The Groundsman

October 2014

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But I wanted to test the surface in-house for bounce, ball roll, infill depth and evenness – factors that are important to me because I have a responsibility to the people that use the surface. Plan of maintenance The first question was how often and how much do we need to maintain this surface? I did get a rough answer, but usually the classic "well, it's down to the amount of use and the temperature". Like a grass pitch then? So, I had to set about designing then implementing my own maintenance system. How often to test? Taking into account the anticipated use, five times a week. What do I test – one area of the surface? No. When it is certificated, the surface is tested in a lot of areas, so 10 areas seem a good plan. So, it is 50 tests a week. Recording that lot will be fun, so I best write a spreadsheet with colour coding and formatted for ease of use. So, I have the testing system set up and spend up to three hours each week doing the tests and recording the results. Next, what do I do with the results, what are they telling me and how can I affect them with the maintenance equipment I have? What changes to the results does running over the brush unit have? What does the rake actually do to those results? What about adding extra rubber: when will the results indicate that it needs 'topping up'? It's fine to say you should brush once a week, run the rake over once a month and apply more rubber when the level becomes low. That sounds easy. But let's get real; we have to go beyond the sales patter! Another challenge was that our 3G is surrounded by trees, so plenty of leaves to clear up. Of course, the maintenance machine works great on grass but it will not be effective on leaves on the 3G pitch - there goes the fast solution to that problem. Finally we are ready; all systems go: brand new equipment to maintain the surface; a tractor that formerly worked in all conditions gets a second wind as it moves into the clean world of being the dedicated vehicle for the maintenance of the 3G. Why a dedicated vehicle? Cleaning down a tractor is no mean feat and takes up time - time I cannot afford on a project that is already becoming quite time consuming. Impacting testing the 3G pitch TECHNICAL UPDATE 33 the Groundsman October 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions t

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