Toro up for the job at Upminster

Toro up for the job at Upminster: It was word of mouth and recommendations from nearby customers that saw Upminster Golf Club opt for Toro irrigation.

When Andy Cracknell assumed his new post as course manager at Upminster Golf Club two years ago, one of his first projects was overseeing the installation of a new irrigation system, all he had to do was choose who to go with.

Toro up for the job at Upminster

“By the time I came on board the decision had been made that the system needed to be replaced but it had not yet been decided who would be best to deliver on our objectives, which included a high degree of control to advance the turf quality on the fairways and approaches in particular.”

And it was fellow golf clubs in the vicinity of the club in Essex that made a potentially difficult decision straightforward, says Andy: “Some neighbouring clubs in the M25 area were using Toro irrigation and getting great results. The ground here is London clay and can be particularly difficult to work with, which meant I paid close attention to their experience using Toro irrigation, mainly the Lynx central control system. Everyone was raving about how effective it was.”

This is thanks to the level of control the Lynx system offers, as well as the option to choose sprinklers such as Infinity that can be accessed from the top down to prevent the messy, difficult and time-consuming process of digging up the sprinkler body for maintenance and servicing.

Clay soil needs to maintain a steady moisture level – if it gets overly wet or dry it’s easily damaged when dug up or walked on – hence the reason why Infinity sprinklers appealed so much to Andy.

“It was so important to have a system that offered us the ability to irrigate specifically to our soil’s unique needs,” he says. “We had moved past the point where it was okay to be irrigating in units of minutes, we needed to get down to the millimetre. When treated in the right way clay-based soil has the potential to be really fertile and we’re starting to see the positive difference this level of control is bringing to the quality of the soil.

“We have 150 Infinity sprinklers on the greens, surrounds, approaches and three of the fairways and there’s just no comparison when it comes to adjusting in the field, they’re so easy to use.”

The club also has T5 and T7 sprinklers fitted to specification on the tees and because says Andy “he wanted to keep everything all Toro”.

Apart from ease of use and better-quality turf, Andy says the benefits for going with Toro don’t stop there: “We’ve been using the system for seven months now and we’re definitely making a saving on the amount of water we’re using. We used to use about 70 cube of water a night on the greens but we’re using around 30 now. When you’re irrigating off the mains that’s significant.”

Hopefully though it won’t be long until Upminster has a degree of self-sufficiency to its irrigation, as Andy explains: “We have a river we can do more with. It can certainly be turned into a feature as an aesthetic benefit to the course, but more importantly we can irrigate from it too. That’s one of our next projects.”

Upminster Golf Club’s irrigation system was installed by Full Circle Irrigation and organised by Reesink Turfcare, the sole Toro distributor in the UK for golf and sports fields equipment and irrigation products, and Andy says “it’s been an excellent experience. We’ve had four or five site visits from Cevan Edwards from Reesink and everything has been very smooth.”

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Sherriff taking Bovey Castle back to the top

Sherriff taking Bovey Castle back to the top: Scott Duff, head greenkeeper at Bovey Castle in Devon, is using a range of Sherriff Amenity products to help the club get back into the Top 100 Golf Courses.

Designed in 1926 by J F Abercromby, one of the finest British golf course designers of the last century, Bovey Castle’s 18 hole championship golf course is challenging and surrounded by the natural beauty of the Dartmoor.

Sherriff taking Bovey Castle back to the top

Scott, who has been at Bovey Castle for four years, started his turf career in football at Torquay United FC before switching to greenkeeping. He admits that it was somewhat of a challenging transition but claims that he has no regrets.

“When I was in football groundsmanship, I had always wanted to try greenkeeping but to be honest I was always worried that I would be out of my depth,” he said. “I went from looking after just one surface which had a fairly consistent maintenance regime to suddenly looking after a multitude of different areas – each with their own requirements. It was the biggest challenge in my career but also the best because I can confidently say that I love my job.”

Scott excelled in his new role and was rewarded two years ago when he was promoted to the position of head greenkeeper. Now, alongside Sean Bennett – course manager, the two of them have a very clear goal.

“We are a championship course which used to be in the top 100 but not anymore unfortunately. Quite simply our goal is to get back in there. I think with Sean’s knowledge of managing a course, his drive and his passion, along with the improvements he wants to make, I think it is very realistic.

“We are not a million miles away but we still have a lot of work to do and with people like David Chammings from Sherriff Amenity on-board then this will only boost our chances. David has really changed the way we approach our feed programmes and also some of the work we do out on the course because he draws up management plans which concentrate on what we should be doing throughout certain periods of the year.”

After consultation, David recommended a tank mixture consisting of iNTrench fertiliser 15.0.9 and GoGreen Energy bio-stimulant for the greens – two products which perfectly complement one another.

iNTrench is a controlled uptake nitrogen fertiliser designed specifically for the needs of professional sports turf. It gives up to ten weeks of improved blade colour and a higher quality turf with 66% the nitrogen rate of leading competitors. Its tank-mix partner, GoGreen Energy, is a concentrated bio-stimulant, formulated to assist plant health and relieve stress symptoms.

“Every course is different and you have to work out what is best for your site,” said Scott. “With iNTrench and GoGreen, we find that if we go at half rate (20 l/ha) every two weeks, then the greens seem to hold the nutrients a lot better. By applying it like this we notice healthier greens and also better longevity out of the products. This tank-mix has worked really well for us and there has been a big improvement in the greens.

“In fact, we also use this mix with the addition of seaweed on our tees if they need some instant colour-up.”

Scott also reported excellent results from Sherriff Amenity’s Aqua-Zorb 45 – a unique wetting agent, which helped him through a somewhat difficult summer last year.

“Last year, Aqua-Zorb was a real saviour for us. I would say that at least 90% of courses in the UK would say that the disease period for golf was horrendous last year and a good wetting agent could have saved money on fungicides and relieved the drought stress.

“We had such intense heat last year and Aqua-Zorb still worked incredibly well considering we were frequently seeing temperatures of 30°C plus.

“I feel we have been going through a massive transition period and this year we will see even more improvements to the course. The Sherriff Amenity products have played a big role in the success over the past couple of years and I can’t fault the service from David whatsoever.”

For further information, please contact Sherriff Amenity on 01638 721 888 or visit www.sherriffamenity.com

For more news and insightful views, you can follow Sherriff Amenity on Twitter @SherriffAmenity

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Matrax Pens Deal with Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Matrax Pens Deal with Mercedes-Benz Stadium: 2019’s Sports Facility of the Year closes on the acquisition of a 108,150 square foot Matrax heavy duty turf protection event flooring system

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a sports and entertainment stadium located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia that serves as the official home to NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’ Atlanta United. In 2019, the stadium was named Sports Facility of the Year at the annual Sports Business Awards and was also named Facility of the Year at the World Football Summit this past September in Madrid. The stadium is host to a wide array of major sporting and non-sporting events including Super Bowl LIII, the college football national championship, the 2018 MLS Cup and MLS All-Star game and will play host to the Men’s NCAA Final Four in April of 2020. Over the years, the stadium has hosted major music artists such as Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Ed Sheeran.  Most recently, the venue was host to George Strait, joined by musical guests Christ Stapleton, Chris Janson, and Ashley McBryde.

Matrax Pens Deal with Mercedes-Benz Stadium

As the intensity and frequency of non-sporting events continues to increase at stadium venues like Mercedes-Benz Stadium, there is greater demand to ensure the playing surface is protected from heavy loads and vehicular traffic.  Where other field covering systems are designed from a flooring perspective, Matrax was engineered with temporary road building and heavy vehicular traffic in mind.

To meet the increasing operational demands, an official request for proposal was issued by the stadium in July 2019 seeking 108,150 square feet of heavy duty, drivable flooring. Additionally, Matrax was able to broker the re-sale of the depreciated asset, thus offering additional value to the RFP process.

“As a world class venue, we hold all of our vendors to the highest standard. Matrax was selected for its proven track record of superior field performance and durability. Matrax is a solid investment for our operations and will be an integral component to our success on the field during these non-sporting events.”  David Duernberger, Director of Stadium Operations, Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The first deployment of the new Matrax 4×4 HD system will occur in early November 2019 to support an epic weekend of live music to include musical artists Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Sam Hunt, Sugarland, Judah & the Lion, Cale Dodds, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne, and Caylee Hammack.

Matrax has become the system of choice by many industry professionals and has been utilized at countless notable venues worldwide including but not limited to Banc of California Stadium, Petco Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, San Siro Stadium, MetLife Stadium, and Gillette Stadium.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Hunter a ‘game-changer’ at Redditch GC

Hunter a ‘game-changer’ at Redditch GC: Karl Williams, Course Manager at Redditch Golf Club, has reported significant improvements to the course since the installation of a new Hunter Irrigation system, which was installed by Prime Irrigation and supplied by KAR UK.

Founded in 1913, Redditch Golf Club is one of the finest parkland courses in the midlands and is well known for its woodlands, topography and quality playing surfaces.

Hunter a ‘game-changer’ at Redditch GC

Karl has been Course Manager at Redditch since October 2014 and within the first few months of his new role, he quickly identified an area which needed improvement.

“In 2015 we had an appraisal on the old irrigation system, which confirmed the inadequacies and poor reliability of the system. With continuous bursts and cable breaks, which resulted in an awful lot of hand watering,” said Karl.

Following the summer of 2018, the proposal to install a completely new irrigation system was passed by the committee and approved by 97% of the club’s members in favour.

A plan needed to be put into place quickly for the new system to cover all greens, tees, approaches and green surrounds. After speaking with Hunter Industries, there was no doubt in Karl’s mind due to their products, that it was the way to go.

G885D Series Rotors – With a built-in decoder offering single head control, superior uniformity coupled with the TTS technology allowing every serviceable element of the rotor to be accessed through the top so you can get to every component without disturbing the playing surface – no more digging, no more unsightly scars, and more importantly, one less item on a busy course manager’s schedule.

I-20 Series Rotors – A high performance rotor for tees and a popular choice for many turf managers, with the efficiency required for any site. Utilising the Match Precipitation Rate (MPR) nozzles ensures accurate, even distribution and water savings over a variety of mixed sprinkler arcs.

Pilot CCS PC-based central control system – a PC-based software package that makes central control of large-scale irrigation systems affordable, usable, and comprehensible.

“The new system has been an absolute game-changer,” said Karl. “It allows us to apply water in millimetres – simply replacing the daily deficit every night has made a huge difference. Even in the highest temperatures, the greens do not lose moisture and we no longer have to worry about them looking worn. They are consistently good which is great from a player’s point of view.”

Hunter a ‘game-changer’ at Redditch GC

“That has been a huge bonus, but the biggest area of improvement since the system was installed has been on the tees. For example, prior to the new system, the first tee had just four larger sprinklers along one side and they would overshoot, miss the tee and spill onto the path. Now we have five I-20 rotors on each side of the tee fitted with the Matched Precipitation Rate nozzles. This ensures that the water is applied to the tee playing surface at all times, receives excellent coverage and results in saving water, which makes it all very efficient!”

“It’s so good that we can now target individual areas because we have got some greens which face different directions – we’ve got slopes, banks and some areas that require more water than others. We can keep on top of everything at just the click of a button.”

“The system also allows a wide choice of options when planning a watering cycle, I can apply 2mm of water to all of the green’s at the start of a cycle and then it will go around the rest of the system before coming back to that same green and applying another 2mm if this is required. This is great because rather than the water running off the green surface it gives it time to soak in before the next part.”

From when Karl first started speaking to Hunter Industries, the whole project was completed within 14 months and any worries he had about the installation disturbing play were quickly alleviated.

“The members have been overwhelmed with how little obtrusion there was to play and throughout the whole installation period. There were no golf holes closed at any time – they couldn’t believe how tidy it was and how quickly it was installed, a testament to Prime Irrigation.”

“I’m just really pleased with the whole project and the service we have received has been fantastic. Back-up support from suppliers is vital in this industry and we absolutely get that.”

Hunter Golf Irrigation is distributed in the UK by KAR UK. For more information, please visit www.karuk.com and www.hunterindustries.com.

You can also follow KAR UK on Twitter @KARUK_LTD for much more news, reviews and insightful views.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

ICL The Remedy For Recovery

ICL The Remedy For Recovery: Harry Cannon, Course Manager at Sand Martins Golf Club in Berkshire, believes that a range of ICL products have significantly helped the tees to combat signs of heavy wear.

Opened in 1993, the Sand Martins course has been cleverly designed with two distinct and contrasting nine holes. The front nine is set in parkland with lakes and water hazards whereas when you move to the back nine it is quite obvious to see that it transforms to a links style with deep revetted bunkers and hazards lurking on every hole.

ICL The Remedy For Recovery

Despite the variety in style between the two nines, one thing remains constant – the quality of the playing surfaces, and that is partly thanks to Harry, whose enthusiasm and commitment to the development of Sand Martins is clearly evident.

At just 28 years old Harry is a relatively young Course Manager but in his short career he already boasts a wealth of experience. It all started in 2007 when he embarked on a summer job at the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club and realised that he wanted to pursue a career in greenkeeeping. After completing his necessary qualifications and spending a further nine years at Mid-Surrey he landed the role as Deputy Course Manager at Sand Martins. It wasn’t long before the determined Harry made his mark and was promoted to the position of Course Manager.

“I have great support around me and the team are absolutely fantastic,” he said. “It is still quite a young golf course which brings its challenges but all 18 holes are managed the same and with the programmes that we have in place through ICL, we are able to keep the standards consistently high.”

While it is obvious that Harry takes most challenges in his stride, he admits to facing the most problematic period in his career last year when the Club, and most of the country, experienced extreme droughts.

Harry started by overseeding with ICL’s ProSelect 2 Tees/Fairway mixture which contains a blend of fine fescues and perennial ryegrass. Using a disc-seeder, he applied the seed at 15g/m2 to the tees and double passed.

“We had dried out so much we began to lose turf coverage in areas,” said Harry. “Therefore, we overseeded with ProSelect at the end of September and that got us out of jail massively – it was exactly what was needed. We were getting a great strike going into winter and fortunately because it was quite mild we had early germination.”

With the turf established, Harry’s attentions turned to maintaining the tees in order to control the amount of wear they were experiencing. After speaking to Matt Nutter, ICL Technical Area Sales Manager, he decided that the best way forward would be to apply a granular fertilizer in the form of ProTurf 15-5-15+2CaO+2MgO at the start of the season, followed by a monthly tank-mix consisting of Primo Maxx II growth regulator (1.6 L/ha), and a range of soluble fertilizers – Sportsmaster WSF High N (15Kg/ha), Sportsmaster WSF High K (15Kg/ha) and Sportsmaster WSF Iron (15Kg/ha).

“The purpose of using ProTurf at the start of season is to give the turf a jump-start coming out of winter and going into summer. At the start of June and throughout the whole month it is our Club Championships so we need to be looking sharp and this is what ProTurf gives you.

“The soluble feeds – the High N, the High K and the Iron just seem to keep them ticking over all the way through the year. It’s a perfect mixture and I think the good thing about these ICL products is that we can just amend the application rates depending on what is required. If we have had a lot of rain then we might not need as much N and if they are stressed then we may put in a little bit more K. These products really do allow you to micro-manage.

“For a club that has busy periods, with small tees, and at a time when we were experiencing a lot of stress from last year we have seen great recovery, an improved clipping yield and the density of the sward has considerably thickened. Therefore the biggest praise I can give these products is that they have enabled us to control the amount of wear.”

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

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Golf Research Enterprise Driving Knowledge In Course Management

Golf Research Enterprise Driving Knowledge In Course Management: Golf course managers and greenkeepers have the unique opportunity to determine the direction of an innovative new research programme led by STRI and supported by BIGGA.

The Golf Research Enterprise (GREEN) is aimed at identifying and finding solutions to the problems facing golf course professionals now and in the future.

Golf Research Enterprise Driving Knowledge In Course Management

Crucially the decision as to what GREEN has to research is down to you – the people who manage golf turf. What do you think are the most difficult aspects of golf course management, where a focused investigation could determine best management practices?

The challenges of golf turf management are varied; they could be UK wide or may be very localised. What keeps you awake at night? What turf issue do you Google most? These are the issues GREEN would like to identify, investigate and disseminate the resulting knowledge for the good of the golfing industry.

How GREEN works

Tell us your burning issues on your golf course by logging into and completing a short questionnaire survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GRenterprise. We will collate all the responses and prioritise those of greatest concern. The priority list will be presented and discussed at BTME 2020.

Next steps

Once priority topics are established, GREEN will develop a research programme to investigate priority issues with trials work commencing at STRI’s research facility in Bingley in 2020.

Depending on the nature of the research programme instigated, you may have the opportunity to be part of the GREEN research programme by completing parts of the research objective on your golf course under the guidance of STRI. Therefore, we would be grateful if you would indicate your willingness to be part of any trials work on your returned questionnaire.

The results

The results from the research programme will be updated periodically in seminars at BTME and STRI Research Days, online and via social media as well as through articles in Greenkeeper International and STRI’s Bulletin.

STRI and BIGGA are both committed to working closely with this initiative to assist in successful delivery and dissemination of results.

Dr Ruth Mann, head of global research at STRI, said: “The Golf Research Enterprise will give all golf turf managers the opportunity to influence decisions on where research should be focused to create solutions to the everyday problems on the golf course. I’m looking forward to discovering how we can address these challenges and further enhance golf course management.”

BIGGA chief executive officer, Jim Croxton, said: “What makes the Golf Research Enterprise different from those initiatives that have come before it is that greenkeepers are being placed at the very heart of the project. BIGGA members have the opportunity to help shape the direction of the research and they will also be able to play an active role in any trials and practical studies that arise.

“In such a rapidly changing industry, it’s vitally important that there’s clarity in the advice being given to our members. If we are to meet the ever-rising challenges of golf course management, we need to have answers to the questions that are being asked and so this initiative from the STRI is very welcome.

“STRI are making a significant investment and we are delighted to be working alongside them. We urge everyone in the turf industry to get involved in this initiative”.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

ICL On Target At Temple GC

ICL On Target At Temple GC: A fortnightly greens tank-mix consisting of Vitalnova Stressbuster, Greenmaster Liquid, Primo Maxx II and Ryder turf pigment, has proved to be a valuable base feed which has helped to reduce the use of fungicides according to Ben Kebby, Course Manager at Temple Golf Club in Berkshire.

Built on land once owned by The Knights Templar, The Temple Links, as the course was first known, was designed in 1909 by Willie Park Junior. The Club recently celebrated its 110th year anniversary and its membership base is thriving – seeing an increase from 250 to 750 in just five years.

ICL On Target AT Temple GC

Perhaps it is no coincidence that Ben also started at the Club five years ago but the modest Course Manager refuses to take credit for the rise in membership. It is however evident that he has implemented a number of positive changes at the Club but when asked about his success Ben instead prefers to talk about his love for Temple.

“From the very start I was as ambitious as anyone but that has changed now,” he said. “As with most people, when you start in greenkeeping you want to be in charge at the world’s best course overseeing the sport’s most prestigious tournaments. However, since arriving at Temple I have come to the conclusion that lifestyle and happiness trumps ambition. The members here are fantastic, my boss Keith is superb and the area I live in is amazing. I am close to family and it ticks every box for me.”

Ben crossed the channel where he was working as an Assistant Superintendent at a course in the West of Paris to take the position at Temple Golf Club and felt that it was a vital chapter in his greenkeeping journey. His days as an apprentice at Berkshire Golf Club may seem a lifetime ago but Ben has rose rapidly up the career ladder and claims that choosing the correct products is key, especially when it comes to the greens.

“We live and die by the standard of our greens and we are only as good as the day before,” he said. “Last year we were hit quite badly with disease on the greens and I sprayed more fungicide than ever before and I just felt like I was chasing my tail – so that was one reason I went with this new tank-mix.

“The other reason for using the mix was because we had an ICL seminar here in spring last year with Andy Owen (ICL International Technical Manager) and he revealed the results of a trial he carried out in which he didn’t use a fungicide application throughout the autumn to see if he could achieve acceptable standards of greens performance. By using the right technologies, an example being Vitalnova Stressbuster, and getting timing of applications correct, he was able to achieve his goal and significantly reduce disease outbreaks to an acceptable level, this prompted me to examine my own approach.”

Inspired by Andy Owen’s trial work and after discussing it in more detail with Matt Nutter (ICL Area Sales Manager), Ben decided to push ahead with a tank-mix which consisted of Vitalnova Stressbuster (10 L/ha), Primo Maxx II (0.3 L/ha) Greenmaster Liquid 25-0-0 (10/20 L/ha) and Ryder (1 L/ha).

ICL On Target AT Temple GC

“I’ve been using it for approximately five months now and have seen some notable improvements. For starters, drought resistance is better – I was usually putting down about 2mm a night of water as a minimum whereas this year I can run on 1mm. The moisture is now far easier to control and before using this tank-mix I had to over-water just to control it.

“Another remarkable improvement is that the disease pressure has significantly reduced, in fact so-much-so that I have not sprayed a fungicide since February. In recent weeks we have had some heavy rain and high temperatures and we’ve had no disease outbreak whatsoever.

In this sense my thoughts go towards Ryder and Vitalnova Stressbuster with that little bit of iron mixed into it. The foliar grouping works together really well as a preventative, and was inspired by Andy’s presentation.”

While Ben continues to see consistently good results from his tank-mix, he believes that ICL’s continuous product research, trial work and data are essential in helping the industry to move forward.

“The trials, the studies and the explanation of data are incredibly important to me. Anyone can say they have run a trial but I am so much more comfortable going with a product which has some clear data and research behind it.

“It helps greenkeepers to move forward and to overcome obstacles. For example, I can sit here and know that if fungicides were withdrawn tomorrow, I can use the example set by ICL’s trial work presented by Andy and I have the confidence to design a programme to allow the greens to perform well throughout the whole season. It is a nice position to be in.”

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

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

MM60 Superior For Stoke City

MM60 Superior For Stoke City: When Andy Jackson, grounds manager at Stoke City FC, trialled a number of different seed mixtures eight years ago, he felt that there was one in particular which was far superior and that was Limagrain UK’s MM60.

From apprentice to grounds manager, Andy Jackson has been at Stoke City FC throughout his entire career. Arguably there is not one person who knows the stadium and training ground better and there is certainly no-one better placed to know what the pitches need in order to thrive.

MM60 Superior For Stoke City

“We like to think of the pitches like athletes so they need the correct nutrients to perform,” he said. “I like to think that it is a case of our pitches going to see the doctor or the nutritionist every day.”

Andy oversees the maintenance of the pitch at the bet365 Stadium and all of the facilities at Clayton Wood, Stoke City FC’s Training Ground and Academy, which includes a further eleven natural pitches. The facility hosts club players from the first team all the way down to Under 9’s and sees approximately 120 players through the door every day.

It is safe to say that the pitches experience a lot of usage and eight years ago Andy decided to trial a number of new grass seed mixtures.

“We trialled MM60 eight years ago at the training ground and were very happy with what we saw,” he said. “I felt that the MM seed was far superior to the other brands we were using and since then we have been 100% MM60 over both sites and that’s from renovation to overseeding throughout the winter.”

Limagrain’s MM60 grass seed is renowned for producing an excellent playing surface. It is a 100% Ryegrass formula which is perfect for renovation and divot repair, has a high disease resistance, fantastic aesthetic qualities and offers extremely fast germination – which is boosted by the inclusion of Headstart GOLD®.

“I believe that the MM range really excels because of the products they use on the seed such as Headstart GOLD®. It is particularly suited to where the industry is heading in the future – so it is not a case of putting lots of nitrogen onto the seed and flushing it up, it is more a case of the seed being nurtured gradually and healthy and I think that is where we do really well in the summer months. I’ve noticed that Headstart also helps with disease resistance and provides good plant protection too.”

MM60 now includes Limagrain’s new Ryegrass cultivar Annecy which has outstanding disease resistance particularly against Leaf Spot, something which particularly struck a chord with Andy.

“We used to have quite a lot of Leaf Spot which is quite common in Ryegrass situations in stadiums and training grounds,” he continued. “I believe that the MM60 seed has helped us to cut that out by at least 60%.”

At the Academy, Andy and his team will start renovations around mid-April and at the stadium they will typically start in June. After sowing MM60 during renovations Andy claims that the first cut will be carried out normally eleven days after the seed has been applied. When it comes to overseeding in winter, Andy will apply three to four bags of MM60 after every home game.

“We still get great germination from the seed throughout the winter,” said Andy. “I’m also very impressed with the fineness of the leaf. The leaf is finer than any of the other products we have used in the past which means we can get more plants per square metre. So, what we find is that after a match we are getting less damage to the pitch, and if there is a scar or a divot then it actually recovers faster. It can fill the space back in very quickly and for me that is a huge benefit.

“For me, the back-up offered by the companies I work with is essential and I believe the customer service from Limagrain fantastic. We even involve them in some of the conversations we have about other products, not just seed, because we are always looking at new way’s we can improve the pitch and I trust and value their input.”

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/mm. You can also follow the company on Twitter: @MM_Seed

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Leeds Upgrade To “ELITE” Pitches

Leeds Upgrade To “ELITE” Pitches: When 2019 pitch renovations came around, selecting a seed mixture was a straightforward decision for Kiel Barrett, Head Groundsman at Leeds United Football Club. Having looked at all blends on the market, ELITE SPORT from Barenbrug, was the product which stood out.

Kiel stated, “For starters, it is the number one mix on the market when referring to the BSPB/STRI Turfgrass Seed publication. However, after many meetings with Barenbrug’s, Phil Logan, we discussed the importance of looking beyond the booklet. For example, Barcristalla has a much darker colour and better disease tolerance then other top varieties. Sure, wear tolerance is important, but particularly stadiums need to start thinking about the new challenges we face, wear is only part of the jigsaw. We also discussed a tailored over-seeding plan to ensure we are capitalising on specific cultivar traits at the time of year when they will benefit us the most, not just a one-size-fits-all approach”.

Leeds Upgrade To “ELITE” Pitches

Kiel was so impressed with the product that he made the decision to change all the pitches to ELITE SPORT. That included the iconic stadium, Elland Road, and every pitch at the training ground at Thorp Arch.

Deputy Head Groundsman at Thorp Arch, Stefan Jones, commented, “The germination and establishment speed was excellent, we couldn’t have asked for better. I was also very impressed with the purity of the seed; we have had very few weeds.” Kiel added, “Thorp Arch is a challenging site, in a wet part of Yorkshire that sees heavy wear combined with intense disease pressure. ELITE SPORT has stood up well to the challenge and was the obvious choice for us in our conditions”.

ELITE SPORT stands to be improved upon further in 2020 with some exciting new cultivars yet to be announced.

For more information on ELITE SPORT and other sports mixtures, visit www.barenbrug.co.uk, tweet us @BarenbrugUK or speak to one of our technical team on 01359 272000

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Loughborough’s New Sports Pitches

Loughborough’s New Sports Pitches: Loughborough University has unveiled its new state-of-the-art sport pitches, installed by world-leading sports surface provider and pitch partner, SIS Pitches.

Installed in summer 2019, the new elite level water-based hockey surface is the first of its kind in the UK and has been designed specifically to encourage speed of play. The full-size pitch harnesses the latest innovations and was manufactured at the company’s state-of-the-art £1.8m headquarters in Cumbria.

Loughborough's New Sports Pitches

The SISTurf Xcel Ultra surface is the product of SIS Pitches’ continuous pursuit of high-quality and innovative surfaces. The combination of a high-grade, polyethylene polymer, 10-ended texturised yarn and optimised turf construction provides a truly elite-level system, with exceptional ball speed and uniformity, as well as outstanding durability.

SIS Pitches has also recently installed SISGrass hybrid technology into the newly built pitch at the Loughborough University Stadium. The pitch consists of 95 per cent natural grass supported with 5 per cent synthetic fibres and is the same style of pitch as used at the 2018 World Cup.

The football pitch was the first in the UK to be installed using a new-to-market, 100% electric machine from SISGrass. This innovation can stitch a full-size football pitch in just seven days, a huge step forward in reducing the environmental footprint of each pitch installation.

SIS Pitches has been named as the official partner for all Loughborough University’s Stadium pitches. As part of this remit, it will also sponsor the Women’s Hockey first-team in a multi-year deal, following last season’s promotion to the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Brett Holland, Women’s Hockey Performance Head Coach, said:

“We are thrilled with the installation of a new elite level playing surface here at Loughborough. The pitch is designed to the highest possible standard, ensuring matches are fast-paced and exciting to both play in and for spectators to watch.

“The squad achieved fantastic things last season which culminated in promotion to the Premier Division and winning British Universities College Sport (BUCS) gold. It’s brilliant news for everyone involved that we have the surface to continue with this momentum for the new campaign.”

Richard Allen, Director of Football, Loughborough University, added:

“The new pitch will take our football offer to the next level and help showcase the excellent facilities we already have on offer. The durability of the surface will give more opportunities for our students to experience playing at the stadium, which will undoubtedly help their personal development as footballers.”

Joe Shaw, Sales Manager at SIS Pitches, added:

“Loughborough University are the leading sports University in the UK and one of the leading institutions worldwide in relation to research, technology and performance in sport.

“This partnership represents a unique opportunity for us to work together with Loughborough University’s elite staff and athletes to maximise our product quality, delivery, service and to conduct key research into athlete performance and interaction with natural, hybrid and synthetic surfaces in a variety of sports.”

SIS Pitches made headlines in 2018, when SISGrass hybrid pitches were used at six of the stadiums for the World Cup in Russia. Following this, the company has provided pitches for all major sporting tournaments across the globe, including the 2019 Rugby World Cup, 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, and the 2018 UEFA Champions League.

The company has also recently installed the playing surfaces at FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou, alongside the La Liga side’s first-team training pitch.

Loughborough Hockey’s first game to be held on the new surface will be in the Investec Women’s Hockey League’s Premier Division on Saturday September 14th against reigning champions, Surbiton.

The first game on the new Loughborough University Stadium pitch will also take place in September 2019.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.