Opportunities & challenges in 2019
by TurfPro Editor, Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR
Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR

There's plenty to look forward to this year, starting with BTME in a couple of weeks which will feature plenty of new technology and developments.


First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year.

I am sure 2019 will bring us plenty of new opportunities and challenges to face. Not least, coping with the weather. After such a mild Christmas period I am sure we are due some wintery weather during the next three months.

I am personally looking forward to attending this year’s BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) event in Harrogate (22nd-24th January).


BTME is described as ‘Europe's leading exhibition for turf professionals and buyers’ and a great opportunity to further your education and development through the Continue to Learn programme.

The event will feature over 250 hours of education including the Turf Managers' Conference, over 150 exhibitors showcasing their latest products and innovations as well as superb networking opportunities. Last year's exhibition saw nearly 9,000 turf managers, golf club owners, managers and industry decision-makers pack into the Harrogate Convention Centre.

The exhibition covers everything from artificial grass to course furniture, irrigation to fertilisers - for more on who's at the show check out the Exhibitor List.

I sure we will see some game changers at this year’s show, with many manufacturers now starting to embrace hybrid and battery technologies.

Just before Christmas I had the opportunity to catch up With Austin Jarrett of Allett Mowers at Regal House his new office and factory site.


I was very impressed by the new factory site and it was great to having the chance to see at first hand the investment being made in Allett Mowers. I was particularly impressed by their new battery powered C34 Evolution Electic Professional cylinder mower with interchangeable cartridge and turf maintenance system.

The latest Lithium Ion system battery technology drives the future of mowing systems for sports stadiums, training grounds and prestige lawns. The system has the power to run a series of interchangeable cartridges to scarify, rake, aerate, brush and verti-cut as well as mow with strong striping and an impeccable cut. Quiet operation, no petrol requirement, less than one hour to recharge batteries and much reduced HAV’s (Hand Arm Vibration) add up to a more environmentally sensitive product with no emissions.


These are all benefits which will be particularly recognised in use in enclosed stadiums. The 80V system is powerful enough to deliver the performance required, even for such a large mower, and drive the cartridges for year-round professional multiple task turf maintenance.

The company have a number of these mowers on trial working at various professional stadiums and to date they are proving to be very reliable and efficient and offering added benefits in noise reduction and hand and arm vibration while at the same time retaining the cutting quality of a cylinder bladed mower.

Austin was keen to point out that the drive to change from combustion powered machinery to electric is now very much the mindset of many manufacturers to help reduce carbon emissions and bring to the table much cleaner solutions to our industry.

No doubt we will also see a rise in use of robotic mower technologies and solutions, with more and more professional groundsmen looking at bringing this technology into their work place. However, I personally would not like to see this as an excuse for reducing staff costs but as a means to enable the staff to be more efficient in other aspects of their work load.

These robotic mowers are defiantly getting smarter and more efficient and can offer more mower solutions than ever before.

I am sure it won’t be long before we have robotic aerators, lighting rigs or even sand spreaders coming to the market place in the coming years to aide and help the groundsman and his staff.


This time of the year is also good for getting on with general repairs, alterations and any drainage work. For most golf courses this is a busy period. Clearing ditches and ponds, tree pruning and enhancing the course with new paths and course furniture.

And finally around now is a great time to get your machinery serviced and repaired ready for the new grass cutting season - or if budgets allow, buying some new machinery. We have plenty of choice with many superb professional dealers up and down the country, ready to serve your needs.

Honours to be presented at upcoming BTME exhibition
BIGGA awards

A greenkeeper who spends his spare time supporting the homeless and another who saved the life of a golfer who suffered a heart attack on the course are among the finalists.


A greenkeeper who spends his spare time supporting the homeless and another who saved the life of a golfer who suffered a heart attack on the course are among the finalists of the brand new BIGGA Awards 2019.



The BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) returns this January, with more than 5,000 turf managers, greenkeepers, golf club owners and industry decision makers expected to visit the Harrogate Convention Centre to engage with the new incarnation of the event.


One of the highlights of the exhibition will be the BIGGA Welcome Celebration sponsored by Jacobsen, where the winners of the prestigious BIGGA Awards will be revealed.


Hosted by Naga Munchetty and supported by some of the industry’s leading names, the awards recognise the year’s outstanding performances from association members.


The finalists of the BIGGA Awards 2019 are:


Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year sponsored by Rigby Taylor

  • Stewart Duff and the team at Gullane Golf Club for preparing and maintaining the course during the Aberdeen Standard Investments Men’s and Ladies Scottish Opens 2018
  • Craig Earnshaw and the team at Harleyford Golf Club for preparing and maintaining the course during The Matchroom Sport Championship on the PGA EuroPro Tour.
  • Matthew Wharton CGCS MG and the team at Carolina Golf Club for preparing and maintaining the course during the 2018 United States Mid-Amateur Championship just a week after the club was hit by Tropical Storm Florence

Outstanding Contribution of the Year sponsored by Jacobsen

  • Jack Percival, Chipstead Golf Club, for work with the homeless
  • Amanda Dorans, Dundonald Links, for volunteering in greenkeeping and ecology
  • Carl Flavell, Hickleton Golf Club, for his efforts in saving the life of a golfer who collapsed on the golf course

Greenkeeping Project of the Year sponsored by Baroness

  • Ian Brown and the team at Skipton Golf Club for the renovation of the course
  • Sean McLean and the team at Princes Golf Club for the renovation of the Himalaya course
  • Stuart Imeson of Dunstanburgh Castle for the Bunker Camp initiative while also stepping up to the manager role at the club

BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said, “This year we’ve undertaken a complete restructure of BTME with new halls, new innovative ways to get involved with the exhibition and an expansion of Continue to Learn, our world class education programme.


“In addition to that, we’ve also refreshed our awards categories for the BIGGA Awards, which grow in popularity each year. We believe the new categories better provide more opportunities to recognise those BIGGA members who have done incredible work throughout the previous year.


“I’m delighted that we received an excellent set of nominations from all over the country and beyond. Each of the nine finalists would be extremely worthy winners of the awards.


“Congratulations to each of the nine finalists and I look forward to seeing them all at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration in Harrogate.”


BTME runs from Tuesday 22 to Thursday 24 January 2019 and the expanded show will see an increase in available exhibition space of around 25% on 2018. There will be a range of new initiatives, such as Golf Course Construction Live, a New Products Area and a Member Wellbeing Area.

Reesink pay respects
Clive Pinnock

Clive Pinnock, Reesink’s training ambassador who worked for the company for 34 years before retiring in Spring 2018, has sadly passed away following a short battle with cancer.


Clive Pinnock, Reesink’s training ambassador who worked for the company for 34 years before retiring in Spring 2018, has sadly passed away following a short battle with cancer.


Clive Pinnock


Clive will be remembered for achieving a level 4 in the Landbased Technician Accreditation scheme (LTA) in 2016, one of the highest training accolades there is, and growing and shaping the company’s training department into what it is today.


Fondly referred to as a ‘training trailblazer’, he will be much missed says turf equipment aftermarket manager at Reesink, David Jackman.


“It was very sad news to hear that Clive had passed away following a short battle with cancer. Clive played a big part in helping the training department grow to the size it is today and he always got on well with our dealers and customers, helping them achieve the very best from the machinery that he knew so much about.”


He continues, “When Clive turned 65, he still had passion and a love of the product and the people that he worked with, so he became more involved in training, he had a genuine interest in cutting edge technology and helping to train others. Anyone who attended a technical training course at St. Neots would have come across Clive and his enthusiasm for the products. He will be sorely missed by all, especially those at Reesink Turfcare.”


Over the years, Clive left a big impression on those he worked with, inspiring others with his passion for learning and sharing his knowledge. This enthusiasm is remembered by Reesink managing director, David Cole.


“I have known and worked with Clive off and on since the early 90s, and over that time have always fed off his infectious enthusiasm for engineering and the opportunities in agriculture and turfcare,” David says.


“Over his career he channelled that enthusiasm into giving generously of his knowledge to everyone he came across and in doing so improved the technical ability and understanding of many greenkeepers, groundsman and technicians, as well as influencing the career path of some. That generosity, with his experience and sharing what he knew, was a real loss to Reesink, the Toro brand and the wider industry when Clive retired last year and should be reflected upon with the sad news of his passing.”


Having made such an impact in the industry and those around him, Clive is truly irreplaceable. However, his legacy remains in the form of all those he’s trained. Reesink’s condolences are with Clive’s family.

TurfPro ten most read 2018 stories have been revealed

The Top Ten most read stories in TurfPro during 2018 have been revealed.


The Top Ten most read stories in this TurfPro Weekly Briefing during the course of 2018 have been revealed.


Interestingly five of the articles which garnered the most opens were all to do with regulations surrounding use of chemical products on grass surfaces.


The rest of the top ten is made up of the unexpected and the slightly unusual.


Looking ahead, TurfPro will be with you once again throughout the year, bringing you all the latest, news, opinions and features of interest to the UK turfcare sector.


And so in ascending order of popularity, here are TurfPro's most read stories of 2018 . . .




Winchester Garden Machinery Ltd decided to relinquish its professional golf & turf business - with neighbouring dealers taking on sales responsibilities.




It was widely reported that an East Devon District Council employee 'misunderstood' his job and completely mowed flat a meadow being watched for a national survey.




The EU Commission announced its decision not to renew the approval for the fungicide active ingredient, propiconazole.




It was reported that head groundsman at the Emirates Stadium, Reece Watson, would leave the club in February 2019.




Barrie Hunt, Roundup technical development manager came up with a Q&A for contractors and parks managers to answer timely queries about glyphosate.




Complete Weed Control announced a series of roadshow events to provide essential guidance for the amenity sector dealing with the application of glyphosate.




Former Buxton groundsman was mowing a grass bank when he slipped on a tree stump, hit his head and passed out.



The IOG reminded all grounds personnel and contractors to ensure they carry out full risk assessments before carrying out any maintenance activity and to ensure appropriate control measures are in place.




Following on from jurors in San Francisco awarding a former school groundsman $289m, ruling that Monsanto's Roundup gave him terminal cancer, the Amenity Forum issued a statement on Glyphosate useage.




A council groundscare worker was thought to have become the first person in Britain to be charged with using a mobile while operating a lawnmower after being stopped outside a police station.

Four locations visited
CWC's glyphosate roadshow

Complete Weed Control’s glyphosate roadshow has been hailed as a success after the seminars provided vital guidance on the application of glyphosate to over 150 delegates.


Complete Weed Control’s glyphosate roadshow has been hailed as a success after the seminars provided vital guidance on the application of glyphosate to over 150 delegates throughout four UK locations.


CWC say glyphosate is the world's most widely used herbicide and has been proven to be effective in controlling unwanted vegetation in public spaces, gardens and in agriculture. However, over recent years it has been exposed to an abundance of scrutiny and debate which has left more unanswered questions and created further confusion.

In this series of seminars, which took place in York, Bristol, London and Stirling, Complete Weed Control aimed to provide a greater clarity on glyphosate, as managing director Ian Graham explained in his introduction at each venue.


Complete Weed Control's Glyphosate Road Show


“As an organisation we felt it was time to put together a series of seminars to deal with the issues surrounding glyphosate and its use in the amenity sector. There has been a considerable and sustained volume bad press and a much negativity surrounding this product - so we felt it was essential that we explore the reality and present the data that exists from numerous agencies around the world that have all declared this product to be safe.


“As contractors we are very happy that our using it is entirely appropriate as it delivers a safe, environmentally sound and cost-effective means of dealing with weeds.”


Following Ian’s introduction, Bayer’s Roundup technical development manager Barrie Hunt shared his wealth of knowledge and offered an insight into the history and development of glyphosate. Barrie also discussed how and why glyphosate was re-approved for use in the EU back in 2017 and provided best practice information to help delegates plan ahead for their 2019 weed control programmes.


Commenting on his participation in the roadshow, Barrie said: “I got involved because I believe the stewardship of glyphosate and our Roundup brand is incredibly important - it is not something that can be left to chance.


“These seminars have been a great opportunity to engage with so many local authorities and contractors and to present the facts about glyphosate, present the science about glyphosate, and to address everybody’s questions which have ranged from glyphosate safety through to the specifics of controlling Japanese Knotweed.

“Without doubt this amenity usage is the place where pesticides meet the public so we have a responsibility to ensure that they have a good clear stewardship message and that they understand the safety of glyphosate.”


Delegates also got the chance to see a live demonstration of the Weed-IT machine and discovered the environmental and productivity benefits that this technology offers the industry. Developed specifically for the control of weeds on public footpaths and similar hard surface areas in urban situations, the WeedIT technology allows for spot treatment, which is a label requirement for glyphosate.


Complete Weed Control’s technical director Alan Abel then went on to further discuss spot treatment options and provide greater clarity on glyphosate label legislation. Alan also talked about the relative costs of alternative treatments such as acid, heat and hand weeding, concluding that the WeedIT machine is both financially and environmentally economical.


To conclude Ian Graham presented information regarding the ongoing Japanese Knotweed trials currently taking place in Cardiff in partnership with Swansea University - which have demonstrated that glyphosate is the product that best controls Japanese Knotweed making it more important still that this valuable active ingredient is not lost through lack of knowledge and understanding.


Each seminar concluded with a Q&A session before lunch, and Ian Graham was pleased to see each event so well attended.


“Over the four venues we have seen in excess of 150 delegates, which we consider to be a success. These delegates are keen to learn the truth about glyphosate - they are the ones dealing with the public and are being asked the difficult questions. They want to make sure they have the answers at their disposal for when they are asked and I think these seminars have provided them with the knowledge they need.


“As an industry, I think it is very important that we collectively put our weight behind supporting glyphosate. It is important to us and it is important to be able to deal with weeds effectively and in an environmentally sound fashion.


“We are looking to reach out and gain more support from other organisations within our industry and hopefully that will continue to have positive results in representing the product.

"As a consequence of the shows we are now developing an online product that will be launched in January that will serve as an information resource for clients and the public alike.”

Positive post-show survey results

Following two days of networking, education and innovation, the 73rd SALTEX exhibition closed with an independently audited, visitor total of 8,902.


The SALTEX 2018 post-show visitor survey has revealed that an overwhelming amount of attendees felt that the event was the best and most vibrant show to date.


Following two days of networking, education and innovation, the 73rd SALTEX exhibition closed with an independently audited, visitor total of 8,902.



Visitors attended from 44 different countries and according to the findings of this year’s visitor survey, these attendees included grounds personnel, greenkeepers, landscapers and contractors.


The event organisers say they are very pleased to hear that 90 per cent of visitors, who took part in the survey, were successful in meeting their show objectives and equally as many rated their overall show experience as either very good or excellent and 90 per cent of visitors have already put SALTEX 2019 into their diaries, which takes place at the NEC from 30-31 October.


Survey respondents said that their top priorities for attending were to source new products/services and suppliers (79 per cent) and discover new innovations (77 per cent).

More than 47 per cent used their visit for professional development by attending show features such as the Learning LIVE education programme, Ask the Expert and the Job Clinic.


More than half of the survey respondents held a leading or management position at their respective companies, with 84 per cent either having sole responsibility for purchasing or contributed to the process. In addition, 65 per cent had the ability to sign-off on amounts up to £50,000 and 12 per cent had the ability to sign-off on amounts of more than £500,000.


The survey findings also revealed that SALTEX visitors had very specific interests: almost 80 per cent attended to find out more about machinery, power and hand tools for their daily work and nearly half of the visitors were interested in seed, turf and aggregates. More than 38 per cent of visitors wanted to see exhibitors representing both sport surfaces and facilities and landscaping materials. Other areas of interest included: arboriculture, horticulture and forestry (37 per cent); commercial vehicles, tyres and trailers (33 per cent); synthetic turf (24 per cent) and security, personal protection, health and safety (18 per cent).

Fourth generation family dealership
James Sharrock

Etesia UK has announced that Sharrocks has extended its current areas to now include the areas of South Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire.


Etesia UK has announced that Sharrocks has extended its current areas in Birmingham, Shropshire and Staffordshire to now include the areas of South Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire.


James Sharrocks


Sharrocks is a specialist supplier of tractors, professional and domestic turf machinery and both agricultural and arboricultural equipment. For over 55 years the family owned business, which is now in its fourth generation, has delivered a trusted service throughout the Midlands, North of England & North Wales.


The company, which has a Northern depot in Wigan, Manchester and a Midlands depot in Sandbach, near Stafford is experienced with the full range of Etesia products and the manufacturer says they are geographically well-placed to offer an excellent customer experience for sales and after-sales support, spare parts and service.


Sharrocks has replaced the previous dealer in these areas and this new announcement comes after a hugely successful debut year as an Etesia dealer.


“We’ve been a recognised Etesia dealer for just over a year now and I couldn’t have asked for more,” said managing director James Sharrock. “The support from Etesia has been fantastic and the products have been incredibly well received from so many contractors and local authorities.


“They are expertly designed machines which have consistently proved themselves over the years. Our customer base always comment on their performance, their low vibration levels and their great longevity - there is also a very good acceptance on spare part prices. In my opinion they are products designed for this market rather than being a domestic machine made heavier to cope with commercial application."


The complete range of Etesia equipment is now available for both hire and purchase from Sharrocks, who will also take on responsibility for all parts, servicing and warranty for current users.

With John Deere & Farol
John Deere dealer Farol golf & turf area manager Dave Searles, Farleigh Golf Club general manager Adam Walsh and course manager Kenny MacPhail

Arrival of the club’s first ever fleet of John Deere course maintenance equipment forms part of an ongoing investment in the club and its facilities worth £6.5 million.


A brand new partnership between Farleigh Golf Club, John Deere and dealer Farol Ltd has seen the arrival of the club’s first ever fleet of John Deere course maintenance equipment. This forms part of an ongoing investment in the club and its facilities worth £6.5 million since Farleigh was acquired by the Hayton family in 2010, to become part of The Foxhills Collection.


John Deere dealer Farol golf & turf area manager Dave Searles, Farleigh Golf Club general manager Adam Walsh and course manager Kenny MacPhail with (seated behind left to right) greens staff Ray Browne, Will Morris, Phill Copsey, Daryn Curtis and Dan Harran


“The partnership is a true representation of our commitment to improving quality and maintaining our golf offering at all times,” says Adam Walsh, who has been general manager for two years following a spell as golf sales manager.


Opened in 1997 near Croydon, Farleigh is a fast-draining downland-style course which boasts 27 Championship-standard holes redesigned by Ryder Cup legend John Jacobs, with greens built to USGA specifications. Three separate nine-hole loops can be played in any combination as three different 18-hole layouts or even all 27, each layout providing an enjoyable challenge for golfers of all abilities.


The course hosted the 2018 PGA Assistants’ Championship as well as its southern section final qualifier, and is the only national PGA venue in the area. The club has also recently signed up for the next two years to host the national PGA Fourball Championship.


Adam Walsh explains the reasoning behind the club’s decision to partner with John Deere and Farol for the first time: “Our previous fleet was coming up to eight years old, so we decided to go through a formal tender process to upgrade and replace the machinery as necessary. At the same time, we were looking to establish a new partnership approach with a supplier as an exclusive agreement, rather than simply replace the odd machine here and there over time.


“The local dealer Farol started demonstrations with us in 2017, arranged by golf & turf area manager Dave Searles, and we soon found that there was a real willingness to create a proper partnership with the club and meet our long-term business needs. One of the main influencing factors in the choice of John Deere was the effort that was put into delivering the full package we were looking for, compared to the other companies we dealt with.”


Course manager Kenny MacPhail, who has been at the club for approaching five years, had used some John Deere equipment before but as he says: “What’s good for one course may not be so suitable for another, so I wanted the greenkeeping team to experience the John Deere kit as widely as possible before we made the final decision.


“Generally we’ve been impressed with the range, especially the easy height of cut adjustment on the rotary 8800A TerrainCut rough mower and 7400A trim & surrounds mower, which both feature the programmable TechControl display. We have a lot of drainage ditches, and the 7400A’s shiftable deck system saves a lot of manpower, as it can mow down into them more easily.


“The overall operator experience is good too - everything is laid out simply and is very user-friendly. It’s obvious a lot of engineering thought has gone into the manufacturing process, particularly to make servicing and maintenance very straightforward.”


Other machines in the 14-strong fleet include both 2500B hydraulic and 2500E hybrid electric greens mowers, 8900A wide area fairway mowers, a 1600T wide area rotary mower, Pro Gators with top dresser and sprayer attachments, TH 6x4 Gator utility vehicles and a 5075E 75hp utility tractor.


“We have just had a record financial year and the club is definitely going in the right direction,” says Adam Walsh. “The course continues to improve, and stylistically it’s different to the majority of courses in the area - it’s very open and exposed and sets different challenges, more like an inland links.


“We aim to provide a relaxed atmosphere, while underpinning every step we take with the emphasis on quality and attention to detail in order to give our members and visitors the best possible value. We’re very enthusiastic about the future at Farleigh, and this new partnership with John Deere and Farol is a definite step forward in helping us to achieve our goals.”

Dennis & Sisis to attend STMA
Dennis PRO 34R

Dennis and SISIS will be showcasing their equipment at the 2019 Sports Turf Managers Association Conference and Exhibition which takes place January 22 -25 in Phoenix, Arizona.


Dennis and SISIS will be showcasing their equipment at the upcoming Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Conference and Exhibition, including the recently launched Dennis PRO 34R rotary mower and the Syn-Pro SVR 1500 synthetic turf cleaner.


Dennis and SISIS say they are continuing to fly the flag for British turf maintenance equipment, with many of their machines being used by a large number of turf managers in the States. The British manufacturers have been regular exhibitors at the annual STMA Conference and Exhibition and have reported great success over recent years.


When the 30th STMA Conference and Exhibition takes place January 22 -25 in Phoenix, Arizona, the companies say they will be looking forward to continuing this trend as they introduce new products to existing and new customers.


One of which will be the newly launched Dennis PRO 34R rotary mower. The company says this 34” machine has been designed to help turf managers achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface.



It is suitable for sports pitches producing the ‘Dennis Stripes’ while the powerful vacuum flow collects debris. The angle of the cutting deck and twin blades can be easily adjusted using a single ‘click adjuster’ ensuring the mower is suitable for changing conditions.


The PRO 34R features 5 forward and 1 reverse selection for speed of operation, a front brush for standing grasses upright and a 2 section cast aluminium rear roller.


Visitors to the Dennis and SISIS stand will also be able to see the new SVR 1500 synthetic turf cleaner which is the latest product to be added to the Syn-Pro range.



The SVR 1500 deep turf cleaner is a tractor mounted system that removes not only large debris from the infill but also finer dust particles before returning the ‘cleaned’ infill back to the surface.

Designed for use on either sand or rubber filled surfaces, the SVR 1500 is suitable for deep cleaning and aiding de-compaction. Operators will notice that this process allows water to permeate through, which can help to reduce bacteria, algae and moss and minimise the risk of player injury.


Also available to view on the stand will be the SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid 1500 tractor mounted vertical action aerator, the SISIS SSS1000 tractor mounted sweeper and the Dennis G860 cylinder mower.

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