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The countdown has started

The countdown has started: Turf Matters catches up with Alan MacDonnell, who in six years time will join the elite club of turf managers who have prepared a Ryder Cup course.

Adare Manor has been chosen to host the 2027 Ryder Cup with the County Limerick club being the second Irish golf club after The K Club, in County Kildare in 2006.

The countdown has started

The countdown has started

While it is over six year away there is one man who is sure to use every day of the time between now and the Opening Ceremony to ensure the course is fit to match the occasion.

For Course Superintendent Alan MacDonnell the Ryder Cup will the be the culmination of many years hard work and preparation.

Alan took some time out to chat with Turf Matters about what the Ryder Cup meant to him and his team and the work that has already gone on and what is still to be carried out.

Turf Matters will follow Alan’s progress between now and 2027 and report on the various milestones along the way.

Turf Matters: How did you get into greenkeeping and to your current role at Adare Manor?

Alan MacDonnell: My career was meant to be something totally different – I was destined to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a member of the An Garda Siochana (The Irish Police Force) but my interest in golf started at a very young age and I was one of the very few children in our school in Kilgarvan Co. Kerry who used to play golf.

I played and very much enjoyed golf at my local course Kenmare Golf Club and further afield in Ceann Sibeal Golf Links in Dingle with my father and my brother. In fact, my first ‘paying’ summer work was on the golf course in Kenmare.

A job I loved, and it became in some ways my second career as I later turned down the opportunity to join the An Garda Siochana to pursue a greenkeeping career.

I studied Golf Course Management at Harper Adams in the UK for three years and part of my studies was a placement at Adare Manor, that was 22 years ago. I came as an intern, learnt my trade and was fortunate enough to rise through the ranks here at Adare Manor.

TM: Can you give a little insight into the nature of the golf course – strengths, signature holes etc?

AM: The course was originally a Robert Trent Jones Snr course which opened in 1995 and was redesigned in 2016 by Tom Fazio.

Set on an 840 acre estate The Golf Course at Adare Manor is a par-72 measuring 7509 yards off the back tees. The desire is that we produce firm and fast surfaces and offer superior levels of presentation for our members and guests.

The design is very much a classical design with two loops of nine and the 1st tee, 9th green, 10th tee and 18th green all within a pitching wedge of each other.

Each nine hole loop features two par-5s and two par-3s.

The front nine is very much anchored by a 15 acre lake which also acts as our irrigation reservoir. Water is again in play on the back nine where the River Maigue comes in to play on four holes. 14 of the 18 greens have elevated putting surfaces with Bent Grass surrounds which in my opinion is one of the standout features of the course; subtle but elevated putting surfaces with devilish surrounds that run as fast as some of the greens is probably the course’s greatest defence.

The premium is on accuracy of the second or third shot to the greens. During the construction 500,000 m2 of material was moved around the site to help to transform the fairways from a relatively flat terrain to being somewhat undulating.

The whole site has been sand-capped which assists in helping us produce the firmness that we desire. The course is wall to wall maintained grass with the highest height of cut being 25mm.

My favourite hole is the 9th which is a 633 yard, par-5 with an elevated green and Bent Grass surround that is like no other on the course. With regards to our signature hole, the 18th receives a lot of plaudits, again a par-5 with a real risk and reward factor, and of course the Manor House offers a stunning back drop.

While the course in its original or in its present incarnation is still relatively new – you never get that sense at Adare Manor. The old world ‘feel’ which is created in some sense by the Manor House itself is further accentuated by the matureness of the trees on the golf course/estate and the hand cut stone boundary walls and bridges.

The countdown has started

The countdown has started

TM: What grasses do you have on the course?

AM: The fairways and roughs are Dwarf Perennial Ryegrass with Creeping Bent putting surfaces and surrounds. We have a little bit of Tall Fescues in the extreme out of play areas to offer as a colour contrast. In total we have over the years put in eight different varieties of Perennial Ryegrass, each chosen for its different characteristic, be that wear tolerance, shade tolerance, colour or fineness of leaf.

With regards to the Bent Grass we have Pure Distinction putting greens and Penn A4 surrounds.

TM: Very few Golf Course Superintendents have had the opportunity to prepare a course for a Ryder Cup. What were your initial feelings when you won the bid?

AM: I would be lying if I said myself and the team weren’t a little bit daunted by the challenge when it was first announced – excitement coupled with trepidation and the realisation that the biggest show in golf was coming to Adare Manor.

Once the excitement of the announcement abated, we began to focus on the programme of works and what we would need to do to truly successfully host such a prestigious event. There is not a day that goes by without a mention of the Ryder Cup from a member of the team. It is truly an honour to be here at Adare and to have such a huge sporting event in the calendar.

TM: Although the Ryder Cup is still a number of years away, how do you pace your course reconstruction work and generally working towards September 2027?

AM: We are, of course, fortunate that the course was reconstructed with the hosting of major golf events in mind and the Tom Fazio design team have vast experience in creating golf courses for such events.

So, the requirement or need for change is small. One of the key components of hosting the Ryder Cup is the size of the gallery and the requirement to move such large crowds around the course quickly, safely and at ease. With this in mind, particular emphasis is being placed on increasing our drainage on the ‘off golf’ areas, increasing our sand-cap on the entire site by 75mm over the next six years and widening some pinch points on the golf course.

Our normal agronomic practices will not change hugely – we are constantly monitoring the performance of the greens and surrounds, and we keep a close eye on our organic matter percentages, hydraulic conductivity etc to ensure we stay within specifications and we adjust our programmes accordingly.

TM: Have you been working closely with the European Tour in what needs to be done to make the course the perfect Ryder Cup/match play venue?

AM: We have a very good relationship with the European Tour and we have had extensive site walks with them. The Ryder Cup grows exceptionally at every staging of the event so the European Tour are assisting at every juncture.

TM: Have any previous Ryder Cup Course Managers/ Superintendents been in touch with you as yet with advice and will you be seeking them out closer to the time?

AM: Yes, indeed there have been many phone calls, text messages and emails from various Ryder Cup Golf Course Superintendents offering supporting words and wisdom. While I may not know some of them personally, it is a great honour to get such calls and messages from my peers. As the 2027 event draws nearer, I will indeed be leaning more and more on these peers for advice and input on the different scenarios that may face the team and I.

The countdown has started

The countdown has started

TM: Can you talk a little about the major projects which will be carried out on the course before 2027?

AM: A lot of the projects that we will be undertaking will be primarily to assist with people movement and allowing space for infrastructure to be erected, hospitality areas, grandstands and the like.

With regards to changes to the course these will be small, and this is testament to the work that was put in during the rebuild. There are no major changes planned for the course itself.

TM: To facilitate a major tournament, I expect you will build a larger team than usual. How do you manage such a large team and unique operation out on the course, is there anything you will do differently with the team before the Ryder Cup to prepare?

AM: Here at Adare Manor, we have a large, committed team, some of whom have been onsite for 25 years.

What our team brings to the course is dedication, desire and knowledge and with this we strive to give them ownership and responsibility. The Ryder Cup, like any major event, will require many volunteers and since the announcement there have been many messages from willing people looking to be involved and assist with the event, messages from Ireland, the UK, Europe and from the US.

A bit like the Ryder Cup itself we intend on putting a programme in place for our staff and volunteers that will reflect the quality of the course and the matches being played.

Ariens has the EDGE in zero-turns

Ariens has the EDGE in zero-turns: The introduction of the EDGE zero-turn mower from Ariens is a landmark in domestic lawn mowing. Manufactured in their UK factory, it reflects the engineering excellence Ariens is known for, and there can be no doubt it looks set to surpass anything else in its class.

Zero-turn mowing in the UK has been steadily growing as the alternative to the conventional lawn tractor. Intuitive, easy-to-use controls coupled with total manoeuvrability mean zero-turns work at speed to outperform most lawn tractors, cutting grass in half the time. The EDGE offers all this and more.

Ariens has the EDGE in zero-turns

Ariens has the EDGE in zero-turns

With a zero-turn, you are free to spend less time mowing and more time enjoying your garden. Driven and steered by the rear wheels via two independent transmissions, the easy control levers are all you need to drive, brake, steer and spin on the spot. Zero-turn mowing is fast. You can whizz around at 6 mph, and at the end of the mowing row do a 180-degree turn, align the deck edge with the row you’ve just cut and keep on going. You have reduced the cutting time by 50% over mowing with a lawn tractor. No more turn, reverse, turn again and straighten out and no stopping. Without a lot of forward and backward movement, the result is outstanding cut quality.

All zero-turns do this, but the EDGE brings a host of other benefits to the mowing experience. Ariens has built a tough, durable mower with a wide range of commercial style features at an affordable price. With its Ariens 635cc engine, the EDGE is powerful, but Ariens also build it for comfort. The plush, high-back adjustable seat with natural airflow enhances operator comfort while keeping you cool. Stepping aboard is easier compared to a lawn tractor. You just lift the handles and get seated. All the controls are positioned in ergonomic, easily accessible locations and mostly hand-operated, making this zero-turn simple to use and an effortless driving experience for everyone.

The EDGE comes in two versions: EDGE 34 with an 86cm (34”) cutter deck and the EDGE 42 with a 107cm (42”) deck. The commercial-style, four-point deck hanging system enhances deck stability and robustness for a premium cut quality. There is a foot-operated deck lift for simple changes of deck height. By pushing the pedal forward and using the lever you can select seven from cutting heights, from 3.8cm to 12.7cm (1.5” to 4.5”). The large 50.8cm (20”) high, 20.3cm (8”) wide rear tyres are gentle on turf, delivering excellent traction and absorbing shock on uneven ground to give a smoother, more comfortable ride.

The EDGE comes with a 2-year/150 hours warranty and a range of accessories is available. For more information, visit your local dealer or go to www.ariens.com/en-gb

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The Revolution has arrived

The revolution has arrived: MH Goals are proud to present our new lift and lower Revolution portable goal. With its 360° swivel wheel it’s been designed to go through narrow gates and accesses while still having the ability to be used on all playing surfaces.

The new Revolution goal is packed with features and has been designed not just for the top-flight clubs, but also for use at every level of the game. The goal itself is manufactured from our new reinforced aluminium section which is able to accommodate the lift and lower Revolution 360° wheels.

The Revolution has arrived

The Revolution has arrived

The in line Revolution 360⁰ wheel is able to lift the goal 60mm off the ground and due to its all-terrain solid wheels it can easily be used not only on synthetic surfaces, but also the most challenging grass pitches. The wheel mechanism is a triumph of simple yet effective design that enables the user to quickly lift and lower the goal with just a turn of the Revolution handle. What’s more this goal can also be used with our internal weight system, removing the need for any external anchorage. Like all of our aluminium goals the Revolution will use our Hold Fast net hook system ensuring your net stays safe, neat and tidy.

Matthew Harrod, Sales Director of MH Goals said, “The Revolution goal has been in development since 2018 and we’re delighted to now take the wraps off our first prototypes. Our overall aim for this 360° goal has been to design something that is just as usable on a synthetic pitch as a grass pitch, giving the user total flexibility.”

BTME 2020 was the first public outing for the lift and lower Revolution goal with further testing and development taking place at a number of table-topping Premier League clubs over the next few months. The Revolution will be available in all sizes from full sized to 5 a side, with the first production ready models ready for purchase in the spring.

The lift and lower Revolution is protected by Design Right No. 6081309 and Patent Pending No: GB1812267.1 (2018)

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Polaris Has It Covered

Polaris Has It Covered: Now is the perfect opportunity to make a great saving on a new Polaris Ranger Diesel. These robust and powerful Rangers boast Polaris Active Descent Control for smooth, controlled hill descents, automatically braking all four wheels (when switched to the appropriate setting) on steep inclines for greater safety. Handling and ease of driving is made lighter and smoother as well with Electronic Power Steering fitted as standard, making all-day riding a more comfortable experience.

Add to this there is currently a 0% finance offer available on the Ranger Diesel and to make life even more comfortable you can have a free half cab, with a limited period offer. Purchase a new 2018 Polaris Ranger Diesel HD EPS EU or Ranger Diesel HD EPS Tractor from selected Polaris dealers between 1 October 2018 and 21 December 2018 and you can receive the free half cab promotional package. The package includes 1x fixed glass windshield, to keep the weather at bay, and a washer/wiper kit with battery connection kit.

Polaris Has It Covered

The Polaris 0% finance scheme is available over two years with 2 + 22 monthly payments up to a maximum of 80% of the Recommended Retail Price. So you can take advantage of lower monthly payments and Polaris also has one of the widest ranges of accessories available. The 0% finance can include up to £1,000 excluding VAT on genuine Polaris ATV and UTV accessories, although of course you are already part of the way there with the half cab promotional package. Naturally, terms and conditions apply to both the 0% finance offer and the half cab promotion and you can find out more by contacting participating Polaris dealers.

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Rigby Taylor Has An Award-Winning Way To Mark Pitches

Rigby Taylor Has A Very Intelligent – And Award-Winning Way To Mark And Over-Mark Pitches: Intelligent One (iO), the world’s first autonomous robot dedicated to the hands-free, initial marking and over-marking of sports pitches, running tracks and much more, has won the prestigious Innovation Award at the SALTEX 2017 exhibition.

Available from Rigby Taylor – the company at the forefront of supplying innovative products for the successful management and maintenance of turf surfaces – iO combines the very latest technology with the award winning, global-leading Impact ready-to-use paint and is ideally suited for multi-pitches and multi-facilities marking.

Rigby Taylor Has An Award-Winning Way To Mark Pitches

It was for these reasons that a panel of expert judges selected iO the winner over a host of other contenders for the award at SALTEX.

Featuring a sophisticated built-in GPS-RTK receiver that links with a portable base station for accurate and reliable global satellite referencing, the iO operating tablet can plot and store multi-use line marking templates.

Once manoeuvred into place by the operator from directions sent by the tablet, the iO will, for example, mark out a football pitch – all the perimeter and playing area straight lines, the ‘D’ areas, centre circle, corner angles and even the penalty spot without the operator having any physical contact with the machine. Even pitches with fixed post sockets can be marked.

The iO can be programmed to mark multiple pitches as, for instance, at a training ground and will move to an adjacent pitch to carry on marking. It can mark all day long because it comes with rechargeable lithium ion batteries and changer.

Impact paint provides the brightest, whitest line that lasts, and as it is a ready-to-use formulation, there is no mixing, no measuring no pouring and no added water. The operator has virtually no contact with the paint since a flow tube is simply inserted into the paint container then the iO can start marking.

The iO is capable of marking the following sports surfaces: football – any length/width and including fixed sockets; rugby (union and league); multi-lane athletic running tracks; tennis courts; and lacrosse, hockey and American football pitches. The iO marking of additional sports surfaces is currently under development.

For a leaflet, demonstration or more information contact your local Rigby Taylor area manager or Freephone 0800 424 919, email sales@rigbytaylor.com or visit rigbytaylor.com

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Makita’s New Factory Service Centre & Academy Has National Role

Makita’s New Factory Service Centre & Training Academy In Glasgow Has A National Role: Makita UK has opened their first regional Factory Service Centre (FSC) & Training Academy in Glasgow’s Govan commercial district to support the rapidly expanding market penetration of Britain’s number 1 professional power tool range in Scotland and Northern England.  Whilst this new facility is already providing a valuable regional role the FSC has already been awarded the national responsibility for the secure environment of servicing Makita’s comprehensive range of dust extraction machines.

To carry out maintenance or repair functions on an extractor approved for use with Class L, M or H dust particulates, the repair facility must protect both the technician working on the machine as well as the workshop environment from dust contamination should material escape from the extractor.  The FSC facility will now handle all dust extraction servicing for the brand right across the UK.

Makita's New Factory Service Centre & Academy Has National Role

Commercial Photography by Ian Arthur

“The protection of our staff is paramount and that is why we have made this substantial investment,” says Norman Dodds, Manager of Service & Training at the Glasgow FSC.

The Factory Service Centre & Training Academy covers nearly 1000m³ on South Street in the G14 area and delivers technical repairs and maintenance services for the full range of Makita products, including all mains and cordless construction machines, and the rapidly expanding range of grounds care tools, including petrol engine products.

Training is a cornerstone of Makita’s marketing success ensuring that both authorised distributors and operators are fully conversant with the power tools, how to obtain the best performance from the machines and how to maintain them for efficiency and productivity.  Makita offers a full itinerary of training courses covering the extensive product range.  A key course: The Correct and Safe Use of Handheld Power Tools is a City & Guilds accredited course which offers either a user certificate or instructor certificate upon successful completion of the course.

The theory element of courses is held in a lecture theatre, followed by the essential hands-on practical work which is carried out in specially adapted and fully equipped training workshops.  Courses, including Health & Safety related and Correct Use, are of 1 – 2 days duration.  Any CITB certificated courses, which may include a combination of in-house and on-site training, relate to Abrasive Wheel training; an instructor’s course or user course.  Gas Nailer user training, chainsaw cross cutting and service courses, are also available.

“We are receiving a very warm welcome from all sectors of the power tool industry in this part of the world,” reports Norman Dodds. “I foresee that we will need to increase our staff and in particular our training personnel as demand grows from both employers and operators who can now benefit from this convenient location.”

For more news and product information about Makita UK please visit www.makitauk.com.  Follow us on Twitter @MakitaUK, Facebook.com/makitauk and google.com/+makitauk

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