The Groundsman

February 2016

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IOG BEST PRACTICE 25 the Groundsman February 2016 Visit for more information and digital editions how his passion for groundsmanship was stirred, at his local cricket club (in Rainham, Kent) when he began helping the two volunteer groundsmen with the square. "I took an interest in the pitch during my summer holidays, when I had a lot of time on my hands," he says, "and I immediately enjoyed it; starting with watering, then gradually being introduced to mowing and using the outfield cutter and roller. "I think the guys there were surprised when they had this 17-year-old asking them if they wanted help! But being a player there I took an interest in the pitch, which had at that time just seen £4,000 being invested in re-laying the square, and I had the time to help the two part- timers. Of course, I made mistakes but the guys helped me and I learned." His Hurlingham Club apprenticeship – a City & Guilds Level 2 qualification in Sports Turf WBD (groundsmanship) - has been run under the auspices of the IOG, and having completed the qualification (his accreditation to Level 3 starts this year), Michael is adamant that the predominantly online course is ideal an idea way to gain accreditation. "It combines a mixture of online tuition with monthly assessments as well as the practical aspects of working at the club on a day-to-day basis and this is a great way to learn and progress," he says. "You could sit in a classroom all day, but nothing can replace being able to put into practice what you're learning and being quizzed about, while also gaining experience on a daily basis - which is what the online apprenticeship allows." His role at The Hurlingham Club is primarily on the cricket pitch, which reflects his first love, though he admits that he also relishes the challenge of helping to prepare and maintain the croquet lawns. "With these fine turf surfaces under much more stress (they're used all year round), they're much harder to keep healthier and being on sand-based profiles (as opposed to clay), they demand totally different maintenance regimes. I started from scratch with these, so to speak, but with such a wealth of knowledge among the club's very experienced and able grounds team, it's been an enjoyable learning curve." What's next after Level 3? "I'll probably take a short sabbatical from the classroom, but then consider perhaps accreditation to Level 4 or a Foundation Degree. I'll continue with my Fulham matchday duties and, yes, I'll hopefully still manage to occasionally get back to Rainham to offer any help I can." l If hes's not playing or working on turf, it seems he's researching about it! " " Mansfield Sand Company Limited Sandhurst Avenue, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. NG18 4BE. Tel: 01623 622441 Email: It's what's underneath that counts Demand the best for your pitch renovation or construction. Contact us for more information or to bene…t from FREE technical advice from our team of experts, or for a free no obligation site survey. • Silica-sands (med-coarse, med & med-…ne) • Rootzones (sand-soil or sand-green compost) • Fibresand (…bre-reinforced sand + rootzones) • Fibrelastic (dual-…bre-reinforced rootzone) 2015-Generic Ad-Groundsman:136x180 21/12/15 12:08 Page 1

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