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PM36 serves up competition-ready courts

PM36 serves up competition-ready courts: As a sole Groundsman, Robin Wilcox has his work cut out looking after the 19 courts and 5 croquet lawns that make up East Dorset Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (EDLTCC).

On the sites nine grass courts, DLF’s ProMaster 36, and its tolerance of low cutting heights, has given Robin the advantage – freeing up time for the other tasks which keep the courts and lawns competition ready.

PM36 serves up competition-ready courts

PM36 serves up competition-ready courts

One of Robin’s key goals when he joined EDLTCC two years ago was to bring the grass courts up to standard required to be selected, once again, as a host for the qualifying stages of The County Cup. “Over the years the courts had accumulated layers of thatch, so we could have gone down the road of scarifying and adding additional loam, but we decided to go for a full renovation.” During his first year at the club, Robin skimmed off the top layer, cultivated, levelled and seeded with Masterline PM36 perennial ryegrass mix.

“A great combination of warmth and rain in the late summer/early autumn of 2018 meant the courts were green in under three weeks and I carried out the first cut at six weeks – everybody at the club was amazed at the germination. Our artificial and clay courts took the strain while the grass courts were under renovation but when they re-opened for play in 2019, there was a new wave of members wanting to play on the grass and they coped, and recovered, from the high levels of wear very well.”

The decision to go for a pure-rye mix gives Robin the playing and resistance characteristics he requires, even under close mown conditions. “Because of my workload, I have to split my time between the artificial courts, grass courts and lawns so this means I am limited to mowing just twice a week. With the PM36 mix, it is hardy enough to cope with going as low as 5mm without any detrimental impact on turf quality.”

While a final decision by the LTA is expected at the end of May, at the time of writing the County Cup remains in the tournament calendar and the improvements Robin has achieved sees EDLTCC chosen as a host venue, after a few years absence. “It’s fantastic news for the club.” Robin concludes, “Everybody is delighted with the results of the renovations – the PM36 has delivered great quality courts fit for top level play once again.”

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Cromer Courts Among The Best

Cromer Courts Among The Best: Cromer’s tennis players have always boasted that their 10 grass courts are amongst the best in the country – and now it is official.

Following a visit and inspection by an official from the LTA, the sport’s governing body, and an inspector from the Sports Turf Research Institute they have produced their official report which concludes that: “The grass courts at Cromer are some of the best grass courts in the UK. They are well managed, dominated by perennial ryegrass and are open for play for six months of the year. The courts and surrounds are always beautifully presented and are a credit to the grounds team.”

Cromer Courts Among The Best

The LTA consider grass court venues such as Cromer to be very important for British tennis and believe it to be vital that events are played on grass throughout the summer and that all players, but especially juniors, have the opportunity to play on grass.

The objective of the Cromer site visit was to assess the quality of the playing surfaces and suitability for holding grass court tennis competitions. The inspectors conducted agronomic assessments of the playing surfaces as well as evaluating the maintenance regimes, staff levels and available machinery and equipment. They carried out a botanical analysis, a soil analysis, which involved soil samples being analysed in the Institute’s soils laboratory, and measured both the surface hardness and the soil moisture.

Amongst the many positive comments were that “live grass cover on courts at Cromer was excellent” and they were very complimentary on the work that is done out of season by way of scarifying, over seeding and top dressing.

The association’s treasurer Martin Braybrook said: “This was a very thorough inspection and the results reflect great credit on our groundsman, Matthew Jordan and his assistant, Peter Cooper. Over the years we have had a succession of excellent groundsmen and we are delighted for Matthew to have received such a positive report.”

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