ICL the ‘one stop-shop’ for Bradford City

ICL the ‘one stop-shop’ for Bradford City: ICL’s ProSelect grass seed supported by a monthly nutritional programme has resulted in Bradford City’s pitch being in the best condition ever – according to Head Groundsman Mick Doyle.

If anyone knows the pitch at Bradford City’s Utilita Energy Stadium – it is Mick. He has been working at the club for an incredible fourteen years and in that time, it is safe to say that he has single-handedly kept the pitch in excellent condition.

ICL the ‘one stop-shop’ for Bradford City

ICL the ‘one stop-shop’ for Bradford City

However, he claims that the bar has now been raised and that it all started with ICL’s ProSelect grass seed.

“The bottom line is that I needed a new seed,” he said. “The seed I used previously just didn’t work for me – it was patchy and did not germinate. Therefore, when it came round to pitch renovations last year, I used ICL’s ProSelect 1 Premium Pitch which I had first heard about at an ICL educational day and after speaking to other groundsmen.”

Combining four top-ranked perennial ryegrasses, ProSelect 1 Premium Pitch, provides a fast-recovering, dense, hard-wearing surface. Furthermore, Mick decided that he would like to explore a full ICL nutritional programme because in his words, it would be a “one-stop shop which could deliver on all fronts.”

Prior to sowing the ProSelect seed, Craig Lalley, Technical Sales Manager for ICL visited Mick at the stadium and took some soil samples. Craig then proceeded to devise a plan tailored to Mick’s environment – taking into consideration his stadium, his machinery, his staffing levels, his time restraints and he ultimately put a programme together based on what Mick was trying to achieve.

“My biggest concern was that I could never get any root down but Craig assured me that I would with his programme,” said Mick. “True to his word – he was absolutely right.”

The key was getting the pitch off to the best possible start. After sowing the ProSelect grass seed, Mick immediately followed with 10 litres of H2Pro TriSmart, in a bid to absorb more moisture around the seed and aid germination.

It turned out to be a winning combination: “The seed was coming up beautifully in just six days,” said Mick.

On that sixth day after seeding, and based on Craig’s advice, Mick went one step further by applying Sierrablen Plus Renovator 20-20-8 at a rate of 35g/m², the mini-granules ensuring even distribution for young seedlings while its high phosphate levels encourage strong root growth.

Since then, the nutritional programme has been based on providing the right nutrient at the right time, according to Craig.

“A lot of the programme has been designed to really focus on root establishment to assist with pitch playability. Therefore, Mick has been using Vitalnova SeaMax (seaweed extracts) and Vitalnova Blade along with Primo Maxx II growth regulator.

“Mick has produced a great surface this season and that has carried through the challenging winter months. To work alongside his good cultural methods over this testing period, Mick incorporated H2Pro FlowSmart into his monthly ITM programme. This is a superb penetrant to help with water percolation through the profile.”

Mick was also in agreement:

“I’ve had fourteen seasons here and I can honestly say that this is the best condition the pitch has ever been at this time of year. I put that down to the products.

“The pitch is holding up incredibly well and you can hardly tell that players have been on the pitch after a game. In years gone by where we have had shallow rooting a lot of remedial work was needed following fixtures. This is no longer required so we are saving time and benefitting from good plant health.

“It’s just been consistently good all year.

“The programme is very straight forward to follow – it’s all on my wall planner in my office and reminds me of what’s going on at all times. I can also call Craig and get advice which is a real benefit.

“Overall, I’m incredibly pleased that I decided to go down the ICL route because it really has made such a difference to the pitch – not just aesthetically and from a playability point of view, but also from what is going on below the surface.”

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

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New Toro Fleet At Bradford GC

New Toro Fleet At Bradford GC: If success is a fresh pair of eyes, then The Bradford Golf Club in West Yorkshire has well and truly succeeded since the arrival of its first Toro fleet.

Darrell Crowley re-joined the club as course manager in 2018, and one of his first big decisions was to choose the supplier from which he would source his new fleet, as part of the club’s commitment to continually investing in the course.

New Toro Fleet At Bradford GC

Having seen the difference and improvements that the previous Toro fleets had made since his return, it was an easy task. Darrell comments: “There have been Toro machines, among other brands, at the club since the millennium, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the first package deal arrived. I had recently started as an assistant greenkeeper at the time and the club wanted to move away from updating individual machines to getting a bulk amount of new kit from one brand to see what difference that made, and if that approach further improved the course.”

And while Darrell could see the immediate improvements the switch to a Toro fleet deal with Reesink Turfcare made to the overall quality and condition of the course, it’s coming back to the club now as course manager and seeing the long-term benefit that this has made when it really hit home for Darrell.

“The course is looking better than ever. It goes without saying each individual machine makes a difference, but of course only to its particular area such as the greens or tees, so to get a fleet of new machines to cover all areas of the course, well the collective improvement is simply striking.

“The board has been working tirelessly for the last twenty years to keep the club in the modern era, keep up with the latest machinery advancements and make it more self-sufficient, the first Toro fleet deal was a big part of that. It’s been so successful and made such a positive improvement to the course since that we have continued our relationship with Toro, and this is now our third lease agreement.”

And it’s an impressive fleet of Toro machines that have been brought on board. The fleet consists of like-for-like renewals of the Greensmaster TriFlex 3400, Groundsmaster 3500-D, and Workman HDX, plus three new additions in the Groundsmaster 4500-D, Reelmaster 5010-H and Multi Pro WM sprayer, which are already making a strong impression.

“The Multi Pro WM sprayer and RM5010-H are definitely my new favourites,” says Darrell. “The Multi Pro WM’s information centre gives us more accuracy and the hybrid drive system on the RM5010-H is really beneficial for fuel savings.

“The demonstration process for these two was great as well. Russell Groundcare were able to get us the machines we wanted quickly and then gave us the time to really test them out. They then worked closely with us to help supply the package once we were set on the machines for the fleet. The whole process from start to finish was seamless.”

Named 2018 West Yorkshire Golf Club of the Year by Your Golfer Magazine, the club is a popular destination for golfers and keeping the course up to standard has proved even more vital in recent years with the club undergoing a large development project. But the Toro fleet has been more than up for the job says Darrell.

“In recent years we have restructured several holes and undergone tree removal to help return the course back to its traditional moorland roots, this has been coupled with a major refurbishment of the clubhouse.”

With Darrell, the team and the board all having seen the benefits Toro has brought to The Bradford Golf Club, it’s likely Toro will continue to have a place at the club.

“What Toro provides is reliability, high quality of cut and high quality of build, all at a competitive price. I don’t think other brands can really offer the same, and if the quality is there, there’s no need for me to look elsewhere,” says Darrell.

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STRI Scoops Award At Bradford Uni

STRI Scoops Award At Bradford Uni: STRI has picked up two gongs at the University of Bradford’s Summer Experience Awards, as the Bingley-based business won the Outstanding Placement Provider (SME) for its work experience internships. It also helped STRI intern, Samuel Birch, claim the Outstanding Placement Student award.

Samuel (Chemical Engineering), Malika Zahedi (Biomedical Sciences), and Steven Hopkinson (Chemistry), joined STRI as part of the Summer Experience Placement programme for six-weeks where they provided invaluable support within STRI’s research team at its world class facilities in West Yorkshire.

STRI Scoops Award At Bradford Uni

Over the course of the summer internship, the students gained knowledge on conducting scientific trials, project management and data analysis.

STRI has been running Summer Experience placements for a number of years. Former intern Sam Swires, who graduated this year, has now joined STRI in a full-time position as Trials Officer.

STRI Research operations manager, Dr Christian Spring, said: “It was a very successful night for STRI at Bradford University. It has been a great opportunity for STRI to mentor and support the next generation of turf scientists.

“I am delighted that our intern students fitted seamlessly into the research team, and that they gained such a large amount from their research experience, and that both STRI and the students have been recognised in the Summer Experience Awards. We would encourage all businesses engage with work experience students, as we have benefitted enormously from our involvement over the last few years.”

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