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A pitch fit for the Premiership

A pitch fit for the Premiership: Formartine United Football Club boasts a pitch to match its ambitions thanks to an experienced groundsman and two Dennis mowers. 

The club from Pitmedden, Aberdeenshire is currently playing in the Highland Football League but has its sights set higher.

A pitch fit for the Premiership

A pitch fit for the Premiership

“It is a success story so far, but we’re not finished yet,” said Head Groundsman Paul Fiske.

“We were in the amateurs, then progressed through to juniors and are now in the Highland League. The ambition is to reach the Scottish Professional Football Leagues and I don’t think we are far off.”

It is safe to say that Paul already knows how to prepare a pitch worthy of the professional leagues after spending 22 years as the Head Groundsman at Aberdeen FC. His work at Formartine has already been widely recognised and most recently by another Scottish Premiership team.

“We played Motherwell FC in the Scottish Cup and they were really impressed with how good the surface was – the manager and a lot of the players were saying that the pitch was as good as anything they have played on in the Premier League.”

Aside from his groundsmanship skills, Paul also believes the success of the pitch is down to Atholl Cadger, the chairman and Sandy Sinclair vice-chairman, who he says are “key to the club’s ambition” and “backs me to the hilt” when it comes to pitch maintenance.

This certainly rings true when you consider that the club has recently invested in a new Dennis PRO 34R. This innovative rotary mower is ideal for sports pitches and lawns producing the enviable ‘Dennis Stripes’ whilst a powerful vacuum flow collects debris quickly and efficiently.

Paul claims that the PRO 34R has been an absolute “gamechanger” and has saved him an incredible amount of time.

“I previously had a 26-inch rotary mower and to clean-up after a game it would take me six hours,” he said. “When I found out Dennis had brought out a 34-inch rotary I just knew that it would be ideal, plus it has the brush on the front of it as well which is brilliant.

“I would say that the PRO 34R has cut those six hours in half – and therefore it allows me more time to get on with other jobs.”

To accompany his new PRO 34R, Paul also relies on his trusty Dennis G860 cylinder mower – which he was pleased to see was already in the shed when he first arrived.

“I’d used the G860 a lot at Aberdeen FC, so I was over the moon to see that machine already here,” he said. “It is so light yet powerful and, in my opinion, is the best cylinder mower out there.”

As Paul says, the G860 is lightweight at just 166kg and it is also easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. The handlebar console houses the controls for the throttle, parking brake, roller drive and cutting cylinder drive.

The mower features a large diameter front roller with an adjustable scraper which has been designed for a precise height of cut control, giving an excellent finish on every occasion. The Dennis G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks such as including scarifying, verticutting, brushing, spiking, and slitting.

“We have pretty much all the cassettes which help with a wide range of tasks,” said Paul. “The Sorrel Roller cassette is fantastic to use in the winter as it helps to get some much-needed air into the surface.

“We cut to a height of somewhere between 26-28mm in the height of the summer, and then taking that up to maybe 30-32mm in winter. I’ll cut everyday with the G860 including a double cut on a Friday and then a final cut on the morning of a matchday.

“The 8-bladed cylinder provides the perfect finish,” he continued. “It is a great machine and ticks every box for the club.

“I would not hesitate to recommend both the G860 and the PRO 34R to anyone.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter and Instagram @DennisMowers and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/DennisMowersUK You can also view the latest Dennis videos by visiting www.youtube.com/DennisMowers

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A pond fit for a Royal

A pond fit for a Royal: Robert Patterson, Course Manager at the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, has explained how a Kasco decorative fountain has improved the health of the water and brought a certain elegance to a picturesque pond on the course.

Founded in 1780, Royal Aberdeen is the sixth oldest golf club in the world. For the first thirty-five years of its existence the club was known as The Society of Golfers at Aberdeen, and it was these very golfers that first introduced the five-minute limit rule on searching for golf balls.

A pond fit for a Royal

A pond fit for a Royal

Fast forward to 2021 and Royal Aberdeen is now regarded as not just one of the best golf courses in Scotland but also the world. It has hosted many professional tournaments including the Scottish Open & the Walker Cup and it boasts two links courses (Balgownie & Silverburn) which run alongside the North Sea offering spectacular views. Furthermore, it is renowned for having the ‘finest front 9 in golf.’

Robert admits that he sometimes has to pinch himself: “Being able to work outside and to look after one of the best courses in the world is incredible. I feel extremely fortunate,” he said.

A greenkeeper for his whole career, Robert joined from Royal Dornoch Golf Club and has been the Course Manager at Royal Aberdeen for 24 years. He now oversees a team of 11 who work hard to maintain the stunning 36 holes.

Always striving for perfection, no stone is ever left unturned, and this was certainly the case when he decided to explore the possibility of aerating a pond in a prominent position on the course.

“The pond is mainly used for irrigation water, but we also draw water out for human consumption,” he said. “There was nothing wrong with the water but in summer, with the sun beating down, there is always a risk of it going stagnant. I also felt that the water could, in the hotter weather, look a little bit discoloured at times.”

To avoid any such problems, Robert identified the Kasco J Series Decorative Fountains as the solution. Ranging from ¾ HP to 7.5 HP, there is a Kasco J Series Fountain perfect for any size pond or lake. The corrosion and clog resistant technology offer reliability that is unparalleled by any other outdoor fountain brand. All J Series Fountains come with multiple nozzles that deliver classy, elegant spray patterns.

In addition to enhancing the class and elegance of your pond or lake these fountains will improve the health of your water with increased oxygen transfer. Kasco’s outdoor fountains are designed and built to deliver reliable and efficient performance, meaning lower long-term operating costs.

The Kasco Fountain was supplied and installed by Turf Irrigation Services, and Robert hasn’t looked back since.

“We also have a lot of fish in the pond and probably about a dozen carp,” he said. “The idea behind the Kasco Fountain was to push more oxygen into the water – just to make it a bit healthier. It is good for the turf as well because we are putting on water which is of a better quality.

“It is in a prominent position, so it is nice to see the fountain when you are playing golf – the members have also commented on it being a nice feature.

“I’ve never had any problems whatsoever with the Kasco Fountain,” continued Robert. “It is doing exactly what we wanted it to do, and I simply cannot ask for more than that.”

Kasco products are distributed in the UK by KAR UK.

For more information, please visit www.karuk.com.

You can also follow KAR UK on Twitter @KARUK_LTD for much more news, reviews and insightful views

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STIHL cordless machinery the right fit

STIHL cordless machinery the right fit: RFT Services has switched its entire groundscare and arborist machinery fleet to STIHL cordless tools, a move that has not only enhanced the maintenance programme of the entire grounds team, but also offered significant environmental benefits.

RFT Services is part of the Flagship Group and provides facilities and grounds maintenance to over 31,000 homes and 800 communal garden areas across the East of England. To ensure the grounds maintenance programme runs efficiently as possible, it is vital that the team utilise the most reliable, robust and best performing equipment available to meet the needs of any application all year round, even in the toughest weather conditions.

The responsibility of overseeing the 27 strong groundscare and arborist team is led by ope

STIHL cordless machinery the right fit

STIHL cordless machinery the right fit

rations manager Glen Ray, who has been working at RFT Services for more than three years. With the team having used STIHL petrol machines for a number of years, and after a trial period with their local dealer GDC Ltd, Glen decided to switch to a machinery fleet made up entirely of STIHL cordless tools, and it wasn’t long until the maintenance team were realising the benefits battery technology has to offer.

Glen said: “Our business is built upon delivering great service to our customers and that means ensuring more than 800 communal areas are maintained to the highest standard. For us to achieve this, it’s imperative that we have to implement a rigorous maintenance programme to ensure gardens and parklands are in the best possible condition all year round for tenants to enjoy.

“Although petrol and diesel engine powered equipment is and will continue to be very popular, I was intrigued by the advancement in battery technology and the benefits this could bring to my maintenance team, especially from a noise-sensitive operation point of view.

“Previously, one of the difficulties we had as a team was that we only had certain time frames in which to carry out regular grounds maintenance tasks due to the noise level of petrol tools during operation. When operating landscaping and arborist machinery in residential areas, it’s important to conduct this work when it will cause minimum disruption. Add to this that petrol machines are generally more expensive to run and maintain, I was very intrigued by battery technology and how this could potentially enhance our maintenance operations.

“After speaking to GDC Ltd, the team trialled a number of cordless tools, including the STIHL FSA 130R Brush cutter, BGA 100 Blower, HLA 85 Long reach Hedge Trimmer, HTA 85 Pole Saw, HLA 65 Hedge trimmer AR 3000 Battery and fast charger overall and the general consensus was that they were very impressed with not only how quiet the tools were during operation, so much so that they didn’t need to wear ear protection, but also their performance, which was on par with petrol equivalents.

“In addition to performance, the battery tools also bring environmental benefits, which is a big plus. The team doesn’t need to store costly fuel on site and all we have to do is simply replace the battery if it runs out which is very rare, helping to keep machine downtime to a minimum.  We are a community driven business, so it’s great that the battery technology allows us to be more sustainable in our maintenance practices.

“Since then, we haven’t looked back when it comes to battery tools and have invested in a STIHL cordless machinery fleet that includes pole pruners, hedge trimmers, brushcutters, blowers, mower, and chainsaws to name a few.

“The quiet operation of the cordless tools, as well as being able to handle the toughest jobs, has enabled my team to carry out maintenance tasks at any point during the day, which has ensured we can implement a strict maintenance regime that meets the highest standards. Reliability is also a key consideration to avoid costly downtime, and the tools need to be comfortable and simple to operate so my team can carry out their work efficiently. That’s exactly why we chose STIHL equipment.

“As with grounds maintenance teams, we pride ourselves on the work we carry out and strive to do this to the highest standard. The use of battery technology and the reliability of the machinery from STIHL has helped push our maintenance programme onto the next level and we look forward to carrying on our proud tradition of providing tenants with communal areas they can enjoy and relax in.”

For more information on STIHL’s extensive range of professional battery powered tools, please visit www.stihl.co.uk.

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