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Can sand dressing provide a solution to worm casts?

Can sand dressing provide a solution to worm casts?: Mansfield Sand has revealed that an increasing number of sports turf mangers are relying on a sand dressing as a solution to earthworm casting.

“After over three decades of greenkeeping and a few years of winter sports turf management, I am fully aware of the frustration caused by worm casts,” said Gary Cunningham, Football & Golf Sales Representative for Mansfield Sand.

Can sand dressing provide a solution to worm casts?

Can sand dressing provide a solution to worm casts?

“Whilst most earthworm activity goes unnoticed and has a role to play in soil management, its activity can have a detrimental impact on managed amenity grass surfaces. Besides being unsightly, it can lead to the deterioration in playing surfaces – allowing weed infestation, less resistance to turf disease and damage to mowing equipment. All of these inevitably also lead to increased management costs.”

Historically, surface casting was controlled by various chemical solutions. However, over recent years these options have been withdrawn from the market due to environmental protection concerns. This has left turf managers looking for alternative solutions to an age-old inconvenience.

There are several great articles and studies which have been published, and in each situation, sand dressing is shown to supress casting worm activity to some extent on managed areas.

Whilst this is not a quick fix and does depend on several factors such as local climate, soil temperature and time of year, what is apparent is that a sustained programme of sand dressing problem areas does reduce casting worm activity. In turn, casts become a sandier loam which can be easily dispersed without any smearing. This will also lessen the material build-up and not cause any issues with mowing equipment.

Mansfield Sand provides two well-known grades of silica sand to the sports market, MM35 and MM40 – which are sourced directly from the company’s Two Oaks quarry in Mansfield.

“Regular topdressing with MM35 or MM40 can help to manage casting worm activity,” continued Gary. “It can certainly help to make it easier once you build up the level of sand in the rootzone.

“Furthermore, using the right grade of high-quality sand is vital to the overall health and performance of a managed sports surface. Therefore, sports facilities that regularly apply sand dressings as part of their management programme, benefit from improved rootzones leading to better drainage and plant health.

“We may never be able to supress casting earthworm activity completely, but more and more turf managers are significantly reducing them by topdressing with sand.”

From winter sports pitches, golf courses, bowling greens and all amenity turf areas – Mansfield Sand has a solution for all, and the products have long been relied upon at stadium and training ground facilities; championship golf courses and world class show jumping arenas.

For more information visit www.mansfield-sand.co.uk

You can also follow the company on Twitter – @MansfieldSand and Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MansfieldSandSportSurfaces/

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

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Complete stadium branding solution

Complete stadium branding solution: Scott MacCallum meets up with David Pritchard, Chief Commercial Officer for GroundWOW.

It was at Saltex in late 2019 that we first met. Neither of us had a crystal ball at the Show but 12 months on how is everyone at GroundWOW? Safe and well and finding a way to work…?

Amazing how quickly the year since Saltex has passed and I am pleased to report that we are in fantastic shape. As for our way of working, the team is well organised and ahead of the first lockdown, we put together a detailed plan that supported our transition to home working for as and when we’ve needed to.

Complete stadium branding solution

Complete stadium branding solution

The faith we had in our team and our processes through that period was paid back times over. Remote working during lockdown worked especially well on areas that sometimes struggle for airtime in a busy production setting.

That all sounds very positive. Does that mean you have you already reconciled the last 12 months and moved on?

Absolutely. Despite the many positives that occurred in GroundWOW during this difficult time, such as new products for the sports sector and in healthcare, I think we are all looking forward to moving on.

Looking back, what we ended up seeing was a split between organisations that were forced to wait for the pandemic ‘storm’ to pass versus others who had decided they would maintain business as usual as best they could. We saw two very different approaches to life “behind closed doors” and to be fair, both were entirely understandable. For anybody less familiar with our business, outside of core sports marking products, we manage a pipeline of development projects, some that we will deliver in to sport and others that leverage our modular technology and state of the art factory into other sectors. It is an approach we envisaged from the outset, endorsed and encouraged by our backers who are profoundly bought into the vision of our core autonomous robotic technology, and our wider RAAS (Robotics As A Service) offering. For them, that is all part of investing in a deep technology business. For us, it is this diversity of opportunity that minimises our exposure to any single sector.

Can you tell us any more about these other opportunities for your core technology?

Outside of sport, we are approached regularly with alternative use suggestions for GroundWOW’s multi-patented technology (now eight patents and counting!). A quick look through the newspapers and you can see that RAAS Technology businesses everywhere have continued to grow massively despite the pandemic.

In our case, it is easy to see how autonomous robotics might transition into transportation infrastructure or last mile delivery for example.

So, while our primary focus today is sport, it was our constant review of analogous markets that led us into discussions with the NHS in 2020. Appetite is all the way to the top of Government and as a result, we are delighted to have an offer currently under consideration for the whole of the Worldwide health care market.

Coming back to opportunity in sport, something we are regularly asked of our technology is, can it service any of our other wider needs. Well, I am pleased to exclusively announce that we’ll be unveiling something new for the sector very soon that will excite and delight everyone in sport – from the grounds crew to the Executive Board. As a self-sufficient manufacturer, we can take a project from the design phase to production readiness in literally a matter of days. But just because we can, doesn’t always mean that we will. Every idea must go via a rigorous research protocol to establish a meaningful strategic benefit, or otherwise.

How has the company grown over the last 12 months?

Commercially, we have continued to build relationships around the globe including with organisations who are either keen to deploy our technology or collaborate with us in their part of the world on one project or another. In the same way as so many others during the lockdown, we developed different ways to demonstrate our technology remotely, but hand on heart, I cannot wait to get back to more in person face to face conversations.

Team wise, we have recruited heavily over the last 12 months, building out a multi-national team of engineers and developers all based at our HQ, and we are still actively recruiting. The unwavering commitment to recruitment was also a clear signal to everybody else at GroundWOW that their livelihood was secure and the business still building proactively despite the biggest downturn in history.

Finally, with a larger team comes a larger space requirement and so we decided that we would accelerate our plans to create the Smart Factory we had envisioned from day one. We are thrilled with the result and the reactions from visitors. We occupy a large facility with an indoor test track in the middle and if you walked through the door today you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Silicon Valley rather than South Manchester.

World class teams deserve world class environments and we have taken huge steps in that direction to invest in our people and our customer journey.

Complete stadium branding solution

Complete stadium branding solution

The return of televised sport plays into your hands and I know you had big success at Cheltenham and Soccer Aid. Can you talk a little bit about those and some of the other major relationships you build during these difficult times?

Yes, Cheltenham and Soccer-Aid were like the book ends of a spring/summer period that is normally the prime time for sport in this country.

At Cheltenham, we installed for The Jockey Club’s headline sponsor (Magners) one week before the Festival and we ended up in lockdown a week after the actual event.

The Jockey Club were brilliant partners and hugely excited about new inventory facilitated by GroundWOW technology. As you might imagine, when you deliver an event of that profile, there is an inevitable spike in interest in the weeks and months that follow.

It was during Cheltenham week when Soccer Aid for UNICEF made their initial approach to ask if we would be interested to deliver pitch side branding for their main event sponsors at Old Trafford. As you now know, the original June date was postponed but we picked up in summer and delivered in September. Exactly like Cheltenham, delivering on a major stage like Old Trafford supercharges the level of inbound interest – but it is a nice problem considering these times of general uncertainty across the sector.

Relationship wise, our travel plans to certain parts of the world were put on hold. However, we found we were suddenly receiving a major level of interest from football. Typically, our discussions have been with proactive leaders looking for innovative logo and large-scale branding solutions to support their event delivery.

The other notable and enjoyable feature of our process is the sheer variety of discussions we are having with organisations who differ wildly in terms of available resources. Our technology is not cost-prohibitive and so we are able to engage prospects from all levels of sport.

What can you offer sporting events or sporting venues as revenue generating options during their televised/behind closed doors events?

This has always been the central proposition of GroundWOW, enabling a partner to drive revenue streams by printing sponsor brands and advertising logos on their real estate. Ie. sweating their asset. The main topics for discussion are either about selling pitchside real estate to matchday sponsors or in other cases, activating the pitch perimeter to drive added value for existing sponsors. We have all heard about spikes in TV audience figures and we know the value is always in fixed positions in front of the cameras.

That is what ground printed logos are.

The fact too that we run an autonomous vehicle and don’t rely on huge teams of people to carry out our work is also noteworthy given current stringent controls around stadium access.

What about opportunity outside of game day? You talk a lot about being a complete stadium solution, are these two elements related?

The main point here is that our conversations are not rooted in game day activations only. While conference and exhibition are largely stalled for now, non-game day brand activations are core GroundWOW opportunities.

In football for example, there may be 30 to 40 game days each year (depending on cup runs) but on the other 320 days, it is not uncommon for stadia owners to host multiple events every single day. In many cases, companies that hire out a venue are willing to pay for brand presence in incredible environments like stadia.

GroundWOW makes this possible, as the World’s first enterprise-wide ‘ground printer’ solution that literally anybody in the club can use. Not just the Grounds Team but also the marketing department, the sales department, the conference and exhibition team, and the charitable foundation. Teams have brought to us their own list of desired applications including end of season pitch days, stadium tours, car parks, media use, training grounds, concerts, wayfinding, grand scale art, product launches, partner films – that is what we mean when we talk about a complete stadium solution. Suddenly, the concept of a fully branded campus becomes a year-round reality.

For interested parties, what can they expect of a technology product business model?

Our business model is a really simple monthly subscription for Robot/ Software As A Service. Easiest analogy is a person’s mobile phone subscription. All relevant hardware and software are provided to the client including access to our full cloud infrastructure. How exciting is that?

You have grown the company significantly during the toughest economic downturn in our lifetime. What opportunities do you see for yourselves when we do get back to some sort of normality – whether that be in 2021 or heaven forbid, beyond that?

We feel good about where we are but we are sensitive to the proper process of emerging from lockdown safely. When the time is right, we’ll operationalise our growth plan further in sports marking and whole campus activation and we will also open offices this year in Australia and the United States. In the meantime, our new products in sport and healthcare, will continue to build value for us.

As history has shown, lots of innovative businesses have emerged and thrived as the result of a downturn exposing a need for things to change. We are looking forward with great optimism to whatever 2021 has in store. Watch this space.

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution: Interview with David Pritchard, Chief Commercial Officer (david@groundwow.com)

It was at Saltex in late 2019 that we first met. Neither of us had a crystal ball at the Show but 12 months on how is everyone at GroundWOW? Safe and well and finding a way to work…?

Amazing how quickly the year since Saltex has passed and I am pleased to report that we are in fantastic shape. As for our way of working, the team is well organised and ahead of the first lockdown, we put together a detailed plan that supported our transition to home working for as and when we’ve needed to. The faith we had in our team and our processes through that period was paid back times over. Remote working during lockdown worked especially well on areas that sometimes struggle for airtime in a busy production setting.

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

That all sounds very positive. Does that mean you have you already reconciled the last twelve months and moved on?

Absolutely. Despite the many positives that occurred in GroundWOW during this difficult time, such as new products for the sports sector and in healthcare, I think we are all looking forward to moving on. Looking back, what we ended up seeing was a split between organisations that were forced to wait for the pandemic ‘storm’ to pass versus others who had decided they would maintain business as usual as best they could. We saw two very different approaches to life “behind closed doors” and to be fair, both were entirely understandable.

For anybody less familiar with our business, outside of core sports marking products, we manage a pipeline of development projects, some that we will deliver in to sport and others that leverage our modular technology and state of the art factory into other sectors. It is an approach we envisaged from the outset, endorsed and encouraged by our backers who are profoundly bought into the vision of our core autonomous robotic technology, and our wider RAAS (Robotics As A Service) offering. For them, that is all part of investing in a deep technology business. For us, it is this diversity of opportunity that minimises our exposure to any single sector.

Can you tell us any more about these other opportunities for your core technology?

Outside of sport, we are approached regularly with alternative use suggestions for GroundWOW’s multi-patented technology (now 8 patents and counting!). A quick look through the newspapers and you can see that RAAS Technology businesses everywhere have continued to grow massively despite the pandemic. In our case, it is easy to see how autonomous robotics might transition into transportation infrastructure or last mile delivery for example.  So, while our primary focus today is sport, it was our constant review of analogous markets that led us into discussions with the NHS in 2020. Appetite is all the way to the top of Government and as a result, we are delighted to have an offer currently under consideration for the whole of the Worldwide health care market.

Coming back to opportunity in sport, something we are regularly asked of our technology is, can it service any of our other wider needs. Well, I am pleased to exclusively announce that we’ll be unveiling something new for the sector very soon that will excite and delight everyone in sport – from the grounds crew to the Executive Board. As a self-sufficient manufacturer, we can take a project from the design phase to production readiness in literally a matter of days. But just because we can, doesn’t always mean that we will. Every idea must go via a rigorous research protocol to establish a meaningful strategic benefit, or otherwise.

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

How has the company grown over the last 12 months?

Commercially, we have continued to build relationships around the globe including with organisations who are either keen to deploy our technology or collaborate with us in their part of the world on one project or another. In the same way as so many others during the lockdown, we developed different ways to demonstrate our technology remotely, but hand on heart, I cannot wait to get back to more in person face to face conversations.

Team wise, we have recruited heavily over twelve months, building out a multi-national team of engineers and developers all based at our HQ, and we are still actively recruiting. The unwavering commitment to recruitment was also a clear signal to everybody else at GroundWOW that their livelihood was secure and the business still building proactively despite the biggest downturn in history.

Finally, with a larger team comes a larger space requirement and so we decided that we would accelerate our plans to create the Smart Factory we had envisioned from day one. We are thrilled with the result and the reactions from visitors. We occupy a large facility with an indoor test track in the middle and if you walked through the door today you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Silicon Valley rather than South Manchester. World class teams deserve world class environments and we have taken huge steps in that direction to invest in our people and our customer journey.

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The return of televised sport plays into your hands and I know you had big success at Cheltenham and Soccer Aid. Can you talk a little bit about those and some of the other major relationships you build during these difficult times?

Yes, Cheltenham and Soccer-Aid were like the book ends of a Spring Summer period that is normally the prime time for sport in this country. At Cheltenham, we installed for The Jockey Club’s headline sponsor (Magners) one week before the Festival and we ended up in lockdown a week after the actual event. The Jockey Club were brilliant partners and hugely excited about new inventory facilitated by GroundWOW technology. As you might imagine, when you deliver an event of that profile, there is an inevitable spike in interest in the weeks and months that follow.

It was during Cheltenham week when Soccer Aid for Unicef made their initial approach to ask if we would be interested to deliver pitch side branding for their main event sponsors at Old Trafford. As you now know, the original June date was postponed but we picked up in summer and delivered in September. Exactly like Cheltenham, delivering on a major stage like Old Trafford supercharges the level of inbound interest – but it is a nice problem considering these times of general uncertainty across the sector.

Relationship wise, our travel plans to certain parts of the world were put on hold. However, we found we were suddenly receiving a major level of interest from football. Typically, our discussions have been with proactive leaders looking for innovative logo and large-scale branding solutions to support their event delivery. The other notable and enjoyable feature of our process is the sheer variety of discussions we are having with organisations who differ wildly in terms of available resources. Our technology is not cost-prohibitive and so we are able to engage prospects from all levels of sport.

What can you offer sporting events or sporting venues as revenue generating options during their televised / behind closed doors events?

This has always been the central proposition of GroundWOW, enabling a partner to drive revenue streams by printing sponsor brands and advertising logos on their real estate. i.e. sweating their asset. The main topics for discussion are either about selling pitchside real estate to matchday sponsors or in other cases, activating the pitch perimeter to drive added value for existing sponsors. We have all heard about spikes in TV audience figures and we know the value is always in fixed positions in front of the cameras. That is what ground printed logos are. The fact too that we run an autonomous vehicle and don’t rely on huge teams of people to carry out our work is also noteworthy given current stringent controls around stadium access.

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

What about opportunity outside of game day? You talk a lot about being a complete stadium solution, are these two elements related?

The main point here is that our conversations are not rooted in game day activations only. Whilst conference and exhibition are largely stalled for now, non-game day brand activations are core GroundWOW opportunities. In football for example, there may be thirty to forty game days each year (depending on cup runs) but on the other three hundred and twenty days, it is not uncommon for stadia owners to host multiple events every single day. In many cases, companies that hire out a venue are willing to pay for brand presence in incredible environments like stadia.

GroundWOW makes this possible as the World’s first enterprise-wide ‘ground printer’ solution that literally anybody in the club can use. Not just the Grounds Team but also the marketing department, the sales department, the conference and exhibition team, and the charitable foundation. Teams have brought to us their own list of desired applications including end of season pitch days, stadium tours, car parks, media use, training grounds, concerts, wayfinding, grand scale art, product launches, partner films – that is what we mean when we talk about a complete stadium solution. Suddenly, the concept of a fully branded campus becomes a year-round reality.

For interested parties, what can they expect of a technology product business model?

Our business model is a really simple monthly subscription for Robot/Software As A Service. Easiest analogy is a person’s mobile phone subscription. All relevant hardware and software are provided to the client including access to our full cloud infrastructure. How exciting is that?

You have grown the company significantly during the toughest economic downturn in our lifetime. What opportunities do you see for yourselves when we do get back to some sort of normality – whether that be in 2021 or heaven forbid, beyond that?

We feel good about where we are but we are sensitive to the proper process of emerging from lockdown safely. When the time is right, we’ll operationalise our growth plan further in sports marking and whole campus activation and we will also open offices this year in Australia and the United States. In the meantime, our new products in sport and healthcare, will continue to build value for us.

As history has shown, lots of innovative businesses have emerged and thrived as the result of a downturn exposing a need for things to change. We are looking forward with great optimism to whatever 2021 has in store.  Watch this space.

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Evolution is the solution

Evolution is the solution: Graham Kitley, head of grounds at Hazlegrove Preparatory School in Somerset, needed a premium controlled release fertiliser with no excessive flushes of growth. He found exactly what he was looking for in Agrovista Amenity’s Evolution Controlled Fine 25-5-10

The vastly experienced Graham, along with two other members of staff, tends to approximately twenty-two acres of gardens and grounds at the prestigious Hazlegrove Preparatory School. This includes the maintenance of a six-hole golf course, a putting green, four cricket squares, two synthetic turf pitches, cricket nets and five rugby pitches.

Evolution is the solution

Evolution is the solution

Sport is an integral part of the experience at Hazlegrove and Graham, quite rightly, takes great pride in his work. “I insist on preparing every pitch to a standard that I would like to and expect to play on myself,” he says.

Graham demands the best out of his products and equipment, and therefore, when he felt he wasn’t getting the desired results out of a particular product he knew it was time to look elsewhere.

“I was previously using another fertiliser on our rugby pitches, but I was finding that it was giving me a really bad flush of early growth and I couldn’t keep up with cutting them – it got out of control. I then tried out another couple of different products and none of them really worked for me. It was as this point that I consulted with David Bevan from Agrovista Amenity.”

After David visited Graham and assessed the situation and the pitches, he recommended Agrovista Amenity’s Evolution Controlled Fine 25-5-10 (3-4 months).

Evolution Controlled is a fertiliser range consisting of nutrients packaged in a coated granule that are released over an extended period of time. Longevity is determined by the thickness of the granule coating and by soil temperature. High temperatures accelerate nutrient release, while lower temperatures reduce the process. Evolution Controlled products are therefore very effective in supplying nutrients to the grass relative to current growth requirements.

The Evolution Controlled Fine analysis provides a triple action nitrogen source to promote growth in a range of conditions and the immediate availability of nitrate ensures a rapid response. Polymer coated urea controls further release and ensures the grass continues to receive nitrogen over an extended period, which is exactly what Graham was looking for.

Furthermore, the product boasts significant calcium and magnesium content to support turf health and colour.

Graham took David’s advice on-board and he first applied Evolution Controlled Fine to two of the five rugby pitches. However, he admitted to keeping his options open and wanted to make sure he had the right product before applying it to all five.

“First, we applied Evolution Controlled Fine to two of our rugby pitches in August, but it wasn’t until a bit later that we carried it over to the other three,” he said. “The reason for doing so was because I was conducting a trial with a competitor product. I quickly found that it didn’t work as well as Evolution Controlled. Based on the results, Evolution Controlled is now on all five rugby pitches.

“I cannot fault it at all,” continued Graham. “It has nearly been four months and I still have good colour, plenty of growth and the turf is really healthy. It just continues to tick along nicely and most importantly it hasn’t given me that excessive growth. It is also cheaper than the previous product I was using, which is also another huge bonus.

“It has done exactly what David said it would do. The all-round customer service from Agrovista Amenity has been fantastic throughout the process. What I particularly like about David is that I get the impression he is not just trying to sell me the most expensive products – he genuinely has an interest in your grounds and he works hard to identify the products that will benefit you the most.”

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

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

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Top-Brush provides worm cast solution

Top-Brush provides worm cast solution: Constructed on a heavy clay soil profile, the two 18-hole courses at Welwyn Garden City’s Brocket Hall Estate fell victim last year to what arguably has become one of the biggest challenges for fine turf managers – worm casts.

Without available curative chemistry, Golf Course Manager John Moorhouse turned to his local dealer for advice who recommended the Redexim Top-Brush. Three months on from taking delivery, the Top-Brush has proven itself to be a true multi-tasker – not only tackling the issue of worm casts but leaves and surface moisture too.

Top-Brush provides worm cast solution

Top-Brush provides worm cast solution

Quintessentially British in their design, but very different in terms of their challenge to golfers and greenkeepers alike, the Palmerston and Melbourne courses are overseen by a dedicated team of 10. “The combination of our heavy soil and milder, wetter autumns has seen a huge spike in the number of worm casts we’re seeing” explains John. “I spoke with David Fisher of George Browns to see if there was a way of removing the casts prior to cutting. He straight away organised a demonstration of the Top-Brush.”

The Redexim Top-Brush is a six-metre-wide poly-brush, comprised of three sections, that can quickly and effectively rid large areas, such as fairways, of worm casts, organic matter and dew. Because the brushes can rotate in or against the direction of travel, it can be used to remove lateral growth and stand the plant upright – contributing to better airflow into the canopy and a cleaner quality of cut.

“It’s really easy to hook-up via the 3-point linkage and it’s quick and straight forward to adjust the rotation direction and working depth. It has not only done exactly as we hoped in clearing surface casts, but it also played a major part in leaf clearance on the heavily tree-lined Palmerston course – using the brushes anti-clockwise to lift and move the leaves and other debris such as pine needles out of play and giving us a great, clean finish.”

When used with clockwise rotation, John has been impressed with the Top-Brush’s ability to remove dew and improve course presentation. “It has given us a quick and effective method of reducing surface moisture, especially early mornings, not only contributing to improvements in plant health but giving us a beautiful striped finish on the fairways.” He concludes, “As we head into the spring, in addition to all of its existing uses, we plan to use the Top-Brush to help with incorporation of topdressing material. The versatility demonstrated by this piece of kit means it has done exactly what we hoped for, and so much more.”

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

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‘Naturalised EcoBunkers’ the solution

‘Naturalised EcoBunkers’ the solution: Rebuilt a few years ago by architect and former European Tour player David J. Russell, the famous Machrie links on the Scottish island of Islay has now almost finished the construction of the bunkers on the new-look course.

And, according to course manager Dean Muir, it is only the use of the EcoBunker synthetic edging system that has made the installation of the bunkers possible.

‘Naturalised EcoBunkers’ the solution

‘Naturalised EcoBunkers’ the solution

“Now, there are almost fifty bunkers on the course,” says Muir. “When DJ started the redesign project, the original intention was to have none. Had they been natural, we could never have managed to maintain those bunkers, because of the flymowing and strimming, and we would have had trouble building them too. Because of our island location it is difficult and expensive to get revetting turf, and our small turf nursery could never provide enough. It is the use of EcoBunker that has made these bunkers possible.”

Muir, who comes from Dunbar in the east of Scotland, first saw the EcoBunker method in use on a project in his home town, and realised quickly that it could be a help at The Machrie. Some links courses have resisted using EcoBunker, for fear that their bunkers will look artificial, but Muir believes he has found a solution to this issue. “After I saw photographs of the EcoBunkers built with double stacks of astroturf at the new Dumbarnie Links course in Fife, I realised they were just right for us,” he says. “The bunker faces were hydroseeded with fescue: once this started to grow, it made the bunkers look even better. So we rubbed fescue seed into the faces – you don’t want a lot, but a little bit of growth makes the bunkers look much more natural. Some of our EcoBunkers are nearly three years old, and a bit of age helps the naturalisation process too. The local golfers know they are EcoBunkers, but the majority of our play is visitors, and I don’t think they have any idea that the bunker faces are synthetic.”

Muir’s team has been constructing the EcoBunkers itself, following some training from the EcoBunker team. “We have built 22 EcoBunkers since October, and have just ten to go. We hope the project will be completed by Christmas,” he says.

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

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AH75 the solution to excessive first cuts

AH75 the solution to excessive first cuts: With the impending difficulty some green space professionals will soon be experiencing from a delayed first cut, many are turning to the Etesia Attila AH75 brushcutter as a solution. 

The Etesia Attila AH75 brushcutter offers ride-on performance in a pedestrian machine and has been designed to work in the toughest of conditions. This powerful workhorse effectively deals with clearing vegetation from a wide variety of sites – long grass, weeds, bracken and brambles on woodland paths or orchards. Ease of operation and manoeuvrability ensure total efficiency and high output.

AH75 the solution to excessive first cuts

AH75 the solution to excessive first cuts

At a time when many will be facing excessive first cuts, green space professionals – particularly those working for local authorities and landscape contractors, will find the Etesia Attila AH75 a cost-effective solution. At just £3,200 plus VAT, this reliable and powerful machine has been proven to outperform many of its counterparts at a fraction of the price.

The Attila AH75 is powered by the Honda GXV 390 engine and fitted with a T3 transmission combining differential lock and front wheel locking system with a simple height of cut adjustment from the new handle bar design which allows movement into offset for use on slopes.

Efficiency

  • Heavy-duty brush cutting (up to Ø30)
  • Mowing on the most difficult slopes (up to 20°) thanks to the hydraulic transmission with a differential lock
  • Two idlers that can be locked without a tool for improved stability on slopes
  • Possibility to fit two wider rear wheels as an option
  • Cutting height adjustment with three positions from the new handle bar design
  • Handle offset control from the operating position with three working positions and one transport position

Comfort

  • High manoeuvrability thanks to the hydraulic transmission – three forward speeds and one reverse speed
  • Differential lock can be engaged without interrupting movement
  • All operating controls are available from the operating position for convenience and safety
  • Central handle bar that allows easier access to low controls (parking brake, forward transmission bypass, engine starter), with full protection for cables
  • Parking brake for safe immobilisation
  • Anti-vibration rubber handles

Ruggedness

  • Machine can be moved into vertical position to gain access to the cutter blade for maintenance and cleaning
  • Maintenance-free hydrostatic transmission with forced-air cooling, integrated expansion vessel
  • Flail blades: reversible, protect the blade transmission system, low maintenance costs
  • Rugged and reliable engine: Engine crank shaft mounted on bearings.

A full two-year commercial warranty comes as standard.

You can view a video of the machine in action: https://youtu.be/LDpj7a013Ys

For further information, please contact Etesia UK on 01295 680120 or visit www.etesia.co.uk.

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Etesia UK on Twitter @EtesiaUK and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/EtesiaUK. You can also view the latest Etesia videos by visiting www.youtube.com/EtesiaUK.

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Three phase solution for Cruden Bay

Three phase solution for Cruden Bay: After having completed the second of three phases of a complete irrigation installation and renovation, Cruden Bay Golf Club near Peterhead is now benefitting from cost and time effective irrigation from Toro.

Course manager Alister Matherson explains: “Splitting the work into phases meant we could spread out the cost and minimise the amount of time works were disturbing customers, plus it gave us time to make informed decisions about the irrigation system we wanted.

Three phase solution for Cruden Bay

Three phase solution for Cruden Bay

“We’re two thirds of the way through the installation and while it is a drawn out strategy it’s been worth the wait so far. We had the first phase of the irrigation installation in 2014. This involved installing a new transfer pump, holding tank and replacing the old pump set.”

And in 2019 came the cherry on the cake, with not only the addition of new pipework, cabling and Toro irrigation valves, but brand new Toro sprinklers across the greens, approaches and walkways, alongside Toro Lynx central control.

“We had a demonstration of Toro sprinklers and used them on the course alongside competitor brands. Throughout extensive trials, we saw quite clearly that Toro performed better,” says Alister. “The quality of performance of the heads and the quality of service from Reesink Turfcare was great.

“Added to that is Toro Lynx control, which is a great bit of kit. Easy to use software and very reliable, with features like the weather station which is fantastic. My favourite feature is probably the mobile app which allows us to control the irrigation from anywhere, which is superb!”

Despite the large installation and renovation, the process went smoothly with the work of OCMIS irrigation specialists and RH Associates consultancy. And since the second phase was completed, the course has certainly been seeing the benefits.

“Having a clearer plan for our irrigation means we can be more efficient and is the biggest plus,” says Alister. “The quality of coverage as well has made a big difference to the course.”

Renowned as one of the top golf courses in the world by Top 100 Golf Courses, Cruden Bay Golf Club’s traditional Scottish links course benefits from stunning views out over the sea and of Slain Castle. But it’s the unique topography and layout that makes it so popular, says Alister.

“With the course so well regarded, it’s important for us to make the course maintenance the best it can be. Having Toro irrigation means we can keep standards high and improve the course.”

Up next for the club is phase three in the irrigation installation, to cover the fairways. “We won’t change from Toro now that we’ve seen what their irrigation can do,” says Alister. “Although a few years off yet, we’re looking forward to slotting in that last piece of the jigsaw, which will give us a completely modern, functional system across the course.”

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The total solution from Toro

The total solution from Toro: Stratford-On-Avon Golf Club in Warwickshire has chosen Toro for its new irrigation system, adding to its full fleet of Toro machinery and becoming a Total Solutions customer.

Having spent years building up a complete Toro fleet to maintain its 18-hole parkland course, Stratford-On-Avon Golf Club knows the value of investing in the brand, which is why course manager Chris Bromley opted for Toro again when it came to club’s irrigation needs.

The total solution from Toro

“We’ve had Toro Infinity sprinklers installed across the course on the fairways, greens, surrounds, approaches and the larger tees, as well as T5 sprinklers for the smaller tees and then the Lynx control system with weather station to top it off,” says Chris.

“To put it simply, Toro irrigation provides everything we need. The sprinklers are easy to maintain and easy to use, particularly the Infinity sprinklers. They’re top accessible which makes any maintenance simple, plus changing the arcs, nozzles and trajectory is all quick and easy to do.

“With Lynx, everything you need is all on one screen. With the click of a button you can set up the irrigation for your whole golf course and control watering to the second which has had a big effect on water savings. We also opted for the weather station, which is great, because it allows us to monitor the course more accurately and irrigate precisely.”

With the club’s previous system coming to the end of its life, the new irrigation system was a welcome addition.

“Our old system was 20 years old and not having the latest technology to hand was made all the more evident in the heatwave of 2018,” says Chris. “The weather was so severe the fairways burned up and we were doing lots of hand watering. Trying to do that across a 160-acre course is hard work, so it was vital we got a new system in place as soon as possible.”

Despite the need for a new system, for Chris it was important that thorough research was undertaken before making a decision on which brand and system to go with.

“We visited distributor Reesink Turfcare on stand at SALTEX and Harrogate to talk through the benefits of the Lynx system as well as going along to Toro roadshows and visiting other golf clubs to see it in action. The club was investing a large amount, so it had to be absolutely right.”

Since the quick and seamless installation by Full Circle Irrigation completed in May this year, it seems Toro has more than proved itself to be the right system for the club.

“From start to finish it’s been great. The installation and service from both Full Circle Irrigation and Reesink have been very good and the course has massively improved. Previously it could take up to half an hour to set up a sprinkler programme, with Toro that takes seconds, and the water coverage we’ve seen is superb,” concludes Chris.

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Bayer’s new weed control solution at SALTEX

Bayer’s new weed control solution at SALTEX: The recent addition of Roundup® to Bayer’s amenity portfolio complements their new residual herbicide Valdor® Flex and provides contractors with the complete package when it comes to weed control.

Lewis Blois, Bayer national account manager, says the team will be on hand at SALTEX to talk about the recent changes to their product portfolio and provide advice around successful weed control.

Bayer's new weed control solution at SALTEX

“We can now offer the whole solution when it comes to broad spectrum weed control and our full treatment programme works on a wide range of surfaces from open soil to gravel, fence lines and railway ballast,” he adds.

“We’re always working hard to bring new innovative formulations and sustainable solutions to the amenity sector, and recent changes will help contractors to continue to successfully manage weeds at a time when many products are being lost from the market,” explains Lewis.

Our new product portfolio for the amenity sector includes Valdor® Flex, Roundup® and Ecoplugs, offering a wide range of solutions to the sector.

“Valdor Flex is a residual herbicide offering four months weed control. It can be applied as a pre-emergent herbicide or in post-emergent situations with Roundup®, which provides the initial knock down, while Valdor® Flex offers residual control, preventing subsequent weeds emerging.

“Ecoplugs, which can be inserted into tree stumps to avoid re-growth all year round, also join the Bayer portfolio,” he says.

“At Bayer, we’re continually investing in research and development to ensure we can provide our customers with a wide range of innovative solutions when it comes to weed control and recent updates to the product portfolio will provide many benefits to amenity contractors,” concludes Lewis.

For further information visit the Turf Solutions Team on stand G030 at SALTEX, alternatively visit www.environmentalscience.bayer.co.uk, call 00800 1214 9451, or email turfsolutions@bayer.com.

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