Posts tagged: Groundsmen

Is enjoying the game more important than preserving it?

By , June 13, 2016 3:37 pm

“Paris floods: Seine level starts dropping after 30-year high.” “Northern Tasmania faces worst flooding in decades as storm heads south.” “Summer has begun but it’s colder than Christmas day.” These are all titles taken from papers in the past month showing how the weather has been behaving unexpectedly. With the weather being so unpredictable, it is difficult to deny both the effects of global warming and the continuing impact the human race has on the environment.


I recently read a rather interesting and thought provoking article published by the University of Connecticut: “Environmentally Sustainable Practices at Small Community Sports Facilities” by John Schumacher.


Ralph and Stubbs (2014, p1) say that, “the current state of the global natural environment constitutes one of the most urgent and significant challenges in recent history [and] the overwhelming view of scientists is that organisations, industries and government must adopt sustainable practices and commence mitigation again to prevent further degradation to decrease current greenhouse gas emissions and to prevent further increases in emissions in order to minimise these impacts.”


How, as an industry, can we change what we do in order to improve the environment? This should be a particularly poignant question for the industry we are in as we are all directly affected by global warming. As a groundsman there are different challenge faced with changing weather. Suppliers must innovate to find more environmentally friendly ways of serving our industry as ultimately, the changing weather can affect the seasonality and demand for the various sports we all serve. Albeit it not related to grass, the National Hockey League (NHL) in America released a sustainability report whereby Gary Bettman, commissioner, stated that, “[their] sport can trace its roots to frozen freshwater pond, to cold climates. Major environmental challenges, such as climate change and freshwater scarcity, affect opportunities for hockey players of all ages to learn and play the game outdoors.” This is evidence that climate change is happening and it is affecting the nature of our sport and will be directly affecting our industry.


So why is more not being done about it?


As stated by one of the interviewees, Richard in the University of Connecticut theses, “everything is budget, everything always comes back to budget […] it all comes down to cost. So, you know, if it comes down to product made in America or not made in America, or made environmentally friendly or non-environmentally friendly… usually no one wants to look at that, they just want to know how much it costs and that’s what we have to go on.” Richard also goes on to point out that, “people care about what is happening to their tax bill right now” as opposed to in the future. Richard is correct to draw on this disparity between bills and the environment, whereby what we are only vested in is the ‘here and now’ and not the future. If we are prepared to pay sportsmen a hefty sum of money but we are not willing to invest environmentally in areas such as waste management, grounds care and office life than can we truly purport to defend the environment of which we serve? Our monetary priority should be as much about sport as it is about the environment. Indeed, protecting the game is as important as enjoying it. As an industry we should then, invest now in the environment whilst we still can, rather than in years to come when it’ll be too late.


Links to the above


Progressive Mowers, the right choice for spring

By , April 21, 2016 9:05 am

With the ground temperature now starting to rise and the warmth air of spring beginning to be more consistent, the ground is warming up and the regular mowing season is just around the corner. The Progressive single and Tri-Deck Roller Mower range available from The Grass Group, is a popular choice of wide area mower with sports facilities, municipal grounds care, polo fields and golf courses. Because they don’t need a high speed P.T.O., it enables the mowing of a very large area with something as small as a 30hp compact. The simplicity of the design offers easy access for service and maintenance with parts such as “maintenance free” sealed spindles and sleeved bearings the lifetime servicing costs of the machine are greatly reduced. It’s also economical to maintain with no need for expensive cylinder regrinds. The low cost maintenance regime is highly significant to a groundsman who needs more time to mow and less time to maintain.





This versatile mower cuts as low as 13mm (½”) without scalping while it smooth’s the surface. It can also stripe for visual impact and speed re-growth by promoting root-to-soil contact for divot repair. The superior quality cut comes from high lift blades that creates enough vacuum to lift the grass for a clean even cut and disperse the clippings evenly over the rollers. Rear rollers also provide extra protection for safe discharge of clippings and debris. Tim Merrell, Grass Group’s MD, comments, “The mower is superb on undulating ground due to the three floating heads. Most other mowers than can be powered by compacts consist of one fixed head which are no good on undulating ground. And of course, using a smaller tractor reduces the effects of compaction and reduces fuel bills.”

Breath of fresh air at Haydock Park

By , November 12, 2015 10:23 am

Haydock Park, one of the most used racecourses in the country, is lined with woodland and avenues of trees. Maurice Crooks, Head Groundsman and Estates Manager, uses both a Trilo vacuum and blower in order to manage the autumn leaves and to clear the litter and debris left behind following the 32 days racing.

Maurice currently uses the Trilo SG1100 and during the demo was ‘blown away’ by the strength, low maintenance and competitive price of the machine. It has helped Maurice and his team deal with the sometimes difficult glass bottles by shattering them inside the machine. Litter clearing is now done out of house so the SG1100 has been rehomed to the stables and is also used for leaf collection. The stable yards are tight and with a 9 cubic metre capacity the SG1100 is shorter than a standard model. Therefore, it is remotely operated so the boom goes out from the cab and the wanderhose is used like a joystick. Maurice recognises the advantages of this machines saying, “Unlike competitor machines it is so easy to operate, you don’t have to lift any pipes meaning there’s no other machine as good as this for Health & Safety.”

To complement the SG1100, the team also used a Trilo BL960 and they were so impressed they purchase an identical blower this June. In the autumn it is used for leaf clearance and in the summer it is used to scatter and disperse the grass clipping or clumps made by their 12 foot tractor mounted mower. They have the mower attached to the front and the blower on the back – the perfect combination. By purchasing another blower they can have another mower out increasing productivity.

Maurice adds, “All Trilo products are very well built and are very strong. The service from The Grass Group has always been very good and I had no hesitation in recommending both the product and the dealer to a friend at Leicester Racecourse.” We would like to thank Maurice for his custom – as always it was a pleasure!

Saltex Round-Up

By , November 6, 2015 4:34 pm

Despite some reservations we made our way up to the Birmingham NEC to see the new indoor Saltex.

We arrived early on the Wednesday morning to support our suppliers, Advanced Turf Technology.

On the stand we had the 22″ and 30″ INFiNiSystems, with the battery option generating a lot of interest due to the no noise, no vibration, and no fumes benefits.


Throughout the day we saw a constant stream of people and we didn’t notice the day go by!

John Coleman, from ATT, paired up with Helen Taylor, Ecotricity Ambassador, and Matt Rainey, head groundsman at Forest Green Rovers for a presentation on the benefits of the 30″ ATT Battery powered INFiNiSystem. It was interesting to see how the INFiNiSystem was helping Forest Green Rovers on its journey to being the greenest football club.

In the evening we attended the IOG Saltex Awards dinner. The food was good and a great night was had by all. It was great to see the hard work being undertaken by groundsman being celebrated. It was an excellent opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones!



We had another good day on the Thursday and we were pleasantly surprised by the new indoor format- shame the same can’t be said for the traffic on the way home!

SALTEX Stand Number F187 – Quality Cut and Massive Fuel Savings

By , October 16, 2015 2:32 pm

Following on in the footsteps of his smaller brothers 22″ and 26″, the 30″ has been adapted for the need to “sports turf”. It brings “fine turf quality” by providing an exceedingly good quality of cut and performance for sports facilities.

The INFiNiSystem 30″ has a floating head design that sees the cutting unit independent of the traction unit. Therefore, the weight is spread across the mowing making end of line turning easier and decreasing overall ground pressure all without affecting striping. Regardless of the amount of grass in the bucket, the HOC remains consistent as the weight is transferred to the traction. The bedknife BCD and attitude angle can be set for an unsurpassed level of cut quality – whilst the programmable variable clip rate allows control of the various range of different SMART cassettes.


It provides much more functionality than any other 30″ wide pitch mower. Through the SMART cassette range, the INFiNiSystem allows the Groundsman to calibrate the machine exactly how they deem suitable for their particular situation. Its flexibility extends past cassettes as it has the ability to be powered both by hybrid or pure battery. By working solely as a battery it helps reduce noise pollution by being lower than any noise regulation legislative limits. It also aids with Hand-Arm vibration, a condition which once diagnosed cannot be cured but only alleviated. The annual fuel bill is where the 30″ INFiNiSystem really comes into its own. An entire football pitch can be mowed with dual DCLA batteries or a single LiPo battery costing no more than 50p. This also reduces the need to travel to collect fuel.

This machine is truly “Plug-and-Play” – charged over night and used in the morning!

With this many advantages, why not visit us on stand F187 at Saltex and see why you should Upgrade to ATT.

Desso or Semi-Artificial? Upgrade to ATT

By , October 8, 2015 11:29 am

With the Rugby World Cup in full swing, we have seen the true skill of our groundsmen come to the forefront. The coverage shows the true effort of the work that is put in to achieving such great pitches. We just wish that England could have performed to the same level… but I mean… it’s not like we are bitter or anything!

This World Cup has seen the use of Desso pitches and semi-artificial pitches in grounds such as Twickenham and Murrayfield. As the Desso Grassmaster® is a hard wearing surface you will want to ensure you get maximum life and benefit fully from what it has to offer. Retaining the woven synthetic fibres whilst producing a health sward is essential. On a top of the league pitch it is necessary to use a machine that reflects this high quality. It is important not to settle for second best and upgrade to ATT.

The ATT product range goes hand in hand with the Desso Grassmaster hybrid system. It provides a phenomenally precise cut with our 0.1mm click adjuster and the ability to adjust the bed knife to reel by 0.028mm! Being able to change the attitude angles mean our ATT INFiNiSystem outperforms other manufacturers on this surface. Our 22″, 26″ and 30″ machines have cutting units independent to the traction drive so there is minimal ground pressure. this means the Desso synthetic fibres are not pressed into the rootzone. A clean, precise cut.

Unlike other machines, the design of the grass bucket and its positioning means that the grass goes in the bucket and remains there! With today’s modern surfaces, surface hygiene is paramount as rotting clippings will ad to the familiar problem of algae that is the bane of every groundsman.

So go for a machine that reflect the quality of your pitch and upgrade today.

To our RWC groundsmen, we salute you.

Would you buy a seeder from Tesco?

By , March 29, 2010 3:42 pm

The Grass Group’s MD, Tim Merrell, considers how this might become a reality.

The ground care industry has a diverse range of equipment, from a diverse range of companies, manufactured in many countries.  Purchasers have been able to avail themselves of many different techniques to carry out specific tasks.  This is because of the innovations brought about by an entrepreneurial spirit that seems to have been prevalent in our industry.  But this could all change if the large multinationals continue to swallow up these unique products in the name of ‘a complete portfolio’.


The demands of our playing surfaces have changed over the years.  To keep pace with this change Groundsmen and Greenkeepers have been able to work with innovators bringing new ideas to market.  New ideas that would mean low volumes of machines until the product was established.  Volumes that would be too small for the multinational, but not for the specialist.  In this case developments are end user driven, using their experience to direct the manufacturer to make any necessary modifications to the product to ensure it does the job the Grounds Professional wants.  Even if the need is not universal, there is flexibility to “tailor make” machines to meet unique situations or conditions.  These types of manufacturers are extremely adaptable, especially able to respond quickly because there is no long chain of management to overcome, and no over inflated profit targets to reach.

 For example, The Grass Group handles the Progressive range of trailed mowers from Canada.  The range was more suited to the large landscapes found there, but for us in the UK Councils have to deal with smaller roads to transport on.  Then of course there are obstacles almost everywhere – ruts in the roads and speed humps which meant the TDR15 mower would transport better if it could be modified.  Progressive are small and adaptable enough for us to work with to affect a number of modifications to help make the product more acceptable for our UK customers.  The wheel and hub sizes were increased to cope with the road undulations; the back deck was raised to reduce the towed length; transport brackets were modified to assist with stability during transportation and the whole unit fitted with mud guards and lights, mandatory in the UK.  These were just logistical improvements, but we were able to go further with Progressive in order to suit the product better for local authorities.  For this type of use local authorities would already have a tractor in place to carry out the operation, but it would be of a high horse power size in excess of that required for the TDR15.  The fitting of a dog tooth clutch solved that problem and didn’t hinder operation of the unit with lower horse power tractors that might be found on Golf Courses.  Being able to work so closely with the manufacturer has enabled a new model to be introduced more suitable for use with lower horse power tractors.  All the above modifications have been incorporated in the new TDR12 model that sees a respectable width machine (12’) without the need for collapsible wings and an associated large horse power tractor being needed to raise and lower them.

 What we’ve seen over the past few years is not wholesale company takeovers as much as we’ve seen ‘cherry picking’.  A single product family is extracted from its mother and found a new home.  But not all the family members curry favour with the new parent, so those with not a sufficiently large enough volume are cast adrift.  This ‘cherry picking’ creates several effects.  Firstly it creates confusion in the market place with previous dealers being abandoned, sometimes overnight, and the new owners’ corporate machine taking over.  In many cases the new people responsible are not fully briefed in time because the transition has been too swift.  Product support and spare parts becomes a nightmare for anybody owning a machine in the ‘old colours’.  Next one finds that the reduction in the family range has killed choice; the product has becomes homologous and the client has to “make do”.  But the real, and sad thing, is that it kills new and developing products to the range and loses skilled innovators, and all their experience and knowledge that goes with them.

 And what about the UK dealer/importer that previously handled the range?  As a result of many years of input to the manufacturer, and gleaning information from the Grounds Professional, there is a lot of detailed product knowledge within their staff.  As a specialist supplier he was able to hold stock of machines for an entire UK distribution, working with the manufacturer to ensure short lead times – and when it came to parts be able to maintain a large parts stock with knowledgeable parts staff.

 So what, some people might say.  One or two big suppliers offer simplicity; one point of contact; chance to do deals on packages, etc.  But are those things worth the price of diminished choice where these big suppliers can decide what is in their range regardless of what might suit you better?

With diminished choice, who sets the prices; keeps them in check; stops the formation of a cartel to maximise profits?  Diminished choice leads to a monopoly, as in the big suppliers restricting their dealers from offering any sort of similar products from another manufacturer – products that could perform better or cost less.  Then there’s the Golf Course tied into a sole supplier deal unable to search the market for just the right kind of equipment for its need or its pocket.

 Sounds familiar? Been to Tesco lately and tried to buy anything other than the brands they want to sell?  Or gone to the high street to try and buy that Television you saw reviewed on some website or other and found no specialist TV or HiFi shops?  Tesco have the market sown up with run of the mill, one size fits all, consumer goods.  Great if that suits, but not if you want something a bit out of the ordinary.  And ever tried asking any questions about the specification of the product?  If it’s not on the point of sale material, don’t bother. 

 That’s not what we want for our industry, the tail wagging the dog, but Grounds Professionals keeping us manufacturers and dealers on our toes, coming up with new products to keep the playing surfaces tip-top.  In spite of this ‘cherry picking’ there are still a good number of independent manufacturers ready to respond.  There are requirements for many niche products in this demanding, but professional, industry that are not volume sellers, so I’m sure the market has not seen the last of innovative turf maintenance equipment yet.  

 The Grass Group, for one, is committed to working with such manufacturers to bring these products to market.

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