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Toro® Irrigation Supports Water Conservation on Rio’s Olympic Golf Course

Toro® Irrigation Supports Water Conservation on Rio’s Olympic Golf Course

With the 2016 international sporting event in Rio de Janeiro nearing, the game of golf will mark its historic return following a 112-year absence. As many of the world’s top golfers take to Rio’s Olympic Golf Course, The Toro Company is proud to have been chosen to provide a fully integrated irrigation system featuring the latest technologies to help save water and energy.

“We are truly honored for the opportunity to provide irrigation solutions that will help create a world-class stage for bringing golf back to the premier international competition, while supporting efforts in water conservation,” said Rick Olson, Toro’s president and chief operating officer. “Our history of serving the people of Brazil dates back to 1935 when we established our first distributor in Rio de Janeiro. We look forward to the excitement of the 2016 Games, and continuing to support the people of Brazil with the most innovative products and highest level of service.”

Located at Reserva Uno in the Rio suburb of Barra da Tijuca, the Gil Hanse-designed golf course incorporates Toro’s GDC 2-wire system with the Lynx® central control system. In addition, more than 2,200 Toro DT Series sprinklers with integrated GDC decoder modules were installed throughout the course, along more than 1,000 water-saving Precision™ Series spray nozzles on bunker complexes. The irrigation system also includes Toro’s state-of-the-art Turf Guard® wireless soil monitoring system, positioned throughout the course to help the grounds team monitor turf health and more precisely apply water where it is needed.

“As superintendent of an environmentally sensitive golf course, it is very important that we are able to put the right amount of water on the course when and where we need it,” explained Neil Cleverly, head superintendent at the Olympic Golf Course. “Toro’s Lynx system allows us to have precise and accurate control to use our water resources most efficiently.”

“The Turf Guard sensors also help us manage other variables like soil moisture, temperature and salinity on our course. We can then use this information to more precisely deliver water and other product applications. This not only helps us better manage our resources, but also helps save money.”

Helping course superintendents achieve precise control and best manage irrigation system components, Toro’s Lynx software communicates with everything from the sprinkler GDC modules to the weather station to the Turf Guard sensors. Information is then plotted on an interactive map for a detailed view of the course. This enables the grounds crew to analyze course conditions and make adjustments in irrigation schedules and other applications; ultimately, resulting in reduced water and energy use.

Toro golf irrigation products

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In Memoriam of Jari Laitinen

In Memoriam of Jari Laitinen

Jari Laitinen, Vice-president of the Finnish Greenkeepers’ Association, passed away at the age of 48 on 23 May, 2016. Jari was a longstanding member of the board of the FGA and worked as Head Greenkeeper at Tuusula Golf Club in southern Finland for 13 years. He was passionate about developing the greenkeeping industry in Finland and actively participated in renewing the curriculum and qualifications together with the Finnish National Board of Education.

Greenkeeping, education, and professionalism were always very close to Jari’s heart, leading him to qualify as a greenkeeping examiner on the national level. His ambition to develop his own expertise led him to participate in many educational opportunities both in Finland and abroad. BTMIHarrogate, FEGGA conferences and national seminars were all of interest to Jari. During the winter months Jari wanted to develop his professional skills and network with other greenkeeping professionals by travelling abroad to volunteer on greenkeeping or construction teams on golf courses in the UK and France. Jari’s sudden and untimely death is a great loss to the Finnish greenkeeping industry. His family, the FGA, and many friends throughout Europe will miss his great and open-minded personality. May he rest in peace.


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The Koro Field Top Maker promotes new growth at Rio Olympic Golf Course

The Koro Field Top Maker promotes new growth at Rio Olympic Golf Course

Golf has been reintroduced to the Olympic Games for Rio 2016 when some of the games top names will represent their countries on the course after a 114 year absence from one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

In 2013 Marcelo Matte’s company Green Grass Brazil started growing the grass for the new Olympic course at Barra da Tijuca in Rio. In 2014 they purchased a Koro Field Top Maker (FTM) with Universe® Rotor to maximise the harvesting of sprigs for transplanting.

Turf was grown using two grass species, Zeon Zoysia and SeaDwarf Seaside Paspalum which are both drought tolerant with the latter also saltwater tolerant, a big advantage due to the varying qualities of water used to irrigate.

All of the grass was grown at Marcelo’s turf farm in Brazil and it was here that the Universe® Rotor really came into its own when it was used to harvest the Paspalum sprigs that would be planted as live material on the greens of the 85-acre course.

“The Universe® Rotor is very precise in the way it works; it means we can set it to produce smaller and better sprigs. The consistency of the machine resulted in the number collected per acre being double our normal rate because it cuts the size of the sprig in half, giving us more to plant on the course,” said Marcelo.

The vigorous root, stolon and rhizome production nature of Zeon is perfect for the efficient action of the Koro FTM’s Universe® Rotor and its ability to be adjusted to the ideal working height to produce fantastic results on both cool and warm season grasses. In fact the successful harvesting of the sprigs even exceeded Marcelo’s expectations.

“Most people did not believe we could make it on time, but the grow in was so good that the course was ready almost six months ahead of schedule. This is thanks to the good spreading habit of Zeon and excellent sprig harvesting rate of the Koro.

As well as the Paspalum sprigs for the greens Zeon has also been used on the tees, roughs and fairways and has low fertiliser requirements and grows a dense high-quality playing surface that make it difficult for weeds to grow.

This is a crucial benefit of the species because herbicides are unable to be used until permission has been granted.

Marcelo has 20 members of staff to install the grass on the course as well as guidance from David Doguet, the American turf grass breeder from Bladerunner Farms who is responsible for developing Zeon to be used on golf courses and other areas.

For the full range of equipment from Campey Turf Care Systems visit www.campeyturfcare.comFor the full range of equipment from Campey Turf Care Systems visit

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ICL offers scholarship opportunity for BIGGA members

ICL offers scholarship opportunity for BIGGA members

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association has announced the launch of a new scholarship in conjunction with BIGGA Partner, ICL.

The ICL Continue to Learn Scholarship will offer five BIGGA members the opportunity to attend the Continue to Learn education programme that will be held at BTME 2017.

Sami Strutt, BIGGA’s Head of Member Development, said: “As BIGGA Partners, ICL have long recognised the significant investment that greenkeepers make in developing themselves throughout their careers. Often this dedication is done at their own personal expense, and so I am delighted that ICL will help five BIGGA members with the support they need to make the most of the Continue to Learn education programme at BTME 2017.”

The scholarship is worth approximately £500 per person and comprises three nights’ hotel accommodation and a 15-hour education bundle.

Commenting on the sponsorship agreement, ICL’s Ed Carter, Turf and Landscape – Sales and Development Manager, said: “ICL are delighted to sponsor BIGGA’s Continue to Learn Scholarship as we are keen to promote education at all levels of turf management.”

“We see the Scholarship scheme as an exciting opportunity to provide Continue to Learn education to people who under normal circumstances may not be able to attend BTME, and we feel that it is an extension to the support we have always provided to the industry as a whole.”

Applicants for the scholarship must be BIGGA members and a panel, made up of representatives from BIGGA and ICL will review all applications and select the recipients of the five scholarships. Successful applicants will be advised in October 2016.

Visit the members’ area of the BIGGA website for more information and details on how to apply. (

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Donald Steel, Chairman of the GTC says farewell to David Golding

Donald Steel, Chairman of the GTC says farewell to David Golding

David Golding - Web

Speaking at a lunch held recently at the GTC and BIGGA headquarters, GTC Chairman Donald Steel gave a speech to David Golding who retired after 23 years with the GTC. These are his kind words.

I remember nothing of his remarks except for his opening which, for the height of pomposity, takes a lot beating. He said, I’d just like to say a few words BEFORE I start to speak.  I do not intend to speak, so to speak, this lunchtime.  I give you my pledge to be shorter than the Chilcot Enquiry but I do want to say a very few words on this AUSPICIOUS HAPPY/SAD occasion.

Sad that David has saddled up his horse ready to ride off into the sunset even if he looks far too young to retire.

Happy that we are celebrating the fact that he leaves behind a highly distinguished working legacy for training greenkeepers in which we have all, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, been fortunate to have played some part. I don’t need to enlarge for I know I am preaching to the converted but, I am sure you agree, it is a remarkable story.

There is a modern belief that the past doesn’t matter. Some say it is old hat.  They contend it is only the present that counts.  I agree you can only deal with situations as you find them and there is always a duty to try and shape the future but, without the past, there would be no present.  David has acted as Education Director of the Greenkeepers Training Committee for 23 years and has presided over an industry that has been transformed thanks to his dedication, vision and persuasive example. Greenkeeping has always been hard graft and David’s practical background as a greenkeeper meant he could speak from experience.  To me, greenkeepers are on a par as a willing and unselfish brotherhood  -or now sisterhood-  with our lifeboat men and National Hunt jockeys.  They never complain about their plight, they deal with the unexpected, they keep unsocial hours, and are driven to help others but David belonged to a generation of greenkeepers that wanted something better and, more poignantly, fought hard to achieve it.

He was one of the campaigners in the creation of BIGGA and, through BIGGA and the Home Unions, the GTC.  Today, greenkeeping has become the job of a lifetime -for a lifetime.  Many have never thought of doing anything else, eager to learn their trade and to have the qualifications to enable them to master the responsibilities they face.  And they are very good at it and, what is more, are delightful people. More than half the art of any tuition is getting the message across and here David’s presentation skills, scrupulously honest approach and genuine understanding have contributed enormously to the success of the GTC.

It is symbolic that the new All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf should have been established a year before David’s impending retirement because Parliament’s awareness of the apprenticeship scheme is, in no small measure, down to his pioneering efforts.  The GTC has always been an apprenticeship scheme and David mounts his getaway horse after building up the GTC from modest beginnings into a notable national and international force.

More cogently, the training of young greenkeepers is perhaps the only thing from which all golfers, young or old, good or bad, man or woman, boy or girl, amateur or professional, benefit.

In the 60 years or so of my involvement in golf, greenkeeping has scaled the heights rather in the way that the playing of the game has done.  There have never been more good greenkeepers or more good players and, watching the thrilling final round of the Open on Sunday made me reflect that, in that time, the first prize in the Open has risen from under a thousand pounds to over a million.

Here, I must thank Fiona for all her good offices behind the scenes and for all the invitations and arrangements for today’s lunch.  Fiona has always been a comforting presence at David’s side, a duo that have made my Chairmanship an absolute joy and so it is with pride and delight that I present this Print to David, to wish him a happy birthday and a long and happy retirement and to thank him on behalf of the game and several thousand of greenkeepers for his supreme contribution to its welfare, enjoyment and efficiency.

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New Fleet Delivered to Golf National

New Fleet Delivered to Golf National

Following the signing of a five-year preferred supplier agreement between Golf National and Ransomes Jacobsen, a new Jacobsen mowing and turf maintenance equipment has been delivered ahead of the forthcoming Open de France.

The first units to be delivered were eight Jacobsen Eclipse2 walk behind greens mowers with a mix of floating and fixed head and the two Jacobsen GP400 riding greens mowers. They were quickly followed by the 16 Jacobsen medium duty utility vehicles; seven rough mowers including AR3s, AR522s and AR772s; five heavy duty Jacobsen Truckster XD utility vehicles; six fairway mowers including SLF1880s and the recently launched LF570, two trim mowers, the five Eclipse 322 hybrid riding green mowers plus additional equipment including Turfco topdressers, overseeders, blowers and Smithco sprayers.

In total 70 units have been delivered by Parisian subsidiary, RJ IDF, with teams of technicians from the UK and France preparing and setting up  all the  equipment to the requirements of Alejandro Reyes, the Superintendent at Golf National.

As part of the five-year agreement the fleet will be supplemented every year during the Open de France with additional equipment, especially greens, fairway and rough mowers depending on the needs expressed by Alejandro Reyes. Technical representatives of Ransomes Jacobsen in England and Ransomes Jacobsen France will be present during the entire week of the tournament to provide the Golf National team with support to make any adjustments as requested by the European Tour.

Commenting on the existing special relationship with the Ransomes Jacobsen organisation, Alejandro Reyes, said,

“I am a long time user of Jacobsen products and the quality is undeniable. However, the most important thing to me, which was also the key point in our tender document, is the technical support we have been provided with these past years and especially at every Open.

“As far as I’m concerned, confidence in the chosen brand is essential in our business and I feel that we have made the right choice. Good technical support and a good relationship are fundamental in the preparation of one of Europe’s greatest golf competitions and we trust Jacobsen on this.”

David Withers, President of Jacobsen commented at the delivery of the latest units saying:

“We are extremely pleased and delighted that Golf National has selected Jacobsen as their preferred supplier of golf course maintenance equipment for a further five years. It’s a testament to the quality of the Jacobsen product offering and to the excellent support provided by Ransomes Jacobsen France. We have a longstanding association with Golf National and they are a prestigious partner in our customer portfolio. We look forward to enhancing this relationship as we move forward.

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Le Golf National become Patrons of FEGGA

Le Golf National become Patrons of FEGGA

As Le Golf National become Patrons of FEGGA, Alexandro Reyes shares an insight of the Reconstruction of the golf course. Read More


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Deere on course for a Royal Open at Troon

Deere on course for a Royal Open at Troon

Billy McLachlan, course manager at Royal Troon Golf Club, and his 15-strong greenkeeping team will see the culmination of two years’ preparatory work on the course and greens this July, when the Ayrshire club hosts the 145th Open Championship – the eighth time the event has come to the Firth of Clyde. The work has included specification changes to all the Old Course greens.

“We’ve adjusted the top dressing programme to firm them up as much as we can,” explains Billy McLachlan, who has been at Royal Troon for 35 years, the past 22 as course manager. His brother John doubles as co-deputy course manager and mechanic, working alongside co-deputy Gary Ross.

Continuing its close relationship with John Deere and dealer Nairn Brown at Busby, Glasgow, the club has bought five new 220SL walk-behind greens mowers and a new 2653B ride-on triplex cylinder mower as the latest additions to its fleet of course maintenance equipment. The 220SL walk-behinds replaced a similar number of older 220C models, while the 2653B complements a 12-year old model that is still going strong. Royal Troon also runs John Deere compact tractors.

“We’ve been using the 220 walk-behinds for the past 12 years, going back to the B Series models, and the latest SLs are part of our rolling machinery replacement policy,” says Billy McLachlan. “The staff think they are the best walk-behind, as does my brother John, who does all the setting up on the mowers.

“The 220SL’s 22 inch width suits us, even on the smaller 9th and 8th greens,” (the famous Postage Stamp, the shortest hole in championship golf, with no safe way to play it; don’t hit the green and the ball is in trouble!) “They will be used to cut all the greens before and during the Championship.

“The height of cut adjustment is quick and precise, and we’ve reduced the height of cut from 3.5 to 3.4mm; even that small amount makes a difference and enables us to treat the greens according to the conditions. In the past we have reduced cutting frequency and increased rolling; it all depends on what the weather sends.”

The new 2653B represents the third generation of this popular ride-on cylinder mower used at Royal Troon. “They have improved the quality and stand on the surrounds,” says Billy McLachlan. “Our John Deere 8000E five-gang hybrid electric machines normally cut the surrounds and for the Open we are going to try and cut the fairways with them as well.

“We’ve introduced a policy of cutting the ‘outer surrounds’ to the same height, which will be done with the 2653Bs, as they give a good finish and can handle the slopes. They will also be used on the practice tees and on the Portland and par three courses. Having two of these mowers also gives us a back-up; I always like to have a back-up.

“We have stayed with John Deere as if the staff like a machine, then that’s what we have. But it is not just the product, it is the whole package, which includes the extremely efficient support that Nairn Brown and sales manager Graham Stewart, and John Deere, provide.”

Supplying Billy McLachlan and his greens staff with the machines to present Royal Troon’s 6591m (7208 yards), par 71 Old Course at its best for the Open and maintain it for the duration of the Championship is not Nairn Brown and John Deere’s only association with the event. They will also be providing additional tournament support in the form of Gator utility vehicles and additional 8000E hybrid electric ride-on mowers.

“We’ll have six 8000Es for the fairways and surrounds, with the intention that they will all be cutting to the same height,” says Billy McLachlan. “The only problem will be how we physically set out to do it!”

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FEGGA comments on the United Kingdom leaving the EU

FEGGA comments on the United Kingdom leaving the EU

Following the recent decision by the United Kingdom to withdraw from the EU, FEGGA does not feel that this decision will impact on the Federation. FEGGA is made up of 24 National Greenkeeper Associations, and not all of these are full members of the EU, so this is not an unusual situation for our organisation and its ongoing work. Norway and Switzerland are not full members of the EU, and they fully engage in the work of FEGGA. In particular Norway have engaged strongly in Education, using the Pan European Standards that have been created to their own benefit, and their government recognising these as professional industry standards, that have major benefits to their golf industry.

FEGGA works with the EU through various channels, and has been able to grow education through these channels, with many Countries benefiting from this work. This work will continue, and through this work it’s the profession that gains, and not just individual Countries.

FEGGA also works with many of the leading European companies that are playing a major role in serving our industry, and benefiting golf as a whole. They should not be forgotten in the impact it might have on them, and we as an organisation are committed to work with them as they work through this period.

From a UK perspective, BIGGA are a very prominent member of FEGGA, and FEGGA very much supports their comments regarding the upcoming period of uncertainty with the economy, and also the commitment they have made to their own members, and also the golf industry as a whole.

FEGGA is Dedicated to Communicate and Share Environmentally Sustainable Ideals and Skills for Quality Golf Course Management

Dean Cleaver, Executive Officer, FEGGA

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British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association reacts to UK’s European Union referendum decision

British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association reacts to UK’s European Union referendum decision

In the wake of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association has reaffirmed its pledge to support its almost 6,000 members.

IGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “The UK golf industry is still in a delicate position on the back of the last economic downturn. Following the result of the referendum, we are set to enter another uncertain period for the economy. The decision to leave the EU will have an impact on people’s pockets and within the golf industry this can manifest itself in a reduction in greenkeeping budgets. We will redouble our efforts to ensure we support our members throughout this period and work closely with the rest of the golf industry to keep the sport as buoyant as possible

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