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December 2016

FEGGA unites European greenkeepers in strategic vision for sustainability

Under FEGGA‘s inspirational leadership, greenkeepers all over Europe have come together in a pledge for responsible and sustainable golf course management. All of FEGGA‘s 24 European national greenkeeping organizations have agreed to promote and endorse a clear, detailed and ambitious strategic vision that embraces golf‘s potential to produce multiple benefits for nature and man.

“This is the first time that the daily practitioners of golf‘s grassroots movement agree on a strategy for such an important aspect of our industry‘s future,“ said FEGGA Chairman Olafur Thor Agustsson.

Two years of active brainstorming and collaboration, both within and outside the organization, has now produced a roadmap that outlines a three-dimensional sustainability strategy for the industry. The first dimension focuses on achieving positive results in resource consumption, biodiversity, waste, pollution and extent of managed turf. The second dimension focuses on research and education while the third priority is directed at improving transparency and developing community outreach.

FEGGA’s strategy encourages the use of tried and tested monitoring and reporting tools, including the GEO’s OnCourse® framework. Jonathan Smith, GEO’s director, said: “Golf course management is coming under increasing pressure across Europe. Pesticide and water regulation is starting to bite in many countries, costs of resources and materials are increasing, and golfers expectations continue to rise. This timely statement, backed by so many of the industry’s course management representatives expresses an important commitment and plan that will help the sport address these significant challenges, now and in the future. We were very pleased to play a part in its development.”

The document clearly specifies how progress will be monitored in terms of performance, knowledge, outreach and reporting, spreading the word by way of its Roadshows and publications along with the annual FEGGA European Conference, which will next take place in Lisbon in February.

“It is extremely encouraging to see the greenkeeping profession in Europe, through FEGGA, promoting sustainability for golf course management,“ said Steve Isaac, The R&A‘s director of sustainability. “The R&A has led this cause, but only the implementation of accepted best practice by the professionals who care for our golf courses, and transparent reporting through systems such as OnCourse®, will convince everyone that the sport can bring economic, environmental and social benefits.  We commend FEGGA for producing this statement and hope they are able to achieve its adoption so we see greater sustainability on the ground,“ Isaac concluded.

Click below to view the document
fegga-responsible-golf-course-management-front-cover

 

 

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The Seminar and Conference of the Czech Greekeepers Association

The seminar and the annual conference 2017 of the Czech greenkeepers association in Prague

Term: 18. – 19. 1. 2017

Venue: Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, 165 00, Praha 6 – Suchdo

Accommodation: all attentents order on their own, student’s dormitory or hotel are available

Dormitory:

Kamýcká 1280, 165 00, Praha 6 – Suchdol

www.kam.czu.cz             mkurkova@kam.czu.cz

430 Kč per person per night

Hotel Galaxie:

500 m from the seminar hall, Suchdolské nám. 9, 165 00, Praha 6 – Suchdol

www.hotelgalaxie.cz/en              info@hotelgalaxie.cz

400 Kč per person per nigh in room for three breakfast included

500 Kč per person per night in double room breakfast included

900 Kč per person per night in single room breakfast included

Registration fee: 3500 Kč

Lecturers:

Per Rasmussen (Denmark) ENG/CZESons of Golf-An exchange of experience in greenkeeping- to promote career and turf care in a sustainable manner

Jaroslav Záhora (CZ -MENDELU v Brně) CZE

The current state of knowledge of the interactions between the root, soil microorganisms, soil invertebrates and soil.

Martin Nilsson (Denmark) ENG/CZEPesticide Legislation in Denmark: A success story or worst case scenario?

Dalibor Procházka (ČGF) CZEThe news in the rules.

Gerhard Lung (Germany) GER/CZERasenkrankheiten, Schädlinge und Lästlinge auf Sportrasenflächen – Übersicht über die wichtigsten Schadpilze, Schädlinge und Lästlinge; Maßnahmen dagegen: Pflanzenschutzmitteleinsatz sowie Alternativen zu Pflanzenschutzmitteln. 

Karel Šilhan (CZ) CZEThe greenkeepers path.

Bram Bertels (Netherlands) ENG/CZEThe Golf course development and management close to the nature. 

 

Attendants registration                          18.1. 2017        8,00 a.m.

Beginning of the lectures:                      18.1. 2016        9,00 a.m.

Expected end of the lectures:                19.1. 2017        3,00 p.m.

 

  For more information and sending of your application form, please use email: secretary@czgreen.com

Application form

The seminar and the conference of CSG in Prague 2017

Name and surname:

Employer:

Contact address:

E-mail :

Telephone:

Invoice data:

 

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FEGGA Conference – MEETING EXPECTATIONS

fegga-logo-emailMEETING EXPECTATIONS

21st-24th February 2017

The 2017 FEGGA Conference to be held at the premier resort of Hotel Quinta da Marinha, set in the award winning golf coast of Lisbon, Portugal.
This years Conference will continue to focus on some of the key challenges facing golf and the turf industry today, and with these challenges come high expectations. This Conference will build on the work done last year, and focus on MEETING THESE EXPECTATIONS through active brainstorming and collaboration and producing a good roadmap through a sound and realistic sustainable strategy.

For further information, please contact Dean Cleaver (Executive Officer) deancleaver@fegga.org

2017-conf-patronsv2-3

 

 

 

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WANTED -Rapid Blight Infected Turf

As part of a new research project, part funded by Syngenta, PhD student Kirsty Fraser (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh), is seeking the help of greenkeepers across Europe to help build a greater scientific understanding of the emerging disease, Rapid Blight.  If you ever encounter the symptoms and salinities described below on your greens, please get in touch and directly help combat this problem, before the disease gets ahead of the game!

What is Rapid Blight?

Rapid blight is a turfgrass disease caused by the slime-net mold pathogens, Labyrinthula terrestris (or ‘labys’ for short), under conditions of raised salinity. Prior to 1995, when the disease was first encountered in the USA, Labyrinthula pathogens were only known to occur in the sea.  Despite happily destroying golf-greens many miles from the oceans, these highly unusual turf pathogens still require sodium (Na+) ions to grow. Therefore, if salt levels rise to 0.5 dS/m and above in your soil or irrigation water, then it is time to worry about rapid blight.

The first symptoms to appear are small, irregular patches of browning and/or yellowing turf, the foliage of which appears water soaked with a closer look.  If left untreated, it quickly spreads and within a few days of the initial symptoms turf can collapse and die. Although, as far as we know, they do not produce spores or any other dispersal structures, ‘labys’ can spread extremely quickly through direct contact for example, by shared drainage water or lawn mowers.

Several species of turfgrasses are susceptible including, perennial ryegrass, annual and rough bluegrass.  Some species show varying levels of resistance to rapid blight, the most resistant being Slender Creeping Red Fescue.  However, even if there are no symptoms labys may still infect more resistant turfgrasses and the only way to tell is by looking under the microscope.

Since Rapid Blight is neither a bacterial nor a fungal disease, very few chemical controls work against rapid blight.  Only the strobilurins have shown good control but there are concerns over resistance with these single-site compounds.  Reducing the soil and/or irrigation salinity will definitely help get rid of rapid blight but with ever greater demands on fresh water resources, this is increasingly difficult for many clubs.

The problem we’re hoping to solve

Currently, we know very little about rapid blight in Europe.  We know it is here and that it already seems be a recurring problem in specific areas prone to irrigation water quality issues.  This knowledge has been gained through the work of Dr. Kate Entwistle (The Turfgrass Disease Centre (Surrey, UK)) who has identified several cases in the UK, Ireland, Spain and Portugal over the past few years.  Yet we do not know its full distribution, how many strains or species are causing this disease or how it spreads from course to course, country to country.  Without access to such basic scientific knowledge, we cannot effectively stay ahead of the pathogen and implement better controls and cures.

How you can help

We seek to answer the above questions over the next 2 years by undertaking a survey of golf-courses experiencing saline conditions in Europe, with a focus on the UK and Mediterranean countries.

This is where we need your help, greenkeepers of Europe!

If your turf experiences periods of high salinity (0.5 dS/m and above) either in the soil or irrigation water or both, please get in touch by email and we can arrange for samples of the affected area to be sent to us for analysis.  The presence of both rapid blight symptoms and elevated salinity is perfect, but even if you simply have high salinity levels over a sustained period you may have labys infecting your turf and not even know it, so please get in touch too.

You and your affiliated club will remain anonymous in any publication arising out of the study.

How this will help you

We will send you your results on the presence or absence of rapid blight pathogens in your samples and as a result, this will directly help you with disease management.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Contact Details

Email: kaf31@hw.ac.uk

Phone: +0044 (0)131 451 3734

Address: Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK EH14 4AS

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FEGGA Launch New Assistant Greenkeeper Experience Programme

The Federation of European Golf Greenkeeper Associations has launched a new development scheme aimed at aspirant Assistant Greenkeepers.

The scheme carries the criteria that greenkeepers must have at least two years-experience, and be endorsed by their club and their Association.

Recently, Hristo Hristov, Assistant Superintendent at Pravets Golf Club, Sofia, Bulgaria undertook a three week work experience at Minchinhampton Golf Club, Gloucestershire, UK.

Paul Worster, FEGGA Board Member and Courses Manager at Minchinhampton said – “this was a hugely positive experience for the team here at Minchinhampton. Hristo was a big presence in the workplace, and his experience enabled him to comment on our work-processes and help us find solutions. It was fascinating to hear from him how golf developed in Bulgaria and how it has reached such a high level, which has inspired us. Hristo interacted with the club at several different levels, which included working in the Pro-Shop as well as on the course, and giving an evening presentation about Bulgaria and Pravets to the members. We were delighted to have Hristo here; and as a result, one of my team is itching to carry out a return leg in the future!”

Hristo Hristov commented…”With huge appreciation to FEGGA, the BGGA (Bulgarian Greenkeepers Association) and personally to Dean Cleaver, Paul Worster and Pravets Golf Club. I would like to say that this journey I had it was the highlight of my career until this moment. I was able to make an objective self-assessment of my skills and knowledge about greenkeeping and to see where I am at the industry chain and what to do to keep develop and improve myself in the business. I had the opportunity to visit golf courses, football pitches and different places which I would never have seen without participating in such a program as the FEGGA Scheme. It was great as well to make contacts and friendships for life with some remarkable people. It was also a wonderful experience for me to see what a sustainable golf course is; Minchinhampton Golf Club is an amazing facility with a great team and environmental friendly agronomy program and also a fantastic attitude to the members. So I would like to encourage every greenkeeper who wishes to grow in the industry to apply and take the opportunity to participate in this program.”

Dean Cleaver, Executive Officer FEGGA commented, “FEGGA are delighted to have been able to offer this unique opportunity to Hristo, and to see how he has embraced the whole aspect of the experience. Hristo is a great ambassador for Bulgarian greenkeeping, and brings home the commitment of the Bulgarian Golf Greenkeepers Association to growing a profession for future greenkeepers to be part of. FEGGA look forward to offering more of these opportunities in the coming years, so to be a part, contact your Association and FEGGA.”

 

 

 

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18TH SLOVENIAN GREENKEEPERS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE A BIG SUCCESS

The Slovenian Greenkeepers Association is now already well known in our industry, not because they are one of the smallest associations in FEGGA, but because of the good work they are engaging in and because of their educational conference they operate every year.

This year it was already 18th in a row, held in the great location of Bled in Slovenia on 15th and 16th November. Bled is not just famous because of their delicious crème cake which you can enjoy beside the magical lake, but also because of the island with a church situated in the middle of the lake guarded by a wonderful castle nearby. 

Great program with excellent speakers attracted 70 participants from 9 different countries to attend their conference. Among the participants there were also two new association chairman’s, chairman of Austrian Greenkeepers Association Andreas Leutgeb and Tomasz Klimza chairman of the Polish Greenkeepers Association. Also Present, were the chairman of the Hungarian greenkeepers Association Gyorgy Major, a big group of greenkeepers from Czech Republic lead by Kamil Pečenka (vice chairman of FEGGA), there were participants from Italy, Croatia, Romania and even a greenkeeper from Spain, not forgetting that almost all of the Slovenian golf courses signed at least one of their greenkeepers to the two-day event.

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Tom Malehorn Presenting

All together 9 speakers did an excellent job, coming from the United States despite their busy schedules. Dr. Pat Vittum from the University of Massachusetts, her specialty is turf entomology and she explained to us all about insects to which our golf courses are becoming more vulnerable and explained many of the cultural strategies to reduce them. Tom Malehorn, representing Aquatrols talked to us about water management and why soil surfactants are important in reducing diseases and usage of water on golf courses. Matt Shaffer director of golf course operations on the amazing golf course Merion talked about preparations they used for the US Open in 2013 and about the major changes that were made when he started to work at Merion.  With us was also Brian Palmer from Shoreacres golf course in Chicago, from United Kingdom Paul Worster a FEGGA board member and golf course manager at Minchinhampton. Paul Worster gave an interesting presentation about bunkers and how much money is spent in maintaining them, and he showed us many good examples where we can save money. From Austria came Barry B. Britton who is working as an agronomist at Engelmann Turf Management and also Stephan Breisach, owner of Turf Handels. The last two speakers of the conference where Toni Vitaljič from Croatia, reprenting the company Vitalis Crop Care and also Tomaž Ščavničar representing the company Refarmo in Slovenia.

The Conference ended with a sightseeing tour of the oldest and biggest golf course in Slovenia, golf course Bled, constructed in 1937. Golf course Bled was in the  year 2014 placed ranked 49 in the top 100 golf courses in Europe by the Golf Word Magazine, and  is currently being reconstructed and this amazing project will be finished in spring 2017.

The Slovenian Greenkeepers Association again showed that the size of the Country, the quantity of members in the Association and quantity of golf courses are not important in making for a great international educational conference. If you can manage to combine working closely with other Associations, have support of good partners and members, support coming from friends in Slovenia and abroad, have passion and dedication for our industry you can produce a great event. For the ones who couldn’t be present this year, The Slovenian Greenkeepers Association promised they will work hard to make the conference even better for all attending next year!

Darko Cecelja

Chairman Slovenian Greenkeepers Association

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Jacobsen Future Turf managers 2017 Delegates Announced

Jacobsen and BIGGA have announced who the successful applicants are for 2017’s Future Turf Managers Initiative (FTMI). The popular educational and networking initiative is now in its fifth year and will once again take place at Jacobsen’s European manufacturing facility in Ipswich.

Focusing on personal and professional development, rather than agronomy-based subjects, the FTMI programme utilises the expertise of leading course managers, dynamic trainers and industry experts to mentor and educate the next generation of industry leaders.

The initiative is an intensive three days of seminars, talks and workshops and is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the roles and responsibilities that comes with being a course manager. Commenting on the initiative, previous delegate Stuart Adams of Haverford West Golf Club, said:

“FTMI is, without doubt, the single most important turning point in my career. With over 20 years’ experience within the industry, this has been the first opportunity to get a real feel for the leader role. Not only was the whole process inspiring, but also thought provoking and confidence-building. Networking with similar professionals within the industry has created a group of friends for life. The Mentors, apart from being professionals to aspire to, were also incredibly modest and had the patience to answer all the questions asked of them. A complete credit to our industry.”

Commenting on the FTMI Sami Strutt, Head of Member Development at BIGGA, said:

“BIGGA is delighted that Jacobsen is once again supporting this important initiative for our Members. Ensuring that greenkeepers have the right training and education to step up into a management role is paramount for the future of the industry. FTMI provides the delegates with the opportunity to work with specialist industry trainers and mentors, developing their skills, knowledge and network of like-minded individuals to support them in their future management positions within the greenkeeping industry.”

Karen Proctor, Marketing and Communications Manager at Jacobsen, commented on the FTMI 2017 programme:

“FTMI 2017 is set to be another fantastic event. I would like to congratulate the successful candidates who have secured a place on FTMI 2017; it was extremely difficult to whittle the list down to just 21 delegates, so it’s a great achievement to have been selected. We hope all of the delegates enjoy the experience and get as much out of it as possible. We are very much looking forward to welcoming everyone to Jacobsen in March.”

A total of 65 applications were received, which was then whittled down to 21 successful candidates. The delegates for FTMI 2017 are as follows:

Craig Betts – Deputy Course Manager, Aldwickbury Park Golf Club

Andy Clark – Assistant Greenkeeper, Remedy Oak

Simon Dexter – Assistant Greenkeeper, Rutland County Golf Club

Ryan Gall – Assistant Greenkeeper, Loch Lomond Golf Club

Steven Hardy – Assistant greenkeeper, The Warwickshire Golf and Country Club

Craig Harrison – Assistant Greenkeeper, Royal Lytham & St Anne’s Golf Club

Kevin Hensman – Deputy Head Greenkeeper, Rowlands Castle Golf Club

Matthew Hicks – Deputy Course Manager, Huntercombe Golf Club

Thomas Jacques – Greenkeeper, Ashton and Lea Golf Club

Ricky Jakes – Deputy Course Manager, Welwyn Garden City Golf Club

Mike Laheen – Deputy Team Leader, Cosby Golf Club

Ian Lloyd – Deputy Course Manager, Parkstone Golf Club

Adrian McCullough  – Senior Greenkeeper, JCB Golf Club

Tom Pattison – Greenkeeper, Blyth Golf Club

Jon-Jo Pitts – Deputy Course Manager, Royston Golf Club

David Roberts – First Assistant Saddleworth Golf Club

David Thompson – First Assistant, Hexham Golf Club

Ken Tilt – Assistant Superintendent, Trafalgar Golf and Country Club

Martin Turna – Deputy Head Greenkeeper, Fraserburgh Golf Club

Jamie Wade – Deputy Head Greenkeeper, The Belfry

Paul Willoughby – Senior Greenkeeper, Royal Automobile Club

Jacobsen is a Textron Inc (NYSE:TXT) company. More information can be found at www.jacobsen.com.

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Fifth Major beckons for BIGGA Volunteers

A team of BIGGA greenkeepers will be heading to The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May to join the course preparation team for one of golf’s most iconic events.

Each year, the John Deere TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Programme invites a full member from each of BIGGA’s five regions to join the team for golf’s ‘fifth major’.

The successful BIGGA members who have been selected to join the programme are:

Scottish Region – Richard Johnstone, Course Manager at Nairn Dunbar Golf Links

Northern Region – Paul Walton, Greenkeeper, Sharpley Springs Golf Course in County Durham

Midland Region – Harry Jones, Head Greenkeeper, Wrekin Golf Club in Shropshire

South West and South Wales Region – Christopher Hale, Deputy Head Greenkeeper, Woodbury Park Golf and Country Club in Devon

South East Region – Sam Evans, Head Greenkeeper at Fulwell Golf Club in Middlesex

The championship takes place at the Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida course from 9-14 May 2017, and the five BIGGA members will receive travel, accommodation, food and uniform as they join the team at the legendary venue for the entire duration of the competition, courtesy of BIGGA Partner John Deere

In addition, John Deere also invites one member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland to join the experience.

The Players Championship is made possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of a volunteer force of over 2,200 people. These volunteers are assigned to one of four divisions – player services, spectator services, volunteer services and facilities.

Ever since it was first held in 1974, The Players Championship has been considered one of the PGA Tour’s most coveted titles. With its iconic 17th hole, TPC Sawgrass provides one of the most recognizable settings in golf and will make for an unforgettable experience for the BIGGA members selected to join the programme.

If they’re lucky, the greenkeepers will even get the opportunity to attempt to hit the 17th hole’s famous island green.

Each of the members underwent a rigorous application process, consisting of an online application, submission of a short video and an interview with BIGGA and John Deere representatives.

John Deere Limited Turf Division Manager Chris Meacock said: “The volunteer programme is now in its third year, and is attracting more interest than ever,” “Greenkeepers across the UK and Ireland recognise the invaluable opportunity it presents for their career development.

“Overall the programme builds on the great relationship John Deere has with BIGGA, the GCSAI and TPC Sawgrass. The venue also appreciates the combination of knowledge, experience and ability shown by our successful team members, and this in turn reflects very well on the whole of the UK and Irish golf greenkeeping industry. We are looking forward to another highly successful event in 2017.”

BIGGA Regional Administrator Tracey Walker was on the judging panel for the South West and South Wales Region and said: “We interviewed some excellent candidates for the opportunity to head to TPC Sawgrass next year, and as always it was a really tough decision to pick our preferred choice.

“Thank you to everyone who applied, and thank you to John Deere for continuing to provide this incredible opportunity for BIGGA’s members.”

In 2016, Australian Jason Day, the world’s top ranked player, won the event by four strokes.

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FEGGA Take Development Roadshow to Bulgaria

n 11th of November 2016 the FEGGA Development Roadshow was held at Black Sea Rama Golf & Villas Resort in Bulgaria. This event was organised in partnership with R&A. The golf course is a Gary Player design and was opened in 2010.

The Bulgarian Golf Greenkeepers Association is engaging and showing very good progress in offering a variety of educational seminars throughout the year. The support by FEGGA proves in no doubt that the BGGA is going in the right direction.

There was significant interest in this event. The members were having very high expectations. The hospitality of the golf club and the staff was remarkable and everybody enjoyed the one day event.

The lecturers were very well chosen in consultation with the BGGA, with excellent feedback coming from the members, saying “this is what we needed to hear today” and “great gathering of information” which only confirms the success of the Roadshow.

We had Wendy Cole (R&A) talking about their Scholarship Programs. This was very well accepted among the members as finding these opportunities and cost is not only a problem in Bulgaria. Some of our members have already asked and made the first approach for such programs.
We had Dean Cleaver (FEGGA) talking about Personal Development. An area of management that is vital for all greenkeepers if they are looking to become the managers of the future

Kate Entwistle (Turf Disease Centre) presented a lecture on fungus and nematodes which was very valuable and full of illustrative information. The topic for the nematodes was more than interesting as there is almost no information in Bulgaria on this subject.

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The chairman of BGGA has shared his experience of visiting the Swedish Greenkeepers Association seminar in June 2016 and the Nordea Master Tournament at the same time at the Bro Hof Slott Golf Club.

The FEGGA international Greenkeeper Experience program has started this year with the assistant superintendent of Pravets Golf Club and BGGA member – Hristo Hristov participating. Hristo spent 3 weeks at Minchinhampton Golf Club and had a variety of other visits, meetings and gathered a lot of work experience. That was very inspirable for all the members who showed a great interest and willingness to be the next ones.

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The interaction in the breaks of the presentations made the conference very successful. The members were more than happy with what they saw, heard and took back home. The different topics and possibilities in front of everyone in term of education, individual development and opportunities changed the common thinking among the members. The more knowledge gained from Kate Entwistle was just enormous benefit for everyone in the turf industry.

Dean Cleaver, Executive Officer said, “it’s a great pleasure for us to be working with and providing assistance to the BGGA in their future development. They are totally committed to the development of greenkeeping as a profession, and truly realise the benefits this brings to golf and the golfers that enjoy this great game”.

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The Bulgarian Golf Greenkeepers Association can easily mark the passing of 2016, as a year of greatness in terms of the offered education seminars. BGGA showed progress by declaring to be the teaching body for the turf industry in Bulgaria. The support of FEGGA (not only for this Roadshow) and the partnership with other Associations and golf clubs prove how things will go forward for the BGGA. As the chairman of this small Association I am looking forward to 2017 and making it remarkable for everyone in terms of education in what will be our 10th year anniversary.

Yavor Atanasov – Chairman – BGGA

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Deere Back at the Belfry

Only one golf course in the world can boast that it’s hosted more Ryder Cup matches than any other venue – and that’s The Belfry Hotel & Resort in North Warwickshire.

The 550-acre site is a mecca for professional and amateur players who come to play on one or more of its three stunning courses – and The Brabazon, Derby and PGA National have witnessed some of the most dramatic moments in the history of golf. So what is the secret recipe? Take the finest staff, a top quality course manager and industry leading golf course maintenance equipment backed by a first class dealer, and you can start to see why The Belfry is world famous.

Director of golf courses and estates Angus Macleod arrived from De Vere Belton Woods in 2012, and with courses head greenkeeper Jamie Brooks oversees a summer team of over 50 greenkeeping staff. He is also behind the recent purchase of a new fleet of grass cutting and ancillary equipment from local John Deere dealer Farol Ltd at Hinckley, Leicestershire – a return to the brand after Deere was official supplier to the 2002 Ryder Cup matches.

The new John Deere machines include five 260SL walk-behind greens mowers, two 2500E hybrid electric greens triple mowers, a 7200A PrecisionCut tees & surrounds mower, a 9009A rotary rough mower and a 2030A Pro Gator utility vehicle equipped with an HD200 low-profile amenity turf sprayer.

“When I arrived we were experiencing the usual problems associated with an ageing machinery fleet, particularly the increasingly high cost of parts,” says Angus. “The owners KSL gave me a budget and we agreed on a phased replacement deal over several years, starting with the mowers.

“The process began with demonstrations by the leading manufacturers and a chance for all the staff to try the machines and give me their feedback. It was an important decision and a huge investment, so making sure the staff are happy with the equipment they use is my number one priority. Whatever decision we make, it is as a team.

“There will always be issues of one kind or another with machinery, so a priority is always how are they rectified, and what do the supplying dealer and manufacturer do about it? Dealer service, parts back-up and warranty support are as important as reliability – it’s certainly not just about the price. Then we look at the technology, with an emphasis on cutting quality – I have to be comfortable with the quality of cut and course presentation overall.

“Also, with three courses to manage at The Belfry the cutting regime is intensive and demanding, and all the machines get worked very hard. We needed confirmation that the chosen equipment would manage to cope and maintain the quality course experience for our visitors.”

For the selection process Angus, Jamie and the greenkeeping staff therefore looked specifically at new rough and semi-rough mowers, ride-on and walk-behind greens mowers and utility vehicles, with John Deere’s new 9009A rough mower demonstrated by Farol’s golf sales manager Matt Gilks in particular making a big impression on the team.

“The new 9009A is an absolutely superb bit of kit, and the boys love it,” says Angus. “It has great climbing ability, it can follow the course’s turf contours better than previous machines and goes places we couldn’t go before. I like the rear roller on the cutting units and the consistency of cut.

“The cut quality and offset wheels on the 2500E hybrid greens mower are also a very good feature. Used alongside our existing TE electric Gators, particularly to maintain the areas around the hotel, means early starts are no problem as the machines are so quiet. In addition, the TechControl system on the new A Model mowers means we can set up these machines and keep them operating consistently across all three courses, so cut quality isn’t compromised.

“In recent years I believe John Deere has raised the bar with its grass cutting equipment. It was this overall combination of technology, plus the extensive choice of Gator utility vehicles and tractors available from the company, that really sealed the deal.”

Both Angus Macleod and Jamie Brooks also agree on the importance of establishing a good working relationship with the local dealer. “We’ve been really impressed with the support Farol has given us so far, including very comprehensive operator training, and this was another one of the main reasons that we leant towards John Deere in the final reckoning,” says Angus.

“We are aiming to bring back more tournaments to The Belfry in 2017 and beyond, and the machinery we use is very important for achieving this and maintaining the courses at the high standards expected of us. I think we’ve got the right kit for the job, and a lot of value from the overall deal.”

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