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Leigh Expand Dennis Fleet

Leigh Expand Dennis Fleet: Keith Porter, head groundsman at Leigh Sports Village in Greater Manchester, has expanded his fleet of Dennis mowers by purchasing four G860 cylinder mowers and four PRO 34R rotary mowers.

Leigh Sports Village certainly lives up to its name by comprising of a main stadium pitch – a Desso Hybrid GrassMaster, three additional soil based sand ameliorated pitches with primary and secondary drainage and irrigation; and two full size, three seven-a-side and a 5-a-side floodlit 4G synthetic pitches. The village also features an indoor sports centre and a swimming pool.

Leigh Expand Dennis Fleet

It is home to a number of professional sports teams including rugby league side Leigh Centurions and Manchester United FC U23’s, U19’s and most recently the ladies team. It is also used by local teams and organisations such as Leigh East Amateur Rugby Club, Leigh Athletic FC, Team Elite Football Academy, Pro Football Academy and various age groups of Leigh United FC and Hindley Green Juniors.

Keith has been the head groundsman at this impressive facility for nearly eleven years and in that time has excelled in improving the quality of the playing surfaces.

To cut and prepare the pitches for match days he has long relied on the Dennis G860 cylinder mower. However, with games coming thick and fast, and armed with some rather ageing rotary mowers, Keith felt the time was right to add to his Dennis armoury.

“Quite often, we will have back-to-back games and have three games in a week – so we need good equipment for a quick turn-around,” he said. “Our old rotaries were about four years old and had become unreliable. I’ve used lots of Dennis machines in my time and they have always been incredibly reliable so we decided to look at their new rotary mower.

“We had a PRO 34R on a demonstration and were really impressed with it so we decided to go ahead and purchase four. It was also the ideal opportunity to bring in more G860’s because they have always given us great results.

“They are both light machines compared to competitors, so they are lighter on the pitch and therefore there is not as much compaction.”

The new Dennis PRO 34R is a 34” (860mm) rotary mower which has been designed to help groundsmen achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface. It is 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.

Keith believes the two mowers perfectly complement one another and that both play a vital role in his maintenance programme.

“We use the G860’s to cut the pitches for match preparation and then the day after the games the rotaries are used to clean up and present the pitches in time for the next game,” he said. “The rotaries keep it free from debris and nicely stripes them up – in fact, the presentation on the PRO 34R is very comparable to a cylinder mower.

“The rotaries also save us so much time because before we had the PRO 34R’s we used to have six rotary mowers out there at one time but now we just have four which do the job in a faster time. This is because there are two blades as opposed to one and a wider cut. A quick turnaround is essential here especially if you are going from rugby to football.

For a number of years now the Dennis G860 has been the number one choice for groundsmen like Keith. Lightweight at just 166kg; it is easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. The handlebar console houses the controls for – throttle, parking brake, roller drive and cutting cylinder drive. The mower also features a large diameter front roller with an adjustable scraper which has been designed for a precise height of cut control, giving an excellent finish on every occasion. The Dennis G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks.

“What I like about Dennis as a company is that they are very interested in your opinion,” Keith continued. “They are always asking you about your experience with their mowers and ask if they could make any improvements. They then go away and genuinely listen.

“It just adds to the overall package and everything about the company is great. The mowers are British made, they have been around for a long, long time, they put a lot of thought into the machinery based on industry feedback and their main priority is their customer.”

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 @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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Less Is More For Leigh Golf Club

Less Is More For Leigh Golf Club: Robert Ainscough, Head Greenkeeper at Leigh Golf Club in Warrington Cheshire, is perhaps one of a few greenkeepers who boasted clean, disease free greens during a particularly difficult winter period last year.

This was achieved by adhering to a preventative programme using a range of Syngenta fungicides from ICL, which saw him applying less product than he was previously when working on a more reactive basis.

Less Is More For Leigh Golf Club

It is fair to say that Robert is passionate about his craft and the young Head Greenkeeper at Leigh Golf Club has had an interesting career in his quest for personal development. As an ambitious 18 year-old he moved to Scotland in order to start his greenkeeping journey at the highly prestigious Loch Lomond Golf Club. He admits that cutting that position fairly short was one of his few regrets in life but he was young, had a girlfriend and in his words he ultimately missed ‘mum’s cooking.’ However, he quickly landed a position at Leigh Golf Club in Warrington, and soon displayed his qualities.

Three years later he was promoted to Deputy Head Greenkeeper but Robert felt that he needed to continue his development further. With this in mind, he emailed Royal Melbourne Golf Club, which is considered to be the pinnacle of golf in Australia. He was offered a two week trial and without hesitation he packed his bags. His trial was quickly extended but unfortunately his visa only entitled him to work for one company for a period of six months. This limitation didn’t stop Robert, and he spent a further year working at Manly Golf Club and Royal Sydney Golf Club.

Upon his return to the UK, Leigh Golf Club contacted him to ask if he would return as Deputy Head Greenkeeper, which he accepted, and then two months later, at the age of just 25, he was promoted to the position of Head Greenkeeper.

Keen to put his own stamp on proceedings, Robert started devising his own maintenance programme which included using a range of new products.

“I had learnt a lot on my travels and I felt I could really help the course,” he says. “At first I wanted to keep things fairly simple and I continued what the previous Head Greenkeeper was doing except I adapted it slightly based on what I had learnt in Australia. I changed the products around and it was at this point that I started using ICL and Syngenta products, such as the growth regulator Primo Maxx and Greenmaster Pro-Lite Cold Start and Sierraform GT fertilizers.

“They made such an improvement that at the start of last year I sat down with Phil Collinson (ICL Technical Area Sales Manager) to devise a full ICL iTurf programme on the greens, tees and approaches and this included a combination of fungicides to help keep disease at bay.

“This site can get hit really hard with disease,” he continues. “Over the years we have had too many scars throughout the winter and even in April. As a result, we ended up taking a reactive approach and applying products to get rid of the scars but I wasn’t completely satisfied. My whole approach to solve this was to go down the preventative route.”

Last year, Robert started his preventative approach with an application of Banner Maxx just before annual maintenance work on the greens in September. This was followed by an application of Instrata four weeks later and then finally he sprayed the greens with Medallion TL in December.

Less Is More For Leigh Golf Club

“The three applications worked incredibly well and the greens were clean and disease free – I even had comments that they were just as good as they are in the summer. Because ICL and Syngenta products are so good it gives me peace of mind as well. I know that I can have the odd weekend off in winter and relax. Now I know that if I go on holiday, I will have confidence knowing that I will be coming back to clean greens without disease.

“This year I plan on sticking to the same programme but with the addition of Instrata Elite. I’ll apply this after the initial application of Instrata before I spray Medallion TL in December.”

Commenting on the success of the programme, Phil Collinson said: “Robert now has a programme in place which means that he doesn’t have to spray fungicides every three weeks. When people got hit badly with disease, Robert was stood there in February with clean greens – and he actually applied less fungicide than others who were being reactive. He’s a forward thinker who understands that the preventative approach results in clean greens throughout winter.”

Robert admits that it took a while to adjust to the preventative approach, but the results have made it all worthwhile.

“My members want clean greens. The demands to attract new members is also high, so if our greens are clean with no disease then it all helps the cause. Because there were courses in the area who were hit hard with Microdochium nivale, we actually saw an additional 80 members join our club as a result.

“It can feel strange spraying greens that appear to have no disease – but it’s just getting into that mentality. There seems to be a lot of pressure out there and it seems to be a competition as to who has sprayed the less fungicide.

“Obviously you want to put a minimal amount down but we are actually finding we are using a lot less fungicide through the preventive route than what we were previously using when we were being reactive. It’s all about adhering to a well-thought out programme and applying the products at the right time.”

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

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