The Groundsman

March 2013

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22 " IOG BEST PRACTICE We've spent about £500,000 on drainage since I've been here " "Not only did we upgrade a lot of pitches, for example we converted 12 tennis courts to a football pitch, but I also gained a lot of experience in maintaining a wide range of different surfaces from bowls greens and grass hockey to rugby pitches. Importantly, I also learned how to deal with people – players, bar stewards, contractors, for example – as well as learned about costing, risk management, budgeting and team management." Royal standards Mike moved to Kingston University in 2006, when the incumbent head groundsman retired, and took charge of the management and maintenance of the pitches for football (11), rugby (two), cricket (three squares) and one each more recently for lacrosse and American football. "There was originally just one cricket square, so we moved things around to accommodate more cricket and at the same time repositioned the first team football pitch in front of a new pavilion. The surfaces are used frequently; at weekends for football and rugby, on Wednesdays for university sports and on Monday-Friday evenings for training. the Groundsman March 2013 "When I came here the grounds were fairly good because they had been upgraded over the years. However, I immediately set about improving their overall appearance using my regime of frequent cutting, divoting and 'lightweight mowing' – keeping the rugby pitches at two inches (some may say a little short, but it's a faster game these days) and football at one inch." This regime is complemented by a regular overseeding programme (using either Rigby Taylor Mascot or Barenbrug Premier mixes) and an ongoing schedule of drainage maintenance work together with a weed and feed programme. The Surrey site is predominantly clay-based (it was formerly farmland) and is quite silty. Machinery matters Kingston University's machine and equipment portfolio includes: • Two 4000D Toro ride-on mowers • Two John Deere tractors - models 460 and 520 • Two John Deere electric Gator utility vehicles • An Allett C20 mower • A Sisis Rotorake • A Dennis 36 inch mower • A Charterhouse Vertidrain. Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions

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