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An Update From Scott MacCallum

An Update From Scott MacCallum: Well, that’s the main exhibition season over for the next 11 months. With Saltex and BTME coming so close together, particularly with the festive period slap bang in the middle, it is probably the most intense time of the year… for the likes of us that is who don’t have sports pitches and golf courses to look after.

It was great to see so many people at both shows taking advantage of what the two shows have to offer – new products, professional development and mingling with like minded people. From a personal perspective it was also lovely to see how well Turf Matters – both the magazine and the website – is being received by its readership. So many people stopped Sinead and I to compliment us on Turf Matters and it makes us both believe that we are moving in the right direction as a title.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

We do care about what you want from your trade media and try to ensure that whatever we do is relevant and of interest to you. We will continue to produce well written, well presented features for you, as well as acting as a conduit for all the news and views from throughout our wonderful industry.

As I write, and look out of the window, we are in the middle of the coldest snap of the year. At least I hope it’s the middle and not just the start of a prolonged period of sub zero temperatures and all that that brings.

It’s at times like these that we all yearn from those heady days when the shorts are out and our knees are sunburnt. Hang in there guys and gals. It’s only a few months until spring!

Scott MacCallum

Scott MacCallum Christmas Update

Scott MacCallum Christmas Update: It seems like only a blink of an eye when we were saying. Goodbye to 2017 and welcoming in 2018 and now we are back doing the same but one year on.

However, looking back 2018 was a pretty action packed sporting year.

Ireland clinched a Grand Slam in the Six Nations and went on to defeat World Champions later in the year. The Six Nations is truly one of the stand-out events on the calendar and the quality of the venues and the pitches are fine examples of how far not just stadiums but pitch maintenance have come in the last 10 years.

The Winter Olympics, perhaps, didn’t need the expertise of turf managers, but piste and ice preparation is an art in itself.

The World Cup in Russia was a triumph. The feared issues didn’t materialise and the Russian population welcomed everyone with open arms. An example of how sport can cut through the, let’s use the word “nonsense” with pervades so many other areas of life.

The World Cup caught the imagination, thanks to the progress of Gareth Southgate and his team.

It might have been the fact that no-one can really dislike Gareth and his team were much more open and accessible than previously, but even in Scotland, where I watched the matches, there were cheers when England scored and progressed through the rounds.

An end to the 52 years of hurt may have been a step too far for those of us on the northern side of Hadrian’s Wall though.

Many UK companies were involved in the World Cup which, in itself, is testimony to the quality of product and service we  are lucky enough to enjoy here.

It is sad but a true that it was good news that most of the other great sporting events were carried off – once we waved goodbye to the Beast from the East and welcomed a summer to remember – without any adverse headlines relating to the quality of the playing areas. Wimbledon, various Test series, Cheltenham and Aintree, The Open at Carnoustie and too many more to list here.

There is always a chance that adverse weather and disease can impact upon sports surfaces but the advances in both the products and the skills of the turf managers has seen those chances reduce over the years and excellence is now commonplace.

We have another exciting year ahead of us in 2019 and on behalf of Tim, Sinead, Marie and myself I wish you all the very best for the new year and for the festive time over the next few days.

Scott MacCallum

Editor

An Update From Scott MacCallum

An Update From Scott MacCallum: It’s now a month since many of us converged on Birmingham for Saltex, met with friends and colleagues and left promising to keep in more regular touch. A regular touch which in many cases will be repeated for the next time at the same time and place next year!

It is a truism that life gets in the way of an awful lot – friendships being among the more unfortunate casualties so while an annual meet up at Saltex may be a little too long a gap, at least it happens.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

Of course, business was the reason we were at the NEC and the number of follow-ups from the many leads taken at the Show will have already been completed thus proving the benefit of face to face encounters.

As we head into December I know that it is a particularly busy time for all groundsmen and greenkeepers. Winter programmes at golf club and cricket grounds will be well underway and while the fact that, with golf in particular, tree management work can be unseen by the members leading to jokes about overused dartboards, much of the success of the work carried out in the out of season periods is responsible for a less stressful time next spring and summer.

For those working in football and rugby the festive period is particularly action packed with many games played in weather that it particularly unsuited to recovery or remedial work. It’s not just the players who look at Christmas with a feeling of dread!

What I would say is that whatever you are working on at the moment – Good fortune!

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October Update From Scott MacCallum

October Update From Scott MacCallum: SALTEX Week always has a different feel to it than the other 51 weeks of the year. There is a feeling of anticipation about catching up with friends and colleagues from the other end of the country – if not the other side of the world, while knowing that, at the same time, you can top up on your professional development and key into the latest developments in the industry at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.

October Update From Scott MacCallum

Sinead Finnin and I will be out and about both days. We will be filming videos with exhibitors and visitors to show people who couldn’t make it to Birmingham just what they are missing.

So, if you see us don’t hesitate about saying hello. We are always keen to meet with our readers and partners within the industry and if you have ideas of thoughts on Turf Matters we would be keen to hear them.

I hope you have a successful time at IOG SALTEX whether you are there for two days or can free up the time for one day, or part of one day. Let’s face it a little time is better than no time at all.

Best wishes

Scott MacCallum

Editor

Turf Matters

September Update From Scott MacCallum

September Update From Scott MacCallum: Well, the football and rugby seasons are in full swing once again and those with affiliations to a particular team – most of us – are experiencing the uncomfortable feelings we all get when our team is in action.

We might be engaged in a serious piece of conversation about potential new curtains for the bedroom, or watching the latest episode of Bodyguard, but what we really want to do is steal a look at our phone to check the score. You know full well it’s not going to go well – not the score, but the reaction from your other half to what is a display of less than 100% attention to the task in hand.

September Update From Scott MacCallum

I’ve said before, but the extent to which sport weaves its way into our every day lives, and dictates our moods, is never to be underestimated. My wife and I even got caught up in the World Cup and found ourselves not disinclined to share a smile when England scored. Even from north of the border the atmosphere created by a thumping of Panama and a penalty shoot out win against Columbia could be felt. The distant memories when Scotland qualified for five consecutive World Cups made those feelings all the more poignant.

Scotland’s qualification for the Women’s World Cup next year is small consolation and I’m sure the entire country will get behind the team but the, amended, famous Tartan Army chant “When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army girls” doesn’t quite work to the same extent.

I do live in eternal hope that the next generation of football’s superstars could contain the odd one with a Scottish accent, but living in hope is something I’ve become used to – living in expectation is something I leave to those south of the Hadrian’s Wall.

Anyhow, all of the above would not be possible without the pitches to perform on and with none of us knowing what sort of weather we are going to get to prepare those pitches it is a credit to all that standards are so high and that the limitations of budget are exceeded so frequently.

Scott MacCallum

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An Update From Scott MacCallum

An Update From Scott MacCallum: Most of the major sporting events for the year have concluded, the schools are back and the universities are preparing to welcome back their students.

So what to make of 2018? Well, from a sporting perspective it’s been pretty exciting. The World Cup was exciting, or being a Scot, I’m told it was exciting, with Gareth’s boys exceeding expectations. As it progressed through the knock-out stages, those expectations had shot up again and many thought the 52 years of hurt were going to end.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

Glasgow’s European Championships were a success while I don’t recall any of the regular sporting calendar highlights letting the side down in the football, rugby, tennis, golf, cricket, horse racing. That said, Andy Murray’s non appearance at Wimbledon did reduce excitement at SW19, but we are going to have to get used a life post-Andy going forward I’m afraid to say.

But the point I was going to make was that, as far as I can recall, there were no negative headlines from a turf management side of things.

No complaints from disgruntled losers, no injuries directly attributable to a surface, no Head Groundsman or Course Manager being named and shamed in public. That’s not to say that everything went perfectly in every instance.

Of course, things went wrong. You don’t need highly talented people in position if everything were to go swimmingly on every occasion. You guys are paid to resolve problems, but to do it, more often than not, quietly, efficiently, without fuss and without headlines.

Looking forward it’s hard to see how the quality bar can be raised much more but we can probably look to attain the same standards with fewer chemical applications – both for environmental reasons and the fact that it is likely that we will see costs rise as we stumble through Brexit.

On an artificial turf perspective the Rubber Crumb issue will continue to run. A six month consultation process on reducing acceptable levels of carcinogens has just started and I just hope that the safety of the end user – groundsman and sportsman – is placed before cost when a final decision is made.

So as greenkeepers start planning their winter programmes and groundsmen continue to turn out super surfaces in all conditions I wish you all well going forward.

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

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An Update From Scott MacCallum

We have just come from a tumultuous six weeks of sport – with the World Cup, Wimbledon and The Open Championship at Carnoustie and you know what – the fact that the groundsmen and greenkeepers didn’t create one headline between them makes my heart sing.

When it comes to turf maintenance and the media – no news is good news.

An Update From Scott MacCallum

But to a large degree that’s sad. Why shouldn’t the great work carried on by turf professionals in Russia, West London and the east coast of Scotland be acclaimed? It’s only when something goes pear shaped that turf professionals are named and shamed.

Had Harry Kane slipped on a loose bit of turf and missed one of his penalties; or Novak Djokovic missed a potential Championship winning point because of a dodgy bounce; or Tiger Woods saw one of his better drives land in a divot and cost him that elusive 15th Major, we would have known the names of every Head Groundsman or Course Manager involved.

Like a good referee – although I do believe the arrival of the celebrity referee is changing this – it has all gone well if no-one has noticed you.

I do know that that situation suits many turf professionals. In a previous guise I wanted to run a campaign to encourage golf club members to get to know their Course Manager, but it didn’t fly. Greenkeepers, and assume most groundsmen, don’t like their heads above the parapet.

What I would say, however, is that no matter how strong your agronomy knowledge the ability to communicate is just as important.

I remember something a friend of mine, who was Chairman of Green at Muirfield Village, in Ohio, told me. He said that their course, which plays host to Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament every year and hosted the 1987 Ryder Cup, was always in perfect condition. He also told me that their Superintendent’s degree was in politics, not agronomy.

So, face up to your biggest critic. If you can’t talk round someone who is bound to have much less subject knowledge than you maybe your next training course should be in communications not soil science.