A worrying trend
by TurfPro Editor, Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR
Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR

In the golfing world in particular, we have been seeing a large number of head greenkeepers and course managers leaving the industry due to the pressures placed on them by the job.



Attending this year’s SALTEX show at the NEC, as always, was an enlightening experience. Our very own turf grass industry is a myriad of skills and activities that come together to help maintain our wonderful ever changing and challenging landscape facilities. Whether it be managing football stadiums, golf courses, school grounds or large estates, the skill sets and responsibilities for the manager in charge is often unmeasurable.

In recent years however, we are now seeing some worrying outcomes from these demanding roles. I have been hearing on the grapevine, particularly in the golfing world, that we have been seeing a large number of head greenkeepers / course managers leaving the industry.



There is no doubt that the pressures of running a modern golf course or sports facility can come at a cost.

Expectations from end users are consistently becoming greater and can only be met if the facility has the appropriate resources, staff, machinery and support from management. Far too often I see too many facilities understaffed and underfunded.

This has been backed up by a couple of articles I have read on the STRI website.


One article, The battle with mental health in greenkeeping, argues that opening up about mental health issues is still rare in the workplace, even more so in the stout-hearted world of turf. In this piece, STRI deputy grounds manager, Tim Randall, talks honestly about his personal experiences. Much of what Tim explains, he says is becoming the norm and leading to an unhealthy workplace.


In the article, which is well worth reading in full, Tim effectively sums up some of the main reasons that caused his stress illness -

"Greenkeepers are under pressure because of reduced budgets and increases in the costs of materials and machinery. Many golf clubs, if they lose a member of staff, don’t replace them, and that heavy workload falls to the remaining team. It is also very difficult to find replacement staff as there are fewer people entering the profession. It’s seen as a career for younger people because of long hours and physically demanding work. There are also pressures from members to play in all weathers, who want to get on the course 365 days of the year. Whereas once courses were closed during winter, now there are golfing competitions and winter leagues. It’s incredibly difficult to keep a course open, and in good condition, when you are fighting the weather."


This is, I believe, coupled with the fact that for many greenkeepers they are often answerable to a greens committee or managers who have no real knowledge or understanding of the complexities of the job and role of the greenkeeper, plus the issues they face on a daily basis. . This is has also been backed up by another interesting article written by Emma Beggs of the STRI

In this article Emma is keen to point out that from her work across the UK, she has first-hand experience of how stress issues can cripple greenkeeping staff, grounds people and the facilities they work on.


Emma states, “There is a difference between stress and pressure. We all experience pressure on a daily basis and need it to motivate and enable us to perform at our very best. It’s when we experience too much pressure without the opportunity to recover that we start to experience stress.

"Whilst out talking to turf industry professionals, it became clear that increasing numbers of turf managers and their staff are being put under unrelenting pressure. Not coping with this pressure can quite quickly become a problem, particularly if staff feel isolated and unable to communicate their concerns.

"When pressure of work is impacting on quality of time away from work, time that should be spent happily with friends and families, then something needs to change."


If you have time today, it's well worth reading the rest of Emma’s piece here.


Both of these compelling accounts ring true, evidenced by many experienced greenkeepers leaving our industry. These are hard acts to follow, coupled with the fact we are also seeing a decline of young willing people wanting to enter and remain in the industry, due to the expectations, long hours and low pay rewards being offered compared to other industries.

Another course manger I met at SALTEX was also worried about the future of the industry, telling me that the hard part is getting the management of the clubs (and I don’t mean course managers) to read and understand what pressures people are being put under. Even the courses who have good budgets, their expectation levels are through the roof. Over the last 20 years golf has gone from occasional winter play, ‘happy to just get some fresh air now and again’, to ‘if we don’t get 365 day golf, we are leaving and we want buggies and trolleys, oh and for that matter, leave the tees on the summer tees, we don’t want to play off mats and don’t you dare aerate those greens but we want them perfect for next season as well’!

All this with less resources and weather patterns that are much more extreme and unpredictable. Yes, subs have increased, but probably no where near enough to keep pace with material or machinery inflation. Golf equipment however, has soared. For example, drivers quadrupling in price and now sets don’t even come with a SW PG or 3 or 4 iron.


There is only so much money available in peoples’ pockets and through good marketing with companies making people think they need to change their driver every 5 minutes to hit it 5 yards further (usually into the rough), cash is going to these big sports manufacturers, undoubtedly meaning people have less money to spend on other things and as such has helped to drive the cost of membership down and the green fee down.

The loss of any experienced sports turf and amenity professional is a worrying trend. Some independent research carried out by the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has, they say, identified concerning facts that will impact on the opportunities to play sport on well-maintained natural turf pitches / facilities.



Research findings highlight the fact that the number of young people embarking on a career in groundsmanship is in decline - and with over 40% of the workforce over the age 50, this say the IOG, is a worrying trend. The report also shows that investment is urgently needed in adequate training and education to ensure groundscare professionals and volunteers are able to maintain safe, quality standard pitches to allow for increased demand for sports participation now and in the future.

I personally firmly believe that the workplace must become an environment that suits all, who are working together to meet the same objectives. Sharing responsibilities and having respect for one another is the key to success. No one person can achieve and deliver the expectations of typical modern day 18 hole golf complex. Communication and respect is the key to success. Without the skill sets of any established greenkeeping team, no golf course can remain fit for purpose and sustainable and deliver the expectations of its members.



It takes many years to build up and establish a credible and hardworking dedicated greenkeeping team. Do not lose it on the mere fact of personality clashes and inabilities to communicate to one another.

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers' Association is also worried about this trend and for many years have worked tirelessly to safeguard the welfare of their members with various forms of support.

BIGGA has worked alongside the governing bodies for golf in the UK, including England Golf, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf to issue a new governance guide for clubs in the ongoing drive to modernise and grow the game.

Key stakeholders across the sport recognise the value of improving the organisation and structures of clubs in order to maximise their potential for profitability and growth.
BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: "Good governance is at the core of any successful business as it fosters a positive culture of clarity and accountability at all levels. The management structures at many golf clubs have evolved organically over the history of the sport and so formal structures are often not in place, or adhered to. All-too-often, this leads to a disconnect between the staff and those in leadership roles, which can lead to conflict within the workplace.

"We've worked alongside the game's governing bodies and the other organisations involved with golf club staff to create this new edition of the golf goverance guide, which has now adopted information relating to the correct treatment of staff. I hope that this guide is just the first step towards a better, more prosperous industry for all."



Yes, the art of greenkeeping has become very complex in recent years. The myriad of skills and knowledge required to manage a golf course is often unmeasurable and often not often rewarded in terms of support and remuneration.

Golf courses need to look at themselves carefully and ensure they respect and understand the role of the greenkeeper and course manager and take advantage of their collective skills and knowledge and treat them accordingly for the benefit and future of these priceless golfing assets.

Watch our short and snappy vids
TurfPro editor Laurence Gale interviewing the IOG's Jason Booth

TurfPro editor, Laurence Gale, was patrolling the showfloor at SALTEX recently, with a camera in tow - grabbing interviews with the great and the good!


TurfPro editor, Laurence Gale, was patrolling the showfloor at SALTEX recently, with a camera in tow - grabbing interviews with the great and the good!


You can view a selection of his bite-sized chats below - with more to come in the following weeks.


Also, don't forget you can find the archive of all our TurfPro clips, on the TurfPro YouTube channel.




TurfPro at SALTEX 2019: IOG




TurfPro at SALTEX 2019: ISEKI UK




TurfPro at SALTEX 2019: Dennis Mowers





TurfPro at SALTEX 2019: Kersten UK




TurfPro at SALTEX 2019: Shelton Drainage

At last week's SALTEX
The SM34 with its Innovation Award

The Cub Cadet rotary mower was crowned the winner by a panel of expert judges from a long list of entries that spanned the sports turf, grounds and landscaping industry.


The Cub Cadet Infinicut SM34 Rotary Mower was crowned the winner of the 2019 Innovation Award at SALTEX.


John Coleman, head of UK for MTD Specialty Turf Products (centre) with Tony Whelan, director of sales & marketing (right) and Vinny Tarbox, sales manager (left)


A panel of expert judges selected the SM34 from a long list of entries that spanned the sports turf, grounds and landscaping industry.

From a final shortlist of three, entries were judged on what the product offers the industry and how it makes the life of the operator easier. The panel described how the SM34 has "taken the rotary mower as we know it into the 21st century" - ticking the environmental box due to its emphasis on a modern, clean power source and utilising "the InfiniApp to eliminate spanners and grazed knuckles when adjusting the deck height."

The judges said they were also impressed by "the introduction of a revolutionary side collector", giving the operator a more comfortable and practical working position.


On receiving the award from the Institute of Groundsmanship CEO Geoff Webb, John Coleman said, “We are incredibly pleased and humbled to have scooped the Innovation Award this year. The SM34 combines concepts, ideas and customer feedback to take a product that is known but to place it firmly in the modern era. We would like to congratulate all the other finalists and say a big thank you to all of our employees involved in bringing this fantastic machine to market.”

Launched earlier in the year, the SM34 can mow in the traditional sense or be used as a stand-alone vacuum. In cut mode, the incorporation of both a front roller and rear traction roller means it delivers a striping effect usually only achieved with a professional reel mower. The company says the high carbon steel blades offer extended life, and come pre-balanced to exhibit less vibration, while the 34” cutting width combines the units lightweight design with better productivity.

I-80 rotary sprinklers in use
Hunter I-80 rotors at London Stadium

James Williams, head groundsman at the London Stadium, has praised the simplicity and efficiency of the new sprinklers which were supplied by KAR UK.


James Williams, head groundsman at the London Stadium, has praised the simplicity and efficiency of the new Hunter I-80 rotary sprinklers which were supplied by KAR UK.


Originally built to host London 2012, the Olympic Stadium, as it was formerly called, is now known as the London Stadium and is home to West Ham United FC - but that’s not all. The stadium also hosts UK athletics and concerts and has been a venue for the Rugby World Cup, The Race of Champions, Major League Baseball and the RFL Four Nations.


Hunter I-80 rotors at London Stadium


James, who started in the industry as an apprentice at Swansea FC, is now the man responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the pitch at arguably one of the most iconic stadia in the UK.


With a team of five, the young groundsman does a stellar job in keeping the pitch in immaculate condition despite the heavy usage but, ever the perfectionist, James is continuously looking at improvements he can make to raise the bar even higher. Therefore, when he felt that he wasn’t getting the best out of the previous irrigation system, he knew that it was time for a change.


James looked to see what was available on the market and it wasn’t long before a meeting with KAR UK was arranged. KAR is a wholesaler of irrigation equipment and James’ attentions soon turned to a new Hunter Industries irrigation system which included the the all-new I-80 commercial rotor.


Engineered for sports turf, KAR say the I-80 is built with a 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 dual-trajectory, wind-fighting nozzles for 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 - something which James says he is particularly impressed with.


“It is just so simple - you can take off the turf caps and grow them in in a shed or under a light and then you can just put them straight back on. Even cleaning them is so much easier because you just whip them out like a normal sprinkler instead of having to dig them all out every time.”


James had eight I-80 rotors installed in the pitch and his system is further complimented by the ACC2 controller which is suitable 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.


“This new Hunter system is so modern and advanced and the remote is brilliant,” he continued. “In the click of a button you can change the speeds of the sprinklers, so for instance on a match-day we only need to put a little amount of water on but it needs to cover a lot of ground. With the remote we can change the rotation setting to a faster speed so that we get a decent amount of coverage in a quick time.


“The ACC2 controller is also easy to use and that is what I wanted. I didn’t want it to be too technical because I want all of my staff to be able to use it as well as myself.”


James reported that the manager and players are pleased with the new system and he went further in explaining how he uses it in the run up to match-days.


“Obviously a lot of it is dependent on weather, but we tend to give the pitch around 8mm of water on a Thursday or a Friday to prepare the surface for a game. We will then give it a top up before kick-off and then again at half-time if it is required.


“I see it similar to the way you would build a sandcastle. If you use wet sand to build a sandcastle then it will hold it all together and you’ll have a good castle. If you use dry sand then it will just all fall out. It’s exactly the same with a football pitch – keep it wet and it will stay nice and firm and hold together.”

Hailed a success
Attendees at the school grounds seminar held at Charterhouse in Surrey

Held at Charterhouse in Surrey, the event attracted over 50 delegates from all levels as several topical issues were explored and discussed.


A recent school grounds seminar held at Charterhouse in Surrey has been hailed a huge success by all who attended.



The event attracted over 50 delegates from all levels as several topical issues were explored and discussed. Supported by prominent suppliers and manufacturers in the industry - ICL, Limagrain UK, Syngenta UK and Charterhouse Turf Machinery - attendees had the opportunity to find out more about key subjects such as fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides, grass seed and aeration.


At a time where the industry is witnessing increasing pressure on pesticide usage and when registrations are getting tighter, the presentation by Glenn Kirby, Syngenta’s Technical Manager for the UK Turf & Landscape, was well received. From this seminar, attendees became more knowledgeable on how to get the best out of their products and also gained a greater understanding of fungicide timings, correct calibration and sprayer set-up, and how to choose the correct nozzles.


Sam Horner, Amenity Seed Specialist from Limagrain UK, offered an insight into the thought process behind the development of a grass seed mixture. From initial breeding through to going to a customer, attendees received first-hand information on characteristics of the plant, growing, harvesting, germination testing, creating a mix, percentages and the trials which go into producing a final product.


Henry Bechelet, ICL Technical Sales Manager UK & Ireland, focussed on new regulations for fertilizers which are set to commence in 2022. There has been a lot of uncertainty over the new forthcoming legislation and Henry was on hand to answer some all-too common questions and clarify the situation.


Stepping into the stunning school grounds, delegates then had the opportunity to see a number of outdoor product demonstrations from Charterhouse Turf Machinery.


Attendees found out how to relieve compaction and improve drainage with the OxyShot air-injection unit, the Verti-Quake and the Verti-Drain. In particular, representatives from Charterhouse Turf Machinery focussed on the three styles of aeration – deep-tine aeration, linear aeration and high-pressure aeration.


The idea for this unique new event was born following discussions between a group of grounds managers from schools - Charterhouse, Whitgift, St Paul's, Christ's Hospital, Cranleigh, Reed's, The Royal Grammar School (RGS), New Hall and Harrow.


Host for the day Lee Marshallsay from Charterhouse, provided an insight into how the seminar came to fruition: “After going to various events and exhibitions over the years we felt that many of the seminars were mainly aimed at managers or those in a senior position.


"Ultimately, we are a group of grounds managers that meet up to talk about the industry because we want to help. We have taken something by the scruff of the neck and tried to drive something which is specifically for our sector.”


Echoing Lee was Daniel Ratling from Whitgift School, who said: “We wanted a training day that was going to be more targeted at every member of staff and give them information that would enthuse them and help them in their every-day work. A big part of that is integrating and mixing with people from other schools and this is not something that you are often able to do.”


Russel King, from The Royal Grammar School, felt that the event was a huge morale boost for his team: “We wanted our team to know that some of the issues they are facing are not just isolated to their specific grounds and that it could be perhaps a common problem for everyone. Today has been great because they have received advice about how other schools are approaching the issues and it has really boosted their morale.”


“Our staff have not been to anything like this before,” claimed James Pope from St Paul’s. “We all agreed that this was at a perfect time being half-term and my staff have been able to speak to professionals that they might not usually get the chance to speak to. I think we have all taken some great ideas away from this event.”


“It’s been a great first event and I’m confident that we can progress it in the future,” added host Lee. “I think this is something that could happen once a year and in order to grow we will debrief and identify what delegates would like to see in the future.”

Lightning detection system
Biral’s BTD-200 lightning warning system

Reesink Turfcare has expanded its range to include the lightning warning system from meteorological equipment specialists Biral.


Reesink Turfcare has expanded its range to include the BTD-200 lightning warning system from meteorological equipment specialists Biral.


Biral’s BTD-200 lightning warning system


In Britain, lightning strikes the ground about 300,000 times and between 30 and 60 people a year, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Most at risk are people who spend a lot of time outdoors in unsheltered locations, such as golfers.

Robert Jackson, irrigation sales manager for distributor Reesink, says, “It is of the utmost importance for golf clubs to keep their members safe and Biral’s BTD-200 with its accurate detection range of 22 miles warns of the most dangerous lightning risk before the first lightning strike. This can give course managers and greenkeepers up to 20 minutes to alert members.”

The company says the server software package of the system detects cloud-to-ground, intra-cloud and cloud-to-cloud lightning, charged precipitation and strong atmospheric electric fields, displaying the lightning distance in real-time on a map of the local area and the current lightning alarm level.

Robert continues, “All companies have a duty of care to make their customers aware of any possible dangers. This early warning detection system allows golf clubs to do just that, helping to protect people and equipment from the dangers of a lightning strike by providing enough advanced warning of a storm’s approach to alert staff, members, teams and the public to the risks of remaining outdoors.

“It’s a system tried and tested in the aviation industry and we’re delighted to bring it to the UK’s golf clubs and sporting venues as the brand’s sole distributor in the UK and Ireland. When you consider the chance of being struck by lightning is higher than getting a hole in one, it brings home how important having adequate warning is!”

Jason Moody takes on role
Jason Moody

Bringing almost three decades worth of greenkeeping experience to the position, Jason Moody will cover Wales, the Midlands and West Cheshire.


Campey Turf Care Systems has brought in new product specialist, Jason Moody, to cover Wales, the Midlands and West Cheshire.

Jason brings almost three decades worth of greenkeeping experience to the Campey team.


“This is a fantastic opportunity,” Jason said. “I hope my knowledge and experience can bring something to the business, and I’m very excited about the new challenge ahead.

“I’ve been aware of Campey during my career, and they’ve helped me throughout as a greenkeeper. I’ve seen the evolution of the company through my career and the impact they’ve had on greenkeeping. When I started in the industry, we were dressing greens by hand with wheelbarrows, and now we’re using Dakota top dressers.”

Campey managing director, Julia Campey commented: “We’re very happy to welcome Jason to the Campey team. We always aim to give customers advice from a place of experience, and Jason is in a great position to do that because the knowledge he has gained during his time as a greenkeeper and working in sales.”

For Dealer Sales Achievement
Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey, of RT Machinery, has won Price Turfcare’s award and has been presented with £300 worth of store vouchers in appreciation of his efforts.


Tom Bailey, area sales manager at RT Machinery, has won Price Turfcare’s Dealer Sales Achievement award and has been presented with £300 worth of store vouchers in appreciation of his efforts.



Rupert Price, managing director of Price Turfcare, the UK distributor of Ventrac said, “As a young company we are heavily dependent on our dealer network and the enthusiasm of their sales teams. RT Machinery has readily accepted the challenge of promoting Ventrac and Tom, in particular, has excelled with some serious sales in his territory. He fully understands the attributes of the machine and its accessories and has targeted large estate owners in his area, with outstanding success.


“I would like to take this opportunity to thank not only Tom, but all of our dealers and their sales staff for their fantastic commitment to Ventrac since we launched the business just under three years ago. We have certainly arrived in the UK groundscare market and it is thanks to their combined efforts.”


Tom joined RT Machinery in June 2015 as a trainee area sales manager from the estate management team at SAS UK. He then completed three years of RTM training and has progressed to be one of the company’s highly skilled and dedicated ASMs.

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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.

A great success


Buoyant GIE+EXPO


At Gleneagles


Behind the scenes at the Solheim Cup


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.


Superb IOG show last week


Take proper care of your kit


Considering available strategies


Event held at the Pirelli Stadium


Plenty of developments in this vital sector


Latest developments on show


Show and event season


The challenge of finding new staff


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

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Campey Turf Care Systems
Garden trader
Garden Trader
Major investments taking place
by Laurence Gale, TurfPro editor
Enville golf course

A recent trip to Enville Golf Club enabled me to meet up with their course manager, Andy Wood, who along with club officials, had negotiated a fantastic deal with John Deere to provide them with an array of maintenance equipment and machinery supplies from local dealer Farols.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the importance of choosing the right machinery which stated how our sports turf industry has changed in the last forty years regarding the choice and range of machinery we now have available.

Most if not all, high-profile sports facilities and particularly golf courses, now rely heavily on having quality machinery to deliver the expectations of their customers / clients.

With regards to golf clubs, they more than any other sports facility, require a large fleet of machinery to maintain their playing areas. In recent weeks, I have seen at first hand the huge investments both Gleneagles and Wentworth have made in machinery purchases, ensuring they are able to deliver the playing surfaces and environment that they are striving to produce at their respective sites.



A recent trip to Enville Golf Club enabled me to meet up with their course manager, Andy Wood, who along with club officials, had negotiated a fantastic deal with John Deere to provide them with an array of maintenance equipment and machinery supplies from local dealer Farols.

Andy was keen to point out the decision to invest in John Deere equipment was based on several commercial benefits the club will gain from their partnership.

Andy has had a long relationship with John Deere, having worked closely with them at his three previous clubs, Robin Hood, Cosby and The Belfry. It's all about the relationships with the dealer and manufacturer, the ability of that machine to perform the task, value for money, backup, and servicing of the machinery they are investing in. Like all golf clubs, they go through machinery cycles, and when these cycles come to an end, it's often time for the club to reflect and look at new opportunities.

In Andy's case, a large part of their previous main supplier deal with Toro, was coming to an end. So The club took the opportunity last year to start the process of looking at what the three leading main suppliers (Jacobson, Toro and John Deere ) could offer, as well as looking at ways to finance the equipment in a more planned way reducing the up and down capital spends. This creates a much more balanced leasing cost over a long period making it much easier to budget and plan future changes.

A range of demos took place. After a long debate, the club decided to go with John Deere. It was not necessarily about price, but more about the backup, warranty and service John Deere offered along with the support given by Jacob Shellis from Farols.

In total, the club has invested in twenty-eight John Deere machines that include mowers, gators, trailers and tractors.



This was coupled with the fact that Farol were able to supply additional required equipment such as the Sisis Veemo MK2, Trilo BL400, Fleming 4 tonne trailer and the ever-popular Ventrac 4500 with five attachments.


Andy took on the role of course manager at Enville in June 2017 and since his appointment has worked tirelessly with his fifteen staff to improve the condition of the course by improving the playing surfaces, opening areas up for regenerating heather and improving the golfing experience.



Founded in 1935, Enville is one of the finest examples of heathland golf in the UK. The facilities were gradually extended over a period of years until 1983 when two eighteen hole courses were completed. 2010 saw the addition of their exclusive, all grass, practice facility that is considered by many to be the best of its kind within the UK. There is a six-acre short game area with three full-size chipping and pitching greens open all year round and maintained to golf course conditions. The main long game area covers twenty-two acres and is over 360 yards long. The main grass tee is 220 yards long, which ensures perfect practice conditions from real turf all year round.


Click here to watch a fly-by of Enville.



The Highgate and Lodge courses are a mixture of picturesque heathland and majestic woodland. From 2007 to 2011 the Highgate course was used by the R & A for Regional Open Qualifying. In 2014 Enville hosted the EGU Boys Under 14's Reid Trophy.

In August 2017 they hosted the Girls' British Open Amateur Championship which involved some of the best young amateurs in the game from around the world and in 2019 the Club hosted the English Senior Women's Amateur Championships and the Armed forces Inter service championships. In 2021 the R&A return with the Girls U16 Amateur Championship and hopefully further prestigious events will come to Enville.




Andy's vision is to establish Enville into one of the top 100 golf courses. To achieve this, the club needs to continually work on improving their golfing experience and facilities.
In the short time Andy has been there he has overseen a lot of changes. Firstly, paying attention to the quality of the playing surfaces and improving the aesthetics of the course. However, to help achieve this the club has needed to invest in a new irrigation system as the old one had become unreliable. Unable to deliver effective watering to many parts of the course, the system was unsafe and many hours were being spent patching it up week after week.

Having the ability to apply water efficiently and accurately is essential for maintaining turf quality. Installing a brand-new system takes a lot of time and planning and working around a busy golfing calendar, Enville enlisted the help and support of Roger Davey and his team from Irritech Limited to assist with the project. "From the design going out to tender through to the completion of the project we could not have been in better hands. The level of professionalism was second to none," said Andy.



“After a long and in-depth tender process, it was decided to go with Toro as the support from Robert Jackson of Reesink Turfcare was exceptional,” explained Andy, “especially while we were having issues with our old system.” North Staffs Irrigation were Enville's chosen Installer.

Work started on the first phase in 2018 with a new pumphouse and tank followed by greens, tees and approaches on the Highgate course. This work has been completed and the aim will now be to complete the second phase on the Lodge course as soon as the club can afford it, along with the possibility of being able to irrigate fairways sometime in the future.



As for the ongoing work, a programme of verticutting, hollow coring, aeration, overseeding and topdressing has been implemented to all greens, tees and approaches. Over 200 tonnes of straight sand has gone on each of the courses per year. The seed on greens has been a mix of creeping and browntop bent.

“The fairways suffered severely during the 2018 drought,” said Andy, “and they lost large percentages of fescue. The bents seemed to cope much better as did the rye grasses on 4-12 on the Lodge course. We invested in a Fairway scarifier as the fairways had suffered badly where it was heavily matted, and along with intensive aeration, we overseeded the fairways with a fescue bent mix with a larger % of bent than normal and to aid with germination. We topdressed the fairways lightly with a humus material. “This work, combined with a good year for growth, has meant we have had fantastic recovery - although more work is required before we get them to the standard I want.”



To help maintain and improve Enville's important heathland, Andy and his staff have implemented a robust tree and heather management programme, removing unwanted saplings and restoring heather plantations.

“Managing the heath is very labour intensive,” Andy explained. “We can spend 60-80 hours a week from September through to December, just digging out saplings. Added to that is weeks spent topping off and collecting the heather combined with the separate task of cutting down and collecting the long grass areas to help thin out the sward.

“Selective tree removal and blowing the leaves out of the heather is also an important winter task. Whereas during the growing season, spraying for bracken, bramble and Himalayan Balsam is important. Turf stripping for heather regeneration begins in October. It's not always very pleasing to the eye during the start of the process. However we are already starting to see good results, and hopefully, within 4-5 years the Club will see the benefit of this work.”



Like any golf course, the ability, skill set, and welfare of the staff is crucial in the management of a busy golf complex. Andy cannot praise his staff enough. Enville are very lucky to have a group of staff who have come through some difficult times but are still very much dedicated to the cause. They have a wealth of experience and are passionate about making Enville the best it can possibly be.

Even with fifteen staff, trying to manage and maintain two different styles of golf course and a very large practice area is often quite a challenge. It has only been achievable with the support of the club and their ability to invest funding to improve the infrastructure and mechanisation of the club. This has been further enhanced with the building of a new machinery storage building costing £40,000, and this year a new material storage building for seed and fertiliser has been erected continuing the investment in the facilities.



The mechanics’ workshop has also seen an upgrade, improving the working environment, which is vital as many of the club’s machines cost tens of thousands each and need to be serviced and well maintained. Bernhard Grinders were one of the first purchases by the club when Andy arrived allowing the club to always have sharp units and due to the quick turn around the grinders allow no requirement for spare units. Having the tools to do the job is vital in keeping the machinery in top order so that when they are out on the course they are delivering at their full potential.



The recent acquisition of the John Deere machinery and equipment, the investment in the new irrigation systems and the refurbishment and new buildings will play a part in helping Enville GC to become one of the most attractive and top 100 golfing venues in the country in the coming years.