme: Two new hands-on machinery mechanics courses have been added to Reesink Turfcare’s industry-leading training offering for 2019.

The two new courses, Air-cooled Engines and Basic Electrics and Hydraulics, have, says head of turfcare training at Reesink Neil Adams, been added according to demand: “With these two courses we’re going back to basics. There’s so much technology used in machinery maintenance now with diagnostics tools and the like and while that is incredibly helpful, our customers are telling us they want to learn the foundation of these subjects such as how to do a complete engine strip down. Both courses offer a solid start for those new to the industry and a fantastic refresher course for those with a few more years under their belt.”

Reesink Grow Training Programme

The one-day Air-cooled Engines course covers understanding the operation and function of a four-stroke engine, learning how to identify components and operate in-line diesel injection and petrol fuel systems, and diagnosing and repairing common faults associated with modern engines.

The two-day Basic Electrics and Hydraulics course includes understanding and reading electric and hydraulic symbols and schematics, how to use and demonstrate safe practices with electrical instruments and test equipment and how to diagnose and repair electric and hydraulic systems failures effectively. In addition, battery operation and construction, basic electric theory including Ohm’s Law, electrics and hydraulics safety and hydraulic oils and contamination procedures will also be covered.

Further information such as dates, which start in February for Air-cooled Engines and April for Basic Electrics and Hydraulics, can be found at There, turfcare professionals and employers keen to offer staff the opportunity to learn and expand their areas of interest and need, will also find all the details on Reesink’s biggest range of vocational training for land-based disciplines delivered with Lantra, the national awarding organisation. Alongside that is City & Guilds training and Toro and TYM manufacturer-backed turfcare machinery training.

Neil concludes: “These two new courses bring the total number of courses offered by Reesink to eleven, that’s one of the biggest selections from a distributor and is something we’re incredibly proud of. There’s something to suit everybody, at every level, whether you work in the golf and fine turf sector, sports or grounds sectors.

“Our range of training courses demonstrates our belief in continuously improving standards in the industry. We aim to make training convenient with some courses delivered at the trainees’ working premises, too, using familiar equipment in a familiar environment. This set-up means it could not be easier for customers to develop and invest in their employees.”

Visit and select the Training tab to view this year’s training courses in full, plus find details such as dates and how to book.

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IOG’s Training & Education Guide

IOG’s Training & Education Guide: The new IOG Prospectus is the definitive guide to the Institute of Groundsmanship’s  Training and Education, detailing the many training courses and qualifications available from the institute. The 44-page booklet outlines the qualifications, training courses and advisory services available to help support individual career development and future opportunities.

Also included is an ‘at-a-glance’ career roadmap showing how all the different options dovetail to create progression pathways.

IOG's Training & Education Guide

In addition, there is an explanation of the IOG’s Pitch Grading Framework – guidelines that match pitch quality standards with the skills required to maintain them, at every level from volunteer grassroots playing surfaces needing introductory certification through to foundation degrees for professionals at elite stadia.

The Prospectus offers something for everyone; a blended learning system that allows access to IOG courses in the workplace, the classroom or online, to enable everyone to enhance their skillset and knowledge.

A host of IOG training courses are outlined, for winter pitches, cricket, bowls, racecourses, warm season grasses, reinforced pitches and artificial surfaces, as well as ‘general’ and bespoke courses. The qualifications offered by the IOG include:

  • Technical Awards, Certificates and Diplomas in turf surface maintenance;
  • Certificate in sustainable turf management;
  • Professional Certificate and Diploma in turf surface management;
  • Professional Certificate in turf surface consulting; and
  • Supervisor Management Level 3.

Commenting on the launch of the IOG Prospectus, chief executive Geoff Webb said: “The IOG is committed to encouraging continual skills development and is passionate about supporting those wanting to learn how to improve playing surfaces at every level of the sporting spectrum.

“Thousands of grounds people train with us each year, as well as the many who undertake IOG qualifications, and the IOG Prospectus now provides an easy-reference guide for everyone involved.”

A PDF copy of the IOG Prospectus can viewed in the Learning area of the IOG website ( or via the link and printed copies are available from the IOG by calling 01908 312511 or via email:

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Barenbrug’s Drought Advice

Barenbrug’s Drought Advice: After a recent prolonged period with little rainfall, Dr David Greenshields from Barenbrug UK has advised greenkeepers to ‘act fast’ to save drought-torn grass, and has offered 5 tips for maintaining year-round playability.

1)    Beware a false sense of security

After a smattering of rainfall, lower-lying areas and perennial grasses (fescues, bents and ryegrass) are now greening up and demanding mowing once more.  However, high spots and areas colonised with the shallow-rooted weed-grass Poa annua are mostly dead.

Barenbrug's Drought Advice

After several wet summers, these bare areas in many courses are extensive, as conditions have been conducive for Poa annua to thrive.  The recent weather has redressed the balance and created a perfect opportunity to exploit.

If left alone, the bare areas will become green again, but do not mistake this for “recovery”.  The new vegetation will most likely arise from new wind-blown Poa annua seeds, or worse, moss and other weeds.  This is only a short-term fix and one that compromises playability and aesthetics.

2)    What to do about it (and the hidden opportunity)

In dead areas, now is the time to act. Use this as an opportunity to establish drought-tolerant perennial turfgrasses, to prevent problems from happening again.  Scarify and remove dead material as quickly as possible and overseed with a specialist mixture.

Do not sit back and wait for weeds to colonise; this is a race against time to get seedlings established before winter. Overseeding with so much space for seedlings to grow (versus a wet summer with a tight sward), is going to be a lot easier for healthy, robust grass to establish.

3)    Convincing greens committees to invest

Course managers understand this is an obvious course of action, but convincing committees that overseeding large areas can be challenging.

If budgets are prohibitive, target one or two really bad fairways and overseed these at an appropriate rate. This is a better strategy than spreading your efforts too thinly. Document the project and use it to your advantage the next time the issue arises.

Under a range of stress factors, these areas will demonstrate what can be achieved with investment. For example, ryegrass on tees and fairways will offer improved drainage in wet conditions over Poa thanks to increased root structure and less thatch build-up. On Poa-dominant greens, more bentgrass will improve year-round playability, aesthetics and disease tolerance.

4)    Save now, pay later

If annual meadowgrass establishes between now and autumn, and we get another harsh cold winter, it will undoubtedly quickly die back again. Re-turfing before next playing season may be your only solution in this case.  Overseeding now with a hardy mixture may well save your club having to pay for more expensive repairs later.

5)    Another drought doesn’t have to mean disaster

This summer we’ve seen lots of customers seeing the benefits of previous overseeding investment. That’s because bents, fescues and ryegrass are far more tolerant than annual meadowgrass and will recover quickly after drought. With so many courses struggling to maintain playability in this heat, and talk of an Indian summer to come, now is the time to act.

Download Barenbrug’s Drought Guide here.

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Training For Success At John Deere

Training For Success At John Deere: A total of 54 young service technicians are being trained in this year’s John Deere Ag Tech, Parts Tech and Turf Tech advanced apprenticeship programmes, run in partnership with national training provider ProVQ – a increase of just over 60 per cent on the previous year’s intake.

John Deere has also been listed for the second consecutive time in 2018 as one of the best 100 employers for school leavers in the UK, the only agricultural and turf machinery company to be so recognised. The’s Top 100 Employers for School & College Leavers rankings are based entirely on the opinions of apprentices and school leaver trainees from hundreds of UK organisations.

Training For Success At John Deere

John Deere’s and ProVQ’s successive annual awards were made in recognition of their programmes’ quality and the opportunities they present to young people working productively in the agricultural and turf sectors.

“We have beaten some very strong competition from other household names, coming first for an engineering and manufacturing company and third overall in the Best Intermediate Apprenticeship Programme category in 2017,” said ProVQ managing director Julian Lloyd.

“We’ve also been recognised in the Advanced Apprenticeships and Engineering categories this year. To be recognised as one of the country’s top 100 employers for school leavers, as judged by the apprentices themselves, makes us all very proud of our achievements.”

Even more recently John Deere and ProVQ have won the Manufacturer Excellence Award for Training in the 2018 Agri Machinery Trade News Awards. The award judges commented that “the enthusiasm and encouragement of the trainers shone out in the nominations” and that John Deere and ProVQ were “exemplars of what it takes to deliver world class training”.

ProVQ’s Ag & Turf Tech apprentice assessor Simon Seago was specifically mentioned in one of the nominations from a John Deere dealer, who said: “Simon’s enthusiasm and encouragement transfers to our apprentices, enabling them to reach their potential during their initial industry training.

“Our industry depends on a constant input of quality young people who train to become the agricultural and turf technicians required to service and repair past, current and future technologies. People like Simon make this possible.”

Training For Success At John Deere

Julian Lloyd added: “This was just one of a number of general nominations from dealers who praised the John Deere training programme. The award is truly excellent news and reflects extremely well on the changes implemented within the programme over the last few years, and the efforts of all our front-line staff involved in implementing these changes. As an award voted for by the dealer network, it has significant currency.”

John Deere’s three-year Ag Tech and Turf Tech and two-year Parts Tech apprenticeships lead to IMI Level 2 & 3 Diplomas in Landbased Engineering and Vehicle Parts Competence, and registration at LTA Intermediate level in the industry’s Landbased Training Accreditation scheme. In subsequent years qualified technicians undergo further education and adult training within the John Deere University programme, on a career path that can ultimately lead to the highest possible LTA Master Technician accreditation.

 Now in its 26th year, Ag Tech was the first such scheme to be introduced in the UK and won a National Training Award at the end of 1997, the only one ever made to an agricultural machinery apprenticeship programme. Since the first programme started in 1992, well over 700 apprentices have graduated through the three main schemes and are now working in the company’s nationwide dealer network.

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ICL Scholarship Applications Open

ICL Scholarship Applications Open: Applications are now open for the ICL Continue to Learn Scholarship 2019.

Now in its third year, ICL and BIGGA are seeking five BIGGA members to take up the 2019 scholarship. The scholarship provides 15 hours of education from the Continue to Learn education programme, three nights accommodation, visiting the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition and also includes networking opportunities with fellow greenkeepers and the sponsor.

ICL Scholarship Applications Open

2018 recipient Daniel Ashelby, assistant greenkeeper at Wilmslow Golf Club, commented “Being an ICL Continue to Learn scholar is a very busy experience” he continued “The experience is very immersive and offers fantastic learning opportunities and is highly motivational to aspiring greenkeepers”.

Fellow 2018 recipient Simon Pyett, greenkeeper at Halesworth Golf Club, reflected that the scholarship has helped him to identify that he is “now certain that my passion for ecology and nature sit squarely alongside my passion for greenkeeping” he continued that he “would love to be at the leading edge of such an approach to greenkeeping going forwards”.

The application process invites applicants to consider why BTME and Continue to Learn are important to the industry, how it will help them achieve their career aspirations and why they should be awarded the scholarship.

Applicants should be full greenkeeper members of BIGGA and be CPD Active. To apply, simply scan the QR Code or visit

Applications close at 5.00pm on Tuesday 31 July 2018. The selected scholars will be announced in the October of Greenkeeper International.

It should be noted that the Scholars will be expected to meet the costs of their travel, meals and other personal expenses.

For further information about becoming CPD Active visit

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit or if you are in Ireland.

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St Neots Town Council Boasts An All-Red Toro Shed

Only three years ago operations manager Kevin Matthews vowed to turn St Neots Town Council’s existing fleet of machinery Toro red, following the purchase of a CT2120, which impressed with its “superb” quality of cut. In August Kevin accomplished just that with the purchase of two durable Groundsmaster 3400 out-front rotary mowers.

The Council, whose grounds team of nine maintains a range of sites in Cambridgeshire, decided to invest in new machines when assigned more grounds to cover. Kevin says: “We needed something robust and the Toro GM3400 ticks all the boxes”.

Kevin was convinced it would be the machine for the job after attending an onsite demonstration at Reesink Turfcare: “Seeing the GM3400 up close and having Danny Lake [Toro distributor Reesink Turfcare rep] show what it can do made us realise just how brilliant it is. Reesink also managed to loan us a machine while our order was processed, which was an unexpected bonus!”

For Kevin, the main benefits of the machines include low running costs, reliability, ease of operation, ease of maintenance, and operator’s comfort. He says: “The machine is designed with the operator in mind, meaning my employees can be out all day and not suffer from fatigue.”

He goes on to say that with the GM3400s there’s “no need to worry about breakdowns because the reliability and build quality of these machines are second-to-none. Combine this with the back-up service from Reesink and you’ve got a world-leading formula.”

The GM3400s will primarily be used for Cambridgeshire County Council’s roadside verges, where Kevin believes the machines will enable him to do the job efficiently and keep the grass looking beautiful.

When speaking of the CT2120, the first ever piece of Toro kit purchased by St Neots in 2013, Kevin describes the durability and performance of the machine as “superb”. ”One of the reasons we chose this machine was because it’s light enough to be transported by trailer to different sites,” says Kevin.

This time round Kevin opted for the GM3400 because it’s as easy to operate as the CT2120, but it’s also a road-legal machine. He says: “The GM3400 came with a road-legal pack that includes lights and indicators, amongst other things. With this road pack the GM3400s are not far from being cars, and I can relax knowing my employees are safe.”

Before they owned Toro machinery, Kevin and his team were making do with competitor brand machines that weren’t right for the job and having to cut more frequently to compensate. Now, with a Toro fleet tailored to its needs, the Council has improved its cutting programme and reduced running costs too.

All of this has transformed the work lives of the grounds team at St Neots Town Council and, thanks to their reliability and performance, Kevin feels certain he will continue to invest in Toro machines exclusively.