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BASIS launches NSK amenity training course

BASIS launches NSK amenity training course: BASIS are pleased to announce the launch of the NSK Amenity Training Course, a new bespoke course for storekeepers working in industries within the amenity sector, for example lawn care, property maintenance, greenkeeping and sports turf management.

This new qualification has been fully accredited by Harper Adams University and is being recognised by CRD as a Certificate of Competence for any professional storekeeper working within the amenity sector.

BASIS launches NSK amenity training course

BASIS launches NSK amenity training course

BASIS have been successfully delivering training and qualifications for storekeepers working within professional pesticide stores for the past 35 years through our industry recognised Nominated Storekeeper (NSK) Training Course. Not only has this provided storekeepers with the training they require as stipulated within UK regulations and the Code of Practice for suppliers of pesticides (The Yellow Code), but has also allowed professionals to learn the principles of good storekeeping which ensures pesticides are stored in a way which protects the general public, safeguards the environment and avoids the pollution of water.

However, it has been recognised that there is a requirement for a NSK training course which is specifically targeted at storekeepers working within industries such as lawn care, sports turf management, greenkeeping and all other areas within the amenity sector. Ensuring that professional pesticides are stored in a responsible way is extremely important across all industries and anyone responsible for this is required to complete adequate training. However, the current NSK training course did not necessarily meet all the requirements for a storekeeper working within the amenity sector. This new course has therefore been developed to provide the specific knowledge and skills required, focussing on areas such as managing small pesticide stores, mobile storage and the storage of application equipment.

Further information about this course can found in the course information sheet and syllabus which provides details on the course content, training requirements and assessment guidelines. Training courses for the NSK Amenity qualification will be run online starting from August 2021, and each training course is carried out over 2-3 days. If you would like any further information or would like to book any delegates on to a training course, then please visit basis-reg.co.uk/training  or email training.courses@basis-reg.co.uk.

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RainDance course features Capillary Bunkers

RainDance course features Capillary Bunkers: The new RainDance National golf course in Windsor, Colorado, should be finished this year and will open in July 2022. Part of a substantial housing development, the course, which is being designed by architect Harrison Minchew, along with former PGA Tour pro Fred Funk, is using Capillary Bunkers lining technology.

“I did a course with Ed Seay back in 1985, and I remember the contractor saying to me ‘You know, one day we’re going to put concrete in the bunkers to make them work better,” says Minchew. “Well, for me, that day has come.”

RainDance course features Capillary Bunkers

RainDance course features Capillary Bunkers

Originally announced back in 2014, the start of the RainDance build was delayed until last September, to allow developer Martin Lind to progress the associated residential community. Sales have been very strong, allowing the course to start last year. “I am running the job and am here 24/7,” says Minchew. “To get it all done this year is a really tight schedule, though we already haveRAINC around two thirds of the course seeded.”

Minchew first used the Capillary Bunkers product on a six hole First Tee course in Augusta. “Landscapes Unlimited were building that project, and wanted to install Capillary Bunkers,” he says. “That enabled me to see how effective the product was – I saw the water basically going straight through the bunkers – and I came to understand how it works, and to realise that it could be installed in conditions that would be impossible for competing products. So when it came to this job, I knew I wanted to use Capillary Bunkers.”

Minchew says that the golf course build, and all seeding, will be finished this year, despite an extremely wet spring. “We will have a total of about 75,000 square feet of Capillary Bunkers,” he says. “Capillary Bunkers’ Scott Grego has been working closely with us – he came in while we were installing the first few bunkers to make sure we were doing it correctly.”

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Course manager receives industry award

Course manager receives industry award: Royal Cinque Ports course manager James Bledge continued a fantastic month for links venues in Kent after being awarded top prize at the BIGGA Excellence in Communications Awards sponsored by BIGGA Partners Campey Turf Care Systems.

James was presented with a £750 cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to Florida, when restrictions allow, on the Campey Turf Care Systems stand at Festival of Turf, which took place on 21 and 22 July 2021 at the Warwickshire Event Centre.

Course manager receives industry award

Course manager receives industry award

Located just a few short miles along the coast from this year’s Open Championship venue, Royal St George’s, the team at Royal Cinque Ports has developed a culture of education and strong communication, led by course manager James, 41.

BIGGA is the members’ association for golf greenkeepers in the United Kingdom and the BIGGA Excellence in Communications Awards recognise those BIGGA members who have undertaken outstanding work to further the cause of greenkeepers by promoting their activities through various channels, including the creation of thought-provoking articles for Greenkeeper International, the monthly journal of BIGGA.

James produced a feature that was selected for inclusion in the October 2020 edition of Greenkeeper International. The article touched upon the daily maintenance of the golf course and whether asking golfers to contribute to a course’s upkeep through activities such as raking bunkers detracts from the activities of the greenkeeping team.

Each month BIGGA encourages its members to submit articles for inclusion in Greenkeeper International, with a monthly prize of a £100 education voucher up for grabs, to be redeemed at BIGGA’s annual education programme Continue to Learn, held each January in Harrogate. James was kind enough to donate his voucher to another BIGGA member who would otherwise have been unable to attend.

From the 12 features that were selected for inclusion in the magazine throughout 2020, James’ piece, entitled “The Sands of Time: Should we dump the bunker rakes for good?” attracted praise from the competition judges for discussing a topic that stands in contrast to traditional thinking and sparked debate among readers.

The feature is available to read online here: https://www.bigga.org.uk/news-listing/should-we-dump-the-bunker-rakes-for-good.html

James said: “I was really shocked because I’ve never won anything like this before. I read every new entry that comes in, but I never thought my article was in the same calibre as those. How the article came about was I had a Sunday off, I got up and had a coffee and had a feeling that I wanted to write something. I turned the laptop on and wrote a few words and before I knew it I had enough words to submit for the magazine. It was never intended to enter a competition, it was just something I wanted to get off my mind. There are other guys and girls out there who have a lot to say and I would really encourage them to give it a shot.

“The prize is pretty exceptional and so my thanks go to Campey. We’re lucky in our industry that there are so many manufacturers and sponsors who put a lot of money into things like this. It’s phenomenal that we have all this support and we couldn’t do it without them.”

The BIGGA Excellence in Communications Awards continue throughout 2021 with BIGGA members encouraged to submit articles for inclusion in upcoming editions of Greenkeeper International. Head to the BIGGA website for more information.

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GMA takes 3G pitches course online

GMA takes 3G pitches course online: Following a year of significant growth to its online resources, the Grounds Management Association launches its Level 2 ‘Effective Maintenance of 3G Pitches’ training course.

The online course is designed to help participants understand how to effectively maintain a 3G pitch to provide a safe surface, whilst meeting performance criteria and optimising its longevity. ‘Effective Maintenance of 3G Surfaces’ also helps participants understand the signs when a surface is coming to the end of its life.

GMA takes 3G pitches course online

GMA takes 3G pitches course online

With the role of grounds staff and volunteers diversifying, it is increasingly important for more individuals to understand how to maintain and extend the life of different types of playing surfaces. The course is suitable for both professionals and volunteers with basic experience, as well as others involved in sports facility management who wish to gain a better understanding of the maintenance and upkeep of these surfaces on varying budgets.

The course is available to purchase via the GMA’s website for a member and non-member rate. The association now holds seven online courses and aims to relaunch its Continuing Personal Development programme next year alongside its new website.

With restrictions now easing, the GMA hopes to reopen its face-to-face practical sessions that complement its online resources, such as its online courses and the Grounds Management Toolkit, later this year.

To sign-up to Level 2 ‘Effective Maintenance of 3G Pitches’ visit: https://bit.ly/3fKVzWG

Jason Booth, COO at the GMA commented:

“We have seen increasing pressures on grounds staff and volunteers like never before. Facilities are often understaffed, so groundspeople are expected to understand more about a range of surfaces and offer a helping hand across local networks. Contrary to belief, 3G surfaces are not low maintenance and they require a high level of knowledge to fulfil their lifespan.

“This course compliments our wider learning programme that focusses on grass pitches, helping grounds people gain relevant skills and best practices when dealing with 3G surfaces.”

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A short course with a long lifespan

A short course with a long lifespan: Edinburgh’s Swanston Golf Club has reinvested in its Templar Course, some thirteen years after it first opened. The 9-hole par 3 course partners the Club’s 18-hole course and its short format is proving more popular than ever, appealing to many who appreciate the ability to play a round in under an hour.

Situated at the foot of the Pentland Hills with wonderful views across Edinburgh, Fife and beyond, Swanston Golf Club was founded in 1927, originally as a ladies-only course. Such was the panoramic beauty and challenging hilly nature of the course, demand from members’ partners meant that it wasn’t long before the Club was opened to all. It now prides itself on inclusivity, with a thriving junior section and a spacious, family-friendly Clubhouse that is open to members and non-members alike.

A short course with a long lifespan

A short course with a long lifespan

Recognising the popularity and further potential of the Templar Course, the Club’s management team re-engaged Huxley Golf in early 2021 to recreate all of its nine tees. As there are no natural grass alternatives, the whole course benefits from reliable artificial tee surfaces which guarantee year-round play.

Thirteen is unlucky for some but not for us it seems!” remarked Club Manager Secretary Mike Robson. “I understand that Huxley Golf worked on the initial installation thirteen years ago, so its testimony to their product and installation skills that Templar has stood the test of time. This is the first occasion that I have had the opportunity to work with Huxley Golf, but I had no hesitation in putting my trust in the company to revamp what is an increasingly popular feature of our Club.

From the longevity and performance of the initial installation, it was clear to me that the quality and playing experience of Huxley Golf surfaces remain unbeatable.”

Huxley Golf’s Hugh Fraser oversaw the project from removing old rotten wood bases to creating brand new playing surfaces using the company’s renowned Premier Tee Turf 2. “We were delighted to be entrusted with reinvigorating this fabulous short course, which will undoubtedly attract an even wider range of people and help the Club develop golf in the Lothian area,” he commented.

At the same time, the Huxley Golf team helped the Club lay a brand new practice tee strip near to the driving range. Measuring some 6ft (1.8m) by 75ft (22.8m), this large all-weather feature marries perfectly with adjoining natural grass to create a facility with season-long playability.

For over half a century, the name Huxley has been synonymous with premium all-weather golf surfaces and products. Endorsed by the UK’s leading golf organisations as well as many legendary golfers and celebrities and their coaching teams, the Hampshire-based company’s artificial golf surfaces are in use all around the world at top-flight courses, resorts, and training academies. For more information visit www.huxleygolf.com.

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Bunkers ensure success at Marco Simone course

Bunkers ensure success at Marco Simone course: Although the Covid-19 pandemic means it will have to wait another year until it hosts the Ryder Cup, preparation of the Marco Simone course in Rome continue apace.

All eighteen holes of the new-look course, designed by European Golf Design, opened for member and guest play earlier this month. And Dave Sampson, of European Golf Design, says the course’s bunkers, which have been built using the Capillary Bunkers lining system, are performing particularly well.

Bunkers ensure success at Marco Simone course

Bunkers ensure success at Marco Simone course

“The first nine holes – actually the back nine of the course – started construction in August 2018, and were all grassed by the end of summer 2019,” says Sampson. “A couple of major storm events set those holes back a little, but they were all in play last summer. The second phase construction started in autumn 2019 and finished during summer 2020. Phase three, the practice greens, is currently being finished, though architect Sampson, prevented from visiting the site by the pandemic, has been approving the works via drone footage. The course is planned to make its public bow this September when it plays host to the European Tour’s Italian Open.

Sampson says: “We have been in daily contact with the guys from contractor SOL Golf who have been on site, so finishing the final greens remotely has been OK. Nothing of the original course has been retained – every hole except for the sixth plays in a new corridor.”

He adds that the choice of Capillary Bunkers as a liner was an easy one. “I have had really good success with Capillary on previous projects, including the Evian resort in France and Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland,” he explains. “Evian and Marco Simone have quite a lot in common, in terms of weather patterns, so it was a pretty good model. The amount of maintenance time post storms is minimal compared to what it was before.”

Designing a course for a Ryder Cup is rather different to building a normal course, Sampson says: “On a normal project, you’d be looking for the best eighteen holes, pure and simple. Here, you’re looking for the best eighteen holes that can deal with 50,000 spectators. So the routing is quite challenging, but that said, there are not long walks between greens and tees. This is a 27-hole project, so the extra nine gives us space for the range, the spectator village and the like. And you need to build the course to be extra resilient in terms of weather – there isn’t a lot of extra daylight to play with given the time of year a Ryder Cup is played, so the course needs to be playable quickly even in the event of severe weather. That’s one of the benefits of using a liner like Capillary Bunkers.”

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Sentosa’s new state-of-the-art course

Sentosa’s new state-of-the-art course: Sentosa Golf Club has today officially reopened its world-class state-of-the-art championship course, The Serapong, after it underwent an extensive renovation to maintain its immaculate conditioning and playing standards.

The renovations are headlined by a new bunkering style with creative, artistic serrated edges to enhance The Serapong’s character and overall strategy, whilst elevating the course to a new level on the world stage. The club used 6,000 tonnes of new sand during the renovations to reinstate consistency, texture and tournament ready compaction for improved playability.

Sentosa's new state-of-the-art course

Sentosa’s new state-of-the-art course

Modifications have also helped to enhance and preserve the personality of many of The Serapong’s iconic holes, including the signature 5th hole, which overlooks metropolitan Singapore and its bustling port.

Masterminded by Andrew Johnston, the club’s General Manager, Director of Agronomy and resident Golf Course Designer, The Serapong has been closed since March and, alongside the new bunkering, a number of other key course upgrades were implemented during that time.

These included the re-grassing of fairways, rejuvenating them with minor grading adjustments and improved drainage strategies, as well as modifying the greens soil profile by introducing new carbon technology to boost soil chemistry and profile structure.

Enhancements to the greens are set to make The Serapong’s putting surfaces even better, which is hard to believe given the wide acclaim they already receive from its members, guests and visiting Tour Professionals.

Finally, the renovations also paid close attention to the re-levelling of all tee boxes, reinstating them with the historic tabletop flat finish The Serapong is renowned for. It will enable the club to continue to maintain the tees at a super low mowing height of 3mm, improving the quality of the playing experience for members and guests.

Speaking ahead of The Serapong’s reopening, which is a soft launch ahead of a grand reopening next March, Andrew Johnston said: “The last time The Serapong was renovated was nearly 14 years ago and since then the course has grown to become one of the world’s best, picking up multiple accolades in the process. Despite the challenges presented by the worldwide pandemic, we have found a way to pull the Sentosa family together within the safe working restrictions to complete the works. This has been a very exciting project that was well overdue, and we are confident the changes implemented will only enhance the golfing experience for our members and guests.

“Being located in a sub-tropical climate means the golf course ages faster than an ordinary one, and these renovations are crucial to maintaining the quality of the playing surfaces, as well as the conditions and high-standards that we pride ourselves on here at Sentosa, 365 days of the year.”

Dominic Wall – Director – Asia-Pacific at The R&A, commented: “The newly renovated Serapong looks great, and continues to showcase why Sentosa Golf Club is one of the world’s leading golfing venues. It is fantastic to see that, throughout the entire process of the renovations, the project continued to align with the club’s ground-breaking sustainability agenda. With our Asia-Pacific headquarters located at the club, we look forward to seeing Sentosa’s members and guests back out on the fairways taking on The Serapong’s unique challenge.”

Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner & Chief Executive Offer at The Asian Tour, added: “The renovations undertaken on The Serapong by the team at Sentosa have been nothing short of breath-taking. The renovations have enabled The Serapong to retain its unique personality and characteristics that made it one of the world’s top golf courses, as well as the best golf course in Singapore. With the course now reopening to members, we are looking forward to welcoming back Asia’s best players next year to battle it out at the SMBC Singapore Open.”

The Serapong was originally designed by the world-famous golf course design firm Golf Plan and Ronald Fream, opening in 1982. The course was further renovated in 2006 by the Bates Golf Design Group, who were led at the time by their VP of Design and Construction, Andrew Johnston, and whose designs have seen the course’s trademark contours, extended stone-lined lakes and breath-taking Singapore harbour backdrop become renowned across the world.

It was recently voted ‘Singapore’s Best Golf Course’ for the second year in a row at the World Golf Awards back in October and finds itself regularly listed as one of the world’s greatest golf courses.

The Serapong has played host to the Singapore Open since 2005 (initially Barclays Singapore Open, then SMBC Singapore Open from 2015), welcoming some of the world’s finest players such as 2005, 2006 and 2010 winner Adam Scott, 2018 winner Sergio Garcia and rising Asian star Jazz Janewattananond, who captured the title in 2019.

The 2020 edition was one of the most memorable in history with all three of Rio’s 2016 Olympic medallists, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar in attendance. Kuchar eventually took the title finishing on 18 under par to beat Justin Rose by three.

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Ffos Las stay on course

Ffos Las stay on course: The dual-purpose track at Ffos Las Racecourse in Carmarthenshire stages Flat meetings throughout the summer months and National Hunt meetings for the rest of the year.

The challenge of keeping the track fit for the year-round schedule falls to Estate Manager and Clerk of the Course, Dai Jones. For Dai, the combination of Masterline PM79 and Johnson’s J Nitro 4Turf is the odds-on favourite for delivering hard-wearing, quick-recovery surfaces even under the most challenging of conditions.

Ffos Las stay on course

Ffos Las stay on course

Formally the site of an open cast coal mine, the location of the Ffos Las course leaves them exposed to strong south-westerly sea winds which, when combined with multiple years of heavy rainfall on the trot, causes challenging ground and growing conditions. “DLF worked in close counsel with the contractors throughout the construction process” explains Dai, who has been at the venue for two years. “They recommended the ProMaster 79 mixture from Masterline which was used to get the course ready for opening in 2009 and has continued to work well for us ever since.”

“With over 65 inches of rain falling here last year, I sat down with our local DLF Regional Technical Manager Ian Barnett to look at some alternative mixtures that would help to give some additional strength to some of the hardest hit areas.” They opted for ProNitro coated J Nitro 4Turf from Johnsons Sports Seed. 4Turf tetraploid rye ensures exceptional disease resistance and very rapid germination even at soil temperatures as low as 3oC. Its deep-rooted quality makes it ideal for the high wear requirements associated with equestrian use.

The J Nitro 4Turf gives Dai and the team a mixture for divot repair and overseeding that delivers reliable results for racing throughout the challenging winter months. “We used this on the take-off and landing sides of the fences, the hurdles and the bends through the winter months and found it to establish well even in the cold and wet. The root growth is tremendous giving us great hardiness and wear tolerance.”

He concludes, “We’ve now got a combination that is really well suited to our conditions. Through the summer we get strong recovery, great colour and healthy surfaces for racing with the PM79 mix. We can now sustain this when the ground softens, with J Nitro 4Turf giving us that extra boost.”

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COVID-19 advice for course maintenance

COVID-19 advice for course maintenance: What is classed as ‘essential maintenance’ during the Covid-19 outbreak? The R&A and BIGGA have had their say.

How much maintenance does a golf course really need during the coronavirus pandemic?

COVID-19 advice for course maintenance

COVID-19 advice for course maintenance

After the Government put new curbs on personal movement as the outbreak intensified, greenkeeping teams were advised by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport they could still attend work for “security and essential maintenance purposes”.

That led the body that represents greenkeepers, the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association, to urgently seek clarification on what ‘essential’ actually meant. Now the R&A, in conjunction with BIGGA, have given their view. Here is the statement in full…

Essential Maintenance Statement for Golf Courses during COVID-19 Outbreak

The following industry statement sets out a reduced, essential maintenance regime for greenkeeping that protects workers, jobs and secures golfing facilities for the physical and mental wellbeing of millions of golfers who will resume play when social distancing rules are ended. The UK’s £2bn GVA golf industry is only sustainable if greenkeepers continue to work, safely and securely.

Our industry statement outlines those treatments considered essential for the safe maintenance a golf course during the current government restrictions. It is accepted that golf courses exist in many different forms, on many different soil types and in differing landscapes and that this guidance may require adaptation.

Working practices

The primary consideration must be the health and wellbeing of greenkeeping staff. All golf facilities should implement stringent measures to ensure staff members are not at risk. The amount of time that greenkeeping staff are at work should be kept to a minimum and be tailored to fit with the agreed essential maintenance programme.

Measures should include but are not limited to:

  • Focus on hygiene and social distancing
  • Ensure staff members work separately
  • Allocate individual machinery to one worker only
  • If multiple staff on site, then stagger working hours and break times
  • Limit or prohibit use of communal areas
  • Regularly disinfect any surface that is contacted e.g. door handles, fuel pumps, communal machinery
  • Ensure there is a robust lone working policy

Mowing

Greens should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of three times per week. Dew removal should be considered on non-mowing days as required to prevent disease spread.

Tees and green surrounds should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of once per week.

Fairways should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of once per week.

Managed roughs and grass paths should be mown according to need to a maximum of once every two weeks (fortnightly). Only roughs considered to be in direct play should be mown allowing for naturalisation to areas largely out of play.

The height of cut adopted for all these areas is site specific but the elevation of the cutting height on fine turf areas is advised to minimise unnecessary stress on the turf. The aim of the above operations is to maintain uniformity, density, texture and health to allow surfaces to be quickly brought back to an appropriate playing standard once play resumes.

Irrigation and Nutrition

Irrigation and nutrition should be carried out as necessary but with the objectives of keeping the turf alive, maintaining a full sward and preventing turf thinning. Avoid excesses of either input which will only serve to promote unnecessary growth and necessitate more maintenance.

Machinery and Equipment Maintenance

This should be carried out as required to ensure that essential equipment is kept safe and operational.

Operations such as maintaining bunkers, penalty areas, wider practice facilities (other than greens and tees), aeration, top dressing and spraying are not considered essential at this time. However, it is conceivable that occasional spraying to control an acute pest, weed or disease problem may be considered essential at times and in some circumstances.

Updates

Given the fluidity of the current situation there may be a requirement to update and re-issue this guidance in respect of future government advice.

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Greenkeepers keen to maintain course

Greenkeepers keen to maintain course: Parkview Golf Club’s green-keeping team has completed a five-day project to mow about three kilometres of the verges along the golf course perimeter.

The project, at an estimated cost of R15 000 is part of the club’s embracing programme to secure the environmental integrity of the course, according to club director, James Searson.

Greenkeepers keen to maintain course

“We are proud to contribute to the enhancement of Parkview, Greenside and Emmarentia where we can,” he said, “and work hard to ensure that the club is kept in top condition not just for golfers’ enjoyment but to add value to the surrounding neighbourhood.”

Searson said the club employs a cleaner whose sole task is to continually remove litter, especially plastic, from the ‘sluit’ through the course, to prevent as much as possible of the litter fouling the watercourse downstream. The process removes tonnes of rubbish each year.

To assist municipal engineers to combat the erosion of the sides of the sluit, the club has opened the property to them and their contractors to set up a site office to store their equipment and gain easier access to affected areas. To limit water usage on the course, the club draws non-potable ‘grey’ water (unfit for human use) directly from the Braamfontein Spruit in terms of its riparian rites, pumps into a dam and then filters and sprays it onto the course. To combat invasive polyphagous shot-hole-borer (PSHB) that has infected some trees and threatens many trees throughout South Africa, the club has engaged an arborist to assist it to control the pest through spraying.

Searson added, “Because we see our club as an integral part of the local community, we offer residents walking and social memberships and welcome casual visitors to a round of golf or a drink or meal on our ever-popular balcony.”

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