Winter’s garden tractor

Winter’s garden tractor: As any owner will tell you, a Countax garden tractor is not only a mower, it’s an all-year-round machine that makes winter’s chores a lot easier. Countax builds them tough and durable for that reason and offers a range of accessories to see you through the winter months.

Using the tractor’s Power Take-Off (PTO) to drive powered accessories it becomes an invaluable utility machine.  One of the most useful is the broadcast spreader for easily spreading salt or grit on icy surfaces. It’s a must-have tool in the depths of winter to keep paths and driveways ice-free, featuring an adjustable flow rate and a hopper that holds up to 50kg of granular material.

Winter’s garden tractor

Winter’s garden tractor

Fitted with a front-mounted snowblade and a set of chevron tyres, the Countax becomes a formidable force in quickly clearing snow from your paths and drive. It has a tough, rubber-tipped edge on the snowblade designed to clear snow without damaging a concrete or tarmac surface. Hours of hard shovelling are reduced to a few minutes sitting on your tractor. The Countax dealer fits a mounting frame and yoke to the tractor and from there on it’s easy to fit and remove. It’s important to be prepared for what the winter might throw at you and have the accessories fitted in advance, so you don’t get caught out.  It will certainly pay to have the snowblade at the ready for those sudden cold blasts and heavy snow.

Chevron tyres are a good idea for extra grip on slippery ground and they are available for Countax C, B, and A Series. Sizes vary, for the C and B Series pair they are 45.7cm (18”) and the A Series pair 58.4cm (23”). The 4TRAC four-wheel drive tractors offer plenty of grip in snow and icy conditions but for a very harsh winter, chevron tyres can be used. These are factory fit only as the tractor has to be re-calibrated.

Even the toughest built accessories need looking after to ensure their longevity so it’s wise to make sure the spreader and snow blade are cleaned of salt to help prevent corrosion. It’s a fact that Countax painted components have surpassed 500 hours of continuous salt spray exposure without corrosion. But it’s also a wise person who uses a Countax tractor cover designed to protect it when not in use and stored in a garage or outbuilding. When the winter tasks have been performed it’s time to get the tractor serviced by the dealer, says Countax. So it is good and ready for the first spring cut and summer work as a mower, scarifier and general workhorse. Find out more by contacting Countax on 01844 278800 or visit www.countax.co.uk/find-a-dealer/ to find your local dealer.

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John Deere Partners with LPGA, LET

John Deere Partners with LPGA, LET: The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) today announced a new three-year official marketing partnership with John Deere, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of agriculture, construction, forestry and turf equipment.

With the agreement, John Deere becomes the LPGA Tour’s Official Golf Course Equipment Supplier and will support the LPGA Foundation’s efforts to introduce more girls to the game of golf. Additionally, the LET announced a three-year extension to its longstanding partnership with John Deere, which began in 2007.

John Deere Partners with LPGA, LET

John Deere Partners with LPGA, LET

“We’re excited to welcome John Deere into the LPGA family as our Official Golf Course Equipment Supplier,” said Kelly Hyne, Chief Sales Officer for the LPGA. “We look forward to building upon John Deere’s strong history with the LET and Solheim Cup, bringing experience across both Tours and growing participation in the game of golf.”

Emma Allerton, LET Commercial Director, added, “We too are delighted to be extending our successful partnership with John Deere, continuing to work together towards shared goals and enhancing opportunities across women’s golf.”

John Deere has also signed on as the Official Golf Course Equipment Supplier of the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. John Deere will work closely with agronomists for both Tours, with the goal of producing exceptional playing conditions across multiple continents.

“We are incredibly proud to become the Official Golf Course Equipment Supplier to the LPGA,” said Manny Gan, Director Global Golf Sales & Marketing for John Deere. “Through this agreement with the LPGA and the extended agreement with the LET, John Deere equipment will play a key role in providing a great playing experience at top courses around the world, and at the 2021 Solheim Cup.”

Finally, John Deere will support the LPGA Foundation’s Renee Powell Grant, which was established in 2020 to provide need-based grants to LPGA*USGA Girls Golf programs that are inclusive of Black communities as part of their initiatives. Earlier this year, five Girls Golf sites in the greater Toledo/Cleveland area were selected as the inaugural grant recipients. In 2021, participants from these five sites will participate in the Solheim Cup Experience presented by John Deere, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a special part of the week’s celebration and competition.

The 2021 Solheim Cup will take place Sept. 4-6 at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, with USA Captain Pat Hurst and European Captain Catriona Matthew leading their teams of the best professional female golfers in the United States and Europe.

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Club Polaris launches in UK & Ireland

Club Polaris launches in UK & Ireland: Calling all Polaris sport and leisure owners – Club Polaris has officially landed in the UK and Ireland, bringing Polaris customers* the opportunity to join the club and receive unique benefits.

Designed to bring together the community of recreational off-road riders, Club Polaris allows Polaris customers to stay on top of the latest news and product announcements with exclusive member-only story content, as well as providing a hub of useful information like recommended green laning routes in close collaboration with the Green Lane Association (GLASS) to promote legal and responsible riding across the UK.

Club Polaris launches in UK & Ireland

Club Polaris launches in UK & Ireland

Membership is free**, and new club members will receive a special gift to welcome them to the Polaris family, including their very own Club Polaris membership card and exclusive Club Polaris-branded lanyard and snood. The first 100 customers that sign up to Club Polaris will receive a special welcome gift of Polaris 509 goggles worth £50 – perfect for the upcoming off-road adventures.

Bringing the off-road community together, Club Polaris members get access to the private Facebook group where like-minded riders can socialise and discuss all things off-road, whilst Polaris experts will be on hand to provide vehicle advice and their top tips for a great ride. Not only that, Polaris invite members to submit their own stories and content for the chance to feature across Polaris social media channels.

As Club Polaris grows, Polaris plans to organise group ride events on a national level, as well as smaller, local dealer events, with plans to bring the international-recognised and successful Polaris Camp event to the UK in the future.

For more information on Club Polaris, please visit the Polaris Britain blog website – Polaris Basecamp – here.

* Club Polaris is available for Polaris sport and leisure owners only with the following Polaris vehicles: Polaris RZR (any model), Polaris General (any model), Polaris Scrambler (any model), Polaris Sportsman (XP 1000 / XP 1000 S / Touring 570 / Touring XP 1000 / 570 SP / 570 Ohlins Special Edition)

** Membership is free for Polaris owners where their vehicle is within its manufacturer warranty period. For owners who would like to join with expired warranty, please contact your local dealer to sign up. Your local dealer can be found here. Customers will need their VIN number to register.

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Important survey for the amenity sector

Important survey for the amenity sector: In early 2021, the Government is funding a major survey of the amenity sector to increase its understanding of the total amount of plant protection products used, their modes of application and the key reasons for use.

It is vitally important that the sector fully supports this work as it will form the basis for future policy and strategic decisions, and it will provide very valuable information for use across the sector.

Important survey for the amenity sector

Important survey for the amenity sector

A similar survey was conducted in 2016 but participation was low which reflected badly on the sector. This time the Forum has been consulted to help ensure the survey is as straightforward as possible and relatively easy to complete. This way it is hoped that participation will be much higher, and that good and sound data can result.

The survey will be sent out electronically and, if you are selected to receive one, the Amenity Forum is urging you to complete and return promptly. It is understood that there are many calls on time, but this survey could prove really important to all. The surveys will be sent out from the week commencing January 18th

Professor John Moverley, Independent Chairman of the Amenity Forum says ‘’2020 has been an unprecedented year bringing with it personal tragedy and impacting on all our lives not just now but for well into the future. It has shown how vitally important is the work undertaken in amenity management helping keep our transport networks operational, our parks and green spaces safe and sustainable and our sports areas fit for purpose to name just a few aspects of amenity. This survey will help provide really important information to guide future policy and I urge everyone to participate if approached’’

For further information on the content of this release or about the work of the Forum, contact Kate at admin@amenityforum.net

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Tynemouth’s members pitch in

Tynemouth’s members pitch in: Tynemouth Golf Club in the north-east of England, opened in 1913 and designed by Willie Park Jr, is reaping the benefit of an innovative bunker renovation programme, carried out with the help of synthetic bunker edging solutions provider EcoBunker Ltd.

“It was pretty obvious that we had to do something about our bunkers,” says greens chair David Steven. “Not only were they 107 years old, but we run a regular membership survey, and every time, the bunkers were voted as the biggest problem, with members complaining about contamination of sand and animals digging up the edges.”

Tynemouth’s members pitch in

Tynemouth’s members pitch in

Club pro John McKenna saw the EcoBunker solution in use when playing at another course, and brought it to Stevens’ attention. “We are a parkland course, not a links, although we are close to the North Sea, so there was some concern as to whether revetted edged bunkers would meet our needs,” says the greens chair. “So, as part of my research, I visited the BIGGA greenkeeping show in Harrogate and met the EcoBunker team. I realised that the solution would fix a lot of our problems – it would give a permanent shape to the bunker edges and protect against invasive animals. And the use of recycled materials was very attractive from a sustainability perspective.”

After building two EcoBunkers as a test, the club decided to take the plunge and rebuild all its greenside bunkers using the solution. But Steven was concerned about getting the bunker construction right. “If you are doing all the bunkers at once, then if you get it wrong you get everything wrong,” he says. Employing a specialist golf contractor to do the work was out of the question on cost grounds, but the club found an answer using an innovative ‘hybrid’ method. EcoBunker construction manager Llewelyn Matthews came to Tynemouth to act as project manager, and labour was provided by the club’s own greens crew and a group of temporary staff – who were all club members!

“We didn’t want to do the job on the cheap and mess it up, but at the same time we could not afford to throw money at it,” says Steven. “To protect the value of the project, it was essential that we had great buy-in from EcoBunker, and using Llew Matthews as a PM gave us that. When he came to do the two test bunkers, he was brilliant, which gave us confidence that EcoBunker had its fingerprints all over our job. He stayed for four weeks, which was essentially a month-long course in building EcoBunkers. We think we could have completed the entire project of 34 bunkers on schedule, had COVID-19 not reduced our manpower. When Llewellyn left, there were still eleven bunkers left to finish, but our team had been trained so well that they were able to knock them off in two and a half days, and we are over the moon with the results.”

“Lots of clubs want to do bunker renovations, but don’t have enough money for a contractor and a turnkey project,” says EcoBunker CEO and inventor Richard Allen. “But they can afford to buy in the materials, get a project manager and provide the labour and plant from within. The alternative is that they have a two day training course and say ‘Right, now we know what we are doing’. But it is hard to keep the impetus high like that. Greens crews are busy and get distracted, and the bunker work is usually the first thing to be forgotten. If they hire a project manager, though, they realise they need to hit it hard while he’s with them. It’s a way of committing to the project, which is what all good bunker work needs if it is to be to the high standards that golfers expect.”

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Kubota announces further market expansion

Kubota announces further market expansion: Kubota (UK) Ltd is pleased to announce that Lister Wilder is to further expand its operation with the addition of OEM engine supply from its Ashford, Guildford and Reading branches, for customers operating Kubota powered machinery.

This latest addition makes Lister Wilder the first full-line Kubota dealer in Europe, and follows the recent announcement that the family-run dealership is to refocus entirely on the Kubota brand having already secured business with agriculture, groundcare and construction divisions.

Kubota announces further market expansion

Kubota announces further market expansion

“This expansion further strengthens Kubota’s commitment to its customers and the markets in which we operate,” explains David Hart, managing director of Kubota (UK). “As a full-line dealer, Lister Wilder will be in a very strong position to make the future investments required in facilities, technology and staff, to actively support our customers throughout these important industry sectors.”

Having successfully represented Kubota from its branches in Ashford, Guildford, Reading and Cirencester, the firm’s next phase of expansion is impressive. A multi-million pound investment plan will see the first of its new Kubota centres designed and built during 2021, along with the planned redevelopment of existing depots, starting with its Reading premises.

It is expected that the business expansion plans will also create a host of new jobs within sales, after-sales and service, plus parts and warranty departments, stimulating the local ecomonies in which Lister Wilder operates.

“Lister Wilder is delighted to have received the entire Kubota franchise, to operate across its branches, which extend across the southern part of the country,” says company director and co-owner Charlie King. “This strategic move allows us to focus our efforts on delivering expert service and aftersales support across all divisions. Our ambitions are now completely in line with that of Kubota and that makes for a very strong partnership and an exciting future.”

“Around 50% of our business was already Kubota related with groundcare and construction products, and the addition of Kubota’s agricultural and engine divisions gives us huge potential to grow the Kubota brand across our region,” he added.

Lister Wilder is a wholly-owned family business that was established in 1947. Now in its third generation, the company has evolved to become a well-known and well-respected name throughout the industry, recently winning the Service Dealer’s agricultural and groundcare Dealer of the Year awards. Its Kubota groundcare business dates back to 1995, and was followed by expansion with Kubota construction equipment in 2001. Its first Kubota centre was created three years ago in Ashford, Kent, and forms the blueprint for future development.

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Here’s to the groundsmen

Here’s to the groundsmen: Arguably the most important member of any club, but one whose contribution often goes overlooked, is the groundsman.

Read the full article from The Cricketer here

Here's to the groundsmen

Here’s to the groundsmen

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Another decade with Toro

Another decade with Toro: Trust, support and understanding, three vital qualities for a successful relationship, and in the case of Royal Dornoch, Toro and Reesink, it’s a combination that has worked exceedingly well for 25 years. Now it’s set to last a lot longer too as the club signs an exclusive supplier agreement for another ten years.

In an uncertain climate, one thing general manager Neil Hampton at Royal Dornoch in Scotland knows with certainty in choosing Toro again, is that quality and consistency will continue, which for a Championship course is non-negotiable. He says: “Regardless of what is going on in the world, one thing that has remained the same for 400 years is our dedication to providing our members and players with golfing excellence.

Another decade with Toro

Another decade with Toro

“Toro is tried and tested on the remote links landscape here and we see no reason to change that especially when Toro’s dedication to innovation and technology stills leads the way.”

Neil refers specifically to the four Toro Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 electric greens mowers included in the club’s latest order: “As a club it’s very important for us to be as green as we can as often as we can. The team tried the electric greens mowers in a demo and were unanimously impressed, plus you know with Toro that any new machine has been tested to the nth degree. There were absolutely no negatives in choosing these electric machines to take over the important frontline mowing on our greens.”

Continuing the green theme in the rest of the order are four of the environmentally-friendly hybrid Reelmaster 5010-H fairway mowers and eight electric utility vehicles, the Workman GTXe with lithium-ion battery. Neil says: “Our greens and fairway mowers are used a lot and it is of the utmost importance that they perform to their best at all times. We’ve never noticed a difference between the environmentally-friendly machine option or diesel, apart from the obvious noise and fuel mess.

“We have a fantastic relationship with Reesink in that they understand how we work, what works best for us and what we want out of a deal. For example, we have a great system for the replacement and buy-back of our used machinery. Our used machines have a lot of life left in them and it’s only right that they go on doing a great job somewhere else.”

Heading into 2021 what does Neil see on the horizon? “Looking at the positives from 2020, the year Royal Dornoch got voted as Scotland’s Best Golf Course by the World Golf Awards, the break from play during growing season has given the course an unexpected rest, there’s been little to no wear and tear and it’s looking and playing wonderfully. The team had the chance to undertake jobs such as overseeding that you wouldn’t normally do in the peak season and it means we go into 2021 with the course in the ultimate shape.

“With international travel hopefully opening up earlier than expected perhaps in the spring, it means our 700 overseas members can resume their play here which will be fantastic. In the meantime, we’ve always been proud to be a course accessible for all. For 400 years our doors have been open to everyone and in 2021 that will be hugely important; we all know the huge benefits a round of golf can bring.”

And with Toro aiding the 19-strong greenkeeping team in tending the 36-hole course means it will provide the best possible environment, not just in terms of its beauty and playability, but its carbon footprint too. The future is decidedly green at Royal Dornoch!

To talk to someone about Toro’s electric machinery, packages and payment options available and how the Toro range would suit your course, call 01480 226800.

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Celebrate parks and green spaces

Celebrate parks and green spaces: Green space charity Fields in Trust is collaborating with parkrun to celebrate the wellbeing benefits that the UKs parks and green spaces have delivered during the coronavirus crisis.

The joint campaign invites park users to share stories of how important green spaces have been as places to exercise, relax, reflect and as a safe place to meet loved ones and connect with our friends and our neighbours.

Celebrate parks and green spaces

Celebrate parks and green spaces

The #notjust campaign identifies the different ways communities engage with outdoor spaces, A local green space is #notjust a park, it has so many more intangible benefits, emotions and memories that contribute to our physical health, mental wellbeing and community contacts.  Park users are invited to celebrate their local green spaces by recording video clips or taking photographs celebrating what their local park means to them and their families and sharing the stories on the campaign website www.fieldsintrust.org/notjust and social media using the #notjust hashtag.

Speaking on the joint campaign, parkrun’s Global Head of Health and Wellbeing Chrissie Wellington said “if there’s one thing to lift our spirits, it’s being outside in the open air, being connected to nature and moving our bodies. We need parks more than ever before and this means taking steps to protect, value and, importantly, celebrate them. We are proud to join hands with Fields in Trust to do just that and would like to encourage everyone to get involved by sharing what your park means to you and the wonderfully diverse and amazing ways you have been using them over the past year. Together we can make sure that parks are here for us, and for all those who follow in our footsteps”.

As places for us to remain physically distanced but socially connected local parks have come to the fore this year. Data shows increased usage of green space throughout the year, but the campaign also recognises that access to parks and green spaces is not equally distributed across the UK.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths, said: “2020 has been an incredibly difficult year but imagine how much more difficult it would have been without our local parks. For thousands of us the park was a daily lifeline. Now as we approach the end of that year – but sadly not yet the end of the crisis – we want you to join with us and our friends at parkrun to celebrate just how much we’ve all valued these spaces. Parks are one of the unsung heroes of the pandemic and if there was ever a time to show our appreciation for parks and how important they are to our collective health and wellbeing this is it! Let’s take this opportunity to work together to protect the future of these precious spaces because one they’re lost, they’re lost forever.

Park users are invited to share stories of their own much-loved local parks at the campaign website www.fieldsintrust.org/notjust and share on social media using the hashtag #notjust.

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Dumbarnie delight

Dumbarnie delight: Scotland’s newest golf course, Dumbarnie Links on the south coast of Fife, officially opened for play at the end of May. This was just a couple of weeks later than originally planned due to government imposed restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The vision was to provide a first class, true links style golf experience of international quality for all to enjoy, so the course is being operated as a pay-and-play facility, with no members being contemplated.

Dumbarnie delight

Dumbarnie delight

Designed by former Walker Cup and Ryder Cup player Clive Clark, Dumbarnie Links has a mile and a half of sea frontage with panoramic views over the Firth of Forth. The design features a number of elevated tees where holes play directly towards panoramic views of the sea, and a number of the tees and greens are also close to the water.

US-based OB Sports Golf Management (Dumbarnie’s operating/management company) and John Deere dealer Sandy Armit of Double A first signed a partnership deal in 2018 for the supply of grow-in and maintenance equipment for the golf course construction project and beyond. The new machines have been bought using a mix of John Deere Financial operating and finance lease options, including three-year PowerGard cover with full maintenance.

Sandy Armit of Double A says: “We were very excited to be involved with this project from the very beginning, and since the initial supply of John Deere equipment on loan we have been phasing in a full fleet of course maintenance equipment over the past two years.”

Dumbarnie Links course manager Grahame Taylor grew up in Leven and came to Dumbarnie from the Old Course at nearby St Andrews. “The golf course construction work took just six months to complete, which was very quick for a project of this size and importance,” he says.

“We originally had several John Deere 220E walk-behind greens mowers on loan for a couple of weeks after sowing the greens in summer 2018, when we were lucky enough to have perfect growing conditions. Double A’s golf specialist John Bateson then supplied two 8000 Series fairway mowers and half a dozen Gator utility vehicles, plus a bunker rake and a 2653A utility triplex mower.

“We kept most of the loan equipment until the new machines started arriving this year. This gave us a good opportunity to carry out quite a few trials with different machines to see exactly what we needed and what worked best for our conditions. For example, with a 345-acre property and the need to stay in front of play, we had to decide how many fairway mowers would be required because of the travelling times around the course, and we ended up with three 7500A E-Cut hybrid electric machines .

“The dealership was very accommodating and helpful all the way through this process – nothing has been too much trouble for John Bateson. He’s always answered all our questions promptly and found solutions to any problems, it’s truly been service with a smile and a great partnership.

“We’ve also had three new 2750E hybrid electric triplex mowers this year, and we’re very happy with them. Our team really love using this machine – they’re comfortable to operate, follow the course contours really well and the grass collection is much improved. I also like the functionality of the mowers’ TechControl system, which allows you to set the required speeds and clip frequency to achieve consistent and repeatable results across the course, regardless of who’s operating the machine.

“We’re now in the process of completing the clubhouse, road access and car parking, but despite these disruptions we’ve been incredibly busy since we first opened for play. The course is looking fantastic, and we’re all absolutely delighted with the way things are going.”

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