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Lockdown update from BIGGA

Lockdown update from BIGGA: Following the rapidly-escalating situation regarding a return to full national lockdown restrictions for England, which followed on the heels of similar restrictions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) has sought clarification regarding the level of course maintenance work that is able to take place on golf courses and other facilities.

BIGGA has reviewed the UK Government guidance and liaised with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf and The R&A and can confirm there will be no limitations placed on maintenance activities able to be undertaken by the greenkeeping teams at golf facilities, driving ranges and other venues where golf and shorter forms of the game take place.

Lockdown update from BIGGA

Lockdown update from BIGGA

While golf courses in Scotland are able to remain open, golf courses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are closed. Taking place primarily outdoors with limited opportunities for cross-contamination, greenkeeping teams have adapted well to ensure staff stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff at all facilities should continue to be aware of social distancing requirements and ensure any activities are undertaken in a manner that minimises interaction with others.

Golf clubs may choose to take advantage of the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is expected to run until at least April 2021, and BIGGA is asking facilities to consider the mental health and wellbeing of all staff, both those who have been under significant pressure to work with reduced staff levels for an extended period and those who have been asked to remain at home. Rotation of staff may be deemed appropriate, as is enabling all team members to take part in professional development opportunities, such as BIGGA’s Continue to Learn online education programme that is taking place during January 2021.

BIGGA is also appealing to the operators of golf clubs to use common sense when assigning tasks to the greenkeeping team and reminds club managers of their responsibility to provide a COVID-safe working environment for all members of the team.

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “With widespread vaccinations taking place across the country, our hope is that this is the final hurdle and golf courses will take the opportunity presented by reduced playing levels to prepare their courses for what we hope will be a busy and prosperous summer season out on the fairways. In the meantime, the focus must be on safety and not putting anyone at risk. Course managers should have an awareness of what work is considered a priority during this period of the year and advise senior management as to these requirements, adjusting staffing levels to suit the needs of the golf facility and to ensure the continuing safety of the entire team.”

BIGGA will continue to monitor this situation and provide addition guidance as appropriate.

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LockStar label update gives users more flexibility

LockStar label update gives users more flexibility: ICL has announced an update to the UK label of its residual herbicide, LockStar, which will provide users with more effective and flexible weed control.

The label update includes extended use of the product meaning that LockStar can now be applied all-year round instead of the previous limited window between February and June.

LockStar label update gives users more flexibility

LockStar label update gives users more flexibility

This will provide contractors and grounds managers with the opportunity to adapt their approach and give them greater control over weed growth.

Previously, LockStar could only be used on natural surfaces not intended to bear vegetation.

However, the new label update grants the use of the product on amenity vegetation (around). This will allow for the herbicide to be applied in a wider range of situations and be used in areas such as around the base of unsusceptible shrubs, trees, plants and other amenity areas. Full details on plant species can be found at www.icl-sf.co.uk

LockStar controls a broad spectrum of weeds for up to four months and allows for professional and safe weed control. The innovative formula contains diflufenican and iodosulfuron-methyl-sodium – which is the first new weed control active ingredient to be released in the UK for many years.

When applied pre germination LockStar creates a dual barrier on the soil surface preventing weed growth and establishment. To control weeds that are already present, LockStar can be tank-mixed with glyphosate or a fatty acid.

LockStar, available in a 500g pack, uses the latest generation of water dispersible granules, the product quickly dissolves in water and remains in solution in the spray tank for a minimum of 24 hours.

Compared to conventional weed management programmes, LockStar keeps surfaces clean and weed-free for longer, as well as reducing the number of applications and amounts of herbicide required.

LockStar should be applied at a rate of 500g/ha.

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

For more news and insightful views, you can follow ICL on Twitter @ICL_Turf

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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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Toro Update At Sherborne GC

Toro Update At Sherborne GC: 2019 brings plenty to celebrate for Sherborne Golf Club. A 125-year anniversary, a Toro machinery fleet update and recognition for the club’s young greenkeeping talent.

Sherborne Golf Club on the border of Dorset and Somerset has long been a Toro customer, a situation well illustrated by the Toro red shed. In fact, the relationship goes as far back as the arrival of course manager Chris Watson 16 years ago: “I signed the club’s first five-year agreement ten years ago and we’re now into our third!

Toro Update At Sherborne GC

“Toro fulfils the needs of the club. We have a tricky course to maintain and it’s hard work all year round. The free draining soil means there’s a lot of play in winter and no temporary greens. Throughout we expect reliability, a great cut and performance in the face of seemingly endless work, and Toro delivers time and again.”

Plus, there has been a major ongoing landscaping project. 375,000 tons of soil have been delivered over the last seven years, three holes have been redesigned, the practice ground has been increased, the course has been lengthened and new tees have been generated. Chris says: “We’re a forward-thinking club with a supportive management committee. The way we see it, there’s always room for improvement.

“Throughout the years, I’ve remained pleased with our Toro machinery upgrades and the technological advances it demonstrates in the new models we choose, and there’s been no need to change that. The service has been consistent and good, and maintenance is easy. Our Groundsmaster 4000-D, for example, can clock over 2000 hours of work without needing a hydraulic oil change!”

The celebrations for the 125th anniversary are year-long and jammed full of hosting duties including the Dorset County Championship, South England Boys Open and a Pro-Am, to name but a few. “The preparation work we’ve done in recent years has ensured we’re in great shape for all these events,” says Chris.

An unexpected bonus for the club’s 125th year is the news that one of the greenkeeping team has been selected to proceed to the regional interview stage in the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards.

Chris says: “Throughout my career I’ve always been keen to encourage the younger generation into the industry and feel proud that four of my trainees now hold positions as head greenkeepers. When I first met Sam Richards, I knew he’d make a great apprentice and could see he had potential. To have this recognised, and supported, by his Myerscough College lecturer who nominated Sam and to see him progress into the next round of the Young Award is testament to his promise.

“Even being shortlisted in Toro’s Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards is a huge achievement, it’s a competition which has identified some of the country’s brightest and most promising talent.”

All that’s left for us to say is happy anniversary to Sherborne Golf Club and good luck to Sam – and all those progressing into the regional interviews for both Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards this summer!

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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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

 

BLEC Host Press Update Event

BLEC Host Press Update Event: Three years on since the announcement was made that BLEC was to become a division of the Redexim Group, the press were recently invited to an update event at BLEC dealer Acorn Tractors in Derby. Hosted by Division Manager Curtis Allen, they heard in more detail how the new and enhanced range of specialist landscaping and turfcare equipment is creating quite a stir.

A busy few years under the guidance of the Redexim Group has seen the streamlining of product ranges and manufacture, along with the appointment of a network of dedicated dealers nationwide. Amongst the machines shown on the day were the Blecavator, Laser Grader and Multi-Seeder where key developments were discussed. Of particular note was the number of mechanical adjustments made to the renowned Laser Grader range including new twin Danfoss proportional valves and heavy-duty finger tines, that both now come as standard. The all-new Power Box Rake 1800 was another highlight as the first Redexim designed and engineered addition to the BLEC offering. Whilst following the ethics of the previous versions of the PBR, this machine has been built from scratch to be the perfect tool for cultivating, earth-moving, grading and raking.

BLEC Host Press Update Event

During the presentation and subsequent working demonstrations, it was evident how machines from across the BLEC range can be used in conjunction with one another, in the process of converting bare earth into a surface ready for seeding. With a comprehensive selection of pedestrian and tractor-mounted units, each available in a variety of working widths, they’re suited to applications from landscape gardeners, golf course construction, sports pitch preparations to large-scale groundworks.

The press were also treated to a talk from Sean Goodwin, Director of Talbot Farm Landscapes and Talbot Sports Turf, and long-standing user of BLEC machinery. Sean has a vast selection of BLEC units on his machinery fleet. He adds, “The BLEC range demonstrates an understanding of what we, the commercial landscaper/sports turf contractor, really need. The build quality is one thing that has always impressed me but the new Multi-Seeder I have purchased through Redexim is even better – well engineered and attention paid to every detail. With the resources available to Redexim, the manufacturing prowess and the ability to stock a wider range of parts through their dealer network, they have the potential to take BLEC to the next level.”

BLEC Host Press Update Event

Curtis summarised, “Despite its best efforts, the rain didn’t dampen spirits on what was a fantastic opportunity to update the media on all of the improvements we have worked hard to deliver across the portfolio. We have come a long way with the range already and with further innovations in the pipeline we’re entering a very exciting period in the BLEC story. A big thank you must also go to Julian Simpson at Acorn Tractors for providing the host venue and coordinating such a positive day.”

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