The Groundsman

June 2016

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IOG BEST PRACTICE 19 the Groundsman June 2016 Visit for more information and digital editions Perfect timing The annual AEGON Championships are always in Graham's thoughts – "everything we do each year is geared to having the grass courts at their best for the week-long event" – but the scheduling of the Davis Cup games (and practice days) added a new dimension to the grounds team's workload. But the nine-strong team, including Graham - who collectively have more than 100 years' experience, plus the 17 or so temporary staff brought in for the tournaments, were "up for the challenge", adds Graham. "Underpinned by a continual programme of education – for example, four members have Level 2 Extended accreditation in sports turf maintenance; one has Level 2 – the team's readiness for the task was complemented by an armoury of first-class machinery, including Allett, Dennis and Palladin mowers, a Sisis Variseeder and a Graden scarifier, plus a trio of Massey Ferguson tractors. Holidays were cancelled. We had a few long days, sometimes from 6am 'til 10pm, staying to water the courts after play then covering them. It was a testing time, but a great time, and I can confidently say we were Graham Kimpton (fourth from right) and his IOG Award-winning grounds team t Like father, like son… like son Now 47 years old, Graham has been at Queen's for 32 years, almost from his school days apart from a short sojourn as a 16-year-old into engineering and a year out spent travelling, though at that time he hadn't finally decided what he wanted to do - even though he had groundsmanship in his blood. His father, David, was the club's incumbent (and industry renowned) grounds manager, a job he held for 43 years, and after Graham did eventually join Queen's groundscare team on a permanent basis, he spent the subsequent five years studying for his NDT on day release at Norwood Hall. Now, Graham's 21-year-old son Sam has joined the team. Incidentally, two of David's brothers were also groundsmen and Adam Tester, Graham's cousin, is currently head groundsman at Leicester University. all ready for a break once the courts had been 'revived' after the Davis Cup games." Graham and team had clearly achieved a 'grass masterclass'. "When the Davis Cup players arrived and viewed the courts, many of them questioned whether the Championships had actually been held, the surfaces were that good. That was very gratifying," Graham reflects. Equally rewarding no doubt, was the fact that the grounds team also won the 2015 IOG Professional Tennis Ground Team of the Year Award and the club was awarded the NTP 500 tournament of the Year for player services. Getting the courts 'back' for the Davis Cup meant finding the right 'balance' – applying enough water to get the seed to germinate and grow, but not too much water so that the courts would be too soft

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