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Busiest spring for Capillary Bunkers

Busiest spring for Capillary Bunkers: Bunker liner specialist Capillary Bunkers is in the midst of the busiest period in its history, since its foundation in 2010. April and May have seen the firm working on more than sixty projects around the world, and the rest of the year looks set to be just as busy.

Courses involved include Tom Doak’s much-acclaimed Rock Creek Cattle Company in Montana, the Tom Fazio-designed Contraband Bayou course in Louisiana, and RainDance National in Colorado, designed by architect Harrison Minchew with PGA Tour player Fred Funk. In Asia, Capillary Bunkers are being installed at the Discovery Bay course in Hong Kong, while in Europe, Golf Nazionale in Rome, Djursholm in Stockholm and Murrayshall in Perthshire, Scotland. And Africa is not being left out, as the Royal Golf de Marrakech in Morocco is also installing the product.

Busiest spring for Capillary Bunkers

Busiest spring for Capillary Bunkers

“Everyone in golf is aware that the industry is very lively as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, with rounds up significantly across the world,” says Capillary Bunkers founder and CEO Martin Sternberg, CGCS. “That growth is being reflected in golf construction, as courses seek to improve their facilities and differentiate themselves from the competition. Because our product reduces bunker maintenance while simultaneously improving their condition, and because it is very easy to install in most weather conditions, it is ideal for busy courses – bunkers can be renovated and be back in play very quickly, to minimise disturbance to golfers.”

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Maintaining outside space for emotional wellbeing

Maintaining outside space for emotional wellbeing: Mental Health Awareness Week, organised by the Mental Health Foundation, runs each year from the 10th to 16th of May. This year’s theme of ‘Nature’ is particularly poignant with lockdown restrictions easing and people once again allowed to socialise at both indoor and outdoor locations.

The emotional wellbeing benefits of nature have been researched extensively over the years and, as Paul Bean from grounds maintenance specialist Nurture Landscapes Group explains, it is important to keep these in mind all-year-round, especially as the world looks to recover from Covid-19.

Maintaining outside space for emotional wellbeing

Maintaining outside space for emotional wellbeing

Research[1] commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation and the UK World Wildlife Fund (WWF-UK) published ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week found that 62% of people felt that taking a walk helped improve their mental wellbeing during the pandemic.

Now that we are starting to look ahead to the post-Covid world, outside spaces will continue to be areas of comfort. That, of course, means caring for these areas so that they can provide the respite people are looking for.

‘Caring’, in this context, includes small individual actions that each person can take in their day-to-day lives, such as taking litter home, to carrying out more extensive grounds maintenance and improving sustainability practices, such as using energy-efficient equipment when tending to a park’s upkeep.

There is also a lot to be said for creating a space that the local community feel proud to have on their doorstep, achieved by hosting events around biodiversity and environmental awareness.

Urbanised areas in particular can see the benefits of opening up more natural spaces in these ways, especially as the various lockdown measures highlighted the need for improved access. According to figures from the Office of National Statistics, only 13% of residents across urban areas in England and the three most populous cities in Wales lived within a ten minute walk of a local park, and of those who did have good access, nearly a quarter (24%) suggested the park was at risk of becoming too overcrowded.[2] Yet before the first lockdown in March 2020, 93% of respondents had visited a green space in the year leading up to movement restrictions being implemented.

Improving natural areas to create a quiet haven in an otherwise stressful and at times, overwhelming setting, doesn’t happen overnight. However, choosing the right plants, flowers, and even the positioning of benches, are good first steps. Then, of course, there is the ongoing TLC which keeps the park looking at its best.

The message of taking care of the natural environment for our own emotional wellbeing is a key one for Mental Health Awareness Week this year, and something we at Nurture Landscapes take great pride in being able to facilitate. While we may not be experts in mental health, we do understand and appreciate how important it is for people to have a space where they can take some time to care for themselves.

And the signs that this will continue to be the case are there already, with offices looking to utilise outdoor meeting areas, such as the one we use ourselves at our head office in Surrey (pictured), and nature charities reporting greater interest in their respective activities, according to ONS data.[3]

The same data reveals that during the summer of 2020, the use of #m_2362510770876043122__ftn3outdoor spaces surged when compared to Natural England’s baseline figures from the period 2010 to 2018, peaking at a 100% increase in August of last year. Good weather and the temporary lifting of restrictions will certainly have been key factors for this dramatic increase, but the understanding and awareness of nature that people developed in the months spent in lockdown will have also contributed.

Before the virus outbreak, when long commutes and crowded urban areas were considered ‘the norm’, going for a walk to clear the mind or get some fresh air out of a busy office provided a welcome respite from the constant pressures of modern living. Covid-19 showed us just how important those five minutes out in the fresh air truly are.

As Mental Health Foundation’s Thriving in Nature report states, “nature is for everyone [and] it is essential that everyone can access nature whatever their circumstances”.[4] To fulfil this vision, and ensure that the post-pandemic era has a strong focus on taking care of our own individual mental health needs, opening up natural spaces and maintaining them to create green oases in what can be an overwhelming world needs to be a priority, especially with nearly half of people in the UK noticing the increasing benefits of nature on their overall mental wellbeing.

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Royal Burgess opts for ISEKI TH5420

Royal Burgess opts for ISEKI TH5420: With over 280 years of history and curated by design greats such as ‘Old’ Tom Morris, Willie Park Jnr and James Braid, The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh continues to seek challenge and reward for its members.

Since the Millennium, one of the club’s focuses has been tree planting to create further visual interest and a healthier environment.  GEO certified since April 2018, the parkland course, at Barnton, is only a few miles from Edinburgh’s city centre.

Royal Burgess opts for ISEKI TH5420

Royal Burgess opts for ISEKI TH5420

In his 12th year as Course Manager, Chris Yeaman, and his team of seven, witness first-hand an abundance of nature, while they go about their business of achieving smooth greens, lush fairways and well cared bunkers.

This spring, Chris Yeaman had requirement for a new compact tractor, and with the guidance of Rob Hogarth, Regional Sales Manager at local dealer, Fairways GM at Kinross, he headed straight to the Iseki TH5420.

“All our tractors are Iseki; I’ve been a fan for almost two decades. Our most recent, the TG6490, is a fine machine, but we had a gap for one to take over greens. The new Stage V compliance came into it as we are in the process of trying to extend our GEO certification for another three years, also high on our list was versatility.

“Everything we wanted in a tractor, this one does. We were fortunate enough to be the first in Scotland to take delivery.  It’s small enough for greens and tees, handles smoothly, and an adjustable driving position works for everyone.  In time, we’ll get a mid mounted deck giving flexibility for mowing areas. Last year, also from Fairways, we got the Iseki zero-turn SZ330 mower for grass cutting between the trees; so, together with the TH5420, we can get these areas cut even quicker.

Rob Hogarth from Fairways GM said: “The TH5420 has a 40 hp Stage V compliant, 3-cylinder turbo diesel engine that also comes with a mid PTO as standard, so it accommodates a variety of implements. The 3 speed hydrostat makes for easy control.  It’s a compact and high torque, powerful tractor, perfect for turf maintenance applications.”

For further information on the full ISEKI range of mowers and tractors please visit www.iseki.co.uk or call 01473 599266.

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Search for a Star sprayer operator

Search for a Star sprayer operator: The Amenity Forum Sprayer Operator of the Year Awards are back, with the chance to win a weekend away for two, along with essential education and useful tools to further improve the performance of what you do.

Above all, it is the recognition that sprayer operators play an essential role in the effective management of turf, landscape and amenity areas. Sharing the industry’s best practice, knowledge and practical experiences will help to raise the standards of all involved.

Search for a Star sprayer operator

Search for a Star sprayer operator

Applications should be made on the ICL website through this link or via the Syngenta GreenCast website.

It’s not about having the latest equipment or the biggest budget. The Sprayer Operator of the Year looks to identify and reward all individuals operating to the highest standards or professionalism.

The Awards are managed by the Amenity Forum, sponsored by ICL and Syngenta.

There are two prize winning categories to enter: Landscape & Industrial and Sports Turf, with both tractor-mounted and handheld sprayer operators eligible for both categories. The category winners will be announced from a short-list of finalists at the Amenity Forum Conference. The overall winner is announced at the BTME event in Harrogate.

The overall AFSOOTY winner will receive:

  • A two-night break for two in a luxury country house break*
  • A place on the Syngenta Application Academy
  • Attendance of the Amenity Forum Conference

Launching the Awards, Professor John Moverley, Chairman of the Amenity Forum said: “Accurate application ensures the best possible results from every input, whilst protecting the environment from drift or off target loss.

“Sprayer operators across the amenity sector have made great strides in recent years. Every operator has something that will add to the experience and help others.

“If you can demonstrate the ability and ingenuity to consistently achieve safe and accurate application through the whole spraying process, then you are in with a chance of winning.”

ICL Turf & Landscape Business Development Manager, Mark Pyrah, added: “We are delighted to support such an important cross-sector industry initiative with a continued commitment to raise standards and improve results.

“Importantly it has identified and recognised the range of spray application techniques and the differing skills involved across the amenity sector. It will provide a unique and vitally important resource for all involved in spray application.”

Syngenta application specialist, Glenn Kirby, commented: “In previous years the Awards has identified some exceptional operators. They have all instigated ideas and practices to make the spraying process easier, more accurate and, ultimately, safer.

“The Sprayer Operator of the Year Awards are a welcome way to recognise and reward the leading individuals and to learn from their experience.”

The on-line entry form enables operators to apply, along with anyone to nominate operators they acknowledge are doing a great job – including other members of the team; staff or people within the industry who recognise good practice with the machinery or product they have supplied.

Entries and nominations close on 30 June 2021.

After submitting an initial application form, successful entrants will be invited to answer a short questionnaire. Selected category finalists are judged on best practice and innovative ideas to improve and enhance spraying operations.

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NHS Tayside goes for ISEKI SF450

NHS Tayside goes for ISEKI SF450: Malcolm Ross, Grounds Maintenance Manager at NHS Tayside has been buying kit from local ISEKI dealer Fairways GM’s Kinross depot since its inception, 18 years ago. His team is responsible for grounds maintenance of NHS Tayside’s portfolio of properties throughout Angus, Dundee, Perth and Kinross, which covers a variety of NHS locations of different sizes, settings and challenges.

“We’re not just municipal parks, we are hospital sites, and our aim is to create a well maintained and attractive greenspace environment when public come for treatment or to visit and when members of staff come to work or wish to enjoy our greens space at break times. The grounds are uplifting and create a feeling of well-being.

NHS Tayside goes for ISEKI SF450

NHS Tayside goes for ISEKI SF450

“We’ve had a long association with Fairways GM over the years, purchasing a range of products but the first machine was our Iseki SF300 in 2003. Due to the superior build quality and service, our mower has lasted the test of time hence, we haven’t purchased that many new pieces of equipment, until now, with Fairways GM Kinross our first port of call,” said Malcolm Ross.

“Iseki build is renowned; our SF300 has been super reliable so it’s testimony to its excellent quality that it is still going strong.  Admittedly, it has not been heavily used, but it still “punches above its weight”. The new machine will be a direct replacement.”

According to Malcolm, the SF450 has the adaptability his team requires: “We’re hoping it’s as consistently reliable as the last. Our previous out-front Muthing Flail proved its worth on our Ransome HR 300 so the new cut and collect facility on the ISEKI SF450 will be a big plus for us; the engine is more powerful, so more able to deal with wet and longer grasses when needed.”

Bobby McDougall, Commercial Sales Manager for Fairways GM said:

“The out-front flail deck gives a very impressive striped finish. Presentation must be on point for Malcolm’s team, but now they have the flexibility of being able to cut longer grasses with pristine results.  Throughout the year, they use other attachments and implements for gathering leaves or clearing snow, so this Iseki, with 48 hp, will be of enormous help.”

For further information on the full ISEKI range of mowers and tractors please visit www.iseki.co.uk or call 01473 599266.

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Grant scheme for sports club

Grant scheme for sports club: A new grant scheme for deserving sports teams and clubs of all shapes and sizes has been launched by the UK’s largest independent pest controller, Pestokill, to help support sport, exercise and activities as the nation emerges from the latest lockdown.

The company is offering grants of £1,000, £500 and £250 to clubs, teams and societies located throughout the UK, regardless of whether or not they have received other grant funding or ever used Pestokill’s services. The company plans to hand out £19,000 worth of grants to a total of 46 clubs and teams.

Grant scheme for sports club

Grant scheme for sports club

To apply for the funding, clubs and teams need to complete a short online form on Pestokill’s website at www.pestokill.co.uk/sport that contains details about the club’s key activities and provide a brief explanation of what they would use the money for. The deadline for applications is Monday 31st May 2021, and the donations will be made shortly afterwards.

Pestokill was established in 1985 and operates throughout the UK protecting property, employees and clients from all types of pests and disease. The company works across every industry including food and beverage, leisure, hospitality, cinema, entertainment, healthcare, transport, retail, office, manufacturing and logistics, as well as providing its services to a wide range of sports clubs and teams.

Dave Clements, managing director of Pestokill, said: “We know from our experience working with lots of sports clubs and teams up and down the country that many have had a really difficult time during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, these organisations are vital to the health and wellbeing of the nation, as well as the local communities they operate in.

“As a successful national business, we’ve launched this scheme to offer our support to clubs as we begin to emerge from the latest lockdown and hopefully return to normal. We’ve kept the application process as simple as possible, and it takes less than five minutes to complete. We’ve asked applicants to provide a brief description of what the money will be used for and we’ll then select the most deserving 46 clubs and send them a payment.”

Dave added: “We’re already receiving fantastic feedback about the scheme and we’re really looking forward to distributing the money and helping to make a difference.”

For further information about Pestokill’s scheme and to apply for a grant, visit www.pestokill.co.uk/sport and complete the online application form by Monday 31st May 2021.

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Chart Hills set for relaunch

Chart Hills set for relaunch: Chart Hills Golf Club will be officially relaunching on 1st June, 2021, following an intensive year-long redevelopment.

Led by Director of Golf, Anthony Tarchetti, and Course Manager, Neil Lowther, the club has been subject to a total property renovation. Ramac Holdings (also owners of Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich) purchased Chart Hills in December 2019, with a significant task in front of them as they looked to restore a golf course that had suffered for some years.

Chart Hills set for relaunch

Chart Hills set for relaunch

The result is the restoration of a playable, yet challenging layout that will be presented and manicured to championship standards year-round, set among some of the most picturesque countryside in the southeast.

“We have made enormous strides and are hugely proud of the product we will be presenting,” commented Tarchetti.

“While the work has been significant, we absolutely will not rest on our laurels. This is just the beginning of a road of continuous improvement at Chart Hills, with plans already in place to continue developments over the coming years.

“We are extremely excited to welcome our members and their guests back to the club in the coming months.”

Initial planning indicated that a complete redevelopment project would take more than two years to finish, with the hope of a late summer opening in 2022. However, the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and forced closures due to government restrictions, presented an opportunity to dramatically accelerate the timeframe.

The decision was made to officially close the golf course in July 2020, with no reopening scheduled until all 18-holes had been completely renovated. The focus of the project was to completely relay the fairways, to produce carpet-like surfaces that are playable year-round.

Every fairway was completely stripped, exposing the bare soil. The maintenance team then laid thousands of metres of irrigation piping down before more than 30,000 tonnes of sand was shaped onto the holes to produce a four-inch capping. The finishing team spread Creeping-Rye seed on each fairway area before the watering and fertilisation processes began.

Off the course, the entire venue has been remodelled, with a completely redecorated clubhouse, all-new club shop, modernised bar area, improved car park and signage, and upgraded practice facilities that include a state-of-the-art simulator room.

Despite a challenging winter, the club has been able to make great strides in continuing the renovation of the clubhouse area and green complexes, while applying the finishing touches to the new fairways. There has also been a complete bunker overhaul to manicure all 100+ of Chart Hills’ famous sand traps.

The full facility, including the striking and vast clubhouse, will be open and fully operational from 1st June, with Covid-19 guidelines adhered to at all times.

Examples of the latest major developments and what can be expected from the newly renovated Chart Hills Golf Club, can be seen in the latest episode of the club’s video diary series, Inside Chart Hills. To watch Episode Eight, click here.

For the latest updates on the renovation project, find Chart Hills on social media: Twitter – @ChartHills, Instagram – @ChartHillsGolfClub, Facebook – Chart Hills Golf Club.

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Only Mansfield Sand for Motherwell FC

Only Mansfield Sand for Motherwell FC: Paul Matthew, Head Groundsman at Motherwell FC, believes that Mansfield Sand is the only company to work with if you have a Fibresand pitch.

It is well documented how the experienced and highly skilled Paul Matthew has transformed the previously infamous pitch at Fir Park into one of the best playing surfaces in the country. Hard work, dedication, and an eye for selecting the correct products have been key in Paul’s six-year journey at Motherwell.

Only Mansfield Sand for Motherwell FC

Only Mansfield Sand for Motherwell FC

After entering the grounds management industry as a greenkeeper, he moved into football and Motherwell is the third club he has worked for. In that time, he has always been familiar with Mansfield Sand.

“I’ve used products from Mansfield Sand between the three football clubs I’ve worked at – Rangers FC, Wolves FC and now here at Motherwell FC so that’s a period of about 19 years,” he said.

“If you have a Fibresand pitch – then you have to go to Mansfield – it’s as simple as that. They deliver a very solid product and service, and they are a good British company.”

As Paul says, Mansfield Sand is a company with history and pedigree – in fact, its origins can be traced as far back to 1840. It has been a long-standing pioneer in the development and production of premium sand-based products and boasts the most up-to-date and advanced equipment currently in the industry.

From winter sports pitches, golf courses, bowling greens and all amenity turf areas – Mansfield Sand has a solution for all. In Paul’s case, he sees Mansfield Sand as a key component in his end of season renovations.

“I am predominately a Fibresand user and I will apply this at the end of the season at the renovation stage,” he said. “So, after we have taken the top off the pitch, we will then incorporate approximately 120 tonnes of Fibresand into the surface – but it all depends on how much organic matter the pitch has produced. Throughout the year, soil samples will be taken by Mansfield Sand to determine exactly how much Fibresand is required.”

Paul uses a pure sand and polypropylene fibre reinforcement product that is particularly advantageous when grass cover has been reduced due to heavy usage and wear during the winter period. It is incorporated into an upper sand soil rootzone and consolidated to provide a stable divot-free environment.

“What I would say, is that the quality and the consistency of the material, and the clean nature of the product is why we purchase it,” continued Paul. “Then there is the service you get from them as well. I predominately deal with Gary Cunningham (Football & Golf Sales Representative for Mansfield Sand) and if he tells me the order will be there on a certain day then it absolutely will be. They are never late, and I never find myself sitting there with the contractor waiting for the sand to be delivered – that just does not happen with Mansfield Sand.

“They are just a very professional company and absolutely reliable with solid advice at all times – that is how most would describe them.”

For more information visit www.mansfield-sand.co.uk

You can also follow the company on Twitter – @MansfieldSand and Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MansfieldSandSportSurfaces/

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SAGE is on for summer 2021

SAGE is on for summer 2021: With the government’s announcement outlining the road map for this summer, SAGE is officially ON!

Join us from 27 – 29 July 2021, for the UK’s largest outdoor Sports and Grounds Expo .

SAGE is on for summer 2021

SAGE is on for summer 2021

Set in the stunning surroundings of the Three Counties Showground at the foot of the Malvern Hills, the show will feature hands-on demonstrations and experiences, offering visitors the chance to see and test out the latest products.

Visitors can also observe leading exhibitors showcasing their products, without any limitations on space, while also hearing the latest ideas from within the industry.

SAGE brings together grounds personnel from a broad range of sectors, providing an engaging and well-resourced environment. The expo will advise companies on how to improve efficiency and cost effectiveness, exploring and showcasing the products that can help.

The government’s announcement out of lockdown has really opened up the summer; SAGE now sits perfectly in the calendar, and provides a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors and to see what is on offer across the industry. Our motivation is to give visitors a hands-on experience, without compromising on safety, and at The Three Counties Show Ground this is easily achieved.” Says Event Manager Vicky Panniers

“Our aim is to provide an environment that will benefit everyone from grass roots to senior management; we are very excited about what is on offer and we look forward to seeing you all.” She continues.

The Sports & Grounds Expo will be the highlight of the industry calendar this summer, offering a safe and proactive environment for those operating across all sectors of the sports and grounds maintenance industry. SAGE is a free event open to all, who are interested in the sports and grounds industry.

For more information, contact the team today by email: team@sportsandgrounds.co.uk, by phone: +44 (0)1684 580101 or visit the website: www.sportsandgrounds.co.uk.

Visitor registration is now open – Go to www.sportsandgrounds.co.uk to register and to be kept up to date with what’s to come! Follow SAGE news on Twitter & Facebook for updates.

The safety of visitors and exhibitors is a priority, the latest health & safety advice will be implemented, security measures including social distancing have already been put into action, hand sanitiser will be readily available and free pre-registered bookings for all visitors to reduce queues are heavily encouraged.

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Stronger sward for Gloucester Rugby

Stronger sward for Gloucester Rugby: Gloucester Rugby Head Groundsman, Stuart Lambert, believes that the use of Attraxor® plant growth regulator (PGR), has helped him to achieve a stronger sward while simultaneously reducing the amount of Poa annua.

Stuart started at Gloucester Rugby in August 2018 and admits to learning and adapting to the way the pitch plays every single day. This means that he must be flexible in his maintenance strategy and be open to new products which could make a difference to the pitch at the Kingsholm Stadium.

Stronger sward for Gloucester Rugby

Stronger sward for Gloucester Rugby

He came across such a product at BTME 2020 in the form of Attraxor® plant growth regulator (PGR). In further researching the product, he found that it came highly recommended by Mark Allen from Agrovista Amenity and Adam King, Head Groundsman at Oxford United Football Club.

“Attraxor® appealed to me because PGR’s are a significant part of my overall maintenance strategy to improve the turf and control Poa annua,” said Stuart. “2020 was a particularly challenging year for Poa so I was keen to see what the product could offer. Speaking to Mark and Adam gave me the confidence to try it and the results have been far better than expected.”

Stuart claims that a lack of sunlight to the pitch led to an increase in Poa: “In the winter months almost the whole pitch is in shade because the stand is so high,” he said. “This has been a big factor for the care programme I have chosen to adopt. Maintaining grass coverage is a constant concern in the lower light months and the thinning grass often gives way to Poa annua in the spring which takes hold. It’s a tricky combination to contend with.

The lack of light, winter thinning and then the Poa means the turf is high maintenance. Couple this with the winter months being in heavy use and it means we are regularly out with pitch lights to encourage growth in match torn areas.”

After carrying out a mini renovation in June last year, Stuart applied 1.1 kg/ha of Attraxor® with 20kg of 46-0-0 nitrogen fertiliser. Attraxor® contains prohexadione-calcium, a new active ingredient that regulates growth and also limits the spread of Poa annua by reducing seed-head production.

“It visibly weakened the Poa,” said Stuart. “It looked stressed but the rye around it looked good. It turned the seed heads brown.”

Following the first application Stuart is now confident that Attraxor® will form an important part of his overall maintenance plan. “It is good to have a product that strengthens the sward and improves density whilst weakening the Poa. I definitely intend on applying it again,” he concluded.

For more information about Agrovista Amenity, visit www.agrovista.co.uk/amenity

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