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Rigby Taylor Success At Cromer LTA

Rigby Taylor Success At Cromer LTA: One measure of the calibre of any sporting venue is not only the level of use of the site but also the number of favourable comments made about the quality of the playing surfaces.

Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club (LTA) can lay claim to both – thanks to the expert court maintenance regimes instigated by head groundsman Matt Jordan and his use of a range of Rigby Taylor amenity products. These, he says, “prove indispensable in enabling us to keep our grass courts playing well and looking good all through a busy season”.

Rigby Taylor Success At Cromer LTA

Based on the Norfolk coast, Cromer LTA is open for play on weekdays during the summer months from 9am to 10pm, and on weekends from 9am to 8pm during the summer and 9am ‘til 4pm in the winter. The facilities are heavily used throughout the year. The 10 grass courts are open from April through to September, when play switches to the two floodlit artificial courts and the pair of hard courts.

The summer schedule includes a number of major tournaments when the grass courts especially are at full stretch:

  • A Junior Week when 300 youngsters descend on the site and utilise all courts;
  • The Open Senior Week, with around 200 competitors on grass – which this year celebrates its 100th anniversary at the long-established (1907) club; and
  • The County Week, when the club welcomes a host of players from around the country on its grass courts.

For such tournaments, it is not unusual for Matt and his assistant Peter Cooper to be at the site every day from 5.30am to, for example, cut the courts (at 8 mm high) “though the daily use of the mowers is more for ‘hoovering up’ any debris on the courts as it is for keeping the grass height consistent”. They also attend at night, when necessary, to water the courts.

But they utilise a well-practised pitch care regime that, says Matt, begins when the tennis season ends in September as court renovations begin.

“We will start with a concerted programme of heavy scarification when most of the sward will actually be removed,” he says. “Then we spike and apply a light covering of Kettering loam before applying Rigby Taylor’s R9 ultra fine dwarf rye seed. We’ll keep off the surfaces for two/three weeks before we start cutting – to 14 mm high – and we’ll continue to cut to this height every other week throughout the winter.

He continues: “During this time we will apply various Rigby Taylor products and we’ll spike and slit once a month in preparation for the new season, which starts in April. That said, I avoid aerating and spiking after perhaps February/March, depending on the weather, to avoid encouraging cracking on the courts.

“I’ve worked with bents and fescues in the past,” says Matt who spent eight years as a golf greenkeeper (when he gained his Level 3 accreditation) before joining Cromer LTA in 2008. “But rye is, of course, the choice for tennis courts and I find R9 (treated with Germin-8T) provides excellent wear and disease tolerance, for example.

Rigby Taylor Success At Cromer LTA

The ‘T’ in Germin 8T identifies the content of the Trichoderma atroviride filamentous soil fungi that forms a mutual endophytic, beneficial relationship with grass plants. The symbiotic relationship delivers increased tolerance to the turf diseases leaf spot, pythium and rhizoctonia.

Pre-applied to each individual grass seed, Germin-8T contains a speciality surfactant that is activated when the seed comes into contact with rootzone moisture. This provides effective penetration of water through the seeds’ outer layer (pericorp) into the endosperm, by lowering the surface tension of the surrounding water molecules. Roots can also take advantage of the micronised mycorryhizal fungi that will deliver long-term plant benefits.

The result is that at the active germination stage, each emerging seedling has immediate access to a highly beneficial package of targeted nutrients, biostimulants and micronised mycorrhizal fungi that together aid early establishment, improved root mass development and accelerated leaf extension.

“I do trial competitor grasses against R9 but haven’t found anything to match it – for example, its germination rates are consistently 25% better than anything I’ve tried.”

Likewise, he pinpoints a number of other Rigby Taylor’s products as being ideal for his needs – and those of the courts – “including Premier HG slow-release granular and Fine Turf 6-0-18 fertilisers, SeaQuest liquid seaweed and Magnet Velocite liquid iron”, in combination with the company’s iGo line marker and its Impact XP paint “where every application consistently lasts for a week”.

The artificial courts are brushed as often as possible when the weather is dry, “and at least every other week”, while the hard courts are sprayed once/twice a year to keep the moss at bay.

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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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Toro Praised By Royal Cromer GC

Toro Praised By Royal Cromer GC: Royal Cromer Golf Club in North Norfolk is a classic example of how combining Toro irrigation and machinery can bring great benefits to a course.

As one of the first club’s in the UK to fully upgrade to a Toro Lynx control system in 2012, Royal Cromer is now halfway through its first five-year agreement plan with Toro machinery, and here course manager Mark Heveran tells us how the club has continued improving since using both.

Toro Praised By Royal Cromer GC

“We’ve been using Lynx for around six years now and it’s just phenomenal,” Mark says. “We have around four times the amount of sprinkler heads than we did previously, but we’re using less water. The efficiency is just spot on, which is exactly what we need. We’re in one of the driest parts of the country and our water comes from a borehole with a limited supply, so every drop counts.”

This is good news indeed for Mark who told us the club’s members unusually part-funded the installation through individual loans, such was their support for it. “Lynx was an easy recommendation to make to our members, and we have not been let down. So, when the time came three years ago to commit to a machinery brand, Toro was the logical choice.”

For the club, striving to create the perfect playing surface is a real priority, and Toro’s top of the line technology plays a large part in achieving that goal. Mark confirms: “Here at the club we have 650 members, plus a large number of visitors each year, and the main thing that keeps them coming back is the quality of the course. Since being with Toro, the course has continued to improve which has definitely kept everyone happy. With the irrigation system we noticed an improvement in the overall quality of the turf and with the equipment we have now, the course has become much more refined and every detail is attended to.”

“When we’ve used other brands, after three years or so you could feel the machines starting to get tired, but with Toro they’re much more durable, solid and reliable in comparison, and the technology is always top notch,” says Mark.

With the installation of Toro Lynx only the start of a long-term development plan for Mark to create one of the best cliff-top links courses in England, the club is continuing this progression by now looking to expand the irrigation system to cover new teeing complexes and walkways, and Mark is already considering the next stage in terms of the fleet.

“In the coming years I’m hoping to renew the full package deal we have,” he says. “We’ve had absolutely no issues with the service, and the back-up from distributor Reesink Turfcare has been fantastic. So, when looking for the latest and best in machinery and irrigation innovation, Toro is forefront of our minds.”

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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