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GKB SP100 top of the topdressers

GKB SP100 top of the topdressers: To support their rapid and continued growth, Garsons Group Ltd have been investing in equipment to help them deliver contracting and maintenance services to the full spectrum of sports surfaces.

One machine that joined the fleet and has now become their ‘go-to’ for topdressing is the GKB Sandspreader – and while perhaps it wasn’t quite ‘love’ at first sight, Director Gareth Davies says it was definitely ‘the perfect fit’ at first sight after spotting the SP100 at BTME!

GKB SP100 top of the topdressers

GKB SP100 top of the topdressers

“Straight away, I could tell that SP100 was a great size machine that would suit the variety of work we do” explains Gareth, who has spent 25 years working in the groundcare industry and established Garsons as a limited company three years ago. “We’re conducting renovations, reconstructions and ongoing maintenance for winter sports pitches, cricket and golf courses so need something with a large enough hopper capacity to be efficient, but not too big that access to certain sites may become compromised. The Sandspreader ticks all the boxes.”

Gareth opted for the mounted SP100 model and, since its delivery in the spring of 2021 from local dealer Ernest Does, he estimates they’ve applied in the region of 4000 tonnes of sand with it. “The hopper is the main benefit for us. The SP100 holds 1m3 of material at a time meaning we can apply over 100 tonnes in a day which is critical when the team are working to tight deadlines. It’s also really easy to use and adjust for lighter or heavier applications when needed. We use it primarily for football and rugby, but this year we used it on a cricket square for the first time and it did a brilliant job.”

The GKB SP100 is the smallest unit in the Sandspreader range, with larger models offering up to a 4m3 hopper capacity. The material is transported from the hopper to the adjustable metering valve via an internal conveyor belt, before being efficiently and evenly distributed via the double disc hydraulic spinners. As well as trailed and mounted formats, GKB also offer the SPM model, which features a side material handler for the convenient filling of bunkers or trenches.

“Another big thing for us, has been the support and customer service from GKB, which has been excellent throughout. Tom Shinkins is always on hand for advice and, when we needed some additional parts recently, he was able to get them to us in under 24 hours which is the kind of back-up we need as we drive our business forward.”

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BIGGA announces the FTMI Class of 2022

BIGGA announces the FTMI Class of 2022: The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) has revealed the 20 ambitious greenkeepers who will participate in the Future Turf Managers Initiative 2022.

Each year Jacobsen and BIGGA invite 20 up-and-coming association members to participate in the intensive training programme, which has been credited with developing some of the greenkeeping industry’s most influential course managers and head greenkeepers. This year Jacobsen and BIGGA celebrated the first FTMI graduate to achieve the links superintendent position at an Open Championship venue in the form of Royal Liverpool’s James Bledge.

BIGGA announces the FTMI Class of 2022

BIGGA announces the FTMI Class of 2022

FTMI was first hosted in 2013 as a two-day education event and since then has expanded around the world, with similar schemes being introduced in Spain, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand.

For 2022 the structure of FTMI has been adjusted to become a hybrid event that combines workshops at Ransomes Jacobsen’s headquarters in Ipswich, online education sessions and two days of education at BTME in January 2023. FTMI focuses on personal and professional development, rather than agronomy-based subjects, and utilises the expertise of leading course managers, dynamic trainers and industry experts to mentor and educate the next generation of industry leaders.

Candidates are selected based upon an anonymous judging criterion, with the panel gaining an insight into the achievements and ambitions of each applicant, who must be educationally active on a national and regional level.

BIGGA Learning & Development Executive Deb Burnett said: “As an increasing number of FTMI graduates achieve success in their careers, we are reminded of what an incredible learning opportunity FTMI is for BIGGA members. When the 10th FTMI class convenes this year, we’ll be welcoming some of those early delegates back as mentors and I look forward to seeing them inspire the 2022 class, who will then gain the knowledge they require to achieve similar greatness in their own careers.

“Our youngest candidate this year is 22, while the oldest is 47 and that shows how FTMI is available to all BIGGA members. All you need is the desire to learn and progress your career and I’m delighted that among the Class of 2022 we have such a varied mix of people who can share ideas and experiences and who have all got through to this stage based upon their own merits.”

The members of the FTMI Class of 2022 are:

  • Aaron Allibon, first assistant at Orsett
  • John Anderson, senior greenkeeper at Prestwick
  • Rhian Barton, assistant greenkeeper at Royal Liverpool
  • Andrew Barr, deputy head greenkeeper at Greencastle
  • Tom Bromfield, assistant greenkeeper at Trentham
  • Ray Cotgrave, deputy course manager at Pleasington
  • Marcus Davies, assistant greenkeeper at Wentworth Club
  • Michael Gibbons, first assistant at Dunham Forest
  • Sean Harvey, senior greenkeeper at Frilford Heath
  • Peter Lewis, senior greenkeeper/irrigation technician at Royal Liverpool
  • Darren McLoughlin, deputy head greenkeeper at Erskine
  • Matthew Milligan, first assistant at Rudding Park
  • Malcolm Mitchell, deputy head greenkeeper at Burghley Park
  • Wayne Mulrooney, deputy course manager at Great Barr
  • Robert Munro, assistant superintendent at Cabot Cliffs
  • Ryan Oliver, assistant greenkeeper at Hornsea
  • Adrian Parsons, assistant greenkeeper at Wenvoe Castle
  • Michael Russell, assistant greenkeeper at Ormskirk
  • Steven Thomas, deputy head greenkeeper at Prestonfield

Elliot Walters, deputy course manager at Robin Hood

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Future of greenkeeping in safe hands

Future of greenkeeping in safe hands: Toro, Reesink Turfcare and the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), have revealed the finalists of their prestigious annual awards, which seek to uncover the UK’s leading student greenkeepers.

Each year the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards enable BIGGA, the UK’s only membership association for golf greenkeepers, to work alongside turf maintenance equipment manufacturer Toro and distributor Reesink Turfcare to celebrate the next generation of talented and dedicated greenkeepers.

Future of greenkeeping in safe hands

Future of greenkeeping in safe hands

A record 54 nominees from across the United Kingdom were put forward by educators, course managers and head greenkeepers and other mentors. From those candidates, a final 12 have been chosen to contest the grand finals this September.

For the first time, the finals of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year will take place at Goodwood, the historic sporting venue located in West Sussex. The awards event will take place a week before the estate hosts Goodwood Revival, the famous weekend of classic racing. Goodwood is also home to the Downs Course, described by Justin Rose as a “truly inspirational” place to play golf.

September’s event will be the 33rd staging of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards and just the sixth time the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, open to greenkeepers aged 21 or under, will take place. To be eligible to take part, candidates must be registered on a qualifying greenkeeping qualification and must be nominated by their course manager or college tutor.

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists are:

  • Andrew Bate, Hesketh Golf Club
  • Tom Bromfield, Trentham Golf Club
  • James Gaskell, Ripon City Golf Club
  • Abi Laker, Frilford Heath Golf Club
  • Andrew Ritchie, St Andrews Links
  • John Thornton, Hellidon Lakes Golf and Country Club

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists are:

  • Jake Beech, Newcastle-under-Lyme Golf Club
  • Alfie Brookes, Gathurst Golf Club
  • Luke Charnley, Royal Liverpool Golf Club
  • Peter Pattenden, Carden Park Golf Club
  • James Stratford, Broome Manor Golf Club
  • Freddie Williams, Dudsbury Golf Club

More information about the finalists is available here.

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner will receive: enrolment in the 10-week University of Massachusetts Winter Turf School; a two-week expenses-paid placement at Adare Manor, venue of The 2027 Ryder Cup; an all expenses paid trip to the GCSAA Conference and Show in Florida; and a visit to Toro Corporate HQ, R&D Centre and Equipment Operations in Wisconsin.

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner will receive: a two-week work placement at Vidauban Golf Club in France; a five-night trip to Continue to Learn at BTME including four days of education; and a gift voucher for Toro Training.

The runners-up and endorsers of the winners will also receive various prizes.

BIGGA Learning and Development Executive Deb Burnett said: “Each year the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards gain a little more prestige, as previous finalists go on to achieve wonderful things in their careers. I’m delighted that more student greenkeepers than ever before participated in the nomination process and all should be proud of how they performed during the regional interview stage.

“The 12 finalists are very worthy of their spot and I can’t wait to watch them overcome the challenges we set for them at glorious Goodwood this autumn. My thanks go to Toro and Reesink Turfcare for their continued support of this wonderful initiative.”

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Sustainability issues at the heart of Learning LIVE

Sustainability issues at the heart of Learning LIVE: In the month that saw the UK climate reach unprecedented levels of 40°C for the first time on record, the Grounds Management Association (GMA) is highlighting the need to place sustainability and environmental issues at the heart of the grounds maintenance sector’s thinking – and at the heart of SALTEX’s Learning LIVE sessions. 

GMA Chief Executive, Geoff Webb said: “Those managing and maintaining sports turf and green spaces are already having to deal with the impact of climate change and industry suppliers are doing their best to innovate and help grounds people to minimise the impact of droughts and floods.

Sustainability issues at the heart of Learning LIVE

Sustainability issues at the heart of Learning LIVE

“Extreme weather conditions are becoming more frequent, and we need to continue to educate grounds staff and plan now to ensure that as a sector, we are equipped to deal with what lies ahead.”

Announcing speakers for Europe’s leading sports turf, amenities, and landscaping trade exhibition, SALTEX, which is free to attend and organised by the GMA, Geoff Webb explains the value of attending the show’s Learning LIVE sessions.

“Learning LIVE has been designed to provide support, insight, and real solutions to key industry issues, including those relating to sustainability and the environment and we are delighted to be confirming a growing line-up of impressive expert speakers.”

A presentation not to missed will be one from Tony Hanson managing director, Environmental Solutions International and Robin Price, director of quality and environment at Anglian Water. Geoff says: “Their paper on ‘Reducing the impact of future water restrictions on golf and sports turf’ is a timely subject as we deal with the results of climate change and approach drought restrictions in this country. Tony and Robin will look at the implications of temporary use bans and changes in water abstraction rulings, and how this will prevent turf irrigation in 2023 and the ways to implement water resilience practices.”

Tony Hanson explains the importance of this subject to the industry: “Due to climate change, population growth, and historically high personal consumption, there is simply not enough water available in the UK without action – the water sector will have to use demand management to ensure public supply. Turf irrigation must simply become less dependent on mains or direct irrigation abstraction.

“The Water Resilience Plan has been designed to guide users on what they

need to do and keep them informed of water industry funded seminars and workshops. If you irrigate turf you will need to review alternative water sources for irrigation, create water storage on site – water you control and can use in a drought to cover at least 21 days and review and assess your irrigation management and system.  I look forward to discussing all these elements at SALTEX.”

The SALTEX 2022 Learning LIVE schedule this year has been extended to over 30 sessions, with additional papers attacking the key issues for the grounds care industry of pay, career development, how to negotiate in the workplace and how to find out about the millions of pounds of grant funding available from sports clubs.

More information about the SALTEX 2022 Learning LIVE programme can be found on the event’s website at www.saltex.org.uk/learning-live. Free visitor registration is now open. Visit saltex.org.uk or register here.

Alongside the Learning LIVE programme visitors to SALTEX 2022 will be able to see over 400 industry brands in one place – all lining up the best products on offer for today’s growing needs. It also provides visitors with a great opportunity to network with industry colleagues and build new business relationships.

The show takes place at the conveniently central Birmingham NEC on 2-3 November.

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INFINICUT mark start of ‘Electric Era’

INFINICUT mark start of ‘Electric Era’: Marking the start of a shift over to more battery-powered equipment, the University of Nottingham are now the proud owners of three 26” INFINICUT® FX mowers.

Along with completing the daily mowing on the campuses two cricket squares and bowling green, the purchase of additional UltraGroomer™ and ThatchMaster™ cassettes from the TMSystem™ means that the grounds team can now undertake multiple maintenance tasks – all with reduced hand-arm vibration and fuel costs.

INFINICUT mark start of ‘Electric Era’

INFINICUT mark start of ‘Electric Era’

In charge of the maintenance is Interim Grounds Manager Greg Smith, who specified the investment in the INFINICUT’s, delivered by George Browns in March 2022. “Sustainability is something that’s now at the heart of a lot of the decision making we do here at the university, but switching to electric is only an option if the equipment is up to the job” explains Greg. “With mowing a daily activity, this was an important step for us and, while we explored the alternatives, the INFINICUT® with its excellent battery life and quality of cut was the perfect fit for us.”

“Hand-arm vibration and noise are massive issues in our industry and these were things that improved instantly for the team with the purchase of the INFINICUT’s – they can’t believe how quiet they are! In a relatively short period of time, we are already also noticing the benefits in terms of big savings on our fuel costs.”

To get even more return from the three 26” Fixed Head machines, the University also purchased a set of UltraGroomer™ and ThatchMaster™ cassettes from the renowned TMSystem™ collection. Featuring over 80 tungsten carbide tipped blades, the UltraGroomer™ improves the plants immediate environment by removing Poa ingress, lateral growth and organic matter to enhance the movement of oxygen, moisture and nutrients. Also designed to prevent thatch accumulations, the ThatchMaster™ utilises 2mm thick tungsten blades to cut through stolons and rhizomes in fine turf.

“We specified these cassettes as part of the package and all of the training and support we’ve had from Oliver Hall at INFINICUT® and our local dealer George Browns has been fantastic. We’ve been passing over the cricket squares and bowling green with these once a week and the results have been superb.” Greg adds, “We’re a high wear site, with lots of community usage on top of that by the students and the combination of the INFINICUT’s and the cassettes mean that the facilities are healthier and presenting better than ever!”

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Three of a kind for Reesink

Three of a kind for Reesink: Continuing with its firm focus on sales, servicing, training and parts for all brands with a locally-focused team, Reesink UK has opened its third branch in Burwell, Cambridgeshire.

The branch which serves the areas of Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, joins Reesink Scotland and Reesink South East and opens up direct access to local turf machinery specialists in an extensive new area.

Three of a kind for Reesink

Three of a kind for Reesink

The brief for branch manager, Trevor Chard, was to set up a dealership that builds relationships on a local level, deals directly with customers and responds to specific customer needs for the area. Not only has that been achieved but surpassed, as he explains: “The pleasure of managing a branch is that the autonomy to make decisions in terms of what we stock, distribute and deliver is, to a degree, for us to determine based on the specific needs of customers in the area.”

Customers will be familiar with the brands Reesink UK distributes: Toro fine turf and groundscare machinery, STAR EV utility vehicles and golf buggies, Farmtrac tractors and TYM tractors which are all available through the branch, about which Trevor comments: “These brands, in particular STAR EV, are doing very well in this area, but breaking it down even further customers are particularly interested in the sustainable options offered by each brand. The all-electric Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 riding greens mower, Workman GTX Lithium Ion utility vehicle and the Reelmaster 5010-H hybrid from Toro, and the FT25G all-electric compact tractor from Farmtrac for example.

“As a result, we’ve been able to fine-tune the range we offer our customers, we’ve taken on board new brands specific to what the market here is responding to and that’s proving to be a winning formula.”

The wide-spread interest in reducing CO2 emissions by businesses in the area led to Reesink Burwell widening its offering since opening to include Cramer, the biggest amperage available for battery-driven power tools, and Biocircle for sustainable cleaning of turfcare machinery.

Alongside the brands it offers its customers, a large part of the branch’s business is servicing maintenance contracts. The ReeAssure scheme has three plans available for machines and what particularly appeals to customers is that you can put certain machines on different plans.

Trevor continues: “This is a key part of the business – we have 77 ReeAssure Maintenance contracts of which 21 percent are Gold. As the customer puts individual machines on a plan and not necessarily the whole fleet, we have many customers with machines in all three plans. That takes some managing and it’s why we’ve staffed the division up with three really experienced mobile technicians. These guys can do everything from routine maintenance to scheduled servicing on mowers, sprayers, aerators, you name it. Our customers need to know that with their machines on plan with us, downtime becomes a thing of the past, especially with our parts distribution running as the head office’s does, on 24 hours delivery.”

Completing the offering available through the branch is training, with space on site to accommodate practical training in the workshops and forecourt and theory in meeting rooms. Trevors explains: “Again, we have the autonomy to produce and provide training specific to what our customers want and need, stepping away from the general plans available through head office. We can design our own packages, making training even easier for customers.”

What is next for the branch, which thanks to remodelling an office in COVID restricted times, is a little later than planned? Trevor says: “We just want people to know we’re here. That through us they can get access to the best international brands available on the UK market, but with the benefit of working with local turf machinery specialists. We’re independent, we don’t funnel into a system, we can respond instantly to local market changes and design our business to offer the right products for the local industry as it moves forward in new directions.”

To speak to Reesink Burwell about what brands, services and expertise it can offer, call 01638 594 340.

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Head of Grounds

Responsible to: The Deputy Director of Operations

Head of Grounds

Head of Grounds

There is no accommodation available for this post

The Grounds at Haberdashers’ Elstree Schools

Our attractive grounds extend to 100 acres of which 20 acres are playing surfaces. These allow for a full range of sports to be played with cricket as the principal sports at the Boys’ School and lacrosse at the Girls’ School.

Garden areas, woodland areas and staff gardens are extensive and managed by an external gardening contractor.

Summary of the role

The Head Grounds person will, along with their team, proactively manage and maintain the highest standards of natural and artificial playing surfaces and surrounding areas, and will oversee the long-term planning of grounds’ maintenance, upkeep and renovation in line with time, financial and user requirements.

The successful candidate is accountable to the Deputy Director of Operations for the quality, success and development of the grounds and, as such, will have a genuine enthusiasm for their profession. The Head Grounds person will be expected to build and foster relationships with stakeholders, particularly the sports departments at both schools.

External Relationships: Will include relevant suppliers and contractors for resources and other equipment, Grounds Management Association and other industry associations, other schools’ grounds personnel. Of major importance is the fostering of a good relationship with the current long term gardening contractor.

Internal Relationships: Head, Senior Deputy Head, Chief Operating Officer, Deputy Director of Operations, Director of Sport, Head of Estates, Lettings Manager, Health & Safety Manager, Teachers in Charge of sporting activities.

Main Duties 

Grounds Management

  • Manage all sporting facilities to deliver first class surfaces as required
  • Produce an annual Department Plan setting out tasks for improving the sporting facilities
  • Work closely with the Directors of Sports to monitor and advise on the sporting programme of activities and their use of school facilities throughout the school year
  • Make ‘play and no play’ decisions in conjunction with Directors of Sports, relevant members of the Sports Department and/or Teachers in Charge of sports
  • Monitor pitch usage
  • Undertake or manage grounds projects, including with external contractors
  • Ensure the efficient maintenance of machinery and equipment
  • Maintain awareness of industry developments, drawing relevant aspects to the attention of the Deputy Director of Operations, Directors of Sport and wider Grounds team to the benefit of the school
  • Prepare and organise the grounds and facilities for sports lets, particularly out of term time and in full consultation with the schools

Management of Team

  • Supervise and lead a small team of grounds people
  • Promote and coordinate the training and development of team members, including ensuring that the team have the right balance of skills throughout the sporting year
  • Coach, mentor and motivate staff to achieve work schedules and objectives
  • Provide effective performance feedback with the team and by conducting annual appraisals on team members and provide this information to the Deputy Director of Operations
  • Ensure all mandatory training is kept up to date in conjunction with the school’s Training Officer
  • Develop an appropriate work shift pattern to meet the seasonal and sporting needs of the schools

Health & Safety

Maintain a thorough knowledge of all relevant current legislation ie health and safety, first aid, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), environment management and ensure compliance by preparing, conducting and regularly updating risk assessments

Safeguarding

Demonstrating the highest levels of commitment and compliance to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people.

Person Specification 

Relevant Experience/Knowledge & Technical Competencies

Essential:

  • proven track record within the grounds care profession, producing facilities to the highest standards
  • demonstrable technical knowledge of industry standards and resources
  • proven staff management experience, capable of motivating team without micro-management of situations
  • budget planning and control skills experience
  • demonstrable understanding of relevant and current health and safety and industry legislation
  • IT literate
  • sound working knowledge of grounds-related plant and machinery

Desirable:

  • grounds management experience within a school environment
  • membership of Grounds Management Association (formerly known as the Institute of Groundsmanship)
  • Experience of working in a school environment

Qualifications

Essential:

  • a minimum of an NVQ Level 3 or equivalent experience in sports turf management
  • current clean driving licence

Desirable:

  • an NVQ Level 4 or equivalent experience in sports turf management
  • formal training in manual handling, risk assessment and supervision of staff

Personal Competencies / Skills

  • ability to communicate both orally and in written form
  • problem solver and ability to use initiative
  • highly organised, decisive and able to manage time effectively
  • flexible attitude with the ability to work under pressure
  • keen eye for and attention to detail
  • capable of working with people from wide range of backgrounds – able to demonstrate tact and diplomacy
  • team player with a positive attitude, strong and good at forming effective working relationships with people at all levels
  • keen sense of customer service and pride in success of team and finished product

Working Hours

This is an exciting full-time role, working 40 hours/week all year round. Generally, the responsibilities can be carried out between 7am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, however evening and weekend work will be required particularly during the cricket and summer season, and when the weather impacts on the activities of the school.

Dennis G860 – King of the Kassam

Dennis G860 – King of the Kassam: The Dennis G860 has ‘everything you need’ in a cylinder mower according to Kieron Jennings – Head Groundsman at Oxford United FC.

Kieron, who is employed by Grasstek and oversees the maintenance of the pitches at Oxford United FC’s Bangkok Glass Training Centre and the Kassam Stadium, felt the time was right to purchase a new cylinder mower. Somewhat of a turf perfectionist and a huge fan of the beautiful game, he revealed exactly why.

Dennis G860 - King of the Kassam

Dennis G860 – King of the Kassam

“Ultimately we wanted a better quality of cut,” he said. “We needed a mower which was going to give us a lot more definition. The first team like to play real football; fast one-touch football, and therefore the objective was to get that leaf down and as tight to the plant as we possibly could. We felt we could achieve this best with the Dennis G860.”

Kieron came to this conclusion after various cylinder mowers were demonstrated at the Kassam Stadium. As someone who highly values the team around him, Kieron was also keen to gauge feedback during the demonstrations.

“We’ve got a trainee that has never used a cylinder mower, but with supervision he jumped straight on the G860’s with no problem at all – he enjoyed every minute of using it.”

Lightweight at just 166kg the Dennis G860 is indeed incredibly easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. Furthermore, the handlebar console houses the controls for the throttle, parking brake, roller drive and cutting cylinder drive.

As one of the most renowned cylinder mowers in the grounds management industry, the Dennis G860 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 quality of cut is second to none and it gives us a precise cut each and every time,” added Kieron. “We didn’t quite get that with our last mowers so I’m glad we switched.

“The manager has never once complained about the pitch – in fact he is always complimenting it.”

Dennis G860 - King of the Kassam

Dennis G860 – King of the Kassam

Aside from providing a perfect finish, the G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks such as scarifying, verticutting, brushing, spiking, and slitting. Kieron revealed how some of the cassettes play a part in his maintenance programme.

“As you’d expect, we use the cutting cylinders a lot – perhaps once or twice a day throughout the week. The brush is used to clean the top surface out and we’ll use the verticutter cassette to cut into our laterals, to thin the grass out and to take any Poa out.

In the winter we’ll rely on this cassette maybe two or three times a month because it helps with how the ball moves across the pitch in terms of the speed and the bounce.”

Kieron purchased two Dennis G860’s and he would have no hesitation in recommending them.

“They are very good machines; they are built well, and the durability is fantastic,” he said. “The G860’s have helped us get to where we want to be, and they are above anything else on the market.

“I can confidently say that if you are thinking of changing your cylinder mower, then get a G860 because it has got absolutely everything you need.”

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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Singing the praises of an Agrovista tank-mix

Singing the praises of an Agrovista tank-mix: A tank-mix designed by Agrovista Amenity is helping to control the weed population at the Singing Hills Golf Club in West Sussex.

Singing Hills features 27 holes in three loops of nine holes, allowing golfers to play any combination. Designed by Richard Hird, this parkland course, with its gently undulating fairways, spectacular water holes and the Sussex Downs as a backdrop, is one of the county’s top golf venues.

Singing the praises of an Agrovista tank-mix

Singing the praises of an Agrovista tank-mix

Course Manager Mark Lunday and his Deputy Tom Granite have improved the course each year and are proud of the fact that golf can be played all year round without the need of temporary greens. However, the course does have somewhat of an Achilles heel according to Tom.

“We have suffered here for years with a really bad weed problem on our fairways and green surrounds,” he said. “In the past we have trialled all the different herbicides you can think of at different rates; we’ve tried it with wetters, stickers, pH adjusters and have done everything we possibly can but have not been successful.”

“Following the unsuccessful trials, we spoke to Joseph Dormer from Agrovista Amenity and he put together a special tank-mix,” added Mark. “We trialled it on two fairways and it worked well so we then chose to spray the entire course.”

The three-way tank-mix which Joseph Dormer recommended consisted of Praxys (2L/ha) – a systemic, post-emergence herbicide, containing clopyralid, florasulam and fluroxypyr which combines three active ingredients and two modes of action; GoGreen Select (25L/ha) which is a complex iron sulphate for rapid greening; and Evolution Xtra Soluble (20kg/ha) – a stabilised urea product which is a cost-effective nitrogen source giving 2-3 months longevity. The mix is applied with water at a rate of 320L/ha.

ALS Contractors were brought in to spray the Agrovista Amenity tank-mix on all 27 fairways and green surrounds with a view of controlling the troublesome weeds while also improving the condition and health of the turf.

Mark and Tom were suitably impressed with the process from start to finish.

“Singing Hills is such a large site, and we physically can’t get round to do the spraying,” said Tom. “Therefore, we needed the professionals to come in and get it all done in one morning rather than us trying to do a little bit at a time, and not get anywhere. The process went really well – the guys knew exactly what they were doing, and we couldn’t ask for more.”

“It is down to Agrovista Amenity’s scientific research that has enabled us to control the weed population at Singing Hills Golf Course,” said Mark. “Hopefully we will continue to see a lot more vigour and colour on our fairways, therefore enhancing the golf course.”

There is also a video with Joseph Dormer and the team from Singing Hills Golf Club which can be viewed by clicking here.

For more information about Agrovista UK, visit www.agrovista.co.uk/amenity

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One-in-three greenkeepers looking for work outside of golf

One-in-three greenkeepers looking for work outside of golf: The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) has issued the results of a major industry survey, with some of the findings representing a stark warning to the golfing industry.

More than 1,300 members of BIGGA, representing golf clubs across the United Kingdom, responded to the survey, which asked them to provide details of working conditions at their facilities, in addition to commenting on their job satisfaction.

One-in-three greenkeepers looking for work outside of golf

One-in-three greenkeepers looking for work outside of golf

With talk of difficulties regarding the recruitment and retention of staff common, BIGGA undertook the survey to gain solid evidence of the challenges at UK golf clubs, and the results have raised a number of concerns.

Although 56% of respondents said they were happy working within the greenkeeping profession, 35% admitted they were currently looking for opportunities outside the industry.

With regard to issues of recruitment, 53% are running with teams at less than full strength, while 83.5% said they struggle to recruit new staff.

The boom in golf that followed the coronavirus lockdowns in the past two years has translated to a general increase in staffing numbers, with golf clubs having on average one extra full time greenkeeper compared to the previous poll in 2019.

However, investment in staff welfare facilities hasn’t materialised, with, for example, only one in five facilities offering single sex changing facilities and toilets for female team members. Despite increased reliance on technology, nearly half of clubs don’t provide internet connectivity within the greenkeeping facility.

Further details and a results breakdown is available on the BIGGA website at: https://www.bigga.org.uk/news-listing/greenkeepers-bigga-workforce-survey.html

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “I’m pleased to be able to present robust data to the wider golfing industry that lays bare some fairly frightening statistics on the challenges that exist within our profession.

“We know anecdotally that there are major challenges regarding the recruitment and retention of staff and also that pay, conditions and welfare are major contributors, but to see in black and white that nearly 35% of greenkeepers are looking for work outside the industry is truly a concern.

“Equally, finding out that only one in five facilities are equipped for female staff members shows that the sport’s laudable ambitions to improve equality and diversity are not translating into our side of the game.

“But the key question is what does the game of golf does with this information? It is widely known that there is currently a general challenge in recruiting and retaining staff across society. In order to continue functioning, many sectors have responded with significant pay increases and improvement in working conditions. Golf requires an integrated approach by the entire sport to overcome the challenges laid out by this survey. This approach will need to clearly lay out the challenges, create targets and devise plans to achieve our ambitions.”

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