The Groundsman

March 2016

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Visit for more information and digital editions IOG BEST PRACTICE 16 the Groundsman March 2016 s Nottingham Racecourse opens its doors next month for its first meeting of a 23-fixture flat season, 29-year-old head groundsman Ron Mason and his team – indeed, everyone involved in the management of the course – can look back on a year of great success. Significant changes to the groundscare routines previously adopted have "effectively 'modernised' the way in which the racecourse and the outdoor areas are maintained", says Ron. In turn, the racecourse has attracted many accolades from users and visitors, as well as from the groundscare industry itself, with the Nottingham team collecting the 2015 IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year Award. A Ron takes the reins at Nottingham Head groundsman Ron Mason details how a fresh approach to groundscare has proved a winner at Nottingham Racecourse By: Colin Hoskins Starting afresh After Ron took hold of the groundscare reins at the course 21 months ago and working closely with, and with support from, the relatively new management team, he reflects that in groundscare terms he was very much presented with a blank canvas that enabled him to instigate changes that he knew would improve all aspects of the facility. With full management backing, Ron has spearheaded a catalogue of events that has paid handsome dividends by: • Investment in "the right things" – especially staff and training as well as equipment that, he insists, must be fit for purpose • Changes to the way in which the course is maintained on a day-to-day basis • Improvements to the overall 'look and feel' of the site's public spaces. "One of my first jobs was to recruit a new groundsman (Robson Holland) who complemented existing groundsmen Steve Jeffries, my deputy, who has been here for 11 years and Kevin Rothwell, who has been at the course for about two years," says Ron. "I firmly believe that if you invest in people in terms of strategic training, then it makes for a much happier workforce. So, one of the lads has so far been on the IOG Advanced course and two on the Intermediate course (I have accreditation to Level 3 via Myerscough College) and we will all also soon be undergoing PA2 spraying training. This will Nottingham Racecourse hosts numerous events in addition to its 23-fixture flat racing calendar

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