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Turf Tank makes its mark at Nottingham Forest

Turf Tank makes its mark at Nottingham Forest: Since their Turf Tank One arrived at the Nigel Doughty Academy, Nottingham Forest Football Club has marked every pitch and grid they have with the GPS line marking robot.

The club’s interest in the Turf Tank One began at the end of a hectic 2019/20 Championship season when a high volume of games were played before a short renovation window led straight into the 2020/21 season. With initially marking the pitches taking two or three days, the Turf Tank was brought in to mark everything comfortably within one. And after seeing it in action, it was difficult for Grounds Manager Ewan Hunter and Academy Head Groundsman Matt Tietjen to let it leave the site.

Turf Tank makes its mark at Nottingham Forest

Turf Tank makes its mark at Nottingham Forest

“I was very, very impressed. Obviously, I had never seen it before, and as soon as it started marking out, I was like, wow, this is brilliant,” Matt begins. “It’s very, very accurate, and every time it goes out, it’s spot on.

“It saves us a hell of a lot of time. To mark one pitch, it would take myself or two of my staff an hour, an hour and a half to two hours. But obviously, with the Turf Tank to mark one pitch alone, it takes 20 to 25 minutes. Another factor for us is it allows our staff to carry on with the other jobs that need to be done, and the machine can basically look after itself. Generally, we’d use five to six litres of paint to mark a pitch, but with the Turf Tank, we probably use four litres.

“If you are able to use a tablet or are reasonably good with technology, it’s very, very simple to use, and the programme is very straight forward. I’m not particularly brilliant with technology, but it takes five minutes to set it up, and then you can go and do other jobs while it marks out.

Adding the Turf Tank One to their team initially relieved pressure during a busy time, but the benefits of saving time, being able to work while the robot marks and the accuracy of the lines have all been vital during another packed season.

Using the Turf Tank tablet, custom grids are regularly overmarked within pitches, as well as custom goalkeeping areas and other pitch markings. This is just another reason why the robot has worked so well at Forest, but for Ewan, it’s the accuracy that really impresses.

“We have got some really good staff, and they can do some really good marking. And the lines looked straight, and they looked to be in the right place,” Ewan explains.

“It wasn’t until we used the GPS machine that it highlighted the fact that when you come to mark a line freehand, they creep a bit. And then they creep a little bit more. And then they creep a little bit more, and you don’t really notice the little bit of creeping until you get a GPS line marker overmarking the pitches that were already there. You realise that they’ve moved a considerable amount of distance, and it kind of highlights that the lines were actually in the wrong place.

“They managed to plot it with all of the additional markings on top of the pitches. So we’ve got dashes and little grids and five-a-side pitches and full-size pitches, and it can basically do whatever you plot it to do, and it takes care of all the markings on the whole site now.”

For more information on the Turf Tank One or to have a demonstration contact alex@turftank.co.uk (southern UK) or matt@turftank.co.uk (northern UK).

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NW Pitch Maintenance make their mark

NW Pitch Maintenance make their mark: With 54 pitches to mark including Salford City Football Club’s training ground and stadium, owner of NW Pitch Maintenance, Andy O’Sullivan, brought the Turf Tank robotic line marker https://turftank.com/row/ on board to improve the efficiency of his line marking operation.

Andy, who was initially sceptical about robotic line markers, arranged a demonstration of the machine at one of his most challenging grassroots pitches with Matt Murray, Northern Area Manager for Turf Tank. After seeing the accuracy of the lines despite the difficult undulations, he knew it would be an asset.

NW Pitch Maintenance make their mark

NW Pitch Maintenance make their mark

“When Matt from Turf Tank came out to me, I took him to one of the worst pitches I have to look, after in terms of we can’t always get on it because it’s always a bit rutted,” Andy explains. “It was raining heavily, but the lines were really, really straight, and that convinced me to buy it because I thought if it can do that on there, then I’ve got a chance with this thing.

“The difference with the Turf Tank right now is really apparent because no one is playing football.  Previously we would have had to keep the lines otherwise we’d lose them and need to set them up again which is another three-hour job on every pitch.  With the Turf Tank we have set the pitches up, and we won’t have to go back and overmark them until the pitches are required again.

“Now we turn up, put the base station up and off we go because the pitches are already set-up on the tablet and it’s only 20 minutes to mark. The time we save being able to do that justifies the robot alone. And I’d say the lines are undoubtedly better because when you’ve got a grassroots pitch with undulations, even when you string a pitch with an undulation, you’re going to follow that yourself naturally and the string doesn’t stay on the ground, it rises above that dip. Whereas the Turf Tank will follow that dip down because it’s low to the ground as well.

“I can send my son Liam off to another site, and he can be cutting, and I can take the Turf Tank with me and the tractor to cut as well. I cut one pitch at the training ground and set the Turf Tank off on the other one. I’m then cutting while that’s doing its work, we finish at similar times, and I set it off on the pitch I’ve cut and by the time I’ve packed my trailer up it’s ready to go. It’s like having another staff member with me, and in total, I’d say it’s saving us 20 to 25 hours a week on line-marking time.

“From the off the robot has been great for us and Matt’s training when he installed the machine and back-up service since has been brilliant. He went with Liam and me to a site and talked us through it and made sure we both knew what we were doing and whenever I’ve had questions, he’s sorted me out on the phone or FaceTime, so he’s been excellent the whole time.”

Since having the Turf Tank, Andy has been able to diversify his line marking offering and is scheduled to line a lacrosse pitch for the first time and plans to mark running tracks in the summer. Templates for a large number of sports are pre-loaded into the tablet to make marking them quick and easy, with the operator simply having to plot them and push go.

For more information about the Turf Tank One visit www.turftank.com or contact matt@turftank.co.uk (northern UK) or alex@turftank.co.uk (southern UK).

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New mower makes its mark

New mower makes its mark: John Deere’s south-west England turf dealership Masons Kings sold the first 2750E hybrid electric triplex mower in the area to The Point at Polzeath resort in north Cornwall, with the golf course’s head greenkeeper Tom Collings calling it “… just the mower I wanted”.

The 18 hole golf course sits just above the Camel Estuary with stunning views out over Hayle Bay and Pentire Point, and was England Golf’s GolfMark ‘Club of the Year’ winner in 2017. The club was bought out of liquidation in 2012 by husband and wife team Jeremy Davies and his wife Eva, who have since made a significant investment in every aspect of the business.

New mower makes its mark

New mower makes its mark

This has included the course maintenance equipment fleet, to get the course back into better shape and improve standards across the board. As a result, the greens are now considered to be among the best in the county and the presentation of the course is first class. Most holes have seen significant changes, with improvements to the fairway definition, bunkers, tees and greens, and a new 160-yard par 3 7th hole being developed.

The club has steadily replaced its previous, ageing machinery fleet over the last five years and invested in new John Deere machines from the Masons Kings outlet at St Columb. In addition to the 2750E, a new pedestrian Aercore 800 aerator was delivered to the club following an end of year demonstration, “…just in time for Christmas!” says dealer sales consultant David Barnes.

Summer 2020 also saw the arrival of a 7700A PrecisionCut fairway mower, following two 220SL walk-behind greens mowers in 2019 and a 9009A TerrainCut rotary rough mower, 4066R compact tractor, ProGator utility vehicle and 8800A TerrainCut mower spread over the previous three years.

“We are continuously investing in John Deere’s latest golf equipment and precision technology as we aim to be the leading supplier of machinery and product support for golf courses across the south-west of England,” adds David Barnes.  “The Point at Polzeath was the first club in our area to buy the new 2750E, and we are confident it will do a great job across the course for Tom and his team.”

Tom Collings came to The Point from nearby Trevose in 2009 and has seen the change of ownership breathe new life into what at that time had been a   struggling business. “The owners believe if you’re not moving forward, you’re going backwards, so they’ve continued investing as far as possible, even during the pandemic,” he says.

“We bought the 8800A outright back in 2016 as part of the initial machinery investment, but since then we’ve taken all the mowing equipment on a five-year finance lease arrangement with John Deere Financial. We’ve continued to buy the tractors, utility vehicles and hand mowers, as these tend to last a lot longer if you look after them well, although it always depends on the owners’ preference each time.

“I also have a good relationship with David Barnes and parts manager Rob Blundell at Masons Kings,” adds Tom. “They have always been very helpful and accommodating, even before we started buying more John Deere equipment, and have helped me out many times by supplying parts for our older kit, for example – so in a way it’s been our turn to repay the favour with these latest purchases.

“I first saw the 2750E on social media after it was launched at BTME, and then John Deere invited me to visit Wentworth. Territory manager Nick Ashman talked about the changes the company had made to the mower and the benefits it could offer, so I was keen to have a look at it working on our course.

“Masons Kings arranged a demonstration here and after cutting the first green I was completely sold, I just found it a totally different experience to any previous mower. Given how it handled and coped so easily with the conditions around the course, the decision to buy one was a no-brainer – it was just the mower I wanted.”

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Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium

Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium: Last year a Hunter Industries irrigation system, supplied by KAR UK, was installed at the iconic London Stadium. After seeing a number of benefits, Head Groundsman James Williams wanted to extend the Hunter system to other areas of the stadium.

The former Swansea and Liberty Stadium groundsman has certainly made an impression in London since he took the job in 2016. James’ work has been widely praised by his peers, and also by players and managers. By his own admission he is addicted to his profession.

Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium

Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium

“I think every head groundsman has a bit of an obsession with their pitch,” he said. “The lads are always asking why I’m messaging them even when I’m on holiday but I have cameras all around the pitch which I view on my phone and I’m forever spotting things. It’s difficult to switch off.”

James now has even greater control over the pitch when it comes to irrigation – so much so that he can even manage it from his own home or wherever he may be.

“We’ve got probes in the pitch which give me a lot of readings such as moisture, the humidity in the stadium, the temperature and a lot more. Every morning I get an email with a report telling me what the moisture levels are from three different depths. If I see that the moisture has dropped below 10% then I’ll turn the irrigation system on through my phone.”

This advantage has all been made possible thanks to a newly installed Hunter Industries irrigation system. Last year James felt that he was not getting the best out of the previous irrigation system and the pitch wasn’t getting the water it needed. After getting in touch with KAR UK, the UK’s leading wholesaler of irrigation equipment, a new Hunter system was installed. The system included eight of the most technologically advanced commercial rotors on the market – the all-new I-80’s.

Engineered for sports turf, the I-80 is built with a robust, dirt-tolerant gear drive that offers the highest torque output of any rotor in the commercial sphere, and extends a radius range from 11.3 to 29.6 meters. The I-80 features a wide range of highly efficient, dual-trajectory, wind-fighting nozzles for highly efficient performance in a range of applications. It also provides total top serviceability (TTS) via its integrated, surface-mounted snap-ring for no-dig easy maintenance.

Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium

Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium

“I was instantly impressed with how good they were,” said James. “The service from KAR UK was also excellent and was part of the reason why I decided to go ahead and replace the outfield and pitch surrounds with the new Hunter TTS-885’s with no-bounce covers and turf cups.”

The new Hunter TTS-800 rotors provide maximum uniformity and longevity as they use the same gear drive and nozzles as the I-80’s. The high-torque gear drives are the strongest in the industry, so the challenges of reclaimed water use or poor water quality are mitigated. An extra-large, fast-access flange compartment comfortably accommodates wire connections and other components.

James and his team are now able to control the system both to the pitch and the outfields through the mobile-friendly Centralus irrigation management platform. This provides highly secure, comprehensive cloud-based control and monitoring features to the new ACC2 controller at the stadium. The connectivity allows users to view a controller’s status, change settings, view forecasts, save water, and receive instant notification of important system alarms — all without costly and time-consuming travel and site visits.

It is a technologically advanced system, yet incredibly user friendly – something which James felt was important.

“The one thing that stands out the most for me is that this system is very simple to use and that was essential. I needed something that the whole team could use – not just myself.

“I’m very impressed with the whole system. There is a reason that more and more stadiums are switching over to Hunter.

“The service and support from KAR UK has again been fantastic.”

For more information, please visit www.karuk.com

You can also follow KAR UK on Twitter @KARUK_LTD for much more news, reviews and insightful views.

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Mark Richardson Associates Launched

Mark Richardson Associates Launched: Industry veteran, Mark Richardson of Stewart Landscape Construction announces the formation of Mark Richardson Associates, a new consulting business that will offer the landscape industry a broad range of experience and expertise including project management, feasibility studies and sourcing of products and services.

Richardson, who has worked in the UK landscape sector for 33 years, 20 of which have been spent managing his multi award winning company, Stewart Landscape Construction Ltd says, “Through my time delivering many complex projects I have often felt that my clients would benefit from the services of an independent consultant who could provide a much needed project management role or indeed act as an intermediary between the clients and the landscaper. Often clients do not understand the complexities in delivering a landscape project on time and to budget and so having someone to help them through that process would be invaluable.”

Mark Richardson Associates Launched

Richardson, who has been planning his new consultancy business over the last year launches Mark Richardson Associates in August 2019. Commenting on the launch he says, “During the planning phase of this business I spoke to many industry movers and shakers who have expressed an interest in my services. Excitingly some of that interest has been from international clients so I have decided to offer my services to a global market.”

Richardson has used a business development advisor to help him create his new consultancy practice. Neville Stein, who is an expert in business diversification believes that Richardson can offer something new to the landscape industry and says, “Mark has a real passion is to help clients turn their ideas into a tangible reality, enabling them to achieve a landscape project that exceeds their expectations.” Stein, who has a real understand of the landscape market also says, “Often landscape clients need someone to ‘sense check’ their ideas to ensure that they are implementable and then to help them deliver the project to the right specification, within the financial budget and the required timescales and this is just what Mark is so good at doing.”

Richardson will continue to operate his landscape company in the medium term, and in particular will continue to build award winning show gardens at Chelsea.

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Toro Hits The Mark At Altcar

Toro Hits The Mark At Altcar: The UK’s premier facility for small arms marksmanship training, Altcar Training Camp in Merseyside, recently invested in a Toro Groundsmaster 7210 and LT-F3000 triple flail mower for their sports and residential grounds maintenance.

With a football and rugby pitch, general-purpose field and residential green areas, having robust and high-performance mowers to tackle a variety of jobs was essential for Altcar Training Camp. After a competitive demonstration process where Toro and multiple other brands were tested, Toro hit the mark and came out on top.

Toro Hits The Mark At Altcar

Mark Byrne, infrastructure resource manager, explains: “Our previous machines were on their way out and so we wanted to get the best possible replacements. That was when we got in touch with Cheshire Turf Machinery and set up a demonstration with several brands.

“We wanted a zero-turn mower again because that suited our needs here perfectly. We were looking for something that would be simple to use and would be a seamless transition from our previous machine. With the triple flail mower, we wanted to get a robust alternative that would be more reliable.”

With the help of Cheshire Turf Machinery a competitive demonstration was organised in order to trial several machines and find the perfect replacements for the camp.

“It became quite clear fairly soon that Toro was winning,” says Mark. “The combination of performance and price was just what we were looking for, and with simple and easy to use operation, it meant we could get straight onto using the new machines when they arrived.”

Having had the machines since September 2018, the GM7210 and the LT-F3000 have proved to be right on target. “They’re both really good machines and doing everything we expect from them.”

And with Toro impressing Mark, future investment is definitely on the cards. “We’ve had Toro before and been impressed and would definitely consider going with Toro again.”

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Mark Harrod At Molineux

Mark Harrod At Molineux: Wolverhampton Wanderers FC’s Premier League campaign is underway after winning promotion last season, and have kicked off with upgrades at their Molineux Stadium home, which include new match goals.

Leading sports equipment manufacturer Mark Harrod Ltd delivered and installed the socketed goalposts, nets and net support posts ready for Wolves’ first home game of the 2018-2019 season, against Everton FC.

Mark Harrod At Molineux

“Once Wolves had been promoted to the Premiership, we began upgrading various elements at Molineux to meet higher-level requirements ready for the new season,” said Head Groundsman Wayne Lumbard.

“Our match goalposts were showing their age so I turned to Mark Harrod Ltd for help. They surveyed the site and delivered and installed brand new replacements ready for our first home fixture on the Saturday. They are the cherry on top of the cake and compliment the Desso Grassmaster pitch laid a year ago.

“Every Premiership club has to conform to set criteria for stadium provision,” Wayne explained. “Goal nets have to be uniform white and grounds teams can only mow match pitches from goal to goal or across their width, for example.”

The aluminium powder-coated white 24ft x 8ft match goalposts form part of a package of provision for the Midlands club that includes warm-up goals for their pioneering Sir Jack Hayward training ground and academy base nearby.

With its host of pitches, including three equivalent Desso Grassmaster full-size surfaces, the training base hosts a season-full of competitive matches across the U7 to U18 age groups.

Mark Harrod At Molineux

“Wolves has enjoyed a long and happy association with the company stretching back many years,” added Wayne, who moved into post nine years ago.

The training centre includes Mark Harrod Ltd’s Ball Stop net system, freehanging 420S Box Nets and aluminium 1m x 1.2m Target goals. “The latest warm-up goals will help limit wear and tear in the goalmouths,” he said.

Mike Bugajski, Mark Harrod Ltd Head of Sales, noted: “The old Molineux match goals had passed their sell-by date. Under their programme of improvements, Wolves needed new ones in time for their first home game of this Premiership season and we were more than happy to oblige.”

Wayne adds: “I’ve known Sean Wallett, Mark Harrod Ltd’s managing director, for many years and can rely on the company to supply a premier service for what is now a Premier club. If I call Sean about something, he will come here the same day.”

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Rigby Taylor Has An Award-Winning Way To Mark Pitches

Rigby Taylor Has A Very Intelligent – And Award-Winning Way To Mark And Over-Mark Pitches: Intelligent One (iO), the world’s first autonomous robot dedicated to the hands-free, initial marking and over-marking of sports pitches, running tracks and much more, has won the prestigious Innovation Award at the SALTEX 2017 exhibition.

Available from Rigby Taylor – the company at the forefront of supplying innovative products for the successful management and maintenance of turf surfaces – iO combines the very latest technology with the award winning, global-leading Impact ready-to-use paint and is ideally suited for multi-pitches and multi-facilities marking.

Rigby Taylor Has An Award-Winning Way To Mark Pitches

It was for these reasons that a panel of expert judges selected iO the winner over a host of other contenders for the award at SALTEX.

Featuring a sophisticated built-in GPS-RTK receiver that links with a portable base station for accurate and reliable global satellite referencing, the iO operating tablet can plot and store multi-use line marking templates.

Once manoeuvred into place by the operator from directions sent by the tablet, the iO will, for example, mark out a football pitch – all the perimeter and playing area straight lines, the ‘D’ areas, centre circle, corner angles and even the penalty spot without the operator having any physical contact with the machine. Even pitches with fixed post sockets can be marked.

The iO can be programmed to mark multiple pitches as, for instance, at a training ground and will move to an adjacent pitch to carry on marking. It can mark all day long because it comes with rechargeable lithium ion batteries and changer.

Impact paint provides the brightest, whitest line that lasts, and as it is a ready-to-use formulation, there is no mixing, no measuring no pouring and no added water. The operator has virtually no contact with the paint since a flow tube is simply inserted into the paint container then the iO can start marking.

The iO is capable of marking the following sports surfaces: football – any length/width and including fixed sockets; rugby (union and league); multi-lane athletic running tracks; tennis courts; and lacrosse, hockey and American football pitches. The iO marking of additional sports surfaces is currently under development.

For a leaflet, demonstration or more information contact your local Rigby Taylor area manager or Freephone 0800 424 919, email sales@rigbytaylor.com or visit rigbytaylor.com

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