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Golf Club’s NHS tribute

Golf Club’s NHS tribute: The Llandrindod Wells Golf Club has paid tribute to the National Health Service by mowing the letters NHS on its course – with a heart around it too.

A photo of the tribute, which was created by greenkeeper Ben, was posted on the golf club’s Facebook page and gained a hugely positive response; with well over 100 people liking or reacting to the post and almost 50 people sharing it. Hopefully, this means it will have reached plently of hardworking frontline NHS staff in the Llandrindod area and beyond.

Golf Club's NHS tribute

Golf Club’s NHS tribute

In the post, Llandrindod Wells Golf Club said: “Our lovely greenkeeper Ben has done this as a tribute to our wonderful NHS! Keep strong and stay safe! We will come through this!”

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Askam rugby club’s NHS gesture

Askam rugby club’s NHS gesture: Askam Rugby League Club have gone above and beyond to show their appreciation for the NHS. 

Groundsmen took advantage of the suspended season to say thank you to local healthcare workers.

Askam rugby club’s NHS gesture

Askam rugby club’s NHS gesture

Lines have been painted on the club’s pitch with ‘NHS’ printed inside a large heart.

The club posted on Twitter: “Showing our support for the brilliant work done by the @NHSuk
#StayAtHome #StaySafe”

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Storm funding helps over 100 clubs

Storm funding helps over 100 clubs: More than 100 sports clubs and organisations have already received grants from an emergency storm relief fund launched earlier this month.

Set up by Sport England to help those affected by storms Ciara and Dennis, the fund has seen grants of up to £5,000 being awarded across the country.

Storm funding helps over 100 clubs

Storm funding helps over 100 clubs

Many clubs and organisations are still unable to safely access their facilities and the grant scheme remains open, with Sport England promising a “quick decision process and access to cash for places in need”.

According to Sport England’s director of property, Charles Johnston, the funding is being used for decontamination, skip hire, equipment replacement and access repair.

“Floods can have a devastating impact on local sports organisations, causing damage to clubhouses and grounds and denying communities a chance to play sport, often for weeks and months on end,” he said.

“We’ve developed guidance on how clubs can take action to protect themselves from extreme weather conditions, which includes drought as well as flooding, and our flood relief fund is available to help clubs deal with the immediate impact.

“In the longer term, we will work with communities, as we have with Carlisle since they were devastated by the floods of recent years, to make their facilities more resilient to the effects of climate change.”

Playing fields and clubhouses are particularly vulnerable to flooding in England, as many of them are located on flood plains as a result of the cheaper, flatter land.

According to Dr Iain James, a specialist in sports flood recovery and design at TGMS Sports Surface Consultants, “more needs to be done” to cope with extreme weather.

“I have worked with many flooded clubs since 2007 and I see the devastation to sports clubs and their members, many of whom are volunteers,” he said.

“To those clubs affected I would reassure them that there is support there and with the right advice, decision making and funding it is possible to recover and to build resilience to flooding in the future.”

Clubs and organisations affected by flooding can apply for funding help through the portal. For more information, click here.

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More support for golf clubs

More support for golf clubs: As sustainability and climate action become increasingly important to all types of businesses, including golf clubs and courses, GEO Foundation continues to add new benefits and services to the OnCourse programme. 

Through continual dialogue with golf club and course managers and golf associations, and as part of the mission to keep adding value to the growing number of people OnCourse, new features include:

More support for golf clubs

  • Annual Sustainability Scorecard– tracks the 32 Sustainability Metrics for Golf, giving clubs easy access to key data and year-on-year trends, plus professional-standard presentations and graphics prepared for each club.
  • OnCourse Carbon Calculator– calculates carbon emissions, sequestration & balance plus guidance on how to improve.
  • Communications materials– more ways to communicate with colleagues, golfers and community – including monthly themed campaigns for clubs that want to do more around a particular issue.
  • Consultations – free call to determine which aspects of OnCourse will best meet a club’s aims and needs, and how to get started or connect with additional support if desired.

Now in eleven languages, the programme is proving to be a valuable resource for clubs and courses of all sizes around the world, with more clubs now joining every day to unlock the many business benefits of sustainability and to play their part.

As described by one club recently, “OnCourse provides a vision of how golf clubs can and should be in the 21st Century – as clubs that act as stewards for the land, use resources responsibly and are integrated as part of their communities.” – Bob Roberts, Market Harborough Golf Club.

Clubs around the world have already shared hundreds of examples of this type of action, their projects and results, provided as an always growing library of ideas in OnCourse and also helping to strengthen the reputation of golf and the value it brings to nature and people.

Over the coming months, many workshops and events are taking place with GEO Foundation and partners, check with GEO or your local golf association for more information.

And in the UK, visit the BTME Sustainability Zone in January 2020.

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Rugby club’s open invite to vandals

Rugby club’s open invite to vandals: A rugby club has condemned the actions of vandals who drove on their pitch and left tyre marks strewn across the muddy playing surface.

But Phil Prangnell, facilities manager at Dereham Rugby Club, has urged those responsible to curb their ‘boredom’ by joining the team and trying their hand at the sport.

Rugby club's open invite to vandals

Mr Prangell first discovered the damage when he arrived at the club on Tuesday morning and immediately spotted tyre marks across the pitch.

It means the club – based off Moorgate Road in Toftwood – faces a race against the time to get the pitch back up to match standard ahead of their next home fixture.

“When you pull up at the club you cannot miss it,” he said.

“In the summer timer we tend to get kids on scooters and a few in cars on the pitch, but it doesn’t do a great deal of damage. Obviously at this time of year it’s a different story.

“We’ve now got to try and repair the pitch for the next match and just hope it grows again where the tyre marks are.

“Along with people who don’t bother clearing up their dog mess, this is a real frustration.

“Why would you want to mess things up for other people? I’m sure there are plenty of other places around here where they can go off-roading.”

Despite the inconvenience of having to rectify the damage, Mr Prangnell believes there could ultimately be a positive outcome.

He has invited the vandals to join the club and better use their time by playing rugby – instead of going out of their way to destroy the club’s property.

“If they are that bored they should come along to the rugby club and get involved,” added Mr Prangnell, who has been supporting the club for several years. “You never know – they might enjoy themselves.

“We’re a friendly club and players of all abilities are welcome. If you’ve never played before, we’ll you up to standard.”

Dereham Rugby Club trains from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday evenings. Matches are played on Saturdays.

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Golf greens destroyed with clubs

Golf greens destroyed with clubs: A golf club is counting the cost of a ‘disheartening and stressful’ vandal attack.

Seven out of the 18 greens at Oldham Golf Club were hacked at with a golf club or clubs.

Golf greens destroyed with clubs

Photographs posted by the club on social media show one green with dozens and dozens of divots in the surface after what they described as ‘sustained and mindless vandalism’.

The club’s greenkeeper spoke of his upset and described some of the damage caused as ‘irreparable’.

Nick Lawrence said: “I could have sat down and cried.”

Founded in 1892, the moorland course on Lees New Road in Oldham is noted for its views of the surrounding area at the foot of the Pennines.

Mr Lawrence said he arrived at the club to discover the damage on Saturday morning.

He said he believed the attack took place on Friday night and a golf club or clubs were used.

The cost to repair the damage is unclear at the moment, Mr Lawrence said.

He described it as ‘mostly just time and labour’, but said some of the damage caused would not be able to be repaired.

“It was just a mess,” he said.

“I’ve spent the past three days fixing it.”

Mr Lawrence and Derek Saunders oversee the management of the club.

“There’s just the two of us that work here,” Mr Lawrence said.

“I arrived on Saturday morning to find the damage and have looked through the CCTV. The course suffered damage to seven of its 18 greens.”

He described the attack as ‘disheartening and stressful’ and added: “There’s always kids playing football on the first green.

“The course isn’t meant for that.

“Kids come along with studded trainers and damage the grass.

“Grass re-growth in the winter months will be the biggest issue in restoring the golf course to its previous condition

“The seeds won’t grow at low temperatures.

“It needs to be around 10 to 12 degrees for them to grow. It won’t be the same again until at least March or April next year.”

Mr Lawrence said the club hasn’t contacted police about the incident.

Instead, the club has taken to social media to raise awareness and appeal to anyone with information to come forward.

“We need your help to find the offenders and bring them to justice,” said a statement on the club’s Facebook page.

“Our greens have been subjected to sustained and mindless vandalism overnight – seven greens severely hacked with golf clubs.

“Extremely upsetting for our greenkeeper, members and visitors.

“Who would do this?

“What is the point of it?

“This is criminal damage. We need your help to find the offenders and bring them to justice.

“Have you heard anyone bragging about it?

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Grow Lights For Schools & Local Clubs

Grow Lights For Schools & Local Clubs: SGL is introducing a brand new grow lighting product line which makes grow lights possible for sports clubs who never had the budget before.

With the SGL Basic line they aim to enable grass quality improvements in different layers and levels of sport. This will lead to better and safer playing surfaces throughout the year for lower professional sports leagues and training grounds, but also schools and local sports clubs.

Grow Lights For Schools & Local Clubs

SGL have taken different measures in the engineering, production and shipping process to reduce costs to a minimum, while still delivering high quality and durable products. SGL product developer Kristel Meijer: “For the Basic line we designed every part from scratch, in order to optimise the use of materials, increase efficiency and keep the SGL quality demands. We use these same parts for all products within the product range, which makes production more efficient and cheaper. In addition, the products are shipped to the customer in an ‘Ikea style’ self-assembly package. This reduces shipping space by 90%, meaning an extensive reduction of shipping costs.”

The first lighting system in the Basic line is the BU50. Its seven HPS fixtures promote photosynthesis by applying PAR light and additional heat, which enables and reinforces grass growth on all sports playing surfaces under all circumstances. The BU50 treats a surface of 50 square meters and recovers grass after games and events, to ensure pitch quality throughout the year regardless of climate conditions.

Grow Lights For Schools & Local Clubs

In due course, more products within the Basic line will follow. SGL founder Nico van Vuuren: “Almost 20 years ago we introduced grow lights to the world of football, which then started a revolution in premier league pitches. Now, we can offer this opportunity to clubs throughout all levels of sport and we hope to do the same for them.”

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Pitch Vandalised With Golf Clubs

Pitch Vandalised With Golf Clubs: A football club has hit out after vandals tore up their pitch with golf clubs only a week before their first pre-season friendly.

Billinghay Athletic Football Club, which competes in Division One of the Boston and District Saturday Football League, have criticised the actions of the vandals, which have left them with an uphill struggle to get the pitch ready in time.

Pitch Vandalised With Golf Clubs

Vandals armed with golf clubs made 20 holes in the pitch, while dog poo has also been found on the grass, in what the club secretary describes as a “kick in the teeth”.

Nathan Wood, who has also played for the club since he was a youth player, said it was not the first time they’ve had to deal with dog poo, but golf-related vandalism is a first.

“We’ve had issues for a long time with dog poo, but not with the golf,” he said. “We’ve not seen anybody do it, but we do find golf balls on the pitch.”

He added the vandalism, which is believed to have taken place on Saturday, July 6, was all the more frustrating after the club made great efforts to improve the quality of the pitch.

“Since we’ve taken over the club we’ve invested a lot of money,” he said. “We’ve bought a new lawnmower. There’s me and another guy taking two or three hours of our day, every couple of days to cut it.

“The grass they’ve chopped won’t grow back in time.”

Mr Wood added that although it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, he felt the person who did was being “very irresponsible”.

“It’s nothing major, we are not saying it’s the end of the world,” he said. “The person who’s done it is very irresponsible. They’d done up to 20 holes. This person, for whatever reason, they’ve done it on the football pitch when they’ve the whole field to do it on.”

In a Facebook post on Sunday, July 7, the club hit out at members of the public who appear to have been using the pitch for non-footballing activities.

“Unfortunately after the football club has spent time and money cutting, marking out and repairing the pitch for the new season, somebody has decided to take chunks out the pitch playing gold,” it reads.

“We have no issue with people using the pitch in this way but please take your shots off the pitch. We have also had to remove numerous piles of dog poo off the pitch as well.

“We want a pitch everyone in the village would be proud of and need your help in succeeding.”

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Toro At Peterborough Golf Clubs

Toro At Peterborough Golf Clubs: The family-managed duo of golf courses, Thorpe Wood Golf Course and Orton Meadows Golf Course in Peterborough, continues its joint ambition to switch to Toro with the arrival of its latest fleet.

Golf is in Simon Fitton’s blood. Not only is he a fourth-generation golf professional, he’s also the third generation of the Fitton family to be managing the two courses. Simon assumed the role of managing director of Nene Golf Ltd, the company managing both sites, in 2010 and has been adding more Toro to the shed on an annual basis – and has also added a rescue dog called Toro to the ranks!

Toro At Peterborough Golf Clubs

Simon says: “I took over the company from my dad in 2010, but the first Toro arrived a decade before me. Since then, we’ve been on route to becoming all Toro and I foresee that being achieved in three to four years. Every year we switch more out and get one step closer.”

The reason for this, Simon says, is the service from Reesink Turfcare and rep Julian Copping is “surprisingly good” and the quality and reliability from Toro is “sound”.

“I met Julian pretty much as soon as I joined and the relationship was there straight away. It was all good, actually surprisingly good – very natural – and as a result it has easily developed into what it is today. Julian continues to help us sort out what we need and makes the process very easy.”

The machines delivered in this most recent order includes, among others, a Reelmaster 3100-D with Sidewinder, Workman HDX utility vehicle, ProPass 200 topdresser and an ex-demo SandPro 5040, which, with up to 17 attachments all of which can be changed in under a minute, is the perfect addition for two busy clubs.

So, with the machinery replacement programme taken care of, Simon can concentrate on the recent developments across both courses driven by the changing industry: “We’re already unusual in that we’re a business comprising two courses, in two locations offering our customers two great challenges. But the industry is changing and we’re making updates to both courses to make sure we don’t get left behind. These include a 23-bay covered floodlit driving range, the building of which meant we had to adjust parts of the course to accommodate it, a large putting green by the first tee and a chipping tee by the 10th. Meanwhile, Orton Meadows has an updated 12-hole Pitch and Putt course to introduce more people in the area to the game and provide somewhere for players in the area to perfect their shots.”

With two 18-hole courses and all these new additions to the clubs, it is probably quite a challenging role for Toro? “You’d never notice,” says Simon. “Toro takes everything we throw at it, whether it’s course maintenance or more challenging build projects, in its stride. And you can really notice the difference as we get more Toro – you see how the quality cut, finish and care spreads to cover more of the course.”

So how about Toro the dog, how does he fit into the story? “That’s a story that was just meant to be,” says Simon. “I already had a dog called Welly and although I wasn’t looking for another, I’d heard of a rescue dog that needed a home. His name was Toro and as soon as I saw him I knew he was coming home with me! I don’t know why he was given the name of Toro but it certainly suits us – he arrived and in the same week so did a new arrival of Toro machines!”

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Club’s Anger Over Pitch Damage

Club’s Anger Over Pitch Damage: A council “must be held responsible” after race cars drove over a brand new football pitch costing thousands of pounds, an Irish League club has said.

Ballymena United said it was “saddened” at the incident during a stock car race at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Friday.

Club's Anger Over Pitch Damage

The venue is owned by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, which recently laid a new pitch after a major investment.

It said it was “deeply disappointed” by the incident.

The council spokesman said that “measures put in place to protect the new surface were inadequate” and that remedial work was being carried out on the pitch on Saturday.

The incident happened during a Ballymena Raceway stock car event on Friday night. The council leases the stadium to both the football club and Ballymena Raceway.

Ballymena United’s vice-chairman Don Stirling told BBC News NI that “stock cars have every right to be there” but the two sports are “just not compatible”.

“I honestly don’t know what the solution is, but the council have to be held responsible,” he said.

“They can’t keep cars off the pitch because if they veer off the track they have nowhere to go.

“They put down truck tyres (on Friday night) but they would have need massive tractor tyres to stop cars coming on the pitch.”

Mr Stirling said the new pitch had cost £250,000 and that the club had agreed to postpone any home games until 6 October so the new pitch could bed in.

“They’ve spent over £250,000 of ratepayers’ money on it, there’s a new sprinkler system as well. They can’t have cars driving over it.

“Ballymena United have one of the best facilities in Northern Ireland outside of Windsor Park – we just don’t have the bit in the middle you play on.

“In the past, referees have come close to calling off matches because there are tracks all over the pitch. Even oil spills.”

Tension between the stock car races and football club previously emerged in January, when Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey accused race organisers of a lack of respect after the pitch was damaged during a New Year’s Day event.

However, Aubrey Arbuthnot, who runs Ballymena Raceway, told BBC News NI he was “fed up” with criticism directed at the race events and that he had done as much as he could to keep cars off the pitch.

“All I want is fair play. I’m a ratepayer, not like some of the people sounding off in the press,” he said.

“We had 12 races last night. These cars race door handle to door handle. There’s up to 60 cars racing. Only two cars went off the track in separate incidents.”

Mr Arbuthnot said the council had organised and placed about 70 tyres around the track and around sprinkler heads and that he had insisted no personnel go on the pitch.

“Usually I have a clerk of the course and two photographers on the pitch. I didn’t even have a fire extinguisher on the pitch.

“I laid down the law to the drivers about what would happen if they went on the pitch. The driver who went off, he was spun off by someone else – he’s completely innocent.

“If I had found out who put him off, I would have put him out the gate. That’s how seriously I’ve been taking it.

“But it’s our first night back in and they’re hammering us.”

He added that he was unable to organise race meetings for three months during the racing season because of work going on at the Showgrounds.

“That’s a number of meetings I couldn’t hold. That’s a loss of revenue.

“Our season runs from about Easter to the first weekend of October. There’s only about five meetings that clash with the football season. That’s all. They just don’t want a stockcar around the place.”

‘Matter of urgency’

He added: “I’ve seen comments that I had been offered an alternative venue. That’s nonsense. You think I would have turned that down? If the council offered me another venue, I’d be out tomorrow.”

A spokesperson for the council: “We are deeply disappointed by last night’s incident and fully appreciate and understand the frustration around this.

“Ballymena Showgrounds is a multi-use facility, enjoyed by a wide range of local sporting organisations.

“The measures put in place to protect the new surface at the venue were inadequate for last night’s event.

“Remedial works are being carried out on the pitch today.

“As the owners of the venue, we are fully committed to doing all that we can to safeguard the new pitch, and we are considering a range of measures to minimise the risk of damage to the surface as a matter of urgency.”

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