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Ipswich GC Purchase Terra Rake

Ipswich GC Purchase Terra Rake: Graham Brumpton, Course Manager at Ipswich Golf Club, has a sizeable list of duties earmarked for his new 2.3 m Wiedenmann Terra Rake.

“In all honesty we’ve wanted this machine since the day it was released. We purchased a rival machine literally weeks before the Terra Rake launch and had a severe case of machine envy ever since. Now we finally have one,” he said.

Ipswich GC Purchase Terra Rake

Graham Brumpton’s first trial of the machine was actually on the Suffolk  course’s Purdis Heath 18th fairway on the day it was delivered.

“I couldn’t believe its productivity and speed. My team were looking on impressed… the more momentum, the better the results.”

An immediate project for the Suffolk club, which comprises both an 18 hole and a 9 hole course, is thatch and moss removal.

“Off the back of the drought last summer – and bearing in mind we are a heathland course – we applied generous amounts of iron. Now we want to remove all organic matter that we can from the surfaces to open up the turf, letting moisture and light back in. We also drilled seed last year.  With such a dry autumn we didn’t get much of a take on germination. Then a very dry winter followed. I’m hoping despite everything, the seed bed is still in there.  The Terra Rake is exactly the kit to open it back up to return water and light.  There’s a still a hope to get germination from the seed.

“All fairways were terra-raked in March with a double pass.  It really rips into remove the organic matter but it also helps stand up the grass.  We’ve followed on behind with our blowers and collecting units and it’s made a real difference.  Like many greenkeepers in this part of the country we in the lap of the gods praying for significant rainfall to reap rewards of hard work done.”

Graham joined the club straight from school in 1990 and became course manager in 2012.  He now heads a team of eight.  Ipswich GC also purchased  a  Wiedenmann Terra Spike GXi8 HD at the same time, the club’s third Terra Spike to speed up greens aeration and micro-tining.

Co-ordinating the delivery and set up of both machines was Eddie Jack, Field Sales Manager from dealers Ernest Doe & Sons at North Walsham.

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Ransomes Jacobsen At Ipswich GC

Ransomes Jacobsen At Ipswich GC: A fourth five-year exclusive supplier agreement has been signed by Ipswich Golf Club for Ransomes Jacobsen turf maintenance equipment. Bartram mowers, supply the machinery at Ipswich Golf Club.

Commenting at the official signing of the agreement, Ipswich Golf Club’s Course Manager Graham Brumpton said,

Ransomes Jacobsen At Ipswich GC

“We have had a relationship with Ransomes Jacobsen and Bartrams for more than 20 years now. The Ransomes Jacobsen manufacturing facility and the Bartrams depot are just a mile from our course, so that is very convenient. Having said that, the service and the quality of machinery that we receive is truly second to none, which is why we continue to keep our longstanding partnership in place.”

Kevin Lovelock, Director of Golf at Ipswich Golf Club said,

“I am delighted to continue the close relationship with Ransomes Jacobsen. As a club we are very fortunate to have one of the world’s leading golf course machinery brands in Ipswich and it makes perfect sense for the two of us to work together.”

Ipswich Golf Club have since made a few purchases under the agreement including a Jacobsen LF570 fairway mower, a Turfco WideSpin 1550 topdresser and a Turfco Torrent 2 blower.

“Before signing the agreement and making these purchases, we also looked at other brands and products,” Brumpton continued. “We had demonstrations of different fairway mowers, but the Jacobsen LF570 came out on top. It was a unanimous decision amongst all nine of my staff, that the Jacobsen mower had a far superior quality of cut, and they found the machine the easiest and most comfortable to operate.

Ransomes Jacobsen At Ipswich GC

“At Ipswich Golf Club we are part of the Natural England Higher Level Stewardship Scheme. The aim of this is to bring the course back to heathland vegetation, as there is a huge decline in heathland areas and golf courses in the U.K. We are now seven years into the scheme, and the results are superb. We work closely with STRI, and we are proud of our reputation for environmental sustainability.

“Our relationship with Ransomes Jacobsen is enhanced by our shared values of sustainability. This is shown in the company’s product offering with the Eclipse 322 hybrid mower, which we use on our greens; the machine eliminates things such as oil leaks and noise pollution.”

Ipswich Golf Club is one of Suffolk’s most prestigious courses, and it’s 27-holes are beautifully presented over 8,500 yards of heathland with additional practice facilities. The Club will host the English Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship in August 2019.

For more information, visit: www.jacobsen.com

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From Ipswich To The World Cup Final

From Ipswich To The World Cup Final: Ex-Ipswich Town groundsman Alan Ferguson is in charge of the showpiece surface at the World Cup in Russia.

“There’s an advert on the TV at the moment that says ‘Born in Carlisle; made in the Royal Navy’. Well I was born in Scotland but made at Portman Road.”

From Ipswich To The World Cup Final

Alan Ferguson may now have reached the pinnacle of his profession, currently maintaining the pitch at the World Cup’s showpiece stadium, but he will never forget where his career started.

The 58-year-old joined Ipswich Town from Scottish giants Rangers in 1996 and, over the next 15 years, built a reputation as one of the best in the business. On seven occasions he was named Groundsman of the Year.

In 2011, he joined former Blues chairman Sheepshanks at The FA. First he worked on the pitches at St George’s Park, then, in 2015, he took on the playing surface at Wembley too.

Last June a second major restructuring by the association saw him made redundant. As one big door closed, several other massive ones opened.

UEFA had Ferguson working on projects in Turkey, Dubai, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Kosovo, with his wife Carol booking flights and hotels from the family home at Mendlesham Green near Stowmarket,

Then SIS Pitches were awarded the World Cup contract by FIFA and they asked Ferguson to be their head consultant groundsman.

“I have been coming to Russia for one week per month since September last year,” explained the Scotsman, whose own company is called Premier Sports Turf Maintenance.

“I’ve been in charge of preparing six of the 12 World Cup pitches – Kaliningrad, Spartak, Luzhniki, Samara, Rostok and Saransk – plus a seventh stadium in Krasnodar that didn’t end up getting picked for the tournament.

“It’s been a punishing schedule; I was taking eight flights a week back and forth across Russia. And the winter was brutal – I’ve never worked in such cold conditions.

“The temperatures in January, February and March were down at minus 15/16 degrees. The Luzhniki Stadium hosted a Putin election rally on March 3 and there was 23cm of snow!

“We just about managed to limit the damage. In the end we were left with just six weeks of decent growing weather, so with all that in mind – and how bureaucratic everything is over here – I am absolutely delighted with how the pitches have been. We left the grass a little bit longer for the first few games so that they would wear well later in the tournament.”

Ferguson has been based at the 81,000 capacity Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow during the tournament, a venue that has changed dramatically since Ipswich played Torpedo Moscow there during their UEFA Cup campaign of 2001/02.

So far it has hosted Russia 5 Saudia Arabia 0, Germany 0 Mexico 1, Portugal 1 Morocco 0, Denmark 0 France 0, as well as Russia’s penalty shoot-out win against Spain in the last 16, with tonight’s England v Croatia semi-final and Sunday’s final to come.

“The pitch has had 58 hours of use over 22 days at the time of us speaking,” explained Ferguson. “It will be 85 hours of use by the time we reach the final – and that’s exceptionally high.

“I’ve worked in big stadiums and at big tournaments, but the size and scale of the commercialism surrounding a World Cup is something I’ve never experienced before. The closest thing I’ve seen to it is the NFL games at Wembley.

“There were 20 hours of activity on the pitch before the opening game and 16 hours of those were rehearsals for the Robbie Williams concert. The other day Adidas had the pitch for six hours filming an advert for the new ball that they started using from the knock-out stages. There are two hour rehearsals just for the bit you see before the game when the flags are brought out onto the pitch.

“Everything is based around global TV. There are people with stopwatches everywhere. It’s a military operation. There’s a reason the Luzhniki didn’t host a quarter-final and that’s because we needed those nine days to add the extra media facilities needed for the semi and final – there’s a third of one stand devoted to that.”

He continued: “Teams are entitled to a one-hour training session before playing at a stadium. They are there to familiarise themselves, not do a full-on training session so it’s frustrating when you see a lot of unnecessary damage occur. Denmark were the worst for that.

“I’m pitch side for all the games, usually somewhere just to the right of the tunnel. I’m making a very detailed log of what happens to the surface – where people have slipped, how the ball is bouncing etc. An hour and a half after the game there is then a debrief where we get feedback from the teams and if they had any issues.

“Everything on the field of play is my team’s duty. We have to practice swapping the goals – the target is five minutes, but we did it in two minutes and 38 seconds the other day!”

Looking ahead to Sunday, Ferguson said: “I never thought for one minute that I’d ever do the pitch for a World Cup Final. Without trying to sound big-headed, I knew I was good at my job – but I didn’t know I was that good. This is the pinnacle. It’s incredible.”

And the journey doesn’t end here either. From the sub-zero conditions of Russia’s winter, he will soon be getting his head around the challenges presented by scorching heat in Qatar.

“From September 1st this year I will become the first senior pitch management manager in-house at FIFA,” he explained.

“The organisation has undergone a huge transformation in the last two years with FIFA Congress and advisors recommending that pitch management comes in-house.

“My role will be to oversee all the pitch-building activity for pitches to be used in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and 2026 in USA, Canada and Mexico. I will also support all other FIFA World Cups – the Under-17s, the women’s tournament etc.

“I will relocate to Zurich but will be on the road for much of the year.”

And yet Ipswich Town will never be far from his thoughts.

“I owe David Sheepshanks and Town a huge debt of gratitude,” said Ferguson. “They gave me my first opportunity and, for that, I will always be there to help the club in any way possible.”

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Ipswich Town Prize On Offer

Ipswich Town Prize On Offer: Entrants to this year’s Suffolk FA Groundsman of the Year competition — sponsored by Ransomes Jacobsen — are being given the opportunity to win a unique prize.

All entrants will go into a draw for the chance to spend a match-day at Portman Road with the Ipswich Town groundstaff.

Ipswich Town Prize On Offer

This money-can’t-buy prize comes courtesy of Ipswich Town head groundsman Ben Connell, who will once again head up the judging panel for the Groundsman of the Year competition.

He said: “We are delighted to offer a local groundsman this unique opportunity to join the groundstaff and be part of the match-day experience at Portman Road.

“The winner will spend time and assist the groundstaff before, during and after the game, finishing off their day by visiting the board room.”

Ipswich-based Ransomes Jacobsen will be sponsoring the competition, which is open to clubs in Suffolk who play at Step 7 and below, for a second season.

The winning groundsman will again receive £200 to be spent on groundscare equipment, with the runner-up and third placed groundsman receiving £100 and £50 respectively.

Entry details are on the Suffolk FA website (www.suffolkfa.com).

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