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Versatile Variseeder key to overseeding

Versatile Variseeder key to overseeding: The versatile SISIS Variseeder 1300 has been key to overseeding without disruption according to Simon Marshall, Head Greenkeeper at Wishaw Golf Club.

Simon has been working at the golf club in the West Midlands for an impressive 26 years. It could, however, have been a vastly different story as rather interestingly, he used to be a candle maker and delivered them to churches all over the country. As a keen golfer, and already a member of Wishaw Golf Club, there was only one job he wanted.

Versatile Variseeder key to overseeding

Versatile Variseeder key to overseeding

“I have been a member at Wishaw since the age of 27 and I was so keen to get into greenkeeping that I spent the first summer helping out around the course, raking bunkers, cutting tees, and slowly learning the business.”

His willingness and work ethic were rewarded when he was offered a full-time role at the 18-hole parkland course. Simon is now the Head Greenkeeper, and even though he admits that there is still a lot of work to do, the course is progressing nicely.

He explained that one such improvement was to start to incorporate more bent grass into the greens and to do this they needed to look at new equipment.

“Our aim is to try and get as much bent grass into the greens as possible and we thought that we could really do with a seeder,” he said. “The first one we tried was a slit seeder but it just caused too much disruption. It was at this point that our attentions turned to the SISIS Variseeder.

“I spoke to a few other greenkeepers from other courses, and they all recommended the Variseeder – it just seemed a no-brainer.”

The SISIS Variseeder is a versatile easy to use tractor mounted seeder with a variable seeding rate ideal for golf course maintenance and for use on lawns and amenity areas. It has a fast work rate, is low maintenance with few wearing parts and enables overseeding to be undertaken without taking ground out of play. Complete with a studded roller, the Variseeder prepares the seedbed by creating thousands of little “plant pots” to receive the seed without linear grooves that can disturb play.

Versatile Variseeder key to overseeding

Versatile Variseeder key to overseeding

“I like the fact that the Variseeder is light and very easy to use,” said Simon. “We are quite a wet course in the winter and our tees experience a lot of wear. Therefore, the lighter the machine the better and the Variseeder is brilliant in that respect.

“Its versatility is its best feature. We overseed with it three times a year on the greens, overseed on the tees as much as we can, and the surrounds too. I also like how you can use it with different types of seed. If you can buy one machine that can do multiple jobs, then it is a bonus in my opinion.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact SISIS on 01332 824 777 or visit www.sisis.com

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

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Toro involved in many key milestones

Toro involved in many key milestones: Toro dealer Cheshire Turf Machinery, based in Stockport near Manchester, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Toro, and its UK distributor, have been involved with Cheshire Turf Machinery for at least the last quarter of a century and some time before that, as managing director, Steve Halley explains: “Initially set up as Cheshire Light Tractors in 1956 selling garden machinery and turf equipment, the company was bought by Flymo in 1980, before we took the business back into private ownership in 1996. At that point, Toro was already a staple part of the business and Lely supported us, particularly with demo equipment when we took over. We changed the name to better suit the ethos of the business in the supply and servicing of professional turf equipment and set our focus on a mainly sports based portfolio of customers.

Toro involved in many key milestones

Toro involved in many key milestones

“The company has been through many changes, but one thing that has remained the same is our relationship with Toro and its UK distributor Lely, then Reesink.”

Toro excels at creating enduring relationships, built on reliability, productivity and quality; many of its relationships with customers are 25 years and counting – and the same relationship longevity applies to its dealers too.

Steve says: “Toro has been involved in so many milestones over the last quarter of a century. Toro was our first machine sold and our 1,000th, and when we decided to branch out into the market sector of councils and landscape contractors in 2013, becoming agents for the Toro Groundscare range enabled us to do that.”

In addition, Toro has also helped in the company’s expansion and as a result of continued sales growth Toro awarded Cheshire Turf Machinery with extra sales and service territory for its commercial golf mowers and equipment, primarily to cover South Yorkshire, culminating in the formation its sales division, Yorkshire Turf Machinery.

Steve says: “We’re very lucky to have had and to continue to have Toro and Reesink on board, having their names associated to ours has benefitted us greatly in building up the business. There’s a very good reason why 70 percent of our product portfolio consists of Toro machinery and that’s because of its quality. I believe that if we do our job properly when we sell that first Toro, we’ll have a customer for life.”

And that leads nicely on to the other major contributing factor to the company’s success and that is the experienced team, says Steve. “Our staff are good at thinking on their feet, thinking laterally to solve our customer’s problems. It was really highlighted in 2020 just how much they care, and I can’t thank them enough for that as well as all their hard work over the years.”

Excellent staff retention means the company can call on over 200 years of industry experience. Special mention goes to company secretary, Bob Smithson. Steve says his wisdom and business acumen has helped guide the company from inception to present and his influence cannot be overstated: “Bob has been instrumental in the success of the business.”

Also key, has been the company’s ability to tailor flexible finance packages to specifically meet customer requirements.

While golf provides the company’s largest customer base, other company highlights include the successful relationships forged with football clubs such as Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool, as well as Preston, Blackburn, Blackpool, and Oldham.

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Kawasaki build quality a key factor

Kawasaki build quality a key factor: Kawasaki’s engine build quality has been cited as one of the contributing factors to Lawn Care Legend John Ryan’s self-employed business success. Along with its power, durability, reliability and performance.

John has been a lawn care contractor at his company, John’s Lawn Mowing Services in Bangor Northern Ireland for 23 years, he’s also the founder of one of the fastest growing social media groups in the lawn care industry, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to claim that what he doesn’t know about lawn care isn’t worth knowing.

Kawasaki build quality a key factor

Kawasaki build quality a key factor

Working as a solo operator delivering high quality, reliable and affordable grass cutting, John has learned along the way the value of having the right machinery for the job. He says: “It’s easy to think you need the job first then the machine, but the truth is you need to reverse that thinking. I’ve been there with the wrong machinery and all it delivered was headache after headache, lots of stopping and starting and unnecessary wear and tear on the machine.

“I started taking my influence from successful businesses around me and Kawasaki came up time and again for its reliability and productivity. I learnt that when you have a small team, having efficient machinery is like having another couple of people. It’s the best investment you’ll make for your business and if you compromise on quality, you compromise on profitability and success.”

In his fleet John has three mowers powered by Kawasaki engines. His Ferris 36-inch Soft Ride Stand-on SRS and Ariens Zenith 60 Zero-Turn mower both feature a powerful, heavy-duty Kawasaki FX engine, while Kawasaki’s FJ180V KAI – a durable, commercial-quality single cylinder engine – powers his Weibang pedestrian mower.

So, what makes machines powered by Kawasaki such a safe bet? Lots of reasons, but significantly the quality of their engineering, raw materials and components. The FJ180V KAI and FX Series engines all feature metal engine covers, for example, to protect them throughout a life of heavy commercial use and repeated transport from job to job. Both also use dual-stage, high particle capture air filters, for a cleaner air intake, vital for combustion efficiency and engine performance. Cast iron is chosen to line the engine cylinders – a material highly resistant to the wear, temperature and pressure inside the engine cylinder. Added to that, everyone who assembles a Kawasaki engine also rigorously inspects it, and every finished engine, not just a sample, is test-run before being sold – a major contributory factor to Kawasaki’s reliability, durability and consistency.

John says about these choices: “Kawasaki is a name that speaks for itself and my machines have never let me down. As we all know if you’re not cutting, you’re not earning, so downtime has always been a deciding factor in my machinery choices. With these machines, downtime is absolutely minimal and I can get a lot done in a lot less time.”

It’s not just the machinery to which John attributes to his success, it’s the support of a good dealer too. He says: “Dealers are the backbone of the industry and a decent one will pull out all the stops to help you. As a commercial contractor and it being just me, that’s been something I’ve relied on in my career and it’s played a big part in the success of the business. Not having that support can result in a knock-on effect to your schedule and can set you back, delaying other jobs.”

Alongside build quality, power, performance and reliability, John says the ergonomics and aesthetics of the machine is important too: “The Kawasaki name speaks for itself. When you turn up to a job with machines powered by Kawasaki, it instils confidence in customers and represents the sign of a professional outfit.”

And all these factors have certainly proved effective for John; if 23 years industry experience, a thriving contract business, and 5000 Lawn Care Legends Social Media followers are anything to go by!

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Confidence is the key

Confidence is the key: Bruce Elliot, Crystal Palace FC’s Head of Grounds and Estates, claims that his overall confidence in the Dennis brand was a major factor in the club’s decision to purchase six PRO 34R rotary mowers.

After using smaller rotary mowers for several years, Bruce decided that it was time to start exploring larger machines. The aim was to speed up the task of cleaning pitches after games and training sessions. However, his first experience of larger rotary mowers was not quite what he was expecting.

Confidence is the key

Confidence is the key

“The smaller rotaries were good but time consuming, so this was the reason we wanted larger rotaries,” said Bruce. “The Dennis rotary mowers hadn’t been launched at that moment in time, so we went with an alternative machine which unfortunately didn’t work out as we had expected.

“Therefore, when the Dennis PRO 34R’s were launched, it was something we seriously looked at because we place great trust in the reliability and the quality of the rest of the Dennis machinery. We had the confidence to just go and get the units and we purchased six – four for the first team training ground and two for Selhurst Park.”

Bruce may well have had to wait a while for the release of the PRO 34R but no stone was left unturned in its creation. Following the original prototype, the mower was refined and developed over a period of 12 months based on the input from the groundsmen who would eventually be using it.

Designed to help groundsmen achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface the Dennis PRO 34R is a 34” (860mm) rotary mower ideal for sports pitches and lawns producing the enviable ‘Dennis Stripes’ while a powerful vacuum flow collects debris quickly and efficiently.

The angle of the cutting deck and twin blades can be easily adjusted using a single ‘click adjuster’ ensuring the mower is suitable for changing conditions and meeting groundsmen’s requirements.

It wasn’t long before the Dennis PRO 34R’s were performing in exactly the way Bruce wanted them to.

“With the smaller rotary mowers, we used to be able to do one pitch with four members of staff and it would take an hour. With the PRO 34R’s we can still do a pitch in an hour but only with two people – which is a huge benefit and is exactly what we wanted to achieve.

“Freeing up two members of staff, who can then tend to other tasks such as spraying, verticutting, or whatever it may be, is brilliant for us. We can either put all the staff on the rotaries and get the job done even more quickly or we can divide the workload – it’s nice to have that flexibility.”

Bruce further explained just how effective the PRO 34R’s are:

“The mowers are set to pick debris up and they do a fantastic job because the brush unit at the front flicks all the grass up as well,” he said. “In fact, I think this was part of the reason why we were so successful on the stadium pitch last season because we were constantly cleaning out the debris with the PRO 34R’s.

“They are used predominately to clean the debris up but we do use them to cut when the grass is actively growing well – the presentation from the machines is of such a high quality that I am confident to present pitches with them.

“We are now looking to buy four more for the academy ground so that would give us ten PRO 34R’s in total,” continued Bruce. “I think this shows just how confident we are in these mowers – the grounds team enjoy using them; they are robust, and they are efficient.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

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

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MM the key to course improvements

MM the key to course improvements: Visitors to the Limagrain UK stand (162), located in the Blue Zone at BTME 2020, can expect a range of market leading products that can significantly improve both the quality and aesthetics of a golf course.

For 2020 there will be two new exciting MM mixtures which will offer turf managers new grass seed solutions for golf and general sports turf.

MM the key to course improvements

As the demand and pressure placed on the modern-day greenkeeper to produce a consistent playing surface continually grows, seed quality, purity and vigour are the essential ingredients for a first-class golf course and Limagrain’s MM range of seed mixture provides exactly these.

For over 30 years, greenkeepers and course managers have been enjoying the benefits by choosing the MM brand and the high-quality varieties used in MM mixtures. All varieties are thoroughly tested at the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) – ensuring that the finished product will meet your requirements for play, appearance and maintenance.

For golf greens MM9 – a three-way Browntop bent mixture continues to be a leading mixture for renovations and species exchange. For links style courses and sustainable golf, MM8 offers a great option – a three-way fescue mix with excellent disease resistance, drought tolerance and minimal fertiliser requirements gives course managers a fine, dense sward. MM8 contains varieties such as Nikky and Aporina which have proved to be successful in coastal conditions.

If you are looking for a mixture ideal for tees and fairways, then the 100% ryegrass MM50 should be considered. It is capable of rapid establishment and fast recovery from divot scarring plus high wear tolerance and has extremely fine appearance

For links style golf where damage and wear are lower, MM12 or MM13, are both well suited to this challenging environment as they are drought tolerant and have low maintenance requirements.

Visitors to the stand can also find out how Limagrain’s Wildflower and Colour Splash mixtures have been benefiting countless golf courses throughout the UK and beyond. The mixtures are ideal for those wanting to bring a splash of colour to their golf course as well as attracting some fantastic wildlife.

With a wide range of mixtures available, both the Wildflower and Colour Splash mixtures are extremely easy to sow and the resulting flowers are vigorous plants which are more than capable of competing with weeds. Their vigour is equally matched by robustness; resisting long periods of drought. They are also fast flowering and cost effective.

Limagrain’s amenity seed specialists will all be on hand at BTME to discuss the products in more detail and will also be available to offer their expertise on any queries you may have.

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/amenity – you can also follow the company on Twitter: @MM_Seed

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Graden CSI Key At Bransford GC

Graden CSI Key At Bransford GC: With changes in pesticide legislation having an ever-deepening effect on Sportsturf quality, the drive for turf managers to shift their nutritional and mechanical maintenance to a proactive approach has never been more important. Graham Wallace, Golf Course Manager at the Bank House Hotel’s Bransford Golf Club, is doing just that and has recently invested in a Graden CSI from Charterhouse Turf Machinery to help them produce strong greens.

“The course has sand-based greens but, due to the poor quality of sand used during construction, are unfortunately susceptible to holding water” explains Graham, who is supported by a greenkeeping team of five. “With the upcoming changes in fungicide regulations it is becoming essential to keep the surfaces dry, and the plant healthy, as much as possible to prevent disease from taking hold.” To help improve drainage, Graham has conducted in-house drill ‘n’ fill across the 18 greens for many years, followed by passes with the Graden CSI to keep channels open.

Graden CSI Key At Bransford GC

“We were lucky enough to borrow a CSI from another course, but last year this was not possible, and we noticed a real difference on how wet the greens were compared to previous years.” Graham put a case to the owner and was successful in purchasing his own unit, from dealer Tallis Amos in February 2019. “Now we have our own machine, we can look to get out with the machine more frequently and can trial various depths and settings to achieve maximum impact with minimal surface disruption.”

Graham is hoping to employ the CSI at least twice a year, working at depths of up to 40mm to simultaneously scarify and backfill the grooves with better quality sand. “I made the decision last year to not spray any fungicides, with mixed results. I was hugely thankful that the members and club management understood it could be a challenging time to keep surfaces first-rate. These last few months certainly haven’t been easy however, by using our CSI in conjunction with overseeding and the correct fertiliser programme, we are in a great place to push ahead with our proactive approach and produce a strong plant in the on-going fight against disease.”

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INFINICUT Key For Duncan Toon

INFINICUT Key For Duncan Toon: As part of an on-going investment programme, Warwick Independent Schools Foundation have purchased two Cub Cadet INFINICUT® mowers, as well as a selection of TMSystem™ cassettes.  In a very short time Grounds Manager Duncan Toon says the vast improvement in the condition of the natural grass surfaces is down to these newest additions to his machinery fleet.

Four schools occupy the 8 hectare site of natural turf and sports facilities – Warwick School, Warwick Junior School, King’s High School and Warwick Preparatory School. Duncan and his grounds team of 6 are required to deliver top-quality surfaces for all. “I joined the school in June 2018 whilst it was in the midst of a significant investment programme and started sourcing machinery to help improve the quality of the grounds. I’d had a demonstration of the INFINI’s in my previous role at Birmingham FC and they’d been on my
wish-list ever since. I knew these would be key to achieving the quality we were striving for.”

INFINICUT Key For Duncan Toon

Duncan took delivery of an INFINICUT® 34” Fixed Head and an INFINICUT® 26” Floating Head mower, in quick succession. “Alongside the superior quality of cut, and striping ability, another big selling point for us working in a school environment is health and safety. With the INFINI’s being battery powered, we no longer have to spend time and money sourcing and safely storing fuel – and the noise emitted is all but eliminated meaning we can mow anytime including through the exam season. They’re also incredibly comfortable to operate, which is much more enjoyable for my guys while mowing large areas such as rugby pitches. In fact, they’re fighting to use them!”

The 34” unit, equipped with a 7 blade SmartCut reel, is predominately for use on the rugby pitch and cricket square, while the 26” floating head model will become their wicket mower. Duncan is also impressed with the cassettes from the TMSystem™ range that came with the machines – the PowerBrush™ and UltraGroomer™. “We’ve put the UltraGroomer™ across our cricket surface to thin out the sward and remove any unwanted Poa ingress and lateral growth. Compared to other
verti-cutters, this cassette is head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever used. When you think you’ve taken everything out, you go over again and it’s amazing how much more you get.”

“These machines have already made a noticeable difference to the health, presentation and quality of the swards” explains a delighted Duncan, who is looking forward to adding further units to his fleet in the not-too-distant future.

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Toro Key At Royal Cinque Ports

Toro Key At Royal Cinque Ports: Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club course manager James Bledge is on a mission to make the club a “bucket list destination”, choosing to invest in the complete Toro Total Solutions package to help it get there.

Regarded as one of the finest links courses in England, Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club in Kent has been impressing members and tournament players for 126 years and key to that longevity is the club’s determination for continuous improvement and investment. Most recently that has involved the club signing its second five-year machinery agreement plan with Toro, as well as installing a new Toro irrigation system.

Toro Key At Royal Cinque Ports

James explains: “Royal Cinque Ports has a lot of history and has been at the top of its game for over a century. Next we want to make this course a bucket list destination for golfers and to do that investing in our course maintenance is vital.”

This is the second Toro machinery package the club has invested in says James and when it came to investing again Toro easily came out on top in a series of demonstrations.

“With our first Toro fleet we saw a real improvement and you wonder if that could happen again. But it has,” says James. “Toro is an innovator and that never changes, the product just keeps getting better.”

Once the decision to go with Toro again had been made, the greenkeeping team and James put together their ‘dream package’ which includes four Greensmaster Flex 2120 pedestrian mowers, a Reelmaster 3100-D Sidewinder and three Greensmaster TriFlex 3420 mowers to name just a few, in addition to three Greensmaster 1000 pedestrian mowers and a Groundsmaster 4500-D purchased from the club’s previous fleet.

“In particular the new Greensmaster Flex 2120s have been great. The course seems flat from afar but is incredibly undulating, especially the greens, which can be tricky to work with. But that’s not a problem for the Flex 2120 – the head of the mower follows the green closely and contours seamlessly, so we don’t get any scalping which is pretty special. We have seen instant improvements in appearance and so have the golfers which is even more important”

With the decision made on machinery next up was who to trust with irrigating the course. “The quality of the machines is fantastic, and we saw the same with the irrigation system,” says James. “It became clear that the Total Solutions package was the best way to get our course to where we want it to be. Plus, we’ve got a great relationship with Toro distributor Reesink and sales rep Richard Wood, which made the decision a lot easier. Whatever we need they’re always there, whether that’s backup service or general advice – Reesink really feel like a part of the team.

“There are some incredible courses nearby doing amazing work and we want to be at that level. Places like Royal St Georges and further afield at St Andrews Links who also use Toro, they invest a lot in their maintenance, and it shows.”

With Toro on board, the future is looking bright for the club, but when asked which machine is James’ favourite, the answer is unexpected: “To be honest, I like to take out the Multi Pro 5800-D sprayer, not only is it highly accurate in its application and easy to use, but best of all, it has room for my dog Stevie to come out for a ride!”

With the new Toro machines and the new Toro Irrigation system just installed, James is confident they’re on track to turn the club into a top golfing destination.

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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SISIS Key At Beaumont Park

SISIS Key At Beaumont Park: Cameron Flitten, head groundsman at De Montfort University at Beaumont Park in Leicester, believes that most of his maintenance programme can be achieved by using just two key pieces of SISIS equipment – the Multitiner and the Quadraplay.

Head groundsman Cameron Flitten has a number of strings to his bow when it comes to sports turf maintenance. After starting in the industry with an apprenticeship at a golf course, he went on to specialise in the maintenance of cricket squares, football pitches and rugby pitches in his previous position at Loughborough University.

SISIS Key At Beaumont Park

Cameron has now been in his current employment with De Montfort University for three years but revealed that it was in his former position where he first became acquainted with SISIS machinery.

“I used SISIS machinery at Loughborough so I already knew that they were brilliant pieces of kit. We never used to have any problems with the equipment; they were reliable, simple to use and did an excellent job every time. I tend to always go with what I know works so I was keen to get some SISIS equipment in here.”

In particular, Cameron uses the SISIS Multitiner 1.8m and the SISIS Quadraplay 1.8m at the impressive Beaumont Park which plays host to the university’s men’s and women’s football teams. The facilities are also used by the local community and with a high amount of recorded usage, regular pitch maintenance is essential.

One of today’s most useful pieces of kit in any groundsman’s armoury, the SISIS Quadraplay significantly speeds up maintenance tasks by carrying out more than one operation simultaneously – making it ideal for groundsmen like Cameron who have several sports pitches to maintain.

This single-pass maintenance system incorporates a mounted frame for up to four implements such as grooming rakes, slitters, rollers and brushes. The implements can be fitted to the mainframe in any order and can be independently adjusted to achieve the desired effect.

“Quite simply, the Quadraplay is essential for us. We’ve got the slitter, the rake wires, the brush and a roller for it and we tend to use it regularly throughout the year. I like the fact that you can carry out a number of tasks in just one sweep which saves so much time. It provides the pitch with aeration, removes organic matter, gives the surface a good clean and then leaves an excellent finish,” Cameron explains.

The SISIS Multitiner is a tractor mounted drum-type aerator which is ideally suited to a range of applications from sports field maintenance, lawns and amenities. It has three drums with independent rotation and its interchangeable tines with a maximum depth of 100mm ensure excellent turf care when the time comes to aerate.

“At this time of year, we tend to use the chisel tines on the Multitiner because it ‘cracks’ the soil incredibly well and we find that it gives us a bit more depth. It’s great to be able to open the surface up especially when it is cold and wet.

“We rely on the Multitiner for drainage and aeration – to ensure that air gets into the surface and to keep the pitches draining freely. I would say that we try and use the Multitiner every couple of weeks and when the weather gets warmer, we switch to the solid tines. It only takes an hour to go over the whole pitch, so it’s incredibly quick compared to other machines on the market.”

“For me, these two machines help me carry out a huge part of our maintenance programme and we use them in tandem. They are well built, reliable and are key pieces of turf maintenance machinery for us here.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact SISIS on 01332 824 777 or visit www.sisis.com

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

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Riptide Plays Key Role At JCB

Riptide Plays Key Role At JCB: ICL’s Riptide, the no1 ranked creeping bentgrass, has been a key player in the development of the greens at the stunning JCB Golf and Country Club.

Set amid the lush green rolling countryside of Staffordshire lies one of the most exciting new golf courses to be built in the UK over the last decade. No stone has been left unturned in the creation of this remarkable 18-hole course designed by British architect Robin Hiseman of European Golf Design.

Riptide Plays Key Role At JCB

“This is a high end facility that people might only visit once a year or even just once in their lifetime. The whole experience has to be there and it is down to us to deliver that on the golf course,” said Callum Wark, Golf Course Manager.

No doubt those who play the course will be fully immersed in the experience and will marvel at the imaginative design concepts of the course. It is also inevitable that the course will provide the backdrop for compelling drama to unfold – history will be made and the finest players in the world will steal the limelight but the unsung heroes responsible for this magnificent course deserve every bit of credit.

The story that will not be told, is that throughout this four year journey, the greenkeeping team at the JCB Golf and Country Club have been involved in the whole construction process from start to finish.

“Myself and four senior greenkeepers were equally involved in all aspects of construction,” said Euan Grant, General Manager. “We had all been around constructions in the past but none of us had ever had direct construction experience. For greenkeepers to jump on excavators and dumpers, and to be ploughing and turning soils over is really quite remarkable. We have been fully engrossed in the project working seven days a week making the best of the weather when we can.

“It is a heavy clay site so we had to work when it was dry. If we got two days of rain then we couldn’t work for ten days and if that meant working at 8 o’clock on a Sunday night then we were working at 8 o’clock on a Sunday night.”

It is no wonder that Euan, Callum and the team speak about their involvement with an overwhelming sense of pride. After all, they have helped to create a world-class golf complex that will stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best. However, these modest greenkeepers are not allowing themselves to get that far ahead…yet.

Riptide Plays Key Role At JCB

“The tournaments will happen but first of all we need to achieve agronomic excellence,” said Euan.

“In order to achieve that, and in order to host tournaments, you have to be in that top percentile of golf course reputation and quality,” added Callum.

With the construction coming to an end, their attentions quickly turned to ensuring that they had the correct suppliers and products in place which would indeed help them to reach that top tier – and the greens were the first port of call.

In order to select the ideal grass seed for the greens, Euan created a trial area and split a nursery into five different rootzone amendments which consisted of a profile product – which was porous ceramic, a green waste product, two zeolite products and a straight sand. Six different grasses from six different suppliers were then applied to the rootzone plots.

“We monitored the germination rates, density, colour and disease to find out which product would be the best for our site,” said Euan. “We didn’t put any fungicides on them throughout winter because we wanted to know which diseases would be more prevalent. Based on all of the results, and also by looking closely at which was the strongest grass coming out of winter, we decided that we would go with ICL’s Riptide on a green waste compost / sand mix as per USGA specification.”

Exclusive to ICL, Riptide is the no1 ranked creeping bentgrass variety, it is ideal for seeding new areas or when used for interseeding as part of a course renovation programme. This fine-leaved, densely-shooting, creeping bentgrass establishes quickly, especially in spring, growing upright but low to the ground with high tiller shoot density and keeping its bright mid-green colour right through autumn and winter.

Riptide responds very well to lower nutritional inputs and less frequent watering, potentially significantly reducing costs involved in a higher maintenance programme and offering a more sustainable approach; less fertilizer, fungicide, scarification and verti-cutting.

Furthermore, Riptide was given top rankings for quality of appearance and disease resistance by the The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) and the United States based National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP).

Riptide Plays Key Role At JCB

Sowing at an application rate of between 6-8g/m², the team at the JCB Golf and Country Club used Riptide to seed and grow-in eleven greens in the first year and then nine the following year.

“We were germinating in five days and mowing in ten days,” said Euan. “Because it was our first year and it was a soft opening, we were under no pressure whatsoever to cut the grass down to achieve fast speeds. However, we were still getting 10.5ft without significantly chasing that. It is an incredibly fine grass.”

“We haven’t looked back,” added Callum. “The rooting has been amazing – we are 300mm of rootzone over 100mm gravel and even now, a year on from opening, the roots are way down into the gravel. They are incredibly strong roots.”

Commenting on the use of Riptide at the JCB Golf and Country Club, Emma Kilby, Technical Area Sales Manager for ICL, said: “I’m really proud that Riptide has played a big part in the greens here and the development of our seeds is growing all of the time – you just have to look at the new cultivars we’ve got which have a very high rating within the STRI.

“It has been incredible to be involved from the very start. From coming in here and just seeing clay to where they are now is a fantastic achievement. JCB is a great company to work with, in terms of their history, their ethos and their direction.”

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

For more news and insightful views, you can follow ICL on Twitter @ICL_Turf

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