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EVO 165D a great investment

EVO 165D a great investment: Almost a year on from taking delivery, Peter Greathead of PWG Tree Surgery is still being surprised by the seemingly ‘unstoppable’ performance of his GreenMech EVO 165D woodchipper.

From the very first demonstration, Peter was impressed by the design and build quality of the EVO 165D – which has proven to be a solid investment for the family-run business.

EVO 165D a great investment

EVO 165D a great investment

Peter along with his two brothers mainly undertake domestic tree works, along with assisting in larger-scale, commercial sub-contracting projects. “Over the years we hired various makes and models of chipper, before we decided to purchase our first machine – a second hand GreenMech Arborist 15-23. When the time came to replace our 15-23, we’d been so impressed with the support we had received from the GreenMech dealer network, particularly from Ashley Stevens at GA Groundcare Ltd, that we went straight to them to compare the options available.”

“We had a demonstration of the petrol EVO 165 initially, and as soon as it turned up, my brothers and I were dumbfounded by the build quality of it! Everything from the steel bonnet to the paintwork was much heavier-duty than we’d seen on competitor machines, which gave us the peace of mind we needed to invest.” The option for a foldable discharge chute meant that Peter ended up going for the EVO 165 diesel model – combining a 165mm chipping capacity with a 25hp Kubota diesel engine.

Having been used on projects both large and small over the last 12 months, one of the features that has really impressed Peter is the adjustable roller speed. “If we’re dealing with bigger timber, we slow the rollers down and the machine works with us to process the timber without stressing the engine. Conversely, if we’re dealing with bramble or ivy, we can up the roller speed and it’ll almost ‘suck’ the material in. This powerful pull through also means we’re not having to sned material prior to processing, dramatically reducing our chainsaw usage and improving our efficiency.”

Peter concludes, “The thought that GreenMech have put into the EVO series is clear to see, pulling together some of the features and benefits of their other machines all into one design. Our EVO 165D is constantly surprising us with the types and volumes of material it can process. As yet, we’ve yet to find anything that it can’t handle!”

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Multi-Seeder a great all-rounder

Multi-Seeder a great all-rounder: Impressed with the versatility it offered, sports ground contractors Bothams Prestige purchased a BLEC Multi-Seeder 2100 almost two years ago, but this year it has been busier than ever!

Its ability to conduct both the initial seeding operation, together with more routine overseeding has paid dividends for co-owner Josh Botham who notes the particular role the dimple seeder has had for renovations on Desso and hybrid sports surfaces.

Multi-Seeder a great all-rounder

Multi-Seeder a great all-rounder

Complimenting an Overseeder and a number of other Redexim machines on their fleet, Josh explains how the size and weight of the BLEC Multi-Seeder was a perfect fit for the variety of work they undertake. “The 2.1m working width of this machine makes is suitable for use on golf fairways and greens, as well as football pitches and racecourses” explains Josh, “and the fact that we now have the flexibility to choose between a disc and dimple seeder means we are well equipped to choose the best delivery method depending on the venue and ground conditions on a given day.”

“We’re lucky enough to work with a number of football clubs at all levels from Premiership right through to those in the lower leagues, conducting both in-season and end of season renovations and repairs. The Multi-Seeder is excellent for this. With the Desso construction of the Sheffield Wednesday pitch for example, the dimple seeding system safely, effectively and accurately saturates the surface with seed – recently delivering germination which the groundsman was really impressed with.”

As well as winter sports, the Multi-Seeder has been busy this year with cricket renovations. “A lot of dimple seeders aren’t heavy enough to penetrate hard clay profiles when it’s hot and dry but the weight of the BLEC machine saw it take this rock-hard ground in its stride.” Should difficult ground conditions demand additional penetration, the Multi-Seeder has the added benefit of an integrated weight mounting frame, allowing suitcase weights to be added if required.

Josh concludes, “Having used a range of Redexim and BLEC machines in the past we knew we would be assured of robust build quality and user-friendly operation with the Multi-Seeder. What you get on top of this is fantastic support when needed direct from Andy O’Neill or via Julian Simpson at Acorn Tractors, who has a wealth of knowledge and friendly advice when it comes to the BLEC range.”

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Great products for the great outdoors

Great products for the great outdoors: Leading manufacturer of outdoor equipment and power tools, Makita UK has expanded its line of cordless power equipment with an impressive range of new garden machinery tools, specifically aimed at the outdoor sector.  

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A Great Place To Be

A Great Place To Be: Scott MacCallum catches up with Phil Helmn, the man with the most diverse job in turf management…

I often interview turf managers at multiple use venues and marvel at their ability to switch from preparing a high quality cricket pitch to mastering the intricacies of marking out a 400 metre athletic track. However, I have just spoken with a turf manager for whom no turf related scenario is out of bounds.

A Great Place To Be

Phil Helmn is General Manager Sports Turf Grounds and Gardens at the iconic and wonderful Goodwood Estate and in addition to managing the golf courses, the cricket pitches, and all the areas around the famous house, at the hotel he also has kennels under his remit, and has to ensure that the grass airfield is functioning well and entirely safe for aircraft to land.

Oh yes, and he must ensure that the grass in the Estate fields operates at maximum yield for the cattle and sheep to eat while at the same time ensuring that the surface is strong enough, and of a suitable mixture, to recover from hosting marquees and structures which form part of the many huge events held at Goodwood.

Unless anyone can tell me differently I can’t think of any turf manager dealing with such a diverse portfolio, even allowing for the fact that Phil’s extensive remit doesn’t stretch as far as that other iconic Goodwood feature – the racecourse.

“That might be true, but I can’t honestly say I’m winning at any of it,” laughed Phil, for whom the comfort zone was very much golf course management until his talents, ability to take on challenges and manage a large team was identified by the Goodwood Directors and his job grew.

“We are, however, all working hard to ensure we get the best results we can.” Phil arrived at Goodwood five years ago as Course Manager for the Parks and the Downs 18 hole courses.

“I was promoted two years later and now have a team of 30 full time and 15 seasonals in the summer to look after all aspects of our grounds and sports facilities. The whole site is 12,000 acres, much of it forestry, but that’s a heck of a lot and even with 45 staff in the summer it’s not really enough. We could really do with more.”

Phil is in charge of six departments in total – Simon Berry is Head Greenkeeper for the Parks Course; Rob Dyer for the Downs Course; Andy Boxall is the Head Groundsman for the Airfield and the Main Grounds; Richard Geffin is the Head Groundsman for the cricket; Adrian Gale is the Head Mechanic and Georgina Page is the Head Gardener. He himself reports to Adam Waterworth, Goodwood’s Sports Director. Ultimately they all report to the Duke of Richmond, whose vision was the current Goodwood Estate back in the early 1990s and whose ability to harness a high quality team made it all happen.

A Great Place To Be

Phil meets with each Departmental Head on a one to one basis every week and while keeping on top of things is manageable, balancing the ying and the yang of the job is a task.

“A golf green has to perform differently to a cricket wicket and they both have to perform differently to a grass runway. The lawns are all different too, and then there are the fields where there is a conflict between parking 10,000 cars for a Festival of Speed or a Revival, and having grazing sheep and cattle. I have to learn about the right grass for a dairy herd so that they produce more milk or that sheep can be sold to market earlier.”

As for that runway, “MJ Abbott were contracted to level it recently. It is predominately rye grass with elements of the new tetraploids to assist with wear and tear,” he revealed.

While the diversity of challenge is what keeps his juices flowing it was golf which was his calling card into Goodwood.

“I grew up with golf, my dad was the pro at Morecambe Golf Club and I went to Myerscough College to study turf management,” explained Phil, whose career took him to the States and Cyprus before working on a new project at Heythrop Park, in Chipping Norton. From there to Goodwood, initially to manage the two golf courses. Phil attributes much of his success at Heythrop to the quality of his greens.

This is where he worked initially with David Snowden of Agronomic Services Ltd. With this target in mind, when he arrived at Goodwood, he chose to call upon Agronomic Services Ltd once more and work again with David Snowden, whom he describes as an extended member of the team.

“He’s a very clever man, and while he doesn’t wear a Goodwood t-shirt we definitely see him as one of our team. Phil jokes, “perhaps we should get him a Goodwood t-shirt.”

“The mind set I had at Heythrop was that it was all about the greens. If you can get them right most greenkeepers will tell you that you are pretty much on a winner. So, with David’s expertise, we worked out the best programmes based on Ana-Lync and we really got them singing. It was satisfying to see that when I left, they were in lovely condition,” explained Phil.

A Great Place To Be

“Coming to Goodwood I had a great working relationship with David and knew that the products he used would definitely make a difference. Hey presto we’re five years in and we have achieved what we were looking for from our greens.”

“Heythrop was a complete new build 80-20 fen dress to a USGA spec. Here The Downs course is on pure sand on top of a chalk hill so it’s extremely challenging. The Parks course is a different beast, a standard 70-30 mix and much easier to manage. We describe it as a mellow pensioner whereas the Downs is a temperamental teenager.

With two courses which are almost polar opposites Agronomic Services Ltd had to find two different types of solutions for separate growing conditions and different soils on the two courses, which each raised their own unique challenges. David works very closely with Simon and Rob communicating on a regular basis and bringing his expertise, combined with the work and day to day knowledge of the Head Greenkeepers and their teams.

Producing the desired results certainly didn’t involve a one-size- fits-all approach. Regular course walks with David, followed by soil and water testing utilising Ana-Lync for reporting and analysis, and then the creation a bespoke roadmap (Turf Action Plan) for each course, individually. The constant and combined monitoring of the course by the Head Greenkeepers and the team and the technical support, all come together to create excellent results.

The Downs was tackled with a combination of RZA Ceramic Granules, Eon Bio and soil enhancers, which enabled ‘tied up’ elements to become unlocked and therefore available in the rootzone.

“The products are great. They do exactly what they say on the tin and with David’s skill in combining them, it means that we can fine tune to exactly what we need. They are definitely the Rolls Royce of products – not cheap but I made savings elsewhere within my budget so I knew that I could have the control we need using the Floratine foliar feeds, combined with Agronomics soil liquids.”

While the work with Agronomic Services allows them to control the controllables Phil knows there is much more he can’t do anything about. “I know sports turf people will be able to empathise with me. My moods swings are tied in to the weather. If it’s good grass growing weather I’m usually pretty chipper but if it’s too dry or too cold I’m in a much lower mood.

“But what I’ve noticed most here is that if I’m praying for rain because I want to put on some fertiliser on the golf course I also need it to be dry over on the runway or the fields because I want those areas to be dry to peak. There is no perfect weather now for me now there are so many different areas with different needs.”

A Great Place To Be

However, with a glass half full rather than the reverse approach, Phil is adjusting his thinking.

“I’ve learned that whatever the weather it doesn’t matter. If it’s wet it’s going to suit the golf and if it’s dry it’s ok because I can do some topdressing. The area we look after is so huge each area will need different things. No matter the weather it’s ideal for something! So, to be honest, it’s fine I just have to take it as it comes.”

With the great and the good, not to mention the “A” list stars converging on Goodwood on a regular basis, particularly for the Festival of Speed and the Revival events, Phil has to pinch himself that he is a key part in the success of it all.

“It’s probably the best place I’ve ever worked, and I have worked at some lovely places and I’ve had a blast in my career, but the culture here on the Estate is fantastic, the diversity of what we deal with is also fantastic. But it is the culture which has got me the most.

It is very nurturing full of excitement and enthusiasm – let’s work out how we can do it, rather than thinking we can’t.

“It’s all positive vibes and a ‘Let’s go get ’em” attitude and it suits my personality and character perfectly.”

That’s not to say that he revels in the excitement of mixing with Formula One drivers and Hollywood stars. He never switches off fully.

“The events are wonderful here but, of course, like any greenkeeper will tell you, you walk around with a notepad thinking this will need doing tomorrow and I just get the lads to do that. Maybe a marquee could be moved six inches because it’s nudging up against a hedge. It goes with the territory. Even when you are off duty you are thinking ‘That’s going to be a mess when they take that tent down’.”

Speaking with Phil you do get the feeling that no matter what he is left to clean up at Goodwood he will do so with a broad smile on his face.

Etesia Hydro 80 A Great Performer

Etesia Hydro 80 A Great Performer: Inverallan Landscapes managing director, John Maxwell, has reported a number of benefits from using the Etesia Hydro 80 MKHP ride-on mower.

Established in 1998, Inverallan Landscapes is a family run business based in Stirling. Over the past 21 years the company has specialised in grounds maintenance contracting and has a large client base which includes sites such as business parks, office developments, tourist attractions, churches, nursing homes, hotels, car dealerships and residential developments.

Etesia Hydro 80 A Great Performer

Furthermore, its sister company Inverallan Garden Services, solely focusses on domestic gardens within a 30 mile radius.

The company also boasts ISO 14001-2015 Environmental Management and ISO 9001-2015 Quality Management Systems certifications.

Inverallan Landscapes has seen incredible growth over recent years and now has an impressive fleet of machinery which offers a solution for every grounds maintenance requirement.

John is quite particular when it comes to selecting machinery, insisting on using only equipment of the highest standard. Therefore, when he needed a new ride-on mower he was careful to ensure that it ticked all of the necessary boxes.

“I wanted a ride-on mower that was compact, light and offered excellent performance,” he said.

“We have limited space in our work vans so the machine needed to fit into the back of them, which proved to be a difficult search. We also had to consider that there are some considerably tight and awkward green spaces which we need to attend to.”

Measuring less than 1 metre wide, the Etesia Hydro 80 is easily transported in any vehicle whether it be a van or a trailer. Its compact size means that this impressive machine can pass through most gateways and its tight turning circle makes it ideal for small or awkward areas. It mows close to walls and fences and is highly manoeuvrable. Also, with its large-sized front wheels, the Etesia Hydro 80 easily overcomes all obstacles such as pavement kerbs.

It has been designed to cut and collect both long and short grass, without clogging. Add to that its compact dimensions, ease of use, hydrostatic drive and powerful 15hp twin-cylinder Kawasaki engine, and you have a highly efficient machine offering the kind of output that would easily replace three walk-behind mowers.

The Hydro 80 has been robustly built and requires minimal maintenance. Operators have access to the engine and all working parts and the hydrostatic transmission system is maintenance free. The specially coated 60 mm tubular chassis is also designed for strength and long-life.

“We have had the Etesia Hydro 80 for three seasons now and it is used mostly every day between four different vans. It is nice and light as opposed to some of our other larger equipment too. Up here the ground can be very wet and soft at times so the Hydro 80 is the ideal machine to get on and get these areas cut. We have the flexibility to mulch or pick-up the grass which is beneficial too.

“It is also brilliant when attending to large grass areas because as opposed to having two or three operators using push mowers, we can just have one person covering the whole area with the Hydro 80.

“Overall the Etesia Hydro 80 has been a great machine for us.”

For further information, please contact Etesia UK on 01295 680120 or visit www.etesia.co.uk.

You can also follow Etesia on Twitter @EtesiaUK for much more news, reviews and insightful views.

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

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Rigby Taylor Key At Great Yarmouth

Rigby Taylor Key At Great Yarmouth: Great Yarmouth Racecourse has been named as the best flat course in the Racecourse Association’s prestigious grounds staff awards 2018, and Rigby Taylor’s amenity products have played a vital role.

Combined with high-class groundscare routines led by head groundsman Richard Bradley, the use of a host of products as well as continual advice and support by Rigby Taylor this year saw the Great Yarmouth team succeed with a “well-covered and great-coloured” course during a racing season that experienced the hottest summer on record.

Rigby Taylor Key At Great Yarmouth

According to Clerk of the Course, Richard Aldous, the award reflects “both the success of the grounds team’s expertise as well as the efficacy of the products” that have been used at the site for the past five years or so.

“We use a range of Rigby Taylor products to ensure the track consistently looks and performs superbly,” he says, “and we’ve been especially pleased with the combination of using the Fineturf 6-0-18 and PolyPro 25-3-15 slow-release fertilisers and Microlite Activ-8 (both 12-0-12 and 6-0-24).

“Together these have enabled us to produce a track that particularly this year has received laudatory comments from jockeys, trainers and owners.”

He continues: “We re-laid the turf on the straight in 2015 to ensure we could attract top-class horses to Great Yarmouth and to provide opportunities, particularly for horses which might go on to big festival meetings such as Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood. This has certainly been the case this season and I’m in no doubt that the amenity products we use have played a significant part in that success.”

Rigby Taylor Key At Great Yarmouth

Staging 23 meeting each season on the course, from April through to October, the Great Yarmouth team utilises a year-round programme of Rigby Taylor soil testing regimes and products, including the Propel-R wetting agent, liquid seaweed, Greenor systemic herbicide, and Delta Sport granular and Microsol soluble fertilisers, as well as overseeding with the R14 100% perennial rye seed. This, says Richard, “not only germinates quickly and presents a sward that holds together excellently, but it also is very wear- and disease-tolerant”.

With expert groundscare routines coupled with regular visits from Rigby Taylor’s Technical Sales Representative Mark Keysell who, adds Richard, “is always on hand and offers an awful lot of support”, the Great Yarmouth team is happy that everything is being done to ensure they stay on track for successful racing at the 300-year-old racecourse.

For more information, visit: www.rigbytaylor.com

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Toro’s Great Results At Carnoustie

Toro’s Great Results At Carnoustie: This year’s hot, dry summer led to Sandy Reid, links superintendent at Carnoustie Golf Links, facing an unusual set of circumstances in the lead up to, and during, the Open Championship.

Weather prior to the Championship had produced the fast-running links conditions many had dreamt of, but the turf was so dry it was barely growing, and vehicles travelling over the course were causing damage.

Toro's Great Results At Carnoustie

“We were delighted with the conditions as it shows links golf off to the very best,” says Sandy. “But we were also apprehensive because we weren’t used to it and we had never prepared the course in conditions like that before. It was just so dry.”

So, to give the fairways all they needed throughout the Championship – a gentle trim – the Toro Reelmaster 3555-D fairway mower was perfectly suited for the task.

“We brought in a vehicle and buggy ban inside the ropes for a week in advance of the Championship and for the week itself, and this applied to everyone from the contractors, the TV camera crews, the R&A and ourselves,” explains Sandy, who together with Championship Course head greenkeeper, Craig Boath, managed a large team, and support staff for the week.

“The RM3555 fairway mower was absolutely perfect as, with three wheels and slick tyres, we could use it with the confidence that it was not going to damage the turf and as it uses the same cutting units as the Reelmaster 5410 we knew we would get consistency of cut.”

As usual Carnoustie produced a fantastically exciting Open with Italian, Francesco Molinari, producing a bogey-free weekend to top a leaderboard stacked with big names. Before Molinari had holed his final putt both Tiger Woods, leading with just nine holes to play for the first time in 10 years, and Rory McIlroy, tied second, had the galleries roaring their approval.

With three courses to maintain, Carnoustie Links have a substantial fleet of Toro equipment from a long-standing agreement with Reesink. But for such a huge championship extra equipment, plus Toro tournament support staff, were brought in for the week.

“It was great to have this equipment ready and waiting even if it wasn’t used as much as other tournaments. However, there was rain overnight on the Friday, which created some growth, and having additional fairway mowers meant that we could cut them from one direction, tee to green,” says Sandy.

And of course, the work didn’t stop when the players and public galleries returned home, then began the recovery work!

“We had the ProCore 648s doing solid tining and mini coring in some of the well-trafficked areas, so we could get some air into them and some seeding done. The HydroJect have also been very useful. We’ve got a couple of pedestrian ones, but we still have a trailed one which we put on the back of a Workman with some wetting agent in the tanks for some of the barer spectator routes.”

Having been head greenkeeper on the Championship course, working under links superintendent, John Philp, at the last Carnoustie Open in 2007, Sandy is well placed to assess the development of equipment in the intervening 11 years.

“I would say that there have been improvements. We’ve moved to 11-blade units, even on our triples, while we find the latest machines’ ability to follow contours and curves, particularly with the Greensmaster TriFlex Hybrid 3420s, so much better. The balance of the wheels and tyres means that you don’t see wheel marks to the same degree as you used to. They don’t put the pressure on the turf that the older machines used to.”

He is delighted with the support Carnoustie Links gets from Toro and distributor Reesink Turfcare, while the quality of the equipment itself pleases not only him, but his team of greenkeepers.

“It is first class machinery throughout the fleet and we have full confidence that whatever task we are doing we will get a great quality finish. The guys all love using it as it is comfortable, understandable and easy to use.”

‘Rest’ is a four-letter word not often heard at Carnoustie and there won’t be much of it coming up as the annual Dunhill Links Championship, with its host of celebrity golfers, takes place over Carnoustie, The Old Course, and Kingsbarns, in October.

Nothing to faze Sandy and his team, however, and, with the support of Toro and Reesink, it will all be taken in the Carnoustie stride.

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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