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Jacobsen helps Hamilton Park race ahead

Jacobsen helps Hamilton Park race ahead: Track Manager, Darren Bissett, says Hamilton Park’s turf will be more than ready for the start of their flat racing season scheduled to begin in May.

“Course maintenance wise, we are on schedule with the first cut of both the track and the lawns due within the next week, assuming conditions prevail,” said Darren.

Jacobsen helps Hamilton Park race ahead

Jacobsen helps Hamilton Park race ahead

Darren joined the team at Hamilton Park from Ayr Racecourse exactly 12 months ago, and his first year in the job could hardly have been more unexpected.
In June 2020, a delayed and shortened fixture list got underway, with eleven race meetings successfully staged behind closed doors by the time the season concluded at the end of September.

One huge positive for 2020 was that local grounds care dealer, Fairways GM, delivered two new Jacobsen mowers – the HR500 Rotary Mower for the track and the TR320 for Hamilton Park’s extensive fine turf areas.

“The machines were ordered by my predecessor after several very positive recommendations. They’ve worked fantastically, and I’m genuinely very impressed at how effective they are. The HR500 has great width at 3.5 metres which allows us to cut the whole track with just five circuits in around 2.5 hours. It makes quick work and leaves a very clean cut. The room that you get in the cab is exceptional; really spacious, so it’s great for the operator. Also, once you are finished, it’s incredibly easy to maintain.

“In March, we will probably only cut the track once a week until it gets a bit warmer and soil temperatures rise, however, come May we’ll have increased that to at least twice a week. Over the summer months cutting increases to three or four times a week as the fertilisation programme takes effect.

“During the racing season, we like to cut the day before a fixture and then again 48 hours afterwards. Height of the cut is set at 6cm for the next month or so, and when racing starts, we’ll allow it to grow a bit longer before cutting it to around 9cm. Changing the height of cut on the decks takes around half an hour, and it’s a case of moving just ten pins, so it’s very straightforward.

“Away from the track, our lawns are a great backdrop for weddings and events as well as racedays, and hopefully, this summer they will see a lot more visitors. Because it’s been a bit milder these past few weeks, the lawns are starting to grow. The TR320 delivers an exceptionally fine, effective cut, and it is so good at striping the lawns and leaving a professional finish – everything is really level. We cut the track and the lawns on the same day, so there will be times when we are cutting lawns four times a week throughout the summer.

“Last year, sadly, we were unable to welcome racegoers and event guests alike, and so we’re working hard to ensure the grounds will be at their spectacular best for when we can open our gates to the public once more.”

Rob Hogarth, Fairways GM’s Area Sales Manager, said: “The HR500 can cut all day long. Robust and smooth, it has built in consistency delivered via a feature called Automated Assist Drive, so no matter the conditions, the finish remains clean and sharp. The big cab that Darren likes gives the operator a superior view of what’s going on out-front; controls are positioned exactly where they are required, so you can also be extremely precise. The TR320 is good in tight spaces and challenging terrain. It’s a wizard at stripes, so it is great at keeping locations pristine and interesting, a nice touch for important wedding photography.”

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Toro brings improvement for Hamilton

Toro brings improvement for Hamilton: Based on a recommendation, Hamilton Golf Club in Lanarkshire, Scotland, opted for Toro for its irrigation refit.

And based on its subsequent performance course manager Bruce Cruickshank credited the Lynx central control system and Infinity sprinklers for being “years ahead of the competition” and delivering “a definite improvement to the course” which has helped increase membership.

Toro brings improvement for Hamilton

Bruce explains the journey to this point: “Our irrigation system, like many clubs across the UK, was originally installed in the late 70s so was overdue an update. We started the process by speaking to irrigation consultants about specific issues we were having with an excess of wet areas on the course. We weren’t sure if they were caused by ineffective irrigation or drainage and they were able to recommend an irrigation upgrade to solve that.”

It was bringing in Applied Irrigation to install the new system who recommended Toro as the best system to solve the problem, comments Bruce: “We were advised to go with Toro by Callum Oliphant from Applied Irrigation. He vouched for Toro as the best system on the market and as far as we’re concerned, he’s right!”

Not only was the process completed smoothly, but the new system also proved vital for keeping the greens to a high standard during the heatwave last summer, as Bruce explains.

“Using the computer to adjust the sprinkler water percentage was very useful during that time and we would have really struggled without Toro irrigation,” he says. “The incredible results we’ve seen really are a testament to the quality of the product. And praise must of course go to Applied Irrigation for the expert installation, Reesink Turfcare for the great back up provided, and to the club captain Michael Reilly for his work and support.”

Since having Toro irrigation on board, Bruce and the members at the club have seen “a definite improvement to the course” which can only certify the club’s first investment in Toro as a success.

“The Toro Lynx controller and Infinity sprinklers have taken updating to another level – they’re years ahead of the competition in terms of the technology and quality they offer,” says Bruce. “The control system is just fantastic and it’s so easy to use, being able to control so much on my phone is really useful. With the sprinklers, I particularly like that the spray height can be adjusted to deal effectively with windy conditions, plus being top accessible makes maintenance far easier.

“From start to finish, this process has been a joy to see carried out.”

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Marathon A Success At Hamilton Park

Marathon A Success At Hamilton Park: Stephen Fyles, track manager at Hamilton Park racecourse, has reported significant improvements since switching to a variety of Marathon Sport extended release fertilisers from Sherriff Amenity.

With a glowing CV including roles at Aintree, Epsom, the Jockey Club and now Hamilton Park, it’s safe to say that Stephen knows a thing or two about preparing a horse racing track to the highest possible standard. Along with three other members of staff, Stephen oversees the meticulous operations at the 4.8 hectare site which includes the maintenance of the track and all surrounding lawns and grounds.

Marathon A Success At Hamilton Park

Hamilton Park’s race season consists of 18 days a year throughout the summer months which Stephen says is the most intense time in the grounds team’s diary. Then there are non-race events such as functions, Christmas parties and weddings which the team also have to prepare for. As you would imagine, the track faces a great deal of stress and wear so choosing the correct products in his maintenance programme is essential.

“I came into this role three years ago with the mind-set of giving the existing fertiliser programme a chance,” he says. “I gave it two years but unfortunately I was finding holes in the regime – we were losing track pace, recovery times and generally were just not seeing the results I wanted.

“I had seen the Marathon fertilisers in action in a previous role at Epsom and knew what I could expect from them. Therefore I made the switch last year and they have worked incredibly well.”

For a number of years, turf managers have reaped the benefits of Sherriff Amenity’s range of Marathon fertilisers – the Marathon Sport range of extended release fertilisers provide long-lasting, balanced growth on golf fairways, tees, surrounds, sports fields and ornamental lawns maintained at a height of 10mm and above.

“We went with an all Marathon feed for the track over the course of the summer with four feeds and the results have been fantastic. It’s been a very positive year – the track has stood up to the heavy use and at the same time it is helping me meet the requirements of our soil analysis tests because at the moment the phosphate levels in the soil are high so it requires us to have a low phosphate fertiliser to stop them from getting locked in.”

Stephen chooses to use Spring 16.4.8; Summer 10.0.15 and Autumn 7.0.21 and applies them anywhere between the recommended rate of 20 – 35g/m2 dependent on conditions. In conjunction with the Marathon base feeds, Stephen regularly applies long-lasting iron liquid in the form of Sherriff Amenity’s GoGreen Energy and GoGreen Plus.

Marathon A Success At Hamilton Park

Containing seaweed, plant sugars, simple carbohydrates and trace elements that have been specially selected to give optimum results when grass is stressed, GoGreen Energy is a concentrated bio-stimulant, formulated to assist plant health and relieve stress symptoms. For instant greening of turf many turf managers choose GoGreen Plus which is a unique complex iron sulphate that may be used as a stand-alone product or more flexibly, as a tank-mix partner.

“The programme started with an application of the Marathon Sport Spring 16.4.8 in March to give it a good push because we carried out a good chunk of renovation work in the spring which wasn’t exactly the best of growing seasons. However, within four weeks we pretty much had full recovery on the track and then went with the Marathon Sport Summer 10.0.15 at the end of May which pushed us through our most intense period. It is during these summer months that the track is particularly under stress and this year, with the lack of rain, I was expecting it to be a challenge to keep the surface to where we wanted it, but I genuinely have no complaints.

“We applied Marathon Sport Autumn 7.0.21 in the last week of July to set us in good stead for our biggest fixture of the year – Ladies’ Night, and have chosen the same formula for the end of October to bring us into winter in good shape. As well as the Marathon products we have been applying GoGreen Energy and GoGreen Plus at six-week intervals just to keep the turf healthy and give it some natural goodness.

“Essentially, the Marathon products are giving me a balanced feed at the same time as giving us what we require going forward. They have worked well in low temperatures and the site has looked amazing all year.”

For further information, please contact Sherriff Amenity on 01638 721 888 or visit www.sherriffamenity.com

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