The Groundsman

July 2012

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the Groundsman July 2012 'The Bees' are buzzing Brentford Football Club – nicknamed 'The Bees' – has achieved a dramatic transformation of its stadium pitch after using Barenbrug's BAR 50 SOS grass seed mixture. The League One club, based in West London, had been using the BAR 7 sports perennial ryegrass at its training ground for two years to great success. But the main stadium pitch at Griffin Park was not faring so well. So, following the first game of the new season in August last year, Head Groundsman Nick Baldwin and club management decided to make a brave move. "The pitch was 65 per cent annual meadow grass, the root growth just pulled away, and we had compaction and anaerobic problems underneath," says Nick. BAR 50 SOS provided the rapid turf repair Nick needed, establishing in just five days. The overseeding saw the club through the season, and subsequent overseeds in December and March, together with other pitch improvements, has seen the Griffin Park playing surface go from strength to strength. "BAR 50 SOS provided the durability and coverage we needed, and it just keeps getting better." Success leads to second machine The Richmond Golf Club in Surrey is in the third year of a seven-year equipment replacement plan and its latest acquisition is a John Deere 8000 E-Cut fairway mower. Course Manager Les Howkins had been impressed by the 37 HP mower, which features five 18 inch Quick Adjust (QA) cutting units, following a demonstration, and also reports favourable comments from club members. "They really like the appearance of the narrower cut lines on the fairways," he said. "The set-up of the machine also means I can use it for cutting the surrounds and approaches and around bunkers, if required." The 8000E's hybrid diesel/electric design produces less engine noise and fewer emissions, and needs less fuel. Les was Trusting in Kubota… convinced to add one to his fleet by the potential fuel cost savings. "The three-wheel set-up, smooth tyres and the lower risk of hydraulic oil leaks from the hybrid design all added up to a dream machine for the fairways, and so it has proved," he added. "I favour the diamond pattern of cutting the fairways here – turns with this mower are a lot less harsh, and with the reduced impact their appearance is noticeably crisper. The 8000E does the job just as quickly as a wider machine, because we've found the turning plus the lifting and dropping of the reels much more efficient." A second 8000E was ordered due to the success of the first machine. The National Trust's Wicken Fen is a National Nature Reserve with 650 acres of wetland of European importance offering primary habitats for a number of endangered species. Senior Warden James Selby has the complex task of specifying machinery which can be productive over the vast area of land while coping with its particular challenges. Reliable, all-terrain transport is essential and two Kubota RTV 900s fulfil the role. "We trialled the RTV900 against two other leading makes and it was the only utility vehicle with the torque to pull itself out of the wet holes on this land," said PRODUCT SHOWCASE 41 What a progressive club! Members and visitors at the Thirsk and Northallerton Golf Club in North Yorkshire are getting more of a challenge from the rough and having to plan their shots with care, thanks to a thicker, more upright sward. This dense, healthy growth is an added benefit of the club's purchase of a Progressive Pro-Flex 120 mower from the Grass Group. "We previously used two sets of gangs, but they were becoming increasingly costly to maintain and service, incurring bills of £3000 a year, and it was hard to get parts for them," explained Head Greenkeeper Roger Mackerell. He began to research high output trailed mowing solutions for the club. "We couldn't justify a dedicated ride-on rough mower, and as we have the tractors it made sense to continue to utilise them." The 3 m cut Progressive Pro-Flex 120 was chosen mainly for its productivity and quality of cut. "It used to take 32 man hours to mow all the roughs, but one tractor, one driver and the Pro-Flex can get through it in 18 hours, or two and a half working days." James. "It is also considerably more robust than others, which is vital in this harsh environment." A 40 HP Kubota STV40 compact tractor is used to power a Kuhn disc mower and to cut vegetation on the sedge fen, as James explained: "We need low impact tractors with big tyres as the peat fen is extremely soft – and we can only cut from July to September, so a high output is crucial." For topping of the larger areas, a 95 HP Kubota M9540 and Agrimaster flail is used.

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