The Groundsman

May 2015

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Page 13 of 51

IOG BEST PRACTICE 14 the Groundsman May 2015 Visit for more information and digital editions roundscare is a family affair in the Lawrence household. Husband David has spent more than 30 years in the industry, the past two years as grounds manager at Edgbaston Priory [tennis] Club. Wife Susan – winner of the 2012 IOG Sherriff Amenity Industry Award for Most Promising Sports Turf Student - has been a member of the grounds team at Nottingham University's Highfields Sports Centre since 2004, while 25-year-old son John is working with his father at Edgbaston as assistant grounds manager after having spent four years at Highfields as part of the team there and two years at the Nottingham Tennis Centre. The focus for the Lawrences is clearly the management and maintenance of tennis courts – and there's no prizes for guessing what is usually discussed at meal times. However, the expertise shown in recent seasons at Edgbaston by David and John, along with their team members Anthony Knight, Tom Pardoe and Steven Whitfield, has rightly earned them the title of G It's a family affair at Edgbaston Priory Heading up the grounds team at Edgbaston Priory Club, David Lawrence and his son John have recently added another IOG award to their family's trophy cabinet By: Colin Hoskins 2014 IOG Headland Amenity Professional Tennis Grounds Team of the Year. Facing the championship challenge Before joining Edgbaston, David had for 11 years been working at the Nottingham Tennis Centre (which adjoins Highfields), initially as grounds manager but more recently as general manager, a wide- ranging role that effectively thwarted his passion for 'getting involved' with the practicalities of groundscare. The Edgbaston opportunity arose, he says, and the new job "presented a number of challenges", David adds. "Not the least of these was the fact that the grass courts are not what you would call of the usual construction. Also, the private members' club has a long season – from late March through to October and club members want to get on the courts as soon as the sun comes out. But I also recognised that I am a groundsman at heart and the new job would enable me to get back to the coal face, so to speak." While the clay and artificial courts accommodate the early season games (eight indoor plexi-pave courts in an adjacent building plus seven synthetic carpet, four clay and three tarmac courts; and demand is such that two additional synthetic courts are currently in-build), it is the presentation and playability of the eight championship standard grass courts that David points to as a major challenge. David and his team clearly aspire to producing grass courts that are as near as possible to those at Wimbledon and, he says, thanks to a great relationship with AELTC grounds manager Neil Stubley he is aware of the Clegg hammer readings, David (right) and John Lawrence Edgbaston ready for the Aegon Classic

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