The challenge of finding new staff
by TurfPro Editor, Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR
Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR

Having myself moved jobs on several occasions, I know only too well many of the issues both employee and employer face when seeking new staff.


Before I get on to this week’s blog I would like to congratulate both Simon Lee and Jim Buttar on their recent appointments, becoming head groundmen at two iconic venues.


With Simon taking up the role at Southampton (Hampshire CCC) and Jim at Twickenham Stadium home of the RFU, I shall look forward to meeting both of them sometime in the near future.


Simon Lee


Jim Buttar


On the subject of recruiting, this week’s blog looks at the challenge many companies face when recruiting new staff. Having myself moved jobs on several occasions, I know only too well many of the issues both employee and employer face when seeking new staff.

Each and every sport facility has its own requirements that are driven by the expectations of the people who use it and the owners/ managers who run the facility.



Also, the reputation of any sports facility is based on the success of the team and players using it, combined with the quality and presentation of the playing surface and its ability to recover quickly after use. This can only be achieved if there is a significant level of investment in machinery, staff and resources over time.

The priority is for the employer to identify the calibre and skillset of the candidate they want to employ. To do this they first need to know the current condition of their facilities and how they can be improved. This can only be achieved if they have a 5-10 year business plan in place that has identified the current strengths and weaknesses of the facility and has a development programme to achieve their goals and ambitions, which needs to be sustainable and successful over time.

Recruiting a new member of staff is not always an easy task. Trying to find someone to move to your location, accept your working regimes and salary, plus fit in with existing members of staff, is often quite challenging.



Most who apply, will or should have the appropriate skills and experience to do the job. The key requirement will be that they have the right personality and motivation skills to fit in with your culture and bring in new, efficient ways of working.

What is the point of appointing a new person if you are not going to support them with the appropriate investment to enable them to deliver what they promised in their interview?

As mentioned in a previous blog, the issues we face in the coming years regarding recruiting the next generation of greenkeepers/ groundsmen is manifold.

A recent conversation with a premiership head groundsman, stated that he was finding it hard to recruit new staff, mainly on the basis that most did not want to work weekends and bank holidays. So what does that tell us? Many of the next generation have preconceived ideas of what job they want, expecting a high salary for little inconvenience.

Grass does not stop growing at weekends and most sporting fixtures happen to fall on a weekend / evening!

Even the process of recruitment has changed immensely since I started out. Back then most jobs were not even advertised. We generally found out by word and mouth or were recommended the job by someone we knew. Today using the internet, we can see at a glance a plethora of jobs available via recruitment websites such as Indeed, jobs search sites, industry magazines such as our own, apps, sports governing bodies, individual companies, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

However, there still needs to be a valid, thorough interview process to enable both parties to be sure of what they are taking on when agreeing a new appointment.

Today’s groundsmen need to be a jack of all trades, utilising many skills, with the ability to use modern aides and technologies to deliver the expectations of ever-demanding clients and owners. He or she needs to be a plant pathologist, mechanic, chemist, mathematician, IT literate, a good communicator, flexible and have good people skills.



Most, if any, of these skills can only be assessed and attained via a good interview process which will be dictated by the size and scale of the job in question. Yes, many applicants can be whittled down by paper and questionnaire assessments, but the real value is in the final interview stages when candidates can express themselves via an interview panel of two or three people and a walk / talk opportunity around the pending facility.

I also find it astounding that some interview panels rarely have anybody on the team that has done the job or indeed has an affinity with the job or understands the role on offer?! Which is why I believe, quite often the wrong appointment has been made.

I personally experienced this when I was working in the local government sector where I witnessed a number of appointments that went drastically wrong - mainly due to the fact that these appointed staff had no affinity with the service sector that they were employed to manage. Quite often it was worst when people were transferred from one department to another. It was even more acute when a lot of landscape sectors where being taken over by litter and road service departments - often causing a lot of conflict between staff members.

The worrying fact for me is that a lot of the traditional parks and open space management skills are being lost and eroded away by these ongoing staff / departmental changes we have seen in recent years.


Getting the right person for the job is key. The only way to ensure you do this is to invest in a decent recruitment process, especially when interviewing for people to manage large numbers of staff and resources. It is now quite normal for companies and large organisations to enlist the help of a consultant / agronomist or a retired turf professional to sit on the interview panel to help them evaluate the potential candidates.

However, for me the biggest challenge facing our industry is indeed finding our next generation of groundmen / greenkeepers and parks managers who want to take up the mantel and responsibilities of managing and maintaining a magnificent array of prestigious sporting venues, parks and heritage sites.

We as an industry must now start to qualify the importance of the role of groundsman, greenkeepers and parks managers, educating and explaining the importance of their roles and responsibilities. We need a unified approach to promoting the work of these dedicated turf professionals that will entice the next generation to come and work in this unique industry.


I find it hard that many of our professional sporting facilities do not openly reward the hard work and dedication of their grounds staff. As a fellow magazine editor pointed out, why don’t these professional clubs publicly promote what they do? We rarely see any groundsman being interviewed by the press and TV companies when covering a major sporting event. Without their input of skills and expertise these playing surfaces would not be fit for purpose and contribute to the spectacle we see at a major sporting event.

The likes of Neil Stubley at Wimbledon, Karl McDermott at Lords, Gary Barwell at Edgbaston, Keith Kent, Dave Roberts, John Ledwidge Darren Baldwin and many other Premiership groundsmen and top greenkeepers would relish the idea of being interviewed about their role in producing a playing surface for a major event. I am sure it would make good viewing and at the same time promote our wonderful sports turf industry.

We as an industry, as I have mentioned before, should have our own equivalent of a national Red Nose / Children in Need type day to raise the profile and put our industry in the spotlight.

I am sure between the IOG, BIGGA, major manufacturers and all the trade magazines and journals, could arrange a collective awareness day to celebrate our industry.

We could nominate a day in the year, where every groundman, greenkeeper, parks manager, gardener in fact anybody who works in the industry does something silly or amusing to raise money for our nominated charity. We really need a national campaign to entice the next generation.

Blackpool facility wins
Stanley Park, Blackpool

Stanley Park topped Fields In Trust's poll of 36,832 voters from 364 nominated parks and green spaces throughout the UK.


Fields in Trust’s search to find the nation’s favourite park has declared Stanley Park in Blackpool as the UK’s Best Park 2019 following a public vote.


The UK’s Best Park is organised by green space charity Fields in Trust who, for over 90 years, have legally protected parks and green spaces ensuring they will always be available for future generations to enjoy. A record 364 nominations were received for the UK’s Best Park 2019. Those nominations were supported by visitors, communities, Friends of Parks groups, and local authority landowners. An unprecedented total of 36,832 votes were cast for parks and green spaces across the UK.

Stanley Park in Blackpool topped the poll, in its nomination it was described as “a beautiful, tranquil place away from the hustle and bustle of the Blackpool seafront”. The “great volunteers and staff who keep it in tip-top condition” were also recognised in the online nomination.

Stanley Park triumphed over the other Home Nation winners shortlisted for UK’s best park:

  • Antrim Castle Gardens, Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.
  • Pittencrieff Park Dunfermline, Scotland

In addition, 73 parks and green spaces have achieved “Much Loved” status, having been placed in the top 20% of all UK's Best Park 2019 nominations throughout the UK. The "Much Loved" status recognises the support of local people who regularly use and love these parks and green spaces.

Fields In Trust say the UK’s Best Park Award recognises the role that parks play in our communities, supporting mental and physical health and providing a space for communities to connect. Recently Fields in Trust published the Green Space Index a new barometer of parks provision which revealed that over 2.6 million people across Great Britain live more than ten minutes walk from a park or green space. With public sector cuts leading to pressure on parks and green spaces, there is the risk that a lack of legal protection could lead to more spaces being sold off or developed.

The charity is concerned that many parks and green spaces are under threat and are at risk of being lost to development or a cycle of decline and disappearance.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths said, "We received a record number of 364 nominations for local parks and green spaces across the UK - each one setting out what is special about their own green space. Public support has been unprecedented with 36,800 votes cast demonstrating that people really do love their local park. Congratulations to Stanley Park, and to the dedicated volunteer friends’ group and Blackpool council that maintain and support the UK’s Best Park 2019.

"Parks are important places where we all go to play, enjoy sport, relax in natural surroundings and connect with our neighbours. Fields in Trust is committed to protecting these vital parts of the UK’s community infrastructure for future generations to enjoy.”

In Toro awards
Jason Norwood and Tom Bromfield

BIGGA has revealed that Jason Norwood of Rudding Park GC in Harrogate has been named Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year - with Tom Bromfield of Trentham GC earning Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year.

BIGGA has reveal that Jason Norwood of Rudding Park Golf Club in Harrogate has been named the UK’s top student greenkeeper at the 31st Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards.

Alongside Jason, Tom Bromfield of Trentham Golf Club earned the title of Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year in just the fourth hosting of that prize.


Jason Norwood and Tom Bromfield

This year saw a record number of nominations for the prize, meaning the finals were as hotly-contested as ever.

Each year, a selection of the best student greenkeepers, selected from regional interviews hosted across the country, head to BIGGA House at Aldwark Manor in York for the two-day finals of the event. During their time at BIGGA’s headquarters, the candidates complete a variety of tasks designed to test their industry knowledge and their commitment to the profession.

Jason, 30, dedicated his victory to his sons Max, 4, Harvey, 1, and his wife Laura.

“I’m absolutely shocked and shaking,” said Jason. “ I can’t wait to tell my family. I put a lot of work and planning into my studies, particularly going to BTME this year and getting everything I could out of that.

“I haven’t really any words to say, this is the pinnacle of my career so far and the biggest thing I’ve ever achieved.”

As part of his prize, Jason wins a seven-week scholarship at the University of Massachusetts in the USA, as well as a trip to the GCSAA’s Golf Industry Show in Orlando and a trip to Toro’s headquarters and R&D centre in Minneapolis.

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award is open to students under the age of 20. As winner, Tom receives a two-week work placement at the exclusive Vidauban Golf Club in France, as well as a trip to BTME in Harrogate.

Tom, 18, is an apprentice at Trentham in Stoke on Trent. He said: “I’m a bit shocked, I wasn’t really expecting that! But I’m really happy with the result. Reece, the other apprentice at Trentham, was here last year and he was a big help to me. I’ve a lot of respect for not only Reece but also Ed Stant and Jim Fox at Trentham as they’ve really helped me out and they’ve given me the chance to get this award, so I can’t thank them enough.”

The runner-up in the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was James Dawson of Oulton Hall Golf Club.

The runner-up in the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was Josh Marshall of Worcestershire Golf Club.

Jim Croxton, CEO of BIGGA, said: “Greenkeeper education in the UK continues to take strides forward and it is more than matched by the enthusiasm of the student greenkeepers we meet as part of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards process. There is no doubt the nation’s golf courses are being prepared to standards never seen before and the incredible finalists we have met over the last two days once again prove my belief that the greenkeeping industry will overcome any challenge that the future has in store.

“Congratulations to Jason and Tom on joining the ranks of Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year winners, and to all the finalists for making it to this stage of the competition.

“Our thanks once again go to Toro and Reesink Turfcare for their support in hosting these annual awards, which remain a real highlight of the greenkeeping calendar.”

David Cole, managing director of Reesink Turfcare and award judge, said: “The enduring pleasure of ours and Toro’s long association and support of this educational award is the enthusiasm, career passion and commitment to personal development that we come across with every set of candidates and across every year of this career-enhancing award. The greenkeeping profession continues to be in bright and focused hands.”

Applications for the 32nd Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards will open in February 2020.

For their October conference
Professor John Moverley, Independent Chairman of the Amenity Forum

This year's conference is entitled ‘21st Century Amenity Management’ and will have a strong focus upon innovation and taking an integrated approach to weed, pest and disease management.


This year's Amenity Forum Conference is being held once again at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton upon Trent, on Thursday, October 10th.


The conference will be entitled ‘21st Century Amenity Management’ and it will have a strong focus upon innovation and taking an integrated approach to weed, pest and disease management. It will also provide updates on policy issues.


The speakers this year include Professor Michael Eddleston from the University of Edinburgh who is set to provide a presentation on Human Health issues and Dr.David Hughes from Syngenta who will give an insight into new technologies and innovations coming the way of amenity managers in the future.


There will also be a session on approaches to integrated management with contributions from practitioners covering all aspects. These will be supported by other key speakers giving their views on the future. The conference will round up with a presentation from Jim McKenzie, MBE, Director of Estates and Golf Courses, Celtic Manor entitled ‘The pressures and challenges of creating and maintaining high quality playing conditions and facilities for a major golfing venue’.

During the conference category winners for the Amenity Sprayer Operator of the Year Awards will be announced. There will also be the launch of the new Amenity Standard. This is seen as very much a game changer in our sector providing a standard akin to the Red Tractor in food and agriculture.


Professor John Moverley, Independent Chairman of the Amenity Forum, said "This conference has attracted an enviable reputation for the quality of its speakers and the opportunity to network with the key people in our sector."


To book a place, contact Admin@amenityforum.net


For non-members, the rate is £95 + VAT. Member organisations receive a £10 discount on the above rates and, if you are a member of a local authority a further discount may be available on enquiry

Luke Perry takes on role
Luke Perry

In the newly created position, Luke Perry will be primarily responsible for the growth, development, management and delivery of the IOG’s annual SALTEX exhibition.


The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has appointed Luke Perry to the newly-created position of SALTEX & Events director, and he will be primarily responsible for the growth, development, management and delivery of the annual SALTEX exhibition.



A batchelor in politics, Luke will be based at the IOG’s Milton Keynes HQ in a role that the Institute says embraces full accountability for SALTEX sales, services, performance and profitability, as well as future strategy while maintaining a high level of client and team satisfaction.


Commenting on his new role, Luke says, “I am excited to be joining the IOG with the aim of contributing to the ongoing success of such a flagship event. I look forward to utilising my experience of over 20 years in the exhibition industry, and to getting to know my colleagues at the IOG as well as IOG members and those throughout the groundscare industry.”


IOG chief executive, Geoff Webb, added, “Looking to build on the success of SALTEX, Luke’s appointment will considerably extend our in-house expertise - not only in delivering SALTEX but also with a view to providing a schedule of year-round events for members. His appointment also assists the development of other existing IOG products and services and will help us continue to deliver excellent benefits to our membership.”


Luke will report to Geoff Webb and will work alongside the IOG’s head of member services - communications & events, Karen Maxwell, who is a key conduit between the IOG and its existing contractors, Events For You and Fusion Media, which between them run SALTEX’s sales, marketing and PR activities.

At Hampton Court Palace Golf Club
Richard Hill

A range of Sherriff Amenity products have improved the overall health of the turf on the fairways, according to course manager Richard Hill.


A range of Sherriff Amenity products have improved the overall health of the turf on the fairways at Hampton Court Palace Golf Club, according to course manager Richard Hill.


Set within the royal grounds of Home Park where King Henry VIII once hunted deer and with the beautiful Hampton Court Palace looming in the background, there could hardly be a more regal setting to enjoy a round of golf.


Richard Hill


The acclaimed 18-hole course is a 6,513 yard, par 71 parkland and inland links course which dates back to 1895. It was later re-modelled by Willie Park, who was also the designer of Royal Birkdale and Sunningdale, leaving the course beautiful yet demanding.


Richard Hill has been at the Club since May 2008 and was promoted to the position of course manager in 2013. Throughout his time Richard has maintained the course to an excellent standard despite some obstacles such as the huge 16th century lime-trees which surround the course and a bizarre lack of rainfall – as he explains.


“This site is an absolute anomaly when it comes to rainfall,” he says. “It can rain at the nearby Heathrow airport, it can rain on the M4 motorway but just not rain here at Hampton Court. I have my theories on why but that is another matter!”


As a result, the lack of rainfall tends to apply more pressure on the fairways at Hampton Court and Richard admits to embarking on a lengthy search for a winning formula which could help to relieve some of the stress.


“I was always looking at options that could make an improvement to the fairways and I tried so many different combinations of wetting agents and seaweeds – believe me, I must have tried all of them. The best results by far has been from Goemar seaweed and Excel wetting agent from Sherriff Amenity. When I first applied them, the fairways went from brown to green in just a week.”


Goemar is a high quality liquid seaweed extracted using a unique cold process that removes unwanted alginates and cellulose to leave a 100% seaweed juice. It is harvested in Brittany where they have some of the strongest tides in the world and these extreme tides lead this seaweed to experience high exposure to sun and heat at low tide. To counter these stresses the seaweed produces high amounts of the active ingredients required for plants to survive long stress periods. The cold extraction process then concentrates these ingredients in the finished product and Richard explained just how unique it is.


“Quite simply, it mixes perfectly,” he said. “You get all of the benefits without the organic matter and therefore the plant responds a lot quicker. It is full of beneficial sugars that combined with the Excel wetting agent, helps the grass to hold on to the nutrients. It is perfect for fairways.”


Its tank-mix partner Excel is a multi-purpose, low dose wetting agent which is ideal for use on larger areas, such as golf fairways and sports pitches. For the tank-mix he applies Excel at 1 L/ha and Goemar at 3 L/ha but due to the weather conditions Richard believes that timing is key.


“I don’t have a set time to apply the products, instead I spray when I feel it is needed and when we have the correct weather window. Historically I used to have everything all in one tank - the fertiliser, the wetting agent and the seaweed but now I do it separately. So, I will apply my feed one day and then the seaweed and wetting agent another day.”


For his fairway feed, Richard relies on Sherriff Amenity’s Evolution Xtra Soluble 46.0.0 and feels that he now has the ideal products in place.


“I will always get an application of the Evolution Xtra out so that it is sitting there waiting to take all the nutrients in. It washes it down to the roots and then away it goes. It might be six weeks from when we spray the feed to when the Goemar and Excel go out and you can really see the benefits. The colour is great and you can see the Poa still hanging on which you normally wouldn’t see.


“I remember when we first applied this combination and they looked like different fairways.

“I will continue with this method because I want to encourage more water to go down to the roots and these products are doing the fairways a world of good.”

Latest Hunter system installed
Norwich's training ground

Norwich City Football Club is reaping the benefits of the latest irrigation technology after new systems were installed at both the Carrow Road Stadium and the Club’s training ground.


Norwich City Football Club is reaping the benefits of the latest Hunter Industries irrigation technology after new systems were installed at both the Carrow Road Stadium and the Club’s training ground; the Lotus Training Centre.



The system, which was purchased through KAR UK - a distributor of Hunter Industries irrigation equipment, consists of a variety of G995, I-40 and I-80 rotary sprinklers, ICV valves, an ACC2 controller with Wi-Fi, a Roam remote and the ST1600 system for synthetic turf.


The Lotus Training Centre Grounds Supervisor, James Randell explained that the new technology was much needed: “We had to change our old irrigation system because we just didn’t have enough stations. Previously we used to get by but when we launched the Lotus Academy there was no doubt about it that we needed to upgrade.


“We spoke to KAR UK about the situation and Mike McDonnell (KAR UK Sales Manager) came to visit and advised on what would work best for us. The systems were installed in April last year and we’ve noticed some huge improvements.”


As James says, Norwich City FC has just seen the completion of a £5m project which saw the construction of new state-of-the-art Academy facilities at the Lotus Training Centre. With the addition of new natural and synthetic pitches along with the increasing demand for better quality playing surfaces, it was imperative that the club invested in a superior irrigation system.


With this in mind the club opted for the most technologically advanced commercial rotor on the market - the all-new Hunter I-80 gear-driven rotor.


Engineered specifically for sports turf, the I-80 is built with a robust, dirt-tolerant gear drive that offers the highest torque output of any rotor in the commercial sphere, and extends a radius range from 11.3 to 29.6 meters. The I-80 features a wide range of highly efficient, dual-trajectory, wind-fighting nozzles for highly efficient performance in a range of applications. It also provides total top serviceability (TTS) via its integrated, surface-mounted snap-ring for no-dig easy maintenance.


“We had 32 I-80’s installed and they are phenomenal,” said James. “Prior to these being installed we couldn’t get the grass to grow around the pop-ups. But with these new I-80 heads, with the nozzles and the spray pattern, they are a lot better and the growth this year has been amazing.”


With the I-80’s working wonders on the pitches at the training centre, James has also been blown away with the results from using the ACC2 controller which is ideal for delivering advanced water management to meet the demands of large-scale commercial projects and the Roam remote - which eliminates the need to go back and forth to the sprinkler controller.


“The controls are very easy to use and the remote allows you, no matter where you are onsite, to activate any of the sprinklers at any time. If for example, one of the coaches wanted to irrigate one of the pitches just before the players came onto the pitch then we can easily do that at just the click of a button.


“Overall, this new system has signalled some huge improvements. It has given us greater flexibility, is more accurate and because it is more accurate, we have seen a lot less water wastage. We have really enjoyed the Hunter Industries experience and KAR UK has provided an excellent service – they are always on hand to offer advice and are incredibly reliable.”

Networking event
Lawn Care Legends returns to SALTEX 2019

After a complimentary lunch at the networking event on Wednesday 30 October, the Legends will be hosting their annual awards ceremony.


The Lawn Care Legends networking event for landscapers and gardeners will be returning to SALTEX 2019 - which takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on 30 and 31 October.



The Legends say they will be even bigger this year with over £2500 worth of prizes to be won.


The Facebook group provides a daily opportunity for all landscapers and gardeners to showcase their work and knowledge and ultimately support one another. It consists of nearly 5,000 members featuring solo operators, small to medium size business owners, professionals and aspiring volunteers.


Founder of Lawn Care Legends, John Ryan, revealed that the group’s membership has significantly increased and that a number of landscapers and gardeners will be travelling from afar to attend the networking event at SALTEX 2019.


“Our membership base keeps rising and I’m expecting a huge turnout at SALTEX this year. Members will be travelling to the NEC from Greece, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway, France and Canada. You don’t have to be a member of the Facebook group to join us at SALTEX - in fact I would encourage anyone who is involved in landscaping or gardening to come along and participate because they could really benefit from the networking event.

“Our aim is to help and support anyone involved in the industry,” he said. “So, we are planning to include information on marketing your business, pricing a job and how social media is a growing part of the industry.


“We are also very passionate about mental health issues too. Since being in the industry I have seen just how much it impacts daily lives. Over the past year, we have been encouraging members to openly talk about their struggles and to help one another.”


After a complimentary lunch at the networking event on Wednesday 30 October, the Legends will be hosting their annual awards ceremony. The competition, which is open now, has been created to celebrate the outstanding work of landscapers and gardeners. The Legends are encouraging everyone in the industry to submit up to three pictures which showcase the quality of their work.

The pictures can be posted in the Facebook group or through Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #LCLSALTEX19. A shortlist will then be created and the winners will be announced at the event.


The prizes will include:

  • Shaft drive lawnmower
  • Professional hedge trimmer
  • Multitool kit
  • Aluminium adjustable tripod ladders
  • Bluetooth noise cancelling ear plugs
  • Strimmer line spool rack with line cutter

Lawn Care Legends LIVE will take place on 30 October at 2:00pm in concourse suites 22 and 23 by the SALTEX entrance.

Amazing success rates!
Advertise your jobs on TurfPro Weekly Briefing

Advertise your recruitment needs on TurfPro Weekly Briefing and reach our targeted audience of recipients every week.

Contact Nikki Harrison for details - 01491 837117

Sponsored Product Announcements
To tackle invasive weeds with confidence

With autumn the key time for tackling invasive weeds, such as Japanese Knotweed and Rhododendron, amenity managers can rely on Roundup®.



With autumn the key time for tackling invasive weeds, such as Japanese Knotweed and Rhododendron, amenity managers can rely on Roundup®.

Japanese Knotweed is probably the most invasive plant in Britain and is scheduled under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act so that it is an offence to plant or cause it to grow in the wild.


Roundup® Technical Specialist Tom Scanlon advises: “Many areas of the country have campaigns to eradicate the alien weed and Roundup® ProVantage plays an important role by controlling it with maximum safety to operators, the public and the environment.

“As with most broad-leaved perennials, optimum control will be achieved from treatment at flowering in August or September but before die-back. Treatment late in the season is the most effective because the glyphosate is transported deep down into the underground rhizome structure along the natural flow of plant nutrients down for winter storage.”

Rhododendron, (Rhododendron ponticum), brought to the UK by the Victorian plant hunters, was widely planted throughout upland Britain and has escaped into woodland, scrub and open country. High densities can greatly reduce biodiversity and more recently Rhododendron plants have been identified as major reservoir for tree diseases Phytophthora ramorum, and Phytophthora kernoviae. Since 2009 the spread of the fatal disease to Japanese Larch, (Larix kaempferi) has been widely linked to Rhododendron.

“There are several methods of controlling Rhododendron using Roundup® ProActive,” Mr Scanlon explains. “Overall spraying is not suitable for larger plants or for thick stands, as it is difficult to spray and the older plants tend to be less susceptible. Taller bushes must first be cut back to ground level and the cut stumps treated immediately using the cut stump method or the foliage left to re-grow for 2-3 years and sprayed.”

Best practice in application is also important, he comments.

“Operators should pay close attention to correct water volumes and proper sprayer calibration, choosing appropriate nozzles and avoiding drift for optimum efficacy.”

For more information visit the website: www.monsanto-ag.co.uk contact the Technical Helpline on (01954) 717575 or e-mail technical.helpline.uk@monsanto.com

Now open
SALTEX 2019 registration opens this month

Registration for Europe’s largest annual groundscare exhibition SALTEX 2019 is now open and visitors will notice some notable improvements to the registration process.


Registration for Europe’s largest annual groundscare exhibition SALTEX 2019 is now open and visitors will notice some notable improvements to the registration process.


Visitor registration is an integral part of the customer journey and new for SALTEX 2019 event organisers have partnered with LiveBuzz – the largest registration specialist in the UK which is the preferred supplier for some of the world’s most prestigious events.


SALTEX 2019 registration opens this month


Commenting on the new registration partnership, SALTEX event director Matthew Knight said: “It’s important that our visitors, our exhibitors and their customers have the best possible experience at SALTEX. We are always aiming to make improvements to the show each year and following an open tendering process we appointed LiveBuzz because we want the very best in all aspects of the show.


“We are confident that our visitors will experience a best practice registration process – it will be smoother, more interactive and in addition there will be ten registration terminals at the show entrance meaning that visitors will gain faster entry.”


Taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on 30 and 31 October, SALTEX 2019 will feature over 300 exhibitors including some of the biggest names in groundscare. The two-day event will offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the very latest industry trends and innovations, enhance their education and learn from industry experts.


The exhibition is the longest-standing event of its kind in the world, having been held almost every year since 1938, and the show is continually evolving with the people of the industry in mind.


This year the show floor will be bursting with everything a visitor needs to increase their efficiency and improve operations – and attendees can expect features such as:

  • NEW! Eco Village – live demonstrations purely dedicated to environmentally-friendly products.
  • Learning LIVE - SALTEX’s world-class free educational programme.
  • Pathology and Soil Science LIVE – a look in detail at the symptoms of turfgrass fungal disease problems.
  • SALTEX Innovation Award – celebrating the very best in new groundscare technology.
  • Ask the Expert - free face-to-face turfcare advice.
  • Outdoor Demonstrations – the latest products in action in an area directly outside halls 6,7 and 8.
  • SALTEX College Cup - land based colleges compete in an academic test of turf management knowledge.
  • Lawn Care Legends LIVE – a fantastic networking opportunity for landscapers and gardeners.
  • Job Clinic – free one-to-one sessions covering CV writing to interview techniques.

Registration is accessible through the SALTEX website and visitors can simply bring their email confirmation (on a phone or a printed copy to the registration desk) which will be located at the show entrance.


SALTEX 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31.


For more information visit www.iogsaltex.com


Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_SALTEX and Facebook – www.facebook.com/IOGSALTEX

Find our previous features here
TurfPro Feature Archive

If you want to catch up with any of TurfPro's previous features, here is the place to do so.

2006 - present


Boorish media comments about pitch quality are wide of the mark


360 Ground Care serving professional facilities


Judging the Green Flag Awards


What does it all mean in managing turf surfaces?


Dry weather conditions continue to keep turf managers focused on moisture management


Death of Wimbledon’s influential grounds manager


At Top 100 classic Berkhamsted Golf Club


Investment paying off at Kenilworth Road


At Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens


The vital impact of parks and green spaces on health and well-being


Without carbendazim


Battery-powered outdoor power tools are now turning the heads of professionals


Sand-based pitches are now the norm in professional sports


We must maintain industry standards


11 things you need to know . . .


Q&A with BASIS ceo, Stephen Jacobs


Hosted at research trial grounds in Bingley


Leicester City FC invest in new role


Mick Hunt bows out after 49 years


Is it really necessary?

Catch up with Laurence Gale's recent blogs
TurfPro editor, Laurence Gale

Want to catch up with one of editor Laurence Gale's blogs? Here is the place to do so.


Gary Barwell gives his insight to groundsmen


Turf professionals must be careful when buying new equipment


Under-appreciated and under-valued


Clubs facing many challenges


Starts in less than 3 weeks


Renovations on tees and greens


There are some basic aims when renovating a square


With turf professionals playing an integral role


Courses must adapt to survive


Partnership with Wentworth Club launched


During one of the busiest times of the year


Educating the next generation


We must inspire and recruit a new generation of turf professionals


Better understand the soil / water relationship


Ever changing playing surfaces


Turf professionals have a vital role


Rugby renovations


Renovating grass surfaces


April is a busy period


Trees bring real benefits to our cities, health and well being


Choice of fertiliser products will be influenced by many factors


But we need to be encouraging the next generation


Facilities must not be taken for granted


Plenty of work for turf professionals to be getting on with


At the Dennis & Sisis groundcare seminar


A cause for concern


Seek advice from industry bodies


February is a good time to start planning


Great start to the year


Harrogate time again


Benefits for pitch sustainability


Opportunities & challenges in 2019


View all of 2018's blogs here

Side Advert Image

Campey Turf Care Systems
Garden trader
Garden Trader
Behind the scenes at the Solheim Cup
by Laurence Gale, TurfPro editor
Solheim Cup at Gleneagles

I was invited by John Deere to attend the first two days of the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles this weekend, to witness the investment, logistics and dedication of the John Deere Tournament support team and the greenkeeping staff.


I, along with several other members of the trade press, was duly invited by John Deere to attend the first two days of the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles this past weekend to witness the investment, logistics and dedication of the John Deere Tournament support team and the greenkeeping staff at Gleneagles to ensure the course was presented and set up to deliver a fair challenge of golf for both the Europe and USA women teams playing at this year’s competition.


The 16th edition of the Solheim Cup between Europe and the United States began on Friday, 13 September at Gleneagles, Scotland. The event follows the same format as the Ryder Cup, with fourball and foursomes matches on the first two days followed by 12 singles on Sunday.

Team USA have won 10 of the previous 15 contests and were attempting to claim a third on the trot after winning four years ago in Germany then defending the title on home soil in Iowa in 2017.

This is the third time the Solheim Cup has been staged in Scotland, with Europe winning on both previous occasions.

The first Solheim Cup was staged at Lake Nona, Florida in 1990. The US were comfortable 11½-4½ winners in the inaugural match but a Laura Davies-inspired Europe claimed victory two years later at Dalmahoy, near Edinburgh.

Arriving at Gleneagles the trade press group were greeted by senior John Deere mangers who welcomed us to Gleneagles and the Solhiem Cup.

Gleneagles now holds a unique position in golfing history by being the first venue in Europe to have hosted both The Solheim Cup and The Ryder Cup (in 2014).



John Deere was the official golf course and turf maintenance machinery event partner to Gleneagles for the 16th biennial edition of The Solheim Cup. The company has a long association with professional golf, having been a title sponsor on the PGA Tour, official supplier to the PGA Tour for over 25 years, official supplier to the Ladies European Tour and a partner at numerous Solheim Cup events.


In addition, John Deere has provided additional golf course maintenance machinery and ancillary equipment for use across all three Gleneagles championship golf courses during the event.

After a quick lunch and walk around the John Deere stand, we were taken on a behind the scenes tour of the greenkeeping facilities to get a glimpse of the sheer size and scale of the task of preparing the course for each day’s play.



We were introduced to Scott Fenwick, director of agronomy and estates, who has worked at Gleneagles for the best part of 40 years. Scott gave us a unique insight into the work that goes into managing the three courses at Gleneagles and explained the vast investment, some half a million pounds that has been made by the club to provide a state of the art greenkeeping mess room, repairs and storage facility to house the forty four plus greenkeeping team and the vast array of John Deere maintenance machinery.

He said it is not just about the supply of the various mowers and tractors and vehicles it is really about the after sales service and technical back up you get from John Deere. “Their tournament support team have been outstanding and helped us achieve our aims and objectives at Gleneagles,” said Scott.



Scott was keen to point out the excellent planning and attention to detail being driven by the courses manager Craig Haldane. Since his arrival he has been crucial in ensuring Gleneagles is ready to deliver a playing surface that meets the demands of the Solheim Cup.

Scott then went on to explain the work that had gone into preparing the course for the tournament especially having to deal with over thirteen days of consecutive rain leading up to the start of the tournament. They in fact closed the course for three weeks prior to the event to allow it to recover and enable them to increase agronomic practices to bring it up to tournament standards.



In the week leading up to the Cup, an additional 52 volunteer greenkeeping professionals joined the team to help prepare and maintain the course during the event.
Scott was keen to point out that eight of the 52 volunteers were women, who had joined their own Laura Campbell and BIGGA’s head of membership services Tracey Maddison to help with the course preparations. “It’s fitting that we can showcase the equal role women play in our industry, especially during The Solheim Cup,” said Scott.



Tournament days start early with greenkeeping staff arriving around 4.30 am with the aim to undertake a whole course maintenance programme, usually the mowing of tees, greens aprons, fairways , rough, semi rough bunkers raked and hole changed before the start of play.

As for green speeds these are monitored daily to meet the criteria set by the tournament officials a programme of rolling, cutting and grooming will be tailored to achieve the desired speed required for the day’s play. Throughout the day the performance of the greens and the course will be monitored with relevant information fed back to the greenkeeping teams.



Provision had been made onsite to provide two bedroom accommodation pods to accommodate over 70 members of the greenkeeping team, to ensure they get a good night sleep and be ready for these early morning starts.

During the walk around the facility, Carlos Aragones, John Deere European turf sales & marketing manager, was keen to mention that, “The Solheim Cup is one of the biggest events on the 2019 sporting calendar and we ( John Deere ) are delighted to be a part of it. We are also proud of our collaboration with Gleneagles in helping to prepare the course for such a prestigious tournament.”


He also went on to say that during 2019 John Deere and its dealers will be or have supported more than 10 major tournaments in the UK and Ireland, every month from the Betfred British Masters at Hillside Golf Club in May to The Solheim Cup at Gleneagles and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth later in the month. “We will have provided specialist support staff and more than 150 machines including walk-behind and ride-on greens mowers, tees & surrounds, fairway and rough mowers, compact tractors and Gator utility vehicles to ensure the success of these events,” said Carlos.



To conclude the day’s visit we were able to experience the golfing village and see what was on offer to the thousands of supporters who have turned up to see this sporting spectacle.

There is no getting away from the fact that major golfing tournaments bring the best out in people, with so much banter going on between both sets of fans.

At the end of the first day’s play Europe where leading 5 and half to 4 and a half.



The next day we were allowed to go our own way and sample the experience of watching Europe battle it out with the USA, finishing the day with both teams on 8 points going into the final day on the Sunday. with all to play for in the 12 single matches.



For me it was great to see the vast commitment being made by both John Deere and the greenkeeping team to deliver consistent playing surfaces throughout the three days of the Solheim Cup. It had taken the best part of five years of planning to prepare the course for this unique opportunity of hosting the competition.

Having returned home, Sunday was spent keeping an eye out for the results of the singles matches. Such a close match between two competitive teams, it was always going to go to the wire - which it did with wildcard selected Pettersen sealing a dramatic win for Europe with the final putt of the match on the 18th green.

A tremendous finish to an exceptionally organised Solheim Cup at Gleneagles. I would like to thank personally John Deere for inviting me and allowing me to witness one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments on British soil.