EFL award winners announced

EFL award winners announced: Despite a challenging 2020/21 season for clubs in relation to their pitches, ground staff have continued to produce an incredibly high standard of pitches up and down the country.

As the current campaign draws to a close, the EFL have announced their winners for the Grounds Teams of the Season.

EFL award winners announced

EFL award winners announced

Here are this season’s winners:

Championship

Grounds Team of the Season – Watford

Highly Commended – AFC Bournemouth

Highly Commended- Stoke City

League One

Grounds Team of the Season – Doncaster Rovers

Highly Commended – Plymouth Argyle

Highly Commended – Portsmouth

Highly Commended – Shrewsbury Town

League Two

Grounds Team of the Season – Forest Green Rovers

Highly Commended – Carlisle United

Highly Commended – Cheltenham Town

Congratulations to all the winners!

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Busiest spring for Capillary Bunkers

Busiest spring for Capillary Bunkers: Bunker liner specialist Capillary Bunkers is in the midst of the busiest period in its history, since its foundation in 2010. April and May have seen the firm working on more than sixty projects around the world, and the rest of the year looks set to be just as busy.

Courses involved include Tom Doak’s much-acclaimed Rock Creek Cattle Company in Montana, the Tom Fazio-designed Contraband Bayou course in Louisiana, and RainDance National in Colorado, designed by architect Harrison Minchew with PGA Tour player Fred Funk. In Asia, Capillary Bunkers are being installed at the Discovery Bay course in Hong Kong, while in Europe, Golf Nazionale in Rome, Djursholm in Stockholm and Murrayshall in Perthshire, Scotland. And Africa is not being left out, as the Royal Golf de Marrakech in Morocco is also installing the product.

Busiest spring for Capillary Bunkers

Busiest spring for Capillary Bunkers

“Everyone in golf is aware that the industry is very lively as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, with rounds up significantly across the world,” says Capillary Bunkers founder and CEO Martin Sternberg, CGCS. “That growth is being reflected in golf construction, as courses seek to improve their facilities and differentiate themselves from the competition. Because our product reduces bunker maintenance while simultaneously improving their condition, and because it is very easy to install in most weather conditions, it is ideal for busy courses – bunkers can be renovated and be back in play very quickly, to minimise disturbance to golfers.”

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New Stiga park front mower

New Stiga park front mower: The new sixth generation of Park front mowers from STIGA are the most innovative, powerful, practical and consumer friendly ever introduced and have evolved from the 45-year history of the brand.

They are designed for maintaining large areas, from private houses with extensive lawns, through to professional or commercial use.  The accessories that are available ensure the machines are all-rounders, fit for a range of jobs.

New Stiga park front mower

New Stiga park front mower

Machines in the range are largely petrol powered, with one battery option, and many have been modernised and upgraded for 2021.  Whilst some models are powered by Honda or Briggs & Stratton, the majority are powered by the very latest STIGA engines and marketed as ‘Powered by STIGA’.

“This new range is a distillation of all those years of experience and establishes completely new high standards for front mowers.  We have incorporated the latest technical innovations allied to a very strong emphasis on delivering a smoother and safer ride for the user” says Gary Tully, Sales and Marketing Director of STIGA UK Limited.

New innovations for 2021 include:

  • A greatly improved driving experience with a strong emphasis on comfort and safety.  This includes ergonomically designed seating, a new more comfortable drive pedal and a reconfigured steering column;
  • Power steering and electric PTO are standard on all models and electric height of cut adjustment on machines with electric cutter decks;
  • A total aesthetic redesign ensures a modern style for the new Park range which reflects user demands and achieves improved technical performance, including enhanced air flow that reduces oil temperature by up to 10%;
  • Greater traction on uphill cutting with a 35% improvement in transmission performance on the 4 x 4 models;
  • Drive belts are made from Aramid, a chloroprene compound providing increased durability and strength;
  • Blue Tooth connectivity, via a dedicated App, that can link directly to dealers to organise servicing on selected models, as well as a digital display showing running time, next service due date etc;
  • Park models are compatible with STIGA’s patented QuickFlip deck technology;
  • Improved LED headlights on many models;
  • A hard steel rear bumper;
  • An external, easily accessible fuel cap so no more having to lift the bonnet to refill.
  • In total there are nine redesigned Park machines in the range.
  • Retail prices range from £3938 (including VAT) for the Park 320P & 95cm cutting deck to £14,128 (including VAT) for the Park PRO 740 IOX & 110cm cutting deck.

The Park 640 PWX reflects all of the key new features of the redesigned range.  It has a new high-back seat with arm rests available as an optional extra.  An ergonomic side dashboard keeps everything to hand: electromagnetic PTO and electric height of cut adjustment makes operations easier and more comfortable.

With unmatched 50:50 articulation, this machine allows the operator to turn around obstacles or run alongside walls and fences without looking back, as the rear part of the machine always directly follows the path of the front.

Powered by the Stiga ST 600 Twin engine that provides almost 20hp (gross), with Tuff Torq all-wheel drive, the Park 640 PWX has the power to accomplish any task.  It has a three-year standard warranty.   It is fitted with high-beam headlights making it easier to use in low light conditions.

The Park 345 PWX, the Park PRO 540 1X and the Park PRO 740 IOX are powered by Honda.  Three further machines in the range use Briggs & Stratton engines.  The e-Park 220 is powered by a 48V Lithium-ion battery.

With a wide range of accessories available these machines are adaptable for all four seasons.  From a combi-cart, an edge cutter that trims edges and paths, a fertiliser spreader, flail mower, sweeper and even a snow plough, there is so much more to these mowers than just perfecting grass cutting.  Visit Stiga.com/UK to see the large range of accessories available.

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Maintaining outside space for emotional wellbeing

Maintaining outside space for emotional wellbeing: Mental Health Awareness Week, organised by the Mental Health Foundation, runs each year from the 10th to 16th of May. This year’s theme of ‘Nature’ is particularly poignant with lockdown restrictions easing and people once again allowed to socialise at both indoor and outdoor locations.

The emotional wellbeing benefits of nature have been researched extensively over the years and, as Paul Bean from grounds maintenance specialist Nurture Landscapes Group explains, it is important to keep these in mind all-year-round, especially as the world looks to recover from Covid-19.

Maintaining outside space for emotional wellbeing

Maintaining outside space for emotional wellbeing

Research[1] commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation and the UK World Wildlife Fund (WWF-UK) published ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week found that 62% of people felt that taking a walk helped improve their mental wellbeing during the pandemic.

Now that we are starting to look ahead to the post-Covid world, outside spaces will continue to be areas of comfort. That, of course, means caring for these areas so that they can provide the respite people are looking for.

‘Caring’, in this context, includes small individual actions that each person can take in their day-to-day lives, such as taking litter home, to carrying out more extensive grounds maintenance and improving sustainability practices, such as using energy-efficient equipment when tending to a park’s upkeep.

There is also a lot to be said for creating a space that the local community feel proud to have on their doorstep, achieved by hosting events around biodiversity and environmental awareness.

Urbanised areas in particular can see the benefits of opening up more natural spaces in these ways, especially as the various lockdown measures highlighted the need for improved access. According to figures from the Office of National Statistics, only 13% of residents across urban areas in England and the three most populous cities in Wales lived within a ten minute walk of a local park, and of those who did have good access, nearly a quarter (24%) suggested the park was at risk of becoming too overcrowded.[2] Yet before the first lockdown in March 2020, 93% of respondents had visited a green space in the year leading up to movement restrictions being implemented.

Improving natural areas to create a quiet haven in an otherwise stressful and at times, overwhelming setting, doesn’t happen overnight. However, choosing the right plants, flowers, and even the positioning of benches, are good first steps. Then, of course, there is the ongoing TLC which keeps the park looking at its best.

The message of taking care of the natural environment for our own emotional wellbeing is a key one for Mental Health Awareness Week this year, and something we at Nurture Landscapes take great pride in being able to facilitate. While we may not be experts in mental health, we do understand and appreciate how important it is for people to have a space where they can take some time to care for themselves.

And the signs that this will continue to be the case are there already, with offices looking to utilise outdoor meeting areas, such as the one we use ourselves at our head office in Surrey (pictured), and nature charities reporting greater interest in their respective activities, according to ONS data.[3]

The same data reveals that during the summer of 2020, the use of #m_2362510770876043122__ftn3outdoor spaces surged when compared to Natural England’s baseline figures from the period 2010 to 2018, peaking at a 100% increase in August of last year. Good weather and the temporary lifting of restrictions will certainly have been key factors for this dramatic increase, but the understanding and awareness of nature that people developed in the months spent in lockdown will have also contributed.

Before the virus outbreak, when long commutes and crowded urban areas were considered ‘the norm’, going for a walk to clear the mind or get some fresh air out of a busy office provided a welcome respite from the constant pressures of modern living. Covid-19 showed us just how important those five minutes out in the fresh air truly are.

As Mental Health Foundation’s Thriving in Nature report states, “nature is for everyone [and] it is essential that everyone can access nature whatever their circumstances”.[4] To fulfil this vision, and ensure that the post-pandemic era has a strong focus on taking care of our own individual mental health needs, opening up natural spaces and maintaining them to create green oases in what can be an overwhelming world needs to be a priority, especially with nearly half of people in the UK noticing the increasing benefits of nature on their overall mental wellbeing.

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TriCure™ delivers strength at Stourbridge GC

TriCure™ delivers strength at Stourbridge GC: A fateful combination of high footfall, hot weather and a failing irrigation system has seen the tees at Stourbridge Golf Club struggling to retain all-important grass coverage in recent years.

That was until Head Greenkeeper Steve Harvey switched to a granular feeding programme with trusted nutritional partner Headland Amenity. This, coupled with the increased field longevity and flexibility of application of TriCure AD™ Granular wetting agent, has resulted in a transformational improvement in tee strength and playability.

TriCure™ delivers strength at Stourbridge GC

TriCure™ delivers strength at Stourbridge GC

Previously holding the Guinness World Record for the smallest acreage 18-hole course, the maintenance of Stourbridge for Steve and his team of four is challenging – with the sites free-draining nature only compounding issues with footfall crossover and compaction. “A wetting agent and fertiliser programme has always been available to us throughout the season but being liquid-based previously, we seemed to struggle to get applications out due to a mixture of staff availability, sprayer pressure or weather windows” explains Steve.

“The well-documented drought of summer 2018 really took it’s toll on the tees. We didn’t have irrigation capacity to maintain these as well as the greens, so we lost massive amounts of grass cover which in turn led to a lot of weed ingress, particularly Yarrow which really took hold. 2019 saw record rainfall and an increase in visitor numbers which meant that when we got to the spring of 2020, where COVID restrictions also began limiting the mechanical maintenance we could carry out, the tees were not in a good way.”

Steve switched the tee programme over to C-Complex® 5-2-10 and Xtend® 15-2-20+MgO later in the season, with TriCure AD™ Granular wetting agent, applied in five applications at a rate of 12.5g/m2 through the hottest and driest months. “The ease of application and logistics compared to trying to manoeuvre the sprayer round the small, misshapen, push-up tees has resulted in a more targeted approach and results which speak for themselves. We have the freedom and flexibility to apply TriCure when spray windows wouldn’t have previously allowed, and the field longevity we get on our free-draining profile is significantly improved. Following the success of the programme last year, continuing it this year is a no-brainer to sustain the strength and resilience the tees now demonstrate.”

Containing the same active ingredients as in liquid TriCure AD™ soil surfactant, TriCure AD™ Granular offers an effective alternative to spraying – preventing hydrophobic conditions on areas that may otherwise be hard to access. TriCure AD™ Granular utilises DG-Lite dispersible granule technology as a carrier to ensure fast solubilisation with no pick-up or residue left after normal irrigation.

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Royal Burgess opts for ISEKI TH5420

Royal Burgess opts for ISEKI TH5420: With over 280 years of history and curated by design greats such as ‘Old’ Tom Morris, Willie Park Jnr and James Braid, The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh continues to seek challenge and reward for its members.

Since the Millennium, one of the club’s focuses has been tree planting to create further visual interest and a healthier environment.  GEO certified since April 2018, the parkland course, at Barnton, is only a few miles from Edinburgh’s city centre.

Royal Burgess opts for ISEKI TH5420

Royal Burgess opts for ISEKI TH5420

In his 12th year as Course Manager, Chris Yeaman, and his team of seven, witness first-hand an abundance of nature, while they go about their business of achieving smooth greens, lush fairways and well cared bunkers.

This spring, Chris Yeaman had requirement for a new compact tractor, and with the guidance of Rob Hogarth, Regional Sales Manager at local dealer, Fairways GM at Kinross, he headed straight to the Iseki TH5420.

“All our tractors are Iseki; I’ve been a fan for almost two decades. Our most recent, the TG6490, is a fine machine, but we had a gap for one to take over greens. The new Stage V compliance came into it as we are in the process of trying to extend our GEO certification for another three years, also high on our list was versatility.

“Everything we wanted in a tractor, this one does. We were fortunate enough to be the first in Scotland to take delivery.  It’s small enough for greens and tees, handles smoothly, and an adjustable driving position works for everyone.  In time, we’ll get a mid mounted deck giving flexibility for mowing areas. Last year, also from Fairways, we got the Iseki zero-turn SZ330 mower for grass cutting between the trees; so, together with the TH5420, we can get these areas cut even quicker.

Rob Hogarth from Fairways GM said: “The TH5420 has a 40 hp Stage V compliant, 3-cylinder turbo diesel engine that also comes with a mid PTO as standard, so it accommodates a variety of implements. The 3 speed hydrostat makes for easy control.  It’s a compact and high torque, powerful tractor, perfect for turf maintenance applications.”

For further information on the full ISEKI range of mowers and tractors please visit www.iseki.co.uk or call 01473 599266.

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BLEC delivery a ‘Good Friday’

BLEC delivery a ‘Good Friday’: Covering hundreds of acres every year, life for machinery on Congleton Lawn Turf Farm is tough! For the last ten years, equipment from BLEC has been fundamental in their operation so, after a bumper busy year in 2020, the time was right for Owner Matthew Worth to upgrade to a duo of new units.

Delivered on Good Friday, a Blecavator 300HD and Turf Seeder 3000 from Redexim were swiftly put to work and were quick to make a strong first impression.

BLEC delivery a ‘Good Friday’

BLEC delivery a ‘Good Friday’

Matthew, along with his brother Roger, have been looking after the 140-acre family turf farm in Cheshire since 2003. “We’re taking a turf crop off roughly every 12-15 months, and then a lot of work goes into preparing the bed ready for new seed to go in” he explains. “Once we’ve broken up compaction, ploughed the area and cultivated it a couple of times, we’ll then go on with the Blecavator to bury all the stones deep enough to be safely clear of the blades when it comes to harvesting the turf. It also levels the ground and provides a nice tilth for the seed to go in.”

“Having used a few different BLEC stone buriers over the years, we’ve seen a couple of major improvements in our new BV300HD model. Firstly, it deals with larger stones better – the bigger spaces between the rotors and the cover, and the new blade configuration reduces issues with clogging and jamming up. It also has a three-speed gearbox which is ideal for us as we’ve got three different soil types on our site – peat, sand and clay. With the Blecavator in top gear, it loosens the soil on even our firmest and driest clay areas, leaving a nicely conditioned bed.”

With the ground prepared, the Turf-Seeder 3000 is then utilised to deliver the seed in two different directions. The Turf-Seeder features front notched ring rollers that create small pockets, ready to accept the seeds evenly into the top 12mm of the soil, before the rear roller splits the shallow ridges formed by the front roller and safely covers the seed. “Again, we’ve noticed the improvements in this machine compared to the previous model – particularly in the ease of adjustment and seed calibration system which gives us the required accuracy in delivery.”

Following the delivery of the brace of BLEC units in April 2021, the new Blecavator was in use for the first time less than an hour later! “Demand for turf is so high currently that our investment in new equipment was made at just the right time. We’ve already used the Blecavator and Turf-Seeder on over 65 acres and have been seriously impressed with the results.”

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Reesink’s rotary blade offer

Reesink’s rotary blade offer: Reesink Turfcare is offering 10 percent off genuine Toro rotary blades in May to ensure there’s nothing holding you back from delivering the perfect cut in the busiest season of the year.

Never underestimate the importance of your rotary blades. If blunt or unbalanced, you can expect a poor cut and poor after-cut appearance, but also your machine’s performance, productivity, economy and longevity is impacted.

Reesink's rotary blade offer

Reesink’s rotary blade offer

Michael Hampton, parts manager at Reesink, says: “One of the most important things you can do for the overall performance of your machine is to make sure the blades fit properly and are sharp. Otherwise, your machine has to work that much harder to deliver and it can even lead to recuts. It also has a negative impact on fuel economy and cause additional wear and tear to your machine.”

Toro’s genuine rotary blades are designed for success. The brand’s advanced research and development into this essential part means that when a Toro deck is paired with Toro blades a superior clipping dispersal and after-cut appearance is the result.

Not just that though, rigorous testing means they’re proven to be safer too and optimal grass dispersion for side or rear discharge and recycling movement for mulching decks is guaranteed.

So, what about choosing the right blade? Toro’s precisely engineered blades fit the cutting deck perfectly, but each is carefully crafted to specific turf needs. For example, the ‘High Sail’ is best for spring when the grass is still thin and wispy or prone to falling over a lot, or if you’re missing grass leaves with other rotary blades.

Moving into summer, the ‘No Sail’ (flat) blade is a good choice working well in very dry and dusty conditions and across areas that are not mowed as regularly, plus these blades make quick work of cutting down weeds. So why not plan ahead and stock up now with 10 percent off!

Genuine Toro rotary blades are designed to work harder for longer, meaning you don’t have to. And knowing you’ll protect the health of the plant and get a great finish, ordering now will be time well spent. As always, parts are delivered within 24 hours of ordering, where stock available. Contact Reesink at info@reesinkturfcare.co.uk or call their Spare Parts team on 01480 226854.

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Makita’s latest promotion

Makita’s latest promotion: Makita UK has announced a new redemption scheme for end-users to claim a free XGT ‘Bluetooth Jobsite Radio’ with the purchase of qualifying XGT products.

Tough and durable, the radio is a perfect addition to the job site and is redeemable on purchases of qualifying XGT 40VMax or 80VMax products (2-battery models) with the suffix ‘GD201’, ‘GD202’, ‘GD203’, ‘GD204’ and ‘GD209’ from the 1st May 2021 through to the 30th September 2021.

Makita's latest promotion

Makita’s latest promotion

The Makita 40VMax XGT Bluetooth Radio is an excellent job site companion that is compatible with Makita XGT, LXT and CXT batteries making it easy to slot into an existing family of Makita tools. The radio can access both AM and FM radio as well as Bluetooth that can play audio from a mobile device up to 10 meters away. The radio is built to withstand the demands of site work, and features elastomer bumpers to protect the radio from knocks and rough handling and the robust IP65-rated design protects it from dust and showers.

To claim the free 40VMax XGT Bluetooth Radio (MR002GZ01) via a dedicated microsite, customers will need to provide an invoice or receipt within 28-days of purchasing any of the qualifying products between 1st May and 30th September 2021. Once the application is confirmed, their free gift will arrive within 30 days.

“Our radios are the perfect accompaniment to any workplace and are especially appealing as they utilise batteries that many Makita users will already own,” says Kevin Brannigan, Marketing Manager at Makita UK. “We are delighted to offer this exciting promotion to professionals who want an entertaining backdrop to their working day.”

Makita is a global manufacturer of power tools and related accessories with over 100 years of experience. Its range of 40VMax and 80VMax XGT products combine innovative tool design with higher output batteries to offer professionals a genuine solution for high demand, and industrial applications.

To find out more about Makita’s Radio Redemption Promotion, including the full list of qualifying XGT products and terms and conditions visit: https://makitauk.com/freexgtradio.

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Reesink helps Royal St George’s

Reesink helps Royal St George’s: Having begun its long relationship with Toro with a fleet deal in 2013, Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent has continued to trust in the brand, becoming a Toro Total Solutions customer with the installation of new irrigation in 2018 and leasing further machinery in 2019.

And the club, which consistently ranks among the top courses in the world and is the host of The Open this year, has had its faith in the brand pay off, particularly when it comes to Toro irrigation which has helped the course navigate a series of droughts in the last three years.

Reesink helps Royal St George’s

Reesink helps Royal St George’s

Course manager Paul Larsen explains: “We’ve had nothing but drought since the new irrigation system was installed in 2018, so it’s been very hard work to keep the standard of the course high, and Toro has been instrumental in helping us through that.

“We had Toro Lynx Central Control System and over a thousand sprinklers installed across the greens, tees and fairways in 2018. The flexibility of the sprinklers and precision of Lynx control has meant that we’ve been able to target our irrigation to the surfaces that needed it most and conserve water through a series of very dry and hot summers.”

It’s this precision, brought about by Toro’s technological innovation, that was the main reason for the upgrade in 2018. “We wanted to get to the next level with our irrigation, so that meant getting a system on board that utilised innovative technology,” says Paul. “Being able to control water in millimetres with Lynx control is ideal, and the ability to change the trajectory on the sprinkler heads from 15 to 25 degrees depending on the wind is also fantastic.

“Since the new irrigation installation, we’ve expanded on our greens and we’ve been trying to grow back in turf on the fairways which had suffered from drought, so although we’re using more water than before, there would be a lot more wastage if we were still using our old system. Plus, we’ve now created our own reservoir to help with the need for extra water, so we can avoid using mains water and be more sustainable.”

And with The Open now looming, it’s testament to the quality of course maintenance that Royal St George’s employs that getting the course ready is “business as usual”.

“We haven’t changed how we maintain the course in the run up to The Open because we are always maintaining it to the highest standards for our members,” says Paul. “With the irrigation, we have set moisture levels that we want to achieve throughout the year, and with Toro we can see how close we are to those levels and apply the correct amount of irrigation in the right places to achieve that.”

Although the quality of Toro products has certainly played a part in the excellent maintenance of the course, the backup, training and support from Reesink Turfcare has done so as well.

“Reesink has been brilliant throughout the whole process,” says Paul. “I find that it’s easier to learn a product and get the most out of it when you’re dealing with the right people – and that’s certainly Robert Jackson from Reesink. On the rare occasions we’ve had an issue, he’s been able to find a solution, and the training we’ve had on the irrigation system has been superb.

“In fact, the training has meant that we have become self-sufficient and can now carry out small projects and adjustments ourselves, for example adding extra sprinklers to some of the walkways. And it’s no different with the machinery backup as well. It’s all excellent,” concludes Paul.

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