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Toro up for the job at Upminster

Toro up for the job at Upminster: It was word of mouth and recommendations from nearby customers that saw Upminster Golf Club opt for Toro irrigation.

When Andy Cracknell assumed his new post as course manager at Upminster Golf Club two years ago, one of his first projects was overseeing the installation of a new irrigation system, all he had to do was choose who to go with.

Toro up for the job at Upminster

“By the time I came on board the decision had been made that the system needed to be replaced but it had not yet been decided who would be best to deliver on our objectives, which included a high degree of control to advance the turf quality on the fairways and approaches in particular.”

And it was fellow golf clubs in the vicinity of the club in Essex that made a potentially difficult decision straightforward, says Andy: “Some neighbouring clubs in the M25 area were using Toro irrigation and getting great results. The ground here is London clay and can be particularly difficult to work with, which meant I paid close attention to their experience using Toro irrigation, mainly the Lynx central control system. Everyone was raving about how effective it was.”

This is thanks to the level of control the Lynx system offers, as well as the option to choose sprinklers such as Infinity that can be accessed from the top down to prevent the messy, difficult and time-consuming process of digging up the sprinkler body for maintenance and servicing.

Clay soil needs to maintain a steady moisture level – if it gets overly wet or dry it’s easily damaged when dug up or walked on – hence the reason why Infinity sprinklers appealed so much to Andy.

“It was so important to have a system that offered us the ability to irrigate specifically to our soil’s unique needs,” he says. “We had moved past the point where it was okay to be irrigating in units of minutes, we needed to get down to the millimetre. When treated in the right way clay-based soil has the potential to be really fertile and we’re starting to see the positive difference this level of control is bringing to the quality of the soil.

“We have 150 Infinity sprinklers on the greens, surrounds, approaches and three of the fairways and there’s just no comparison when it comes to adjusting in the field, they’re so easy to use.”

The club also has T5 and T7 sprinklers fitted to specification on the tees and because says Andy “he wanted to keep everything all Toro”.

Apart from ease of use and better-quality turf, Andy says the benefits for going with Toro don’t stop there: “We’ve been using the system for seven months now and we’re definitely making a saving on the amount of water we’re using. We used to use about 70 cube of water a night on the greens but we’re using around 30 now. When you’re irrigating off the mains that’s significant.”

Hopefully though it won’t be long until Upminster has a degree of self-sufficiency to its irrigation, as Andy explains: “We have a river we can do more with. It can certainly be turned into a feature as an aesthetic benefit to the course, but more importantly we can irrigate from it too. That’s one of our next projects.”

Upminster Golf Club’s irrigation system was installed by Full Circle Irrigation and organised by Reesink Turfcare, the sole Toro distributor in the UK for golf and sports fields equipment and irrigation products, and Andy says “it’s been an excellent experience. We’ve had four or five site visits from Cevan Edwards from Reesink and everything has been very smooth.”

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Lords Groundsman’s ‘Dream Job’

Lords Groundsman’s ‘Dream Job’: Karl McDermott, the new MCC head groundsman, may be preparing the Lord’s pitches for the World Cup final and the Ashes this summer, but when it comes to romance, Ireland’s first Test there will take some beating.

He is from Dublin, and his journey to the home of cricket, replacing the legendary Mick Hunt, has been remarkable by any standards.

Lords Groundsman's 'Dream Job'

His maths teacher at Mount Temple School needed somebody to help out in the summer holidays at Castle Avenue, home of Clondarf Cricket Club.

“I didn’t play cricket and knew nothing about it at the time – I played tennis instead,” says McDermott, 43. “I had never even been in the club’s ground which was half a mile from my house. The job was for a couple of hours a week, for five Irish pounds.”

He spent 17 years working there before joining the ground staff at Worcestershire in 2007. He then became deputy head groundsman at Hampshire in 2009, before taking their top job three years ago. Now his first summer at Lord’s will be epic to say the least.

He actually says he is not looking beyond Middlesex’s County Championship opener against Lancashire on April 11, but admits Ireland’s four-day Test from July 24–27 will be special.

“This is the dream job and I am looking forward to the summer hugely,” he says. “The World Cup and Ashes will be brilliant, but how many times will Ireland play a Test here again? It will be a brilliant experience and I have lots of friends coming over, including my maths teacher, who will be my guest on the first day.

“I have received lots of texts joking that the master plan is in place, but I just hope we get past day two the way we are playing. I have heard from so many people I haven’t heard from for years and years.

“After it was announced I got the job I went back to the club and there were about 80-90 people there to greet me. When the day comes up I will be very proud. I know Kevin O’Brien and Will Porterfield and a few of the older players.”

He insists Ireland will receive no favours from him however. “I will take a good pitch over an Ireland win,” although he adds: “Hopefully it will be a high-scoring Ireland win.”

Hunt, in the role for 49 years, was known for his fierce independence when it came to Lord’s pitches for Middlesex and England, and McDermott will maintain this tradition. But he did hint that there may be a bit more in it for spinners in the future.

“From a Lord’s point of view, we want a bit of pace, a bit of bounce and then some spin at the end. Speaking to a few ex-players they say the ball doesn’t seem to spin here too much. They are excited that might happen. I want that to naturally evolve though. This year will be just finding out how the pitches evolve over four or five days.

“When I was at Hampshire we never had any requests for the three Test matches we staged. I was always asked to produce the best cricket pitch and I expect the same here. Middlesex coach Stuart Law has told me he just wants to play on good cricket pitches – and win in the last hour on day four.”

McDermott says he learned much from the visit of the counties to Ireland to play in Trophy matches at the start of each summer, and names the 1999 World Cup match between West Indies and Bangladesh as the “favourite moment of [his] career to date”. He also spent winters working in Australia and South Africa as part of his education as a groundsman.

There is no bigger groundsman’s job than Lord’s, but McDermott says: “I am excited, not daunted. I am not one that loses sleep over cricket, I am quite comfortable where I am.”

Lord’s stages four World Cup matches (Pakistan v Australia on June 23, England v Australia on June 25, New Zealand v Australia on June 29 and then the final on July 14). The second Ashes Test is there from August 14–18. But there is also a long list of other matches, involving – among others – MCC, Middlesex, the Oxbridge sides, Eton and Harrow, and the Village Cup final organised by The Cricketer.

“In terms of days’ cricket it’s not that dissimilar to Hampshire really but the big games are bigger here and the smaller games are smaller. It’s about managing that package, and at the moment that package is loaded in the middle. It will present some challenges but every county groundsman will moan about schedules and too much cricket. A couple of games squeezed in are not ideal but everything else is manageable.”

Asked how he could deal with potential criticism, he said: “It will be nothing I haven’t heard before. Comments come with the game. Everyone is an expert.”

McDermott lives in the ground, which he says is a “handy commute”. He has five full-time assistants and three summer helpers, and MCC Young Cricketers work with him on major days.

Lord’s is famous for its slope of course – a decline of 2.5 metres from north to south. “Mick told me to beware of it as the water literally runs down it. It is going to need managing for sure.

“He also gave me one great bit of advice. Make sure you get away now and again. Because the place does take you over with the volume of cricket.”

And has he done that yet? No. not with Ireland, the World Cup and Australia visiting.

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Makita Launch Job Site Radio

Makita Launch Job Site Radio: Makita’s first DAB Job Site Radio with Bluetooth, the Makita DMR112, is the latest addition to the audio range that will meet everyone’s taste in music and quality. With a dual power source by either AC adaptor or by Makita’s CXT or LXT Lithium-Ion batteries, that can be found in Makita’s cordless power tools range, this radio provides total convenience and cost efficiency.

The Makita DMR112 radio with Bluetooth is capable of receiving DAB, DAB+ and many national and local radio stations.  DAB+ is the current standard across much of Europe with the main advantage of being three times more efficient, carries far more radio stations than DAB, and at a far higher audio quality.  DAB+ is also a much greener technology because the overall transmission power required is far lower.

Makita Launch Job Site Radio

This radio has a two-way speaker system of twin 89mm diameter speakers that provide high quality sound and a maximum output, when using an 18V LXT Li-Ion battery, of 4.9 watts from each.  This rugged IP64 protection-rated dust and showerproof site radio has an elastomer bump-protecting casing, foldable antenna for added protection, an AC adaptor jack and digital amplifier and LCD display, which offers equal protection to the existing range from Makita.

This new body only radio has a Band III frequency range of 87.5 – 108 Mhz and is equipped with Bluetooth Class 2 to wirelessly play music from a mobile phone, MP3 player or tablet with a range of up to 10 meters.   A neat, flat top surface provides stability for mobile devices and features a USB output port that allows mobile devices to be charged from the radio.  An AUX-IN jack allows connection to personal audio players

This intelligent and rugged Job Site Radio with Bluetooth has a soft grip carry handle, that swivels to 90°, is compact and light weight at just 4.3 kg plus batteries.

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