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Club Car & London GC extend relationship

Club Car & London GC extend relationship: Club Car, the world’s largest manufacturer of small-wheel electric vehicles, has continued its long association with London Golf Club by delivering a new fleet of high-spec golf cars.

The fleet of 50 Tempo cars, famous for their industry-leading durability and premium comfort, feature Club Car’s innovative connected GPS technology which supports the maintenance of the club’s two Jack Nicklaus-designed courses as well as offering players a range of in-car services.

Club Car & London GC extend relationship

Club Car & London GC extend relationship

London Golf Club, a European Tour Destination and the host venue of this summer’s English Open, has chosen Club Car as its supplier for 22 years.

Stephen Follett, CEO of London Golf Club, said: “We decided to renew the fleet towards the end of last year following the huge amount of use the cars had last summer and with another busy season ahead. We viewed the reopening in March as if we were opening a new venue, and that meant reopening with a new fleet of cars. We also carried out renovations in various areas of our clubhouse, made upgrades in our IT and carried out refresher training with our staff.

“We wanted to show our members, guests, and visitors that we are a forward thinking venue that is committed to continuously investing in our product, services and people. This is our second fleet with the connected technology – we love it, our customers love it and it’s synonymous with London Golf Club.”

Kevin Hart, Director of Golf Sales EMEA at Club Car, added: “London Golf Club is one of the most prestigious venues in Europe and we are proud that Club Car has been its chosen supplier for so long.

“The club and its leadership are very much in tune with what the customers want and never fail to deliver an exceptional golfing experience. We look forward to this long relationship continuing in future.”

London Golf Club has hosted the European Open (2008 and 2009) and the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship (2018 and 2019), and will welcome the English Open from August 12-15 this year.

The newly installed fleet of Club Car vehicles marks the sixth that local dealer Bradshaw has delivered to London Golf Club over the duration of the 22-year relationship.

For more information about London Golf Club, visit: https://www.londongolf.co.uk

For more information about Club Car, visit: https://www.clubcar.com

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Fairways GM brings Jacobsen GP400 to Pitlochry GC

Fairways GM brings Jacobsen GP400 to Pitlochry GC: A busy course manager to two golf courses in the central Highlands has raised over £9,000 in his spare time for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance Service.

Almost a year ago, a helicopter rescued Stuart Griffiths after an on-course accident left him trapped for nearly two hours under a machine. Emergency surgery and thirteen nights in hospital followed, with Stuart happily making a full recovery and back to work in October.

Fairways GM brings Jacobsen GP400 to Pitlochry GC

Fairways GM brings Jacobsen GP400 to Pitlochry GC

Stuart’s day job is split across two glorious Perthshire courses, eight miles apart. Pitlochry GC has 18 dramatic and scenic holes plus a tricky six-hole Pitch & Putt course while near neighbour, Blair Atholl GC has nine holes, also with stunning backdrops of the Cairngorms’ National Park.  Both courses are owned by Pitlochry contractors, RW Bell Electrical, which in the last five years has successfully harnessed positive community momentum and a resurgence of visitors from near and far, to win some prestigious tourism accolades.

“I joined Blair Atholl in 2010 as head greenkeeper. In 2015, when Stephen Carruthers, owner of Pitlochry, decided to merge the two, he asked me to manage them together, which frankly, took a lot of heat off me, as I was caring for a nine-hole course with a large expenditure,” explained Stuart.

“So, I became course manager of both; the first couple of seasons took a little bit of sorting, in respect of taking staff and machinery between two places, but soon we were in a better routine than before. We are very lucky.  Blair Atholl had a decent set of machinery prior to Pitlochry taking over, so actually, there is very little machinery swapping, only say, when we are spraying or top dressing.

“Staff wise, we work it out, essentially, everyone’s at both. We’re a team of five – full timers Billy Hoggins, Douglas Black, Sean Menzies, and Rob Coughlan, plus our long standing volunteer mechanic, and cutter of rough, Frank Brennan. Traditionally, there’s a big weekly Wednesday competition for visitors at Pitlochry, so on Wednesdays after set up, we all come to Blair Atholl.

To boost their fleet, in April, Stuart purchased a Jacobsen GP400 ride on greens mower, exclusively for Pitlochry’s greens. Mike Lindsay, Area Sales Manager, from local dealer, Fairways GM at Kinross, was on hand to provide sales support and demonstration know how.

“It’s May, there’s snow on the hills and we’ve been out cutting with it twice,” laughed Stuart. “That sorts of says it all for the season so far, but we’re extremely positive and excited for warmer temperatures. Feedback from the team on the GP400 is very good. The overall cutting experience is great. Technology-wise, it is a big step up from what we’ve had; it’s got great design, is precise and clean and we’ll be able to cut the greens so much quicker.”

Fairways GM’s, Mike Lindsay, said: “It’s such an all-rounder when you’re against time and got greens to prepare. The swing-out centre cutting unit allows easy access for changing height of cut and routine inspection.  For access, there’s a neat step behind the front wheel and for visibility, the angle of the curved steering arm gives the best view of the right-hand cutting unit. Also a steering arm clamp, lets your arm take up a really comfy position.  It’s a machine that makes life easier.”

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TriCure™ delivers strength at Stourbridge GC

TriCure™ delivers strength at Stourbridge GC: A fateful combination of high footfall, hot weather and a failing irrigation system has seen the tees at Stourbridge Golf Club struggling to retain all-important grass coverage in recent years.

That was until Head Greenkeeper Steve Harvey switched to a granular feeding programme with trusted nutritional partner Headland Amenity. This, coupled with the increased field longevity and flexibility of application of TriCure AD™ Granular wetting agent, has resulted in a transformational improvement in tee strength and playability.

TriCure™ delivers strength at Stourbridge GC

TriCure™ delivers strength at Stourbridge GC

Previously holding the Guinness World Record for the smallest acreage 18-hole course, the maintenance of Stourbridge for Steve and his team of four is challenging – with the sites free-draining nature only compounding issues with footfall crossover and compaction. “A wetting agent and fertiliser programme has always been available to us throughout the season but being liquid-based previously, we seemed to struggle to get applications out due to a mixture of staff availability, sprayer pressure or weather windows” explains Steve.

“The well-documented drought of summer 2018 really took it’s toll on the tees. We didn’t have irrigation capacity to maintain these as well as the greens, so we lost massive amounts of grass cover which in turn led to a lot of weed ingress, particularly Yarrow which really took hold. 2019 saw record rainfall and an increase in visitor numbers which meant that when we got to the spring of 2020, where COVID restrictions also began limiting the mechanical maintenance we could carry out, the tees were not in a good way.”

Steve switched the tee programme over to C-Complex® 5-2-10 and Xtend® 15-2-20+MgO later in the season, with TriCure AD™ Granular wetting agent, applied in five applications at a rate of 12.5g/m2 through the hottest and driest months. “The ease of application and logistics compared to trying to manoeuvre the sprayer round the small, misshapen, push-up tees has resulted in a more targeted approach and results which speak for themselves. We have the freedom and flexibility to apply TriCure when spray windows wouldn’t have previously allowed, and the field longevity we get on our free-draining profile is significantly improved. Following the success of the programme last year, continuing it this year is a no-brainer to sustain the strength and resilience the tees now demonstrate.”

Containing the same active ingredients as in liquid TriCure AD™ soil surfactant, TriCure AD™ Granular offers an effective alternative to spraying – preventing hydrophobic conditions on areas that may otherwise be hard to access. TriCure AD™ Granular utilises DG-Lite dispersible granule technology as a carrier to ensure fast solubilisation with no pick-up or residue left after normal irrigation.

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Attraxor® reduces clippings at Broadway GC

Attraxor® reduces clippings at Broadway GC: Jamie Blake, Head Greenkeeper at Broadway Golf Club in Worcestershire, has reported impressive results after using Attraxor® plant growth regulator (PGR).

“We measured our clip rate before using Attraxor® and it was 25.9ml/m²,” said Jamie. “The day after we had applied the product the clippings had reduced to 17.7 ml/m² – an almost 32% reduction.”

Attraxor® reduces clippings at Broadway GC

Attraxor® reduces clippings at Broadway GC

Jamie first had his head turned by BASF’s Attraxor® when he heard that the product offers 70 percent biomass reduction and up to 75 percent increase in sward density. It was at this point that he sought the advice of Ray Hunt from Agrovista Amenity to find out more about the unique PGR.

“Jamie was looking for improvements with his PGR programme to achieve greater consistency from fewer applications and Attraxor was the best fit, so he decided to try it,” said Ray.

Jamie went ahead and was pleased to see quick results.

“The greens are predominately Poa annua,” he said. “We have been over seeding with Bent two or three times a year to create a stronger balance. When I looked at Attraxor® I saw it had a direct effect on the seed head production of Poa, so I wanted to be careful to not stress the greens too much. The label for Attraxor® states that a reduced dose of 0.5-0.65 kg/ha is sufficient in areas with high density of Poa annua.

“We started on 26th June with a 0.5kg/ha dose and also used five kilos of sulphate of ammonia in a 300-litre tank to counteract any potential discolouration it may have caused. It worked straight away, we saw a reduction over night and there was no discolouration to the Poa or apparent stress which gave us the confidence to continue.”

With 34 years’ experience and the son of the previous Greenkeeper, Jamie felt confident to up the dosage after the first application. “I chose to see if we could realise any benefit from increasing the dose to 0.6 kg/ha. I made the second application on 10th July at the increased dose. The clip rate on the 10th was 20.34ml/m², and ten days later it came down to 16.36ml/m²,” he said.

Since using Attraxor® he has seen no adverse effect to the colour and the sward density has remained high. “It was worth trying the higher dose rate but we don’t need it, so I will be using 0.5kg/ha in the future. Attraxor® has fitted in well and is reducing the clippings considerably whilst helping to maintain sward density,” he added.

On the tees Jamie and the team have taken a different strategy. “We keep the grass longer and have more rye on the tees, so we opted for a dose of 1.0kg/ha for the first application. We don’t measure clip rates in the same way but following the first application a week ago the reports are good, and a visible reduction has already been reported,” he said.

Attraxor® reduces clippings at Broadway GC

Attraxor® reduces clippings at Broadway GC

Commenting on the positive results, Agrovista Amenity’s Ray Hunt said: “It is great to see that Jamie has achieved greater consistency with Attraxor® through fewer applications and that he has now extended the programme to tees and aprons. By using Attraxor® throughout the course, in areas that are cut regularly, Broadway GC has experienced greater control of the turf and fewer clippings.”

Jamie will typically apply the product until temperatures start to fall in September or early October. “We have opted for a 150-growth degree day (GDD) for Attraxor® and it is working well. In the past I have used Primo-Maxx with a GDD of 100 at the start of the year and then adjusted to 150 so I may opt for this at the start of the season with Attraxor® too.

“It is clear that Attraxor® has a strong effect and I will be using it in the future because even at a low dosage it is very effective on the green and at the higher dosage it is also working well on other areas of the course, so it’s here to stay,” he concluded.

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

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Downfield GC choses Super 500

Downfield GC choses Super 500: The resourcefulness and positivity of Course Manager, John Watson, and his team of six, at the parkland course of Downfield GC, Dundee, saw them through a tough ‘stop-start’ winter.

“You can only worry about what you can control,” said John Watson, brushing aside that a relentless combination of ice and 12 weeks’ snow cover, played havoc with well laid plans for the first quarter of the year.

Downfield GC choses Super 500

Downfield GC choses Super 500

Fortunately, John Watson’s purchase of two machines from local dealer, Fairways GM at Kinross, last November, helped him make the best of any weather windows.

The first was a Wiedenmann Super 500, 3-in-1 high dump, sweeper collector, which is famed for being able to keep working in frosty conditions.

“It’s been permanently attached to a hydrostatic tractor; it works a treat on that, so smooth. Primarily, it was for leaves and then of course, rough management. It picked huge amounts of leaves right away, and then a few storms meant we virtually had to start again. Leaves are vacuum packed nice and tightly. We high dump them into one of our 5 tonne cage sided trailers. We’ve taken photos of what it does and quite honestly, it’s so good, people think we’ve used Photoshop,” continued John.

The second machine is the Maredo MT200 Flex Verticutter, supplied via GroundPro to Fairways GM and indeed, to all Wiedenmann UK dealers.

The Maredo has three mechanically driven heads which follow contours individually and can give either a light groom or verticut, or a deep scarify, down to  a maximum 25 mm, particularly appropriate to greens, tees and aprons.

“I chose the Maredo for its manoeuvrability. It’s on a three point linkage behind the tractor so when it comes to doing tees or greens, it’s just a case of pulling up the lift lever. They are light, quick and easy to position in the tightest of spots. What I like is they drop the organic matter and debris behind the machine rather than up in the air and there is no running it over.  I was also conscious if you hit a stone, it wasn’t airborne, so for me it surpassed the H&S requirements and it worked better for us than others demonstrated. Just in the last few weeks have we been out scarifying the practice area ridding it of moss and organic matter down to about 8 mm. It’s neat and thorough.”

John’s ethos is to work smartly and productively, maximising output with all of his team involved.

“We have three tractors and they all work in tandem when we cut and collect the rough, we have one tractor running back and forward with the trailers, taking them to be emptied and to drop off points around the course, one blowing and the other working the Super 500 constantly with no wasted journeys back and forward to empty.  Same principles with the Maredos; when we are scarifying, we use our blower to row up the debris, the Super 500 to collect and trailers positioned for high dumping. None of this is rocket science but organise well and you make the most of a good day,” continued John Watson.

Mike Lindsay, Fairways GM’s Area Manager said: “The Super 500 and Maredos will work well together.  John had been keen to add them to his machinery feet for some time and now they are doing exactly what he’d planned.”

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Wiedenmann gives Worsley GC smooth start

Wiedenmann gives Worsley GC smooth start: Every buyer of a Wiedenmann Terra Spike receives bespoke instruction about how best to set it safely and optimally for local conditions. Almost always the installation training is given by one of the Wiedenmann team themselves, supported by a dealer representative.

This commitment to customer service began nearly 30 years ago, when Wiedenmann UK started trading, and it is still an integral part of the company’s sales package.

Wiedenmann gives Worsley GC smooth start

Wiedenmann gives Worsley GC smooth start

Not unsurprisingly, the installation session emphasises all Health & Safety considerations that need to be respected; everything from making the working vicinity safe to learning the right way to couple and uncouple the Terra Spike.

The Wiedenmann team member cuts the PTO shaft to suit the tractor/ machine combination, ensuring it doesn’t split on the longest point or bottom out at the shortest point, and, if required, they set the clutch on the PTO shaft.

Next, comes a comprehensive run through of the correct procedures: the dos and don’ts associated with starting, stopping, appropriate revs, depth and heave settings and, of course, the required maintenance.

Course Manager, Tim Johnson, at Worsley GC, a parkland course just west of Manchester, took delivery of his GXi8 HD in October.  He said: “This kind of H&S training session is hugely appreciated. Everyone is instantly knowledgeable, aware and confident.  The machine can go into service from day one with everyone using it properly, and I know we as a team, are doing our bit to maximise the lifespan and longevity.”

“We’ve had our machine nearly six months and its totally smooth, clean and fast.

“The other day we got three greens done in 40 minutes.  As a course manager, it makes life so much easier, planning and delegating tasks because you can deploy the machine for just a short time, but still achieve a lot.  We’ve had our fair share of wet weather so when the conditions are right, we’ve revisited areas of the course that need a little more TLC, and already you can see we’ve got a lot less lying water as we’ve removed some of the compaction.”

Kevin Pickering at dealers, Turner Groundscare, supplied the team with their machine and Wiedenmann UK’s, Andy Kerr led the safety briefing.

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Davenport GC vandalised

Davenport GC vandalised: A Cheshire golf club is bracing itself for a possible five-figure repair after parts of its course were targeted by vandals this week.

Read the full article from Bunkered here

Davenport GC vandalised

Davenport GC vandalised

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Xpedite® rescues Manor of Groves GC

Xpedite® rescues Manor of Groves GC: Having exhausted all mechanical methods of improving surface drainage, Manor of Groves Course Manager Lee Brinkley went into the winter of 2019/20 facing the challenge of managing saturated greens once again.

Or so he thought! A consultation with his regional Headland Amenity Technical Manager led to a trial of Xpedite® on four of the club’s problem greens and, despite it being one of the wettest winters on record, the greens had never been drier.

Xpedite® rescues Manor of Groves GC

Xpedite® rescues Manor of Groves GC

Nestled in a secluded spot on the Hertfordshire/Essex border, many of the greens at Manor of Groves are surrounded by trees, restricting both light and airflow to the surface. “It is no exaggeration to say that my predecessor and I had tried everything” explains Lee, who heads up a team of six greenkeepers. “We’ve hollow-cored, top-dressed, removed thatch and even installed drainage to try and solve the issue. Speaking with Peter Blackaby of Headland was a final roll of the dice to try and avoid the problems we’ve had for many years; with retention of water and the knock-on impact this has on overall playability and plant health.”

“We trialled Xpedite® on four greens, using the equivalent of 14 x 20kg bags per 500m2 of surface after hollow-coring last October, and were astounded with the results” Lee explains. “We had both mild, and wet conditions last year but the greens treated with Xpedite® stayed dry and playable throughout. This specific application dovetailed our existing nutritional programme which is delivering fantastic plant health, strong sustained growth and disease-free greens.”

Xpedite® is a soil amendment product that introduces non-compacting pore space into problematic rootzones. The porous nature of the Xpedite® granule, produced from diatomaceous earth, increases oxygen-holding potential and helps to improve permeability and drainage. In summer, it is able to retain water within its structure – which is then available to the grass plant during periods of dry weather.

Lee concludes, “Following the success we achieved last winter, we are about to hollow-core and apply Xpedite® on all 18 of our greens. The impact this will have on plant health should see us deliver the quality surfaces demanded by the golfers, as well as reduce the need for remedial treatments as we emerge in the spring.”

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Starlings part of the plan at Sherborne GC

Starlings part of the plan at Sherborne GC: Under the guidance of Agrovista Amenity, Sherborne Golf Club is currently embarking on an integrated pest management plan (IPM) to control a leatherjacket population.

Sherborne is a mature 18-hole parkland course set on a Dorset hilltop with stunning views over Somerset and the Blackmore Vale. Much of the course was designed by the renowned British Open winner and inter-war course architect James Braid and the Club is a member of the Braid Association.

Starlings part of the plan at Sherborne GC

Starlings part of the plan at Sherborne GC

Scott Johnson has been the Head Greenkeeper at Sherborne Golf Club for just seven weeks; however, he knows the course inside out as prior to his promotion, he was the deputy course manager for six years. Therefore, he was aware of the long road he had ahead of him in regard to controlling the leatherjackets. He immediately set his mind to the task.

“It was apparent that I needed to minimise the amount of bird damage by reducing the number of leatherjackets,” said Scott. “We have 4 or 5 greens that are getting torn apart on a daily basis by crows and rooks.

“Since I became the Head Greenkeeper, we have tried many cultural methods to limit the bird damage. These included the purchase of a bird scarer microphone that really was quite effective to start with – the members took them round as they played first thing in the morning and late in the evenings, but obviously you can’t expect them to keep doing that every time. We also had spinning CDs dotted around the worst affected greens.”

Scott soon got in touch with David Bevan, Amenity Specialist for Agrovista Amenity, who visited Sherborne Golf Course to take a look.

“It was apparent there was a problem with leatherjackets,” said David. “Sherborne is an ecological minded golf course, so I started chatting to Scott about integrated pest management (IPM) which I am a firm believer in.”

With many active substances now withdrawn from the turf and amenity sector, crucial practices such as monitoring and using a range of preventative measures within an IPM approach is being widely encouraged as best practice. David’s advice to Scott was to explore a more long-term, controlled outlook which would also reduce the need for purchasing products year on year.

“The immediate solution was a single application of Acelepryn, which contains the active substance chlorantraniliprole,” continued David.  “I also spoke to Scott about how starlings are natural predators to the leatherjackets and it was at this point that I recommended our WoodStone starling boxes – I thought these would fit in nicely with what Scott and his team are trying to achieve.”

Constructed from a mix of concrete and wood fibres, the WoodStone boxes comprise of a single 45 mm hole – which is the perfect size to encourage starlings and discourage other birds and wildlife. As David says, starlings are an important natural predator of chafer beetles and crane flies and can be encouraged by turf managers as part of an integrated approach to pest management (IPM). Their narrow beaks facilitate feeding on these pests whilst causing minimal damage to the turf and promoting natural aeration of the surface. David further explained the benefits of starlings.

Starlings part of the plan at Sherborne GC

Starlings part of the plan at Sherborne GC

“A crow tends to scavenge and tear the turf with its claws and beak to get to the leatherjackets, whereas a starling has a very short, sharp pointed beak so it tends to peck straight in and straight out. A starling won’t cause any notable damage to the turf, which is why we are encouraging them to set-up home.”

Scott purchased nine WoodStone starling boxes which have been put into various locations all over the course and David has warned him not to expect overnight results.

“We have just created a habitat for the starlings to nest and breed, and now we have to let nature take its course – you can’t really put a time on that. It’s certainly a long-term approach and the correct approach in my opinion. The more you can do to encourage the natural predator the better, whether it be golf courses, schools or anywhere else for that matter.

“I think the industry needs to start looking away from chemical controls as the sole answer where it can to be honest and Scott is certainly taking a more ecological approach at Sherborne, by encouraging what amounts to a biological control. We will continue to support him closely with what he’s trying to achieve.”

Scott was full of praise for the service he has received to date from David and Agrovista Amenity.

“David has been in to visit on a number of occasions now – always with fantastic advice and knowledge. The products from Agrovista are great and the continued support is much appreciated. I’m excited to see the results,” he said.

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

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Overseeding transformed for Kelso GC

Overseeding transformed for Kelso GC: A BLEC Multi-Seeder has improved both the speed and accuracy of overseeding at Scotland’s Kelso Golf Club.

With just Head Greenkeeper James Balmbro and an apprentice to maintain the 18-hole parkland course, the Multi-Seeder has improved the efficiency of their greens seeding programme, with a noticeable improvement in results.

Overseeding transformed for Kelso GC

Overseeding transformed for Kelso GC

Situated within the confines of Kelso racecourse in the Scottish Borders, overseeding is traditionally carried out twice a year across all of the club’s 18 greens. “Our manpower and available budget mean we focus on overseeding following both the spring and autumn renovation season” explains James, who has been at Kelso GC for five years. “Previously, we would simply broadcast seed by hand, or with a spreader, so it was important for us to find a way of making the process and end result more effective, to deliver the results we wanted to achieve.”

The BLEC Multi-Seeder features two, spiked ring rollers to saturate fine turf and amenity type areas with up to 1500 holes per square metre, ready to accept the seed. Re-engineered under the guidance of Redexim, it features a new seed ratio and seed feed system that offers the user incredibly accurate distribution for all seed types. “We’ve used some ultra-fine dwarf ryegrass in the latest operation, but have also had bent and fescue seed running through the Multi-Seeder without a problem. Within just 7-10 days, you can see the seed germinating from the dimple holes – the difference in the uptake we’ve achieved has been massive.”

“It’s a fantastic piece of kit that’s super easy to set up and adjust; so user-friendly in fact I’ve had our apprentice out there using it and he loves it! For us as a small greens team, operations all come down to time so the fact we can attach the unit straight to the tractor’s 3-point linkage and go, is great. We can get all of the greens done in one day with the Multi-Seeder and all without causing any disruption to the surface.”

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