I personally enjoy this time of the year, with so much going within the sports turf industry. It has been fantastic witnessing the climax of what has been an incredible football season with four English clubs making the finals of both the European cup competitions, and the culmination of the head to head race for the premier league title between Man City and Liverpool. Also seeing the conclusion of the Rugby seasons’ league and cup competitions has been superb.
Now it is full on with a wonderful explosion of cricket, watching the start of the county cricket games and then next week, the ICC Cricket World Cup kicks off. And finally, what a great start to the golf, with Tiger Woods winning another Green Jacket at this year’s Masters.
Spare a thought for the topflight groundsmen and greenkeepers who are tasked with preparing these ever-challenging playing surfaces. I would like to congratulate Karl McDermott who this year started his new job at Lord’s. It’s quite a baptism of fire for Karl, who is preparing wickets for both the World Cup and the Ashes during his first year in charge.
As editor of TurfPro, I consider myself privileged to be able witness the hard work and dedication of these professional groundsmen and at the same time meet so many other people and companies who support and supply machinery, resources, products and services to enable them to do their job.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend a Campey Turfcare renovation day at Newcastle Town FC where the company, along with Dennis and Sisis, were demonstrating a whole range of renovation techniques to a number of invited guests. These included local grounds staff, schools and local authorities plus a delegation of turf professionals from Madrid and Denmark.
A full renovation of the Newcastle football pitch was being carried out allowing the visitors to see at first hand the efficiency and precise detail of what is involved. Andy Walker from Dennis / Sisis was on hand to demonstrate their range of maintenance equipment that included the G860 range of mowers and cassette systems, the Quadraplay, outfield spikers and the Javelin Aer-Aid 1500.
Richard Campey gave a talk on the merits of the machinery and new techniques he has introduced over the years that, without doubt, has revolutionised the way we manage and maintain our playing surfaces.
Best of all, I enjoy meeting and talking to many of the delegates who attend these events. The opportunity to catch up with such a diverse group of people and to hear about what’s going on is essential in my job. Often it leads to other opportunities to market and promote our great industry.
Attending the day was Kevin Moult and his son, a local fine turf contractor based in Telford, who has just invested in a Campey AIR2G2 to increase the range of work he can offer in and around Shropshire. Kevin currently carries out a lot of work maintaining bowling greens and recognised the benefits this machine can bring to his customers, while at the same time providing an opportunity to provide this service to other sports clubs (golf, cricket, football) within his area.
Barely a week later I found myself attending a Fleet Line Markers day at Malvern Rugby Club where Fleet had invited a number of contractors, local authorities, club groundsmen and trade press to see a demonstration of their full range of spray jet line markers.
After a brief introduction and presentation about the company by Iain Courage, Fleet’s sales director, we then went outside to see for ourselves the diverse range of products on offer. On show was the Kombi Classic and the Kombi Orange that boasts all the features of the Kombi Classic with added power and resources that includes a removable heavy-duty lithium battery and 80 PSI pump giving it twice the power of other sprayers.
Also, on show was the renowned laser guided Beamrider, their latest MAQA GNSS guided line marker that has pre-programmed pitch dimensions to allow you to mark out a sports pitch without the aid of string lines and measuring tapes.
Fleet also have both the E-Roc and the Fastliner ride-on line markers, that are designed for larger multi sports facilities. They have become very popular with schools, universities and local authorities. However, Fleet were keen to demonstrate the versatility of the world’s first reusable line marking paint system, affectionately called The Cog. The company have developed a unique reusable container system that fits neatly into the integral chassis of the marker.
I also manged to catch up with several attendees who spoke of their own experiences using Fleet products. Dan and Chris Cope, sports turf contractors from Telford, were keen to praise the performance of the MAQA system which they use to mark out sports pitches in a number of Telford school sites. I was allso pleasantly surprised to see Kevin Haynes, contracts manager for Birmingham City Council, an old work colleague of mine, who I had not seen for many years. Kevin is responsible for managing a number of parks and amenity sites in and around Birmingham and wanted to see if any of the fleet products would fulfil his requirements.
In fact, it has been a few years since I last used a Kombi line marker and I was intrigued to see the technological improvements that have been made to the spray technology and mechanisation of these new models of the Kombi.
The machines are now easier to clean, have much improved pump pressures and greater variety of paint products to allow marking of several different surfaces. It is this versatility that makes the Kombi a popular product with many grounds professionals.
I was impressed with the MAQA and how easy it was to use and could see the potential of the reusable COG system. I am sure Fleet will continue to develop their flagship range of markers and no doubt keep up with this ever-changing line marking technology.