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BIGGA & Syngenta to host major industry event

BIGGA & Syngenta to host major industry event: This summer will see the return of BIGGA’s popular Continue to Learn Extra webinar series and kicking off the programme of learning is a talk with industry expert Glenn Kirby about the high levels of leatherjackets and chafer grubs that have caused tremendous damage to many courses during the early part of 2021.

A recent social media survey by BIGGA Partner Syngenta found that during 2020 just 1% of UK golf courses reported no damage due to these insects. Hidden below the surface of the nation’s golf courses, leatherjackets are threatening the enjoyment and economic viability of the sport. Of the 400 course managers who responded to the survey, almost all reported that their course was negatively impacted by an infestation of the larvae of craneflies – also known as leatherjackets – and chafer grubs.

BIGGA & Syngenta to host major industry event

BIGGA & Syngenta to host major industry event

On 13 May BIGGA will be hosting an important industry event, when Syngenta Technical Manager Glenn Kirby will explain the reasons behind the damage and why it is important for the golfing industry to unite to support golf club teams during this distressing time.

Extensive damage to sports turf is caused by the larvae feeding on the turfgrass, while predators can also cause significant and widespread damage as they hunt for these larvae. The impact on a golf course can be serious, with increased costs as greenkeeping teams battle against the damage and the potential for large losses in revenue as golfers choose to play at courses that have been unaffected by the pests. However, unaffected courses are increasingly in the minority.

Alongside the webinar, BIGGA and Syngenta will be distributing a white paper to the golf industry that will provide an in-depth study of the situation including its causes, impact and potential solutions and will also be encouraging golf’s leading bodies to share this information to a wide audience.

This Continue to Learn Extra webinar is free to attend for anyone involved in golf club our course management. You can register for this vital industry event online now on the BIGGA website.

Syngenta’s Glenn Kirby said: “My goal when I started investigating the problem of leatherjackets was to get all golf courses to zero damage, as that’s what is being expected of course managers. But it has become increasingly clear to me that we are going to have to adjust our expectations. We all want perfect surfaces year-round, but without additional tools in our armoury I suspect that may not be a realistic goal.”

The ‘Managing the Leatherjacket Challenge’ webinar kicks off a summer of online learning for BIGGA members, with other webinars being hosted from May until September 2021. Taking a leading role will be management expert Tyler Bloom, while other topics for discussion will include golf course ecology, Women and Girls’ Golf Week and representatives of the European Institute for Golf Course Architects discussing ways of making golf courses more appealing to a wider audience. Head to the BIGGA website for more information.

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ICL to sponsor Amenity Forum event

ICL to sponsor Amenity Forum event: ICL has announced that it is sponsoring the Amenity Forum ‘Meeting the Challenge’ online event, taking place on 25 February 2021.

Dr Dan Jones – Managing Director of Advanced Invasives, and Barry Browne – ICL’s Landscape and Industrial National Sales Manager, will be featuring in the highly anticipated online event. Their presentation will be focussing on a new invasive weed management project that has been developed off the back of the successful Invasive Science Lite webinar series.

ICL to sponsor Amenity Forum event

ICL to sponsor Amenity Forum event

The project will cover native and non-native species and will look to address limited evidence and support within the industry for some key species beyond Japanese Knotweed. It will provide a working guide to each species on how to treat, control and will seek to answer or dispel some misunderstandings and myths surrounding vegetation management of these highly invasive weeds.

Meeting the Challenge timetable on 25th February

09.45Arrival and networking.

10.15Welcome and Introduction.

10.20Policy Update – including the review of The National Action Plan, enforcement and PPPs approval going forward. Adrian Dixon, CRD

10.40Change, Challenge and Opportunity in terms of Amenity Management – including a focus on current issues and update on how the sector needs to respond.

– Forum activity to be covered with production of guidance on integrated control and producing plans, carbon reduction and water quality challenges. Presented by John Moverley.

11.10Facilitated Participative Session – the group will be split into various work groups.

11.45 – BREAK

11.55 – Presentation by Dr Dan Jones and Barry Browne

12.15Update on The Amenity Standard.

12.30Conclude.

Meeting the Challenge is a completely free event but will require registration.

To register for the event, please visit www.amenityforum.co.uk/our-events/

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

For more news and insightful views, you can follow ICL on Twitter @ICL_Turf

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Greenworks UK Earth Day event

Greenworks UK Earth Day event: Greenworks, the world’s leading garden cordless products brand, plus Cramer, with its professional cordless range, will both be showcasing their latest products and green credentials at the very first UK Earth Day event on 7th April at the Castle Bromwich Hall hotel, Birmingham.

As a sponsor of Earth Day, which is celebrated worldwide on the 22nd April, Greenworks will be launching the innovative new 48V lawnmower plus highlighting its whole range of battery-powered garden products. All are designed to be kind to the environment and easy to use.

Greenworks at UK Earth Day event

Greenworks at UK Earth Day event

Cramer will be demonstrating its 82V range designed for the most demanding users. Developed for the toughest jobs, this range offers optimal power and excellent ergonomics. Cramer’s 82V products are designed to provide professional power with no direct emissions of carbon dioxide.

Cramer’s battery-operated tools use brushless motors which require no maintenance and are lightweight. The 82V equipment delivers significant power and this optimal voltage means the battery cells do not always need to be fully powered, increasing their life expectancy. With Cramer you get full power, with green energy.

To register your attendance please contact: marketing@handydistribution.co.uk. You can also visit www.greenworkstools.eu or www.cramertools.com for more information on the range of battery products.

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SALTEX the flagship event

SALTEX the industry’s flagship event: Findings from the SALTEX 2019 post-show survey have revealed that attendees are continuing to embrace SALTEX as the groundscare industry’s flagship event.

From 30 to 31 October a record-breaking 9,104 visitors streamed into the NEC, Birmingham to explore the latest trends and products in groundscare.

SALTEX the industry’s flagship event

The growth in visitor numbers at SALTEX 2019 was supported by a large proportion of first-time attendees. An encouraging 34 per cent visited SALTEX for the first time this year compared to 28 per cent in 2018, 27 per cent in 2017, 26 per cent in 2016 and 23 per cent in 2015.

The busy atmosphere in the exhibition halls was fantastic and a massive 93 per cent of survey respondents rated their overall show experience as being either very good or excellent.

SALTEX visitors came from far and wide as the show continues to attract a growing international audience. This year’s show saw attendees from 49 overseas markets, topping the previous record of 45 countries which was set at SALTEX 2016.

International visitor Frederico Galardini, who maintains the pitches at Federale di Coverciano – the central training ground and technical headquarters of the Italian Football Federation, visited the show to gain UK groundscare expertise.

“I think, no matter where you are in the world, it is important that you come to SALTEX because British groundscare is regarded as the best. In Italy the pitches are not at the same level as the pitches in the UK, but we are slowly getting there and this is why a trip to SALTEX can only be beneficial in helping us to improve,” he said.

The post-show survey also confirmed the high calibre of visitors, most of whom came from groundscare contracting companies, local authorities, dealerships, schools and universities, and sports clubs.

The buying power of SALTEX attendees was also high, with 36 per cent of survey respondents confirming that the purchasing responsibility was solely theirs, while 43 per cent contribute to the buying process and 32 per cent have the authority to sign-off on purchases up to £50,000.

Many exhibitors agree that SALTEX 2019 was the most financially beneficial yet and the 40 per cent of survey respondents that said they made purchases on the show floor is perhaps testament to this.

The Leicester City FC grounds team were certainly on the hunt for new equipment at SALTEX according to Callum Allsop, head groundsman at the club’s training ground. “We will be spending a lot of money on a new fleet of equipment over the next year. So being able to look at equipment options at SALTEX and having the opportunity to speak to all of the distributors in one place is ideal.”

The post-show survey findings also revealed top priorities for attending with 68 per cent saying they visited SALTEX to source new products/services/suppliers; 66 per cent attended out of general interest; 44 per cent wanted to see the latest industry innovations; 39 per cent attended to network with other like-minded individuals and 35 per cent to witness machinery demonstrations.

Andy Miller, head groundsman for Northampton Saints, says: “I always plan ahead on what I want to do and who I want to see at SALTEX, but plans often change when I’m on the show floor. I may bump into someone, get talking and gain new ideas.”

Product innovations were a big pull this year, and 87 per cent of attendees rated the mix of products on display as excellent. The show also offered visitors the opportunity to see a number of these products in action through Eco Village demonstrations and this new feature did not disappoint with 78 per cent of survey respondents also rating the Eco Village as excellent.

Products and innovations aside, SALTEX attendees also made use of the training, advice and educational opportunities. The 57 free-to-attend, CPD-accredited seminars in the Learning LIVE programme proved popular with 84 per cent of survey respondents claiming the education offering was either very good or excellent; 83 per cent made the most of the Ask the Expert feature and 77 per cent said the Pathology and Soil Science LIVE was also an excellent feature.

SALTEX will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020 and will take place at the NEC, Birmingham on 4 and 5 November and 95 per cent of SALTEX 2019 visitors concluded the survey by indicating that they will be returning.

James Wright, grounds & gardens team leader at the University of Leeds, believes that the success of SALTEX indicates a bright future for the industry. “This year was the best SALTEX I have experienced to date and its popularity proves that we are in a great place to take the industry we are all so passionate about into the next decade and beyond.”

For more information please visit www.iogsaltex.com

Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_SALTEX and Facebook – www.facebook.com/IOGSALTEX

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Innovation On Display At Research Event

Innovation On Display At Research Event: The annual research event at the Sports Turf Research Institute, members of the Amenity Forum, had a strong focus on innovation and taking an integrated approach to weed, pest and disease management.

Those attending were able to visit a range of trial sites. Our chairman, John Moverley, was one of the visitors and he found it extremely interesting and worthwhile.

Innovation On Display At Research Event

On October 10th, the Amenity Forum is holding its annual conference and exhibition, an event which has become very much ‘must attend’ for all involved in or with an interest in amenity management. This year the theme is ‘21st Century Amenity Management’ and innovation and integrated management will once again be a key theme. Some really excellent speakers are set to present and there is a great exhibition area where delegates can network and hear about new products and techniques available. It will be held at the Pirelli Stadium at Burton on Trent.

John Moverley said ‘’ the conference is a major showcase for our important sector and all it does. We are in changing and challenging times and it is important that we adapt to this change in a positive way. It is an event not to miss and I look forward to seeing you there’

Tickets, whilst selling fast, are still available at £95. For further information, contact admin@amenityforum.net

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Local Heroes For An Event That Produced A Local Hero…

Local Heroes For An Event That Produced A Local Hero…: Scott MacCallum catches up with Royal Portrush Course Manager, Graeme Beatt, following the magnificent return of the Open Championship to the island of Ireland.

Graeme Beatt arrived home from work and poured himself a gin and tonic before settling into a chair to reflect on the events of the previous, days, weeks and months. It’s not often that you have been charged with preparing a golf course for the biggest event on the planet, and, in the case of Royal Portrush Golf Club, it was the first time in 68 years that an Open Championship had come to call.

Local Heroes For An Event That Produced A Local Hero…

Graeme smiled as he thought about the great work of his own greenkeeping team, always going that little bit beyond; how the volunteers, who had given up their time, unpaid, to contribute towards a stupendous Open venue; and how the entire club, town and island of Ireland had embraced the occasion.

The fact that the event had produced a local hero winner – if not exactly the one who had been expected to lift the Claret Jug – made the whole occasion so much more of a fairy tale.

Like most well written stories, however, the week and the lead up, had produced so many twists and turns that by the time that drink was poured Graeme was worn out.

“I had been invited to a drinks’ reception with the winner by the Championship Committee but after the trophy presentation on the 18th green I’d gone back to thank our own staff and the volunteers. I then went to lock up the sheds, got into my pick-up and drove back through the course. It was a struggle as it was still full of spectators.

“When I got to the gate I spotte my wife, Katriona, and our kids, Charlotte and Emily, walking home in the pouring rain so I picked them up. By then the plan of returning for a formal reception wasn’t too appealing so I poured a drink before we went to friends for a little while and then bed.”

Local Heroes For An Event That Produced A Local Hero…

Who could blame him? The hours he and his team were clocking up by Championship week, never mind the months leading up to it, would have had anyone tasked with implementing the Working Hours Directive applying for overtime just to log all the infractions.

“I was arriving at the course at 3.30am for a 4am start and we weren’t getting back home until half ten or a quarter to eleven at night. It was an amazing experience but at the same time we were absolutely shattered,” revealed Graeme.

All the work paid off. The course looked incredible and played superbly with weather conditions testing the players in a manner that is always hoped. The fact that Shane Lowry is a links specialist play, and, if not one of Ireland’s Major winner club members before he arrived, was regarded as a top class player. The course did identify a true champion and a true local hero.

To the question “On a scale of one to ten how happy were you with the course on the Monday of the Championship?” Graeme pondered for a moment and then said: “I’d say eight and a half.”

Top Course Managers are never satisfied, hence the missing point and a half, but Graeme had a vision of how he had wanted his Open course.

“I had a picture in my head of how I wanted the course to look, and that was to be a little bit browned off. We would have needed a few weeks of dry weather to be able to do that. The course was stunning but quite green and that wasn’t down to fertiliser, it was purely the rainfall and the warm weather. Everything greened up and stayed like that for the entire Championship.

“I was pleased with the condition of the course. I was pleased with the turf. Pleased with everything had come up and how the course played. It was just the colour really. As the Championship went on it just continued to rain and we had to do more and more to get green speed, which was the opposite if what we thought we would be doing,” said Graeme, who had to deal with 35 mil of rain in an hour just the Wednesday before Championship week. That is excessive even by Portrush standards.

“It absolutely bucketed down and we were shovelling bunker sand back and pumping water out of bunkers at eight o’clock at night. We’d been working on the bunkers for weeks taking sand out of them and reshaping them. We’d got them just right so it was really frustrating. It’s unusual to have washouts in bunkers here, but hey…”

Graeme was working closely with Alistair Beggs, Richard Windows and Adam Newton throughout the Championship, as part of the testing programme which aids course consistency.

Local Heroes For An Event That Produced A Local Hero…

“I was out with Alistair every morning while the other guys, helped by two R&A Scholars, were doing the testing. They would radio green speeds to us after a single cut and we’d decide between ourselves and Grant Moir (the R&A’s Director of Rules) if we should do another cut. It worked really well as it gave us an idea of how much extra speed you’d get from another cut, how much the green speed would drop off in the evening and how much they would drop off again by the following morning.

“The weather being the way it was meant that we were doing quite a bit of cutting – the greens were being triple cut,” revealed Graeme, keeping his staff of 60 – 54 greenkeepers  plus six part-timers who filled divots – busy for the entire week.

The aforementioned bunkers also required more than their fair share of TLC.

“The bunkers were highlighted in the years leading up to the Open as a potential issue. Our bunker sand is our own and it tends to become a bit soft when dry. Even though we were getting rain we were out in the evenings to water them down with hoses just to ensure that they were firm enough and that the ball wouldn’t plug.

“The other thing was the shape of our bunkers. The fairways are designed so that the ball rolls into the bunkers and we didn’t want the ball to roll into the sand and not stop short, so we were fly mowing every day – some of them were being done morning and night. Bit of a difference to the normal once a week!”

Graeme has been Course Manager at the club since 2014, taking over from the retiring Joe Findlay, having been Course Manager at County Sligo prior to that but he is actually from Fife. He was originally from Scotscraig, near St Andrews, and attended the rival school to your Editor, albeit Graeme was quite a number of years later!

He worked at Scotscraig Golf Club before going to the still under construction Kingsbarns. He then spent time at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, in Australia before returning to Kingbarns in 2005 before moving to Ireland the following year.

Local Heroes For An Event That Produced A Local Hero…

“I was a member at Scotscraig, which was an Open qualifier, and I had to take a young Justin Rose around the course when he was attempting to qualify in 1995. I had lunch with him and his family and I did think about saying to him here but felt that he would have so many people saying ‘Remember me?’ to him, that I decided not to in the end.”

While the Open hadn’t been confirmed during the interview process Graeme met with R&A officials as part of his selection, so was aware that the return of the Open was imminent and has been grateful to have had five years to get to grips with the course itself and the enormity of what an Open Championship brings.

The build up to this year’s Championship was more intense than any recent Open, partly due to that great gap between Northern Irish Opens and partly due to the wonderful “Dream Team” of Irish golfers produced over the last few years.

Three time Major winner, Padraig Harrington; Darren Clarke, 2011 Open Champion and Royal Portrush member (Darren struck the first shot of the Championship); Graeme McDowall, 2010 US Open Champion and another homer towner, whose brother is on the Royal Portrush greenkeeping staff, and four time Major winner and pre-Championship favourite, Rory McIlroy, who had broken the Royal Portrush course record as a 17-year-old.

So much expectation was riding on Rory’s slim shoulders that the pressure when he stood on the 1st tee was immense so perhaps it wasn’t too unexpected that his tee shot wasn’t his best. That coupled with the course’s ability to maximise any error, resulted in an opening quadruple bogey eight. That, added to a double bogey at the 16th and a triple bogey at the last, holed his chances below the waterline, and while he heroically shot a second round 65, a 14 shot improvement on his first, he missed the final two rounds by a solitary shot.

Was Graeme aware of what was happening to Rory on the first day?

Aware! He was very nearly part of the action.

“When Rory hit his first tee shot out of bounds it actually went over our heads. I’d nipped down to see him tee off and I was standing left of the fairway with my wife and kids.

Local Heroes For An Event That Produced A Local Hero…

We heard the thud of the ball as it hit the spectator and then his second tee shot landed right beside where we were. We watched him play his fourth into the rough beside the green and just groaned. You could see Rory’s nerves and if he’d played his first round the way he played his second he’d have been a factor.”

As for the other huge fans’ favourite, Tiger Woods? He too missed the cut, much to the dismay of the giant galleries.

The disappointment of losing the two biggest names, turned to elation on the Saturday, however, when Shane Lowry produced a spectacular third round 63 to give himself a handsome lead going into Sunday.

“Shane played north of Ireland golf for years and knows the course like the back of his hand. He can play in any conditions and is a links golfer with all the shots,” said Graeme.

With no-one able to mount a serious challenge on the final day Shane enjoyed a triumphant march around the links, cheered to the rafters from all corners, before holing out for a six shot victory.

One of Graeme’s most memorable moments was standing with the presentation party on the 18th green, but watching his team form a guard of honour for Shane as he marched out to collect the Claret Jug.

“I was so proud of our staff. They had done such an amazing job and pulled it out of the bag. A lot of them were local guys who had played and worked here all their lives and it was just great for everyone.”

While he was at home enjoying that celebratory gin and tonic, the team was at nearby Rathmore Golf Club, Graeme McDowall’s home club, where there was a full blown party underway and an opportunity for the everyone to let their hair down.

For Graeme, though, his work was done and he could think back with satisfaction about what had been achieved and how, after a wait of 62 years, Royal Portrush was very much back on the map and, more importantly, the Open rota.

STRI Announces Event Partners

STRI Announces Event Partners: STRI has announced the final event partners for STRI Research 2019 which takes place on 25 and 26 September at STRI UK in Bingley, West Yorkshire.

The companies joining STRI’s team of global sport industry specialists are Airter, Aquatrols, Bayer, Headland Amenity, ICL, Sherriff Amenity and Syngenta. Each of these companies are showcasing the most innovative products, machinery and techniques that are being trialled and tested by the STRI Research team to help improve the future quality and management of sports turf.

STRI Announces Event Partners

The event is free to attend, and delegates will be taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of STRI’s famous sports trials ground, to view current live research trials which have been commissioned by our 2019 event partners for the benefit of the sports industry.

STRI research operations manager, Dr Christian Spring, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming our sponsors and visitors to STRI Research 2019. Our research team can’t wait to share with you the findings from the latest innovative sports trials at STRI. It will be great to gather together a diverse cross-section of the industry for a relaxed, yet informative, day of learning and networking. We look forward to welcoming you to STRI in September.”

The research open days are perfect for stadium managers and operators, greenkeepers, groundstaff, course managers, superintendents and sportsturf professionals. Discounted accommodation is available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and locally sourced food and refreshments will be provided.

To book your place on either Wednesday 25th or Thursday 26th September, please contact enquiries@strigroup.com or call 01274565131.

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BLEC Host Press Update Event

BLEC Host Press Update Event: Three years on since the announcement was made that BLEC was to become a division of the Redexim Group, the press were recently invited to an update event at BLEC dealer Acorn Tractors in Derby. Hosted by Division Manager Curtis Allen, they heard in more detail how the new and enhanced range of specialist landscaping and turfcare equipment is creating quite a stir.

A busy few years under the guidance of the Redexim Group has seen the streamlining of product ranges and manufacture, along with the appointment of a network of dedicated dealers nationwide. Amongst the machines shown on the day were the Blecavator, Laser Grader and Multi-Seeder where key developments were discussed. Of particular note was the number of mechanical adjustments made to the renowned Laser Grader range including new twin Danfoss proportional valves and heavy-duty finger tines, that both now come as standard. The all-new Power Box Rake 1800 was another highlight as the first Redexim designed and engineered addition to the BLEC offering. Whilst following the ethics of the previous versions of the PBR, this machine has been built from scratch to be the perfect tool for cultivating, earth-moving, grading and raking.

BLEC Host Press Update Event

During the presentation and subsequent working demonstrations, it was evident how machines from across the BLEC range can be used in conjunction with one another, in the process of converting bare earth into a surface ready for seeding. With a comprehensive selection of pedestrian and tractor-mounted units, each available in a variety of working widths, they’re suited to applications from landscape gardeners, golf course construction, sports pitch preparations to large-scale groundworks.

The press were also treated to a talk from Sean Goodwin, Director of Talbot Farm Landscapes and Talbot Sports Turf, and long-standing user of BLEC machinery. Sean has a vast selection of BLEC units on his machinery fleet. He adds, “The BLEC range demonstrates an understanding of what we, the commercial landscaper/sports turf contractor, really need. The build quality is one thing that has always impressed me but the new Multi-Seeder I have purchased through Redexim is even better – well engineered and attention paid to every detail. With the resources available to Redexim, the manufacturing prowess and the ability to stock a wider range of parts through their dealer network, they have the potential to take BLEC to the next level.”

BLEC Host Press Update Event

Curtis summarised, “Despite its best efforts, the rain didn’t dampen spirits on what was a fantastic opportunity to update the media on all of the improvements we have worked hard to deliver across the portfolio. We have come a long way with the range already and with further innovations in the pipeline we’re entering a very exciting period in the BLEC story. A big thank you must also go to Julian Simpson at Acorn Tractors for providing the host venue and coordinating such a positive day.”

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Successful Limagrain Event At AELTC

Successful Limagrain Event At AELTC: The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon, recently played host to an event by Limagrain UK, where groundsmen from several independent schools were treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s most famous sporting venues.

The access-all-areas tour was conducted by Neil Stubley (head of courts & horticulture) and Grant Cantin (head groundsman), in which the attendees were taken to the exclusive players-only area, the media centre and the legendary centre court. Delegates also got to see first-hand some of the exciting developments which are currently underway.

Successful Limagrain Event At AELTC

The club is now in its final year of the Court 1 retractable roof project and is set to be completed in time for 2019 Championships. Other works include a new office building for staff, a complete refurbishment of the player dressing rooms and a brand new members’ brasserie – which will no doubt provide yet another world-class dining establishment.

Commenting on the developments, Grant said: “This is the norm here to be honest because we are always trying to be better and provide a better venue – not just for the players but for the public and everyone who comes here.”

The tour offered a fabulous insight into the meticulous planning that is required to successfully host the greatest tennis championships in the world. Grant revealed that while they face many sleepless nights during the Championships, there is still no let off when the games come to a close.

“In terms of grounds staff, there are eighteen of us here full-time and that includes two full-time mechanics and two irrigation engineers. Every year from March until October we bring in another twelve or thirteen people just to get the numbers for the busy times. The Championships are obviously busy but after that it is actually our busiest time with the renovations. Every grass court is renovated and most of them are stripped off back to soil and then re-grown. All this work needs to be completed before the weather starts turning in October or November, so it is a very busy time for us.”

For the renovations, the grounds staff choose to use Limagrain grass seed for the grass courts – as Grant explains:

“We have been using Limagrain seed for quite a long time now and we are very happy with the product. The mixture is very similar to MM50 with two of the three cultivars being the same. The STRI actually do all of the research for us and they, along with Limagrain, recommend which cultivars to use.

“Every year we are confident that the seed is the very best it can be and the results are great,” he said.

After a complimentary lunch, and as the event came to a close, attendees were left reflecting on the revealing tour and James Pope, grounds manager at St Paul’s School, was certainly pleased to be a part of it.

“This place is just unbelievable and I didn’t realise how much of a big scale they are working on every day. The standards that they work to when the courts are closed is incredible; everything is just immaculate all the way through to the pathways, gardens, courts and renovations. Then there is the preparation that goes into the tournaments – I’ve never seen anything like it.

“For me personally, I don’t get to see my fellow colleagues too often so to come to a place like this, which is very different, and to see and talk about something that we haven’t all seen together is huge. We were able to bounce ideas of one another and I was able to exchange ideas with other groundsmen that I look up to and speak to those who have more experience than me. To talk about the products and techniques used here, and to network with other school groundsmen, has been invaluable.”

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/mm

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Dennis & SISIS Event A Success

Dennis & SISIS Event A Success: The second ever Dennis and SISIS’ Cricket Pitch Renovation Day recently took place at Cheltenham College, and the verdict was that the day was a resounding success, as over 130 cricket groundsmen were in attendance for a mix of thought provoking indoor presentations and outdoor practical demonstrations.

The event, which was supported by Boughton Loam, CricketWorld.com, Stuart Canvas, Limagrain UK, Lister Wilder, Poweroll and Headland Amenity began with an introduction from Robert Jack (Dennis and SISIS) and Eric Woodmason from Gloucestershire Cricket Board who gave a fascinating insight into his role as clubs and programmes officer for the north of the county.

Dennis & SISIS Event A Success

Alex Vickers, turf consultant, was first up to discuss Principles of decision making for autumn renovations & profile reading, which no doubt would have left the assembled groundsmen with plenty of food for thought. Alex proceeded to offer some great renovation tips which was supported by visual slides and in particular he urged all attendees to plan ahead and avoid guess work. He advocates that gathering evidence prior to forming renovation decisions was key and advised groundsmen to understand the importance of what is happening beneath the square rather than focussing just on the top.

As a leading contractor, Keith Exton of Perfect Pitches UK, was perfectly placed to deliver his seminar entitled End of season renovations – a contractor’s overview. Keith was keen to emphasise just how integral timing is to cricket pitch preparation and warned the audience not to overlook the significance of measuring moisture content.

Both Keith and Alex went on further to discuss various renovation techniques such as aeration, top-dressing, seeding and applying loam, and both were also unanimous in the importance of taking core soil samples.

After his seminar, Alex was pleased to welcome a number of questions from delegates and also revealed why events such as these are integral to raising the standards of cricket groundsmanship.

“I think the reason people should come along to these events is two-fold. First of all, you are never too old and never too experienced to learn something new; there are always new techniques to discover. That could be through the practical demonstrations, through the talks or even by chatting to your fellow groundsmen because you find that you really do learn from one another. An event like this is a fantastic way to develop those networks and get to know other people who are having the same issues as you.

“It also helps keep people up to date. I know some groundsmen who have been doing the same things for 30 years with the same bit of kit but the industry has moved on and there are easier and better ways of doing things. Events like today can help you understand that actually there are better ways to achieve the good results.”

Following the presentations, it was the perfect opportunity to introduce delegates to the Soil Core Clinic. In this innovative feature Keith was joined by Ian Smith (St Albans School Turf Consultant) as they proceeded to examine a number of soil profiles which were brought to the event by delegates. The samples were projected onto the big screen and Keith and Ian discussed how each could potentially be improved.

Over recent years, Ian has been a prominent figure at the Dennis and SISIS cricket groundsmen seminars, and he was delighted to see yet another great turn-out. “Today we’ve had a real mixture of cricket groundsmen – 130 from the likes of part-time clubs, schools and county clubs. In my opinion, there are not many of these events going on in the industry so I think they are extremely valuable,” he said.

Dennis & SISIS Event A Success

A complimentary lunch signalled the halfway point before delegates made their way outside into the glorious sunshine. Cheltenham College offered picturesque views and a wonderful backdrop as the outdoor practical demonstrations took place on two squares and the cricket outfield.

The three workshops focused on a variety of techniques that would be beneficial for cricket groundsmen and saw an impressive fleet of machinery carrying out tasks such as aeration, seeding, brushing, top dressing and scarifying.

Christian Brain, head of grounds at Cheltenham College and host for the day, was extremely generous in letting the demonstrations take place on his county standard squares and felt that the day was a huge success for all involved. “It’s been fantastic to see so many passionate groundsmen here mixing with one another and sharing ideas. We’ve had some great feedback from the delegates and overall it’s been a hugely successful day,” he said.

Adam King, head of grounds at Radley College, brought other members of staff along with him and found the day extremely worthwhile.

“I’ve brought along five lads with me today and we’ve been treated to some great indoor talks and outdoor demonstrations. Generally, I find these days useful in respect of networking but it’s also a nice release for my members of staff who have been incredibly busy for the last six months on the cricket squares. It has given them the day off; they have been able to watch the machines in action, learn something new and they will absolutely take something away.”

Echoing Adam’s thoughts was Gordon Gill, contractor and head groundsman at Bath Cricket Club, who felt it was refreshing for his members of staff to gain a greater insight into the industry.

“I’ve come along to introduce my two staff members to the networking that goes on, plus they can see the machinery first hand, they can speak to other people in the trade first hand, and suddenly they find they are not alone anymore. It’s been a great exercise for them.”

Eric Woodmason rounded off the day by suggesting that events like these are not just beneficial to the groundsmen but also claimed that they have a positive impact on the sport of cricket. “My main desire out of this is that club groundsmen gain experience and knowledge of what they need to do on their grounds and hopefully that their grounds will improve as a result. This in turn, will get more people wanting to play cricket because if there is a good ground to play on, cricket becomes even more enjoyable.”

A video of the event can be found by visiting https://youtu.be/3pxT4yyQmU8

Further information about the range of cricket maintenance products available can be found by visiting www.dennisuk.com / www.sisis.com.

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