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An Update from Scott MacCallum

An Update from Scott MacCallum: The fastest moving month of the year has no doubt caught us all out again as we get to the stage where we have no time left to do so many things we’d put off until later in the month.

I enjoy Christmas. At least I enjoy certain aspects of the festive season. I enjoy the odd Christmas party – although I’m pushing it this year with two on the same day. I enjoy that there is more to watch on TV than in the summer months. I enjoy nibbling on party food and not feeling overly guilty. I enjoy the occasional carol service. I enjoy finding the perfect present for someone.

An Update from Scott MacCallum

I’m not so keen on having to listen to Jona Lewie’s Stop the Cavalry every time I wander into Boots for an entire month. But that’s another matter.

I’m here to wish you all the very best for the festive season and not whinge about what I don’t like.

So, from everyone here at Turf Matters have a wonderful Christmas and a New Year which brings you happiness and fulfilment.

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An update from Scott MacCallum

An update from Scott MacCallum: Well the countdown to Christmas is well and truly underway. We are being bombarded by the usual array of Christmas advertising which, increasingly, is failing to mention any of the products for which the company is known. However, we are all entranced by a dragon who inadvertently fired flames from his ears.

In our industry this time of year is a little weird. For some, golf for example, it is a time for winter renovation programmes. A chance to level that poorly constructed tee or carry out some much needed woodland management. Cricket, too, is off season, and work can be carried out to the pitch or outfield.

An update from Scott MacCallum

For football, rugby and horse racing, however, this is perhaps the busiest time of the entire year. Managers are jumping up and down about over congested fixture schedules, sneaky players are looking for that extra yellow card to give themselves a ban over Christmas and groundsmen are trying to produce surfaces in weather conditions which are not always conducive to the maintenance and growth of grass.

Whatever you are doing I hope that you achieve results you are happy with and can enjoy the run up to Christmas safe in the knowledge that, work-wise, everything is as good as it can be.

Best wishes

Scott MacCallum

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An Update From Scott MacCallum

An Update From Scott MacCallum: Another month and another great sporting event. We are currently in the early stages of the Rugby World Cup being held in Japan, and the Japanese groundsmen have the world’s spotlight shining on their work.

They will be experiencing the excitement, the pressures and the armchair criticism which go hand in hand with every major sporting event these days.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

For people who do regular jobs they cannot envisage the power of that spotlight and the negative impact a Twitter storm can have, all because a pitch is not what amateur groundsmen sitting in front of their TV screens believe that it should be.

If you work in an office you don’t get worldwide abuse for failing to note that the photocopier is out of paper or, in a sandwich shop, that you have not cut someone’s baguette into evenly proportioned halves. But with a job which carries television coverage anything goes and, without any external influences – bad weather being one example – being taken into account abuse can be hurled your way.

Unfortunately, the everyone has a right to an opinion society will continue and no doubt get worse. That particular cat is out of the bag and will not be returned.

While editing a newspaper a little while ago I got an email from a reader complaining that a word had being incorrectly spelt in one of the articles. It was great to be able to turn around and tell him that he had misspelt his own name in his own email to me!

If we all appreciated that none of us were perfect life would be much easier but even so a  thick skin is very much the requirement these days to get though life.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

An Update From Scott MacCallum: Well, as we enter August it gives us a little time to catch our breath, at least before the start of the football season again. Oh yes and the little matter of the Ashes!

What a month July proved to be. We had the English ladies getting to the semi final of the World Cup, and Scotland’s ladies proving that shooting themselves in the foot is not the preserve of the Scottish men!

An Update From Scott MacCallum

We had a momentous Cricket World Cup with England surviving a mid tournament slump to reach a final, which will go down in the annuls as of the greatest cricket, if not sporting, matches of all time – congratulations to Karl McDermott and his team for producing the perfect wicket for bat and ball.

Then there was the return of The Open Championship to the island of Ireland and the dream of a home winner. Shane Lowry was immense, but so was Graeme Beatt and his team who produced a test of golf to match the occasion. It has certainly put Royal Portrush back on the map, and more importantly, the Open rota, and we won’t have to wait another 62 years to see that magical Portrush links put through the ultimate test.

I use sporting events as the landmarks through my life – Ah, that was the year Tom Watson, won at Carnoustie (1975); that was when Aberdeen won the European Cup winners Cup (1983); that was when Scotland last won the Grand Slam (1990).

This year is going to offer up so many new landmarks. And we are not yet two thirds through the year!

Scott MacCallum

Editor

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An Update From Scott MacCallum

Golden Graemes

As I write we are deep into both the Cricket World Cup and the Women’s World Cup, while we are listening to endless stories relating to the transfer window. Where would we be without our sporting fixes.

And though it all is the weather. This time last year we were in the middle of the finest summer since 1976 and water shortages were the inevitable consequences. This year, completely different. We’ve had a month of rain in the space of a night and today’s forecast talked of temperatures of 45 degrees in France over the next couple of days.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

And through it all you guys have to maintain consistent surfaces and pitches.  For golf it’s replacing the wetting agent and irrigation from last year with squeegees and effective drainage.

For Royal Portrush who will be hosting their first Open Championship since 1951 I wish all the very best for the last couple of preparation weeks and the Championship itself. I know that Course Manager, Graeme Beatt, and his team have been working wonders to ensure the first Open to be hosted off the mainland for 68 years will be a spectacular success. You can be sure that Frankie Molinari, will be trying to defend his title in front of galleries which will be as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as any in the world.

It was also good to see Graeme McDowell, a Portrush lad, hole a long putt to ensure his entry into the Championship. Not to have played would have been hard for the former US Open Champion to take.

Good luck to both the Graemes – Beatt and McDowell – for The Open.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

An Update From Scott MacCallum: It’s quite amazing to think that, as I write we are still in May, yet we have already enjoyed two of the four golf Majors – well done to Brookes Koepka for his amazing feat in being the first person to defend successfully both the US Open and the USPGA and hold both at the same time – and we are about to launch into both the Women’s World Cup, in France, and the Cricket World Cup here in the UK.

It seems we are in the middle of the sporting year and we haven’t even had a chance to catch a breath. It won’t be long before we are enjoying the thrills and spills of the Rugby World Cup, in Japan.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

Sport really defines a year. If you think back 12 months we were about to start the emotional roller coaster that was the World Cup and it was nice to go into it without the usual hype about England’s chances of winning. Those lower expectations seemed to work as Gareth’s boys came closer than any England side since 1990 to getting to the final.

Although a tad detached from it all, coming as I do, from the other side of Hadrian’s Wall I can still recall sitting in bars watching games and enjoying the feel good factor which engulfed the entire country. Maybe Scotland’s ladies will do what England’s men did last year and exceed expectations.

Can I wish perfect weather conditions and every success to all those groundsmen and greenkeepers who are working so hard to produce first class conditions for all the summer’s sporting events.

Best wishes

Scott MacCallum

 

An Update From Scott MacCallum

An Update From Scott MacCallum: How many of you were caught up in the Extinction Rebellion protests around the country? I must admit living on a pretty remote Scottish island it’s not something me or the other 2,999 islanders were ever likely to face. Let’s face it, my carbon footprint is pretty small although to get anywhere does involve either a ferry or a plane.

When it comes to the overall picture I do think our industry is more than doing its bit when it comes to fine environmental stewardship. Golf Course Managers have been maintaining patches of land, which often haven’t changed markedly in over 100 years, long after housing developments have swallowed up other patches of green and pleasant land.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

Whenever you ever visit a golf club you usually find someone who is so dedicated to the environmental custodianship of the golf course and its surrounds that it is more a vocation than a job. However, the game does get a bad rap from those who only ever imagine chemical and water overuse when they think about golf.

Let’s face it when it comes to golf, or any other fine turf maintenance, people don’t throw around expensive commodities like chemicals, or a valuable commodity like water, willy nilly. Overuse is a myth or, at the very least, something which occurred during the 70s and 80s when overfeeding was a little more prevalent.

Huge credit must be given to Aquatrols and their Fairways Foundation will be another way of ensuring that the many wonderful ideas that emanate from the greenkeepers’ mess room are given the financial impetus to make them a reality. Thanks to Matt Foster, of Aquatrols, for launching the Foundation as not only will it be allowing some wonderful work to happen, it will allow the industry to be seen to be doing that wonderful work.

Keep up the good work and let’s hope we don’t hit the headlines when someone superglues their breasts to the top of your sprayer!

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MTD Appoint Scott Hawkins

MTD Appoint Scott Hawkins: To support their continued growth and increase in sales, MTD Specialty Turf Products have announced the appointment of Scott Hawkins. Scott joins the team as Territory Sales Manager for the South East area, a role which will see him offering additional sales support on both the Cub Cadet TMSystem™ and INFINICUT®.

Scott joins MTD on the back of 2 years as Football & Cricket Head Groundsman at the La Manga Club in Spain. During this period he was responsible for overseeing all elements of grounds maintenance for the natural grass soccer pitches and cricket facilities – both of which are regularly in use by leading teams from around the world for warm-weather training. Prior to this, Scott worked at Fenner’s Cricket Ground for the University of Cambridge and began his career at Essex County Cricket Club.

MTD Appoint Scott Hawkins

Upon embarking on his latest venture, Scott said, “I’m very excited to be taking up this new position and working with such technologically advanced machinery. I have already enjoyed a busy BTME in Harrogate and look forward to using my knowledge and experience as a groundsman to work alongside turf managers, in both the golf and sports turf markets, helping them to achieve their aims.”

With work, and in his spare time, Scott enjoys travelling and is a keen sportsman – playing golf, cricket and tennis when time allows.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

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An Update From Scott MacCallum

An Update From Scott MacCallum: As I write we are coming to the end of March and we can well and truly smell spring. It is a significant time of year for me as it coincides with our wedding anniversary. This year will be our 29th, given that we were married in 1990. In some ways it seems like only yesterday but in others it’s a lifetime away.

It got me thinking about all the things we didn’t know or know about back then – a time when mobile phones were of similar proportions to a small child’s shoe box and were used to make phone calls and phone calls alone. Text messaging didn’t come in until 1992, never mind the concept of the smart phone.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

And the way of finding that information? Well Google (1998) and Wikipedia (2001) were later arrivals too. For heaven’s sake the DVD wasn’t invented until… (I’m having to pause at this juncture because the WIFI has crashed – not a phrase you would have heard back when I was saying “I do”). The Sony PlayStation didn’t start occupying the nation’s youth until 1994 and the Nintendo 64 two years later.

It’s back! DVD was 1996.

Brexit was a word only employed by over enthusiastic Scrabble players.

In sports turf there have been many innovations since the start of the 90s, in all aspects of the industry. Who would have thought about stadium lighting back then, Primo Maxx was a distant dream and the idea of a hand mower, never mind a triple, being powered by battery!

No doubt another 29 years down the line we’ll be saying “Remember when we had to sit in the back of our driverless car and wait for hours to get to our destination” as we step into our Star Trek-style teletransporter.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

An Update From Scott MacCallum: You catch me as I’m gazing out of the living room window and the weather is absolutely gorgeous. Sunny, calm, warm, there’s even a slight heat haze. Not what I expect from here, certainly while still in February. Last year – the opposite. Cold, ice, temperatures barely reaching zero.

Now to an extent, while we enjoy what we have now, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. It shouldn’t be like this. Here in Scotland we’ve just broken a temperature record for Feb which has stood since the 1890s. It is a further example of how climate change is now a part of our every day lives.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

While like every rational human being I worry about it, it doesn’t impact my day to day living the way it does for you guys, the nation’s turf professionals. Traditional schedules for maintenance practices go out of the window and while you may have previously been still in the middle of winter maintenance work you are now having to cut grass.

Going forward, it is going to require a much more flexible approach to turf maintenance – not to mention your working attire during the winter months. Shorts in February! –  and those who adapt best will be rewarded with the best surfaces all year round.

I’m not suggesting that we should revel in our traditional winter weather but at least it was consistent.

Let’s enjoy this while it lasts but think about how it may shape things to come.

Scott MacCallum