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Louth’s lease deal looks long term

Louth’s lease deal looks long term: Founded in 1965, Louth Golf Club is situated in the Lincolnshire Wolds, an area of outstanding natural beauty. 

The 18-hole parkland course offers attractive panoramic views from every hole over the Lincolnshire countryside and towards the Humber Estuary.

Louth’s lease deal looks long term

Louth’s lease deal looks long term

Responsibility for the course’s upkeep at this family friendly community club is down to a young team of just three full-time greenkeepers headed by Sean McDonnell, who was deputy head greenkeeper at East Herts before moving here from Bedfordshire about a year ago.

Sean’s arrival coincided with the club’s decision to upgrade its older competitive course maintenance equipment and invest in its first ever package for eight new John Deere machines from local dealer F G Adamson & Son, based on a finance lease deal with PowerGard maintenance set up by John Deere Financial.

The new fleet includes a 2500B triplex greens mower, 2500E hybrid electric greens mower, 7700A PrecisionCut fairway mower, 8800A TerrainCut rough mower, 2653B tees & surrounds mower, 3038E compact tractor with front loader, ZTR 997R commercial zero-turn mower and an HPX 815E Gator utility vehicle.

General manager Nikki Chantry, who is also a qualified PGA golf professional and was the club’s director of golf before taking on her new managerial role in summer 2018, had recognised that Sean’s predecessor was spending far too much time repairing ageing equipment and not enough time out on the course.

They were familiar with John Deere as the club had already been running a newer 8700A fairway mower and 8800A rotary rough mower as part of the mixed fleet. Together with greens chairman Richard Ablott, a meeting was therefore set up with Adamson’s commercial sales manager Tony Jenkins and salesman Scott Trestrail.

Scott knows the course very well as he had worked as a greenkeeper at Louth Golf Club for 15 years before joining the dealership. He put this knowledge to good use in recommending a package to meet the club’s specific requirements without overcommitting it financially, and when Sean took over he only changed one machine on the proposed kit list.

“Some of our other older machines were simply falling to pieces, and we decided that buying a couple of new replacements now and again was not a sensible approach long term,” says Nikki Chantry. “In addition, we kept having to bring in people from outside to do the frequent and expensive major repairs that were necessary, so that’s when Adamsons came in and showed us how to find a better solution.

 

“We went for a finance lease package rather than outright purchase, and John Deere Financial offered us a very competitive deal which has made our overall financial planning much easier.”

 

Sean McDonnell was also impressed by the dealer’s support when things were continuing to go wrong with some of the older machines during the changeover. “On my first day at the club the cutting units fell off one of the old greens mowers, but we got a replacement plus a banks mower straight away from Adamsons to tide us over. The dealer’s been very helpful in that respect right from the start.

“I like the cut quality you get from the John Deere mowers,” he adds. “You get a sharper cut without digging into the surface, and you know if you set them up at 4mm, you get 4mm. The TechControl system with password protection on the A Model mowers is good too – it puts me in full control so I can set them up the way I want in order to deliver consistent quality across the course, whoever’s driving.

“With a small greenkeeping team it’s vital that none of us are spending valuable time in the workshop instead of out on the course. We’re now able to benefit from using up to date technology that is much more reliable and productive, and that can only be a good thing.”

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Groundsman Targets Improvements

Groundsman Targets Improvements: Swindon Town groundsman Marcus Cassidy hopes beneath the surface improvements, as a result of continued investment over the summer, can help improve the County Ground pitch even further next season.

Town were confirmed as winners of the Grounds Team of the Year award for League Two on Wednesday night, one place better than last season’s efforts that saw Cassidy and his army of volunteers earn Highly Commended.

Groundsman Looks To Improvments

Stonehouse-born Cassidy now has his eyes focused on the summer – where he will be working seven days per week to ensure the County Ground’s surface is in top condition for Town’s pre-season schedule in July.

He said: “To pick up the award is very pleasing. It’s not just good for me, but for the club as well.

“It shows the investment that the club has put into the pitch has worked well.

“We haven’t got a bottomless pit, so we’re trying to improve things little by little – whether that be improving renovation or investing in the machinery.

“From here, we’ll look at what budget we have got for next season and see how we can best spend that money to improve next season.

“Everyone sees the grass on Saturday and thinks it is in that condition all week, it definitely isn’t.

“The pitch can look awful in the week – we can pick up different diseases, and the weather has a big say in that.

“It’s about getting things just right for Saturday at 3pm.”

Cassidy’s work was put on show to the nation last month when Phil Neville’s Lionesses hosted Spain in a pre-World Cup friendly at the County Ground, a game England won 2-1.

That game itself presented challenges to Town’s groundsman, who has now completed 18 seasons with the club.

Yeovil’s visit in League Two on Saturday was followed by Spain’s training session at SN1 on Monday, before the game itself took place on Tuesday.

With the help of apprentice Connor Collins – who has now secured a role at Bournemouth for next season – Cassidy said planning for that week proved tough, but achievable with the help of the team behind him.

He added: “I was really banging my head against the wall that week – getting the fertiliser programme right was important.

“A lot of planning went into that week to get the pitch into the condition it was in.

“The volunteers are invaluable. They get free entry, but they’re out there in the wind, rain and sunshine.

“Also I must mention our apprentice Connor Collins. He’s had a very good year – and that’s shown in the pitch as well.”

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Council Looks To Rigby Taylor

Council Looks To Rigby Taylor: A revolutionary vertical drainage system is set to assist with reducing Wandsworth Council’s perennial misery of cancelled football games due to waterlogged playing surfaces on its Wandsworth Common pitches.

The non-obtrusive Groundwater Dynamics’ system – based on the use of vertical plastic pipes (EGRP) which draw in excess water horizontally – is being trialled on three of most troublesome of the council’s seven winter pitches and, depending on their success, the system could be extended across more of the 96 winter pitches that are under the borough’s care.

Council Looks To Rigby Taylor

As Principal Parks Officer – Operations for Enable Leisure and Sport, the operation that delivers Wandsworth Council’s leisure services, Steve Green explains:

“Being on a clay base, these pitches are forever flooding whenever we have excess rain and while the installation of traditional drainage would have been cheaper by up to around 20 per cent, we wouldn’t be allowed by Thames Water to link the new drains to surface water outlets (storm drains and sewers, for example).

“This alternative system not only means the water can be dealt with ‘at source’, but also that current infiltration rates can be increased by at least seven times [in some cases far higher].

“And the installation hardly impacts surface appearance – indeed, looking at the work, I reckon we could easily play on the pitches within hours of installation. In addition, the system will last over 25 years with regular vertidraining and earthquaking (twice per annum for each operation).”

Council Looks To Rigby Taylor

The system – which is suitable for all soil types and is in use on a number of sports surfaces, including at Edgbaston Cricket Club – was installed on the Wandsworth Common pitches by drilling a series of bore holes in a grid pattern across the playing surfaces.

Central rows of 3 m deep holes (of 89 mm diameter) are flanked by 1.5 m deep holes of 62 mm diameter, at 1.5 m spacings. The sequence was repeated at every 5 m along the length of each pitch. There are also adjacent bores to depths of 6 m and 12 m.

Each borehole accommodates an Energy-passive Ground water Recharge Pump (EGRP) pipe, the top of which sits 300 mm below the surface. The hole is then simply ‘plugged’ and top-dressed.

The innovative five-chamber EGRP design with its mild vacuum draws in water horizontally (to the deeper, 89 mm diameter EGRP pipe) and this then drains away into the lower unsaturated strata/water table.

“We have a myriad of users including private schools, academy squads as well as local teams using these pitches which are among the 1,600 acres of open space we maintain,” adds Steve. “The winter pitches are booked for seven days each week, so any cancellations always create headaches – and disappointed players!

“We started to investigate possible solutions and having such a good relationship with Rigby Taylor – from which we source (via idverde) a lot of products, including R14 perennial rye grass seed which we use across all the pitches, as well as selective herbicides, fertilisers, aggregates and topdressings – the Groundwater Dynamics’ system was presented.

Council Looks To Rigby Taylor

“We looked at the system in use at a football training ground (Fulham FC’s) and on a rugby pitch (in Bushy Park, Hampton Court) and spoke to the groundsmen there before going ahead with the trial.”

Steve has been with the council for 38 years and includes cemeteries, litter clearance and buildings maintenance in his remit, which embraces the management of three direct staff and around 100 indirect. He and colleague Andrew Green, who oversees and manages the council’s wide range sports surfaces, both agree that the former methods of earthquaking and vertidraining couldn’t cope with the waterlogging caused by severe rainfall.

“Nowadays,” says Andrew, “extremes of weather are becoming more common, but we’re totally confident that this new system of drainage will go a long way in reducing a problem we’ve had for years on these pitches.”

For more information, visit: www.rigbytaylor.com

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Golf Club Looks Forward With Toro

Golf Club Looks Forward With Toro: Rochester and Cobham Park Golf Club in North Kent, which has taken delivery of eight new Toro machines, credits Toro with leaving “satisfying” results in its wake as it looks to the future and promises to increase their Toro fleet within the next five years.

According to Danny Dalton, acting head greenkeeper, the decision to go with Toro and Reesink Turfcare was an easy one to make. From his experience of using the brand at The London Golf Club, Danny says quite simply: “if you want the best results, you get Toro”.

Golf Club Looks Forward With Toro

“Greenkeeping is a tough job, so whatever you can do to make it easier is a good thing. Toro is easy to work with and its outstanding build quality means maintenance is less time-consuming.

“But the main appeal is the quality of cut it delivers. To do your work and be able to look back at what you’ve done and feel 100 percent happy with it is so satisfying, and ultimately what we’re all in it for.”

Adding even more appeal to choosing Toro was the fact that Reesink Turfcare is an official distributor in the UK. Danny says: “Just like you choose Toro for the best results, it’s wise to choose Reesink for its customer service. We don’t have a bad word to say about the support we receive, in particular that from Richard Wood, our rep, who is excellent to deal with.”

The order, which consists of two Reelmaster 5610 machines, two Reelmaster 3100 with sidewinders, two Greensmaster 3250-D greensmowers, a ProCore 648 aerator and a Workman MDX-D is, says Danny, the start of an ongoing relationship: “The plan is we will order more Toro over the next five years, I am aiming for a ‘red shed’! Not only do we have our members to keep happy, but we have a comprehensive and varied events calendar too, and there’s no doubt Toro and Reesink are the partners we need to make sure the course presents at is consistent best.”

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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