The 2020 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in March moved across the Qatari capital for the first time in its 23-year history to Education City Golf Club. As a partner and equipment supplier, John Deere brought key customers to this prestigious event in order to review course maintenance solutions and performance under unique climatic and championship conditions.
Designed by two-time Masters Champion José María Olazábal, the venue comprises 33 holes split into three courses of 18, nine and six holes. The golf club also sits in the noticeable shadow of Education City Stadium, one of the host venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Education City also includes a state-of-the-art learning and practice facility housed in the venue’s Centre of Excellence and is at the heart of Qatar’s vision to grow the game in the Middle Eastern country.
John Deere was initially chosen as the club’s preferred equipment supplier when it opened in 2018 and became the Official Golf Course and Turf Maintenance Machinery partner. The John Deere brand has a long association with professional golf and is an official PGA Tour and Ladies European Tour supplier.
The Education City course is fully equipped with a comprehensive range of John Deere machinery, including the latest E-Cut hybrid electric greens and fairway mower technology. The local John Deere dealer, Progressive Trading, has supported the golf course throughout the partnership with machine selection and set-up, to ensure that the entire fleet delivers a first-class, quality finish to the playing surfaces.
During the 2020 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, John Deere and Progressive Trading were able to invite key customers from diverse countries to visit the venue and meet the greenkeeping team to exchange information about local challenges.
“Such an event is a great opportunity for customers to experience turf management from a new perspective, in a different part of the world with different challenges such as high temperatures,” said Carlos Aragones, John Deere’s Manager Sales & Marketing, Golf & Turf Europe, North Africa, Near & Middle East and CIS.
“All this was represented at Education City Golf Club’s state-of-the-art venue. My sincere congratulations go to the event management and greenkeeping team for the outstanding quality of presentation and the tournament’s success.”
Education City General Manager Michael Braidwood added: “Our guests were particularly impressed by the facilities and extremely high standards of course maintenance. They also appreciated how Education City Golf Club organised and delivered a very successful championship tournament, while supporting the continued growth of the game of golf in the Middle East.”
For La Grande Mare course manager, Rick Hamilton, relief grinding is what it’s all about when it comes to reel maintenance, so when he had his pick of grinders, he opted for the Foley Company Accu-Pro 633 with Accu-Touch 3 Control (ATC).
Rick first used a Foley grinder 30-years ago while working in Asia, and over the three decades that followed has used several manufacturers while a consultant. However, he has remained impressed by the principles Foley has stuck to and how they have developed their machines to make them user friendly and deliver consistent results.
“The main reason I stayed with Foley was to do with the principles of relief grinding. They have such excellent relief grinders, and although other manufacturers have good machines, but they don’t relief grind at the same level, and for me, that’s what it is all about,” he explained. Foley has always kept to the principles of that, and it’s something I believe is essential in maintaining a good quality reel and delivering and retaining the sharpest cut ; you have to relief grind.
“Because it’s an important part of maintaining the reel I wanted to make sure we could always grind when we needed to, and that’s what made the ATC so important. We don’t have a full-time mechanic, and I want all my guys to get involved. I’m a fully qualified engineer and greenkeeper, so I’ve done a lot of the maintenance work since I’ve joined here and I’m teaching the team. Having machines like this that are automated means once they’ve all been trained up, everything is programmed in and is easy for them to step in and grind.
“You get the same finish and quality every time because the machine is programmed to do that. The inputs are all the same, and the results will be the same, and we want consistency.”
The ATC system provides a step by step tutorial for new technicians, while more experienced operators can use the system straight away to tell the machine what they’re working on and it’ll do the rest. Automatic placement features, the Accu-Reel Selector and Cylinder Height Stop, automatically locate the reel for a fast and easy spin and relief grind in one set-up and work with the pre-set relief angles to provide hands-free relief grinding.
To get Rick and his team set up on the machine, Ian Robson from Foley Company’s UK distributor, ProSportUK Ltd, went to Guernsey to install the grinder and provide training for Rick’s team. Following the session, the entire team could use the grinder, with the results showing on the course.
“Ian from ProSportUK was amazing, the guy really knows his stuff, and the training was excellent,” Rick said. “My staff picked it up really quickly, and they were extremely impressed with the result, and they actually enjoyed grinding and doing the job, which is particularly important. Some guys who aren’t so mechanically inclined tend to shy away, and one of my guys who isn’t so mechanically minded found it very straight forward and easy to operate.
Now, they understand the machine, and they can see the result on the greens when they go out and see the mower cutting. Even to that point, when they came back in with the mower and re-checked the cut and reset all the settings, they couldn’t believe how good it was and how long the quality of the cut lasted.”
To experience the difference of the Accu-Pro 633 or other Foley Company models, contact ProSportUK Ltd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today (5th June 2020) is World Environmental Day – Great to see golf once again coming together to highlight some of the positive work done by golf courses all over the World to foster nature
A new Syngenta GreenCast Growing Degree Day calculator is set to provide turf managers with a more accurate tool to help make better decisions on timing for Primo Maxx II applications and other actions.
The GreenCast GDD Calculator will automatically generate a predictive email notification when a user defined Growing Degree Day (GDD) target is approaching – in time for greenkeepers to assess local conditions and to decide what actions to take.
Commenting on the live launch of the GDD Calculator on GreenCast this week (11 May 2020), Syngenta Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby, said: “We know that GDD can be a useful guide to many turf management actions.
“However, from my own and other greenkeepers’ experience, the challenge in a busy working schedule is finding the time to regularly record the temperature information and the reliability of that weather data source.
“The GDD Calculator does that all autonomously, and provides easy to interpret information in time to use for every day decision making.”
Advancing GDD to a new level, the GreenCast calculator utilises immense data processing capability to compute figures from hourly temperatures throughout the 24-hour period, compared to a simplistic daily high and low temperature conventionally used in GDD calculation.
“That better reflects the duration of growing conditions through the day, for a more accurate assessment of how turf will actually perform,” advised Glenn.
Evaluation compared to conventional GDD calculation has highlighted it is more responsive to assess onset of true growing conditions, particularly through early spring, and as growth declines in the autumn.
Users can set their own target GDD figure, or multiple targets if GDD is being used to aid decisions on different aspects of turf management, such as Primo Maxx II intervals, fertiliser programmes or pest risks, for example.
Glenn highlights Growing Degree Days have been shown to be an extremely useful guide for timing of turf management decisions. But he cautions that much of the research and many of the models have been based on US trials, under different conditions and with different grass species seen in the UK.
“The Syngenta GDD Calculator gives far greater flexibility to be able to utilise and interpret a wide range of information resources. But they do all need to be validated against an individual course’s specific conditions to see how they can be applied.
Uniquely, the Syngenta calculator allows users to adjust the base temperature used in calculations. Whilst a normal base for the UK is 6°C, which reflects the onset of consistent turf growth, Glenn suggests, many US models work from a base of 10°C – which generates hugely different cumulative GDD figures.
“It is crucial to understand how recommendations have been calculated and the information on which they are based, and then use the GDD Calculator to interpret how that will work on your course,” he advocated.
Whilst a GDD of 150 may be appropriate for Primo Maxx II intervals on one specific course, for example, he points out another course with a different management style, turf species or soil types, may find they get better results by repeating applications at a GDD of 140.
The GDD calculator is now being used at STRI in Yorkshire, as part of a new initiative assessing Primo Maxx II applications and intervals to aid turf management under lower intensity lockdown management.
“For the first time, there will be scientifically assessed GDD data for cool season grasses under UK growing conditions, to enable turf managers to better interpret existing turf growth models for their own individual situations,” added Glenn.
”It is free and easy to use, so would urge anyone to start gathering the data and assess how it correlates to their own decision making process now, to be able to further integrate GDD in the future,”
The Syngenta GDD Calculator is available for all UK turf
John Deere has announced a number of updates to the company’s comprehensive compact tractor range for 2020, which includes 13 models in six Series from 25 to 66hp.
The main change is prompted by the latest Stage V emissions regulations in Europe, which are designed to limit ultrafine particulate emissions in all engines above 25hp (19kW). Ultrafine particulates are less than 0.1 microns in diameter, which is 700 times smaller than a human hair.
John Deere’s compact tractors rated at 25hp and below – the 1026R and 2026R, which remain unchanged, and the new 3025E – already meet the necessary standards. Other 2R and 3R Series models above 25hp get a new Yanmar 1.6-litre, three-cylinder TNV Series diesel engine that features a high torque reserve, providing plenty of power under heavy loads.
This uses the latest engine technologies to improve fuel economy, control and accuracy, while also reducing environmental impact as well as operating costs. It features a common rail system (CRS) and an electronic control unit (ECU), which continuously monitors engine conditions and adjusts fuel delivery to ensure optimum performance.
The engine’s new after-treatment system consists of a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), similar to that used successfully on John Deere’s larger agricultural tractors. This operates automatically to produce lower levels of exhaust emissions and reduced noise levels, and meets all current requirements for Stage V emission standards.
At the top of the John Deere compact tractor range, the new 4052M and 4052R receive a larger 2.1-litre, four-cylinder engine with DPF. This is the same as the existing engine on the biggest 4066M and 4066R models, which remain unchanged, while several of the smaller 2R and 3R Series tractors are also given new model numbers.
In addition to the new engine, the 3R and 4R Series compact tractors will be equipped with a new eThrottle function integrated into the established eHydro transmission. This feature is designed make the tractor quieter and more comfortable to use, as well as more fuel efficient. With the simple push of a button, engine speed is conveniently linked to the foot pedal position so that engine rpm and tractor speed can both be increased as the pedal is depressed.
The latest 4R Series models can also now be equipped with a StarFire satellite receiver and AutoTrac Universal automatic steering system. This is designed to help operators achieve higher levels of accuracy and input cost savings when working with implements such as amenity turf sprayers, seeders and spreaders.
On selected models, the award-winning Hitch Assist system makes coupling up implements and trailers to the tractor’s rear hitch or three-point linkage quicker, easier and safer. Using this system, external switches mounted on the rear fender allow the operator to move the tractor backwards and forwards at a maximum speed of 12mm/second, and raise or lower the hitch as required.
Other advanced technology features on John Deere compact tractors include LoadMatch, MotionMatch and SpeedMatch operating modes for maximum versatility in a wide range of tractor applications, plus a choice of AutoConnect drive-over rotary mower decks.
Cabbed versions of John Deere’s new range of compact tractors for 2020 can be ordered now from UK & Ireland dealers, while open operator station models will be available from October.
Now is the time for communication, transparency and building customer loyalty – Mark Wagner, President, Club Car
As golf clubs begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and start the process of rebuilding their businesses, focus should be given to communication, transparency and building customer loyalty, according to Club Car President, Mark Wagner.
Speaking at an important golf industry conference in America, staged virtually due to social distancing and travel restrictions, Mark commented: “The more you can communicate with your members and guests right now, the better. Clubs that are looking to adapt to what’s going on with diversified services, will be those who succeed.”
As a global leader in golf, consumer and utility vehicles and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, Mark highlighted how Club Car’s digital technologies are perfectly positioned to help golf venues that are preparing to reopen.
“I have no doubt Club Car’s connected technology, Visage, for example, will be a major part of the solution to course re-openings, as the operational advantages are substantial,” he said.
“The Visage system can help venues manage self-distancing protocols. It addresses a club’s dilemma as to whether they should call on starters to manage tee-offs, and marshals to patrol the courses to ensure the pace of play. The technology allows venues to monitor and control these from the office or the pro shop, safeguarding employees,” he added.
Visage’s digital food and beverage ordering capabilities can help clubs generate additional revenue by enabling players to submit orders for safe pick up after they have finished their rounds, or after nine holes, avoiding contact in the clubhouse.
Addressing how clubs should approach reopening with members and guests, Mark concluded: “Be as open as possible and forthcoming with information – from roll-out plans to disclosure statements – it will go a long way to mitigate concerns and uneasiness. It is important, during such uncertain times, to make everyone aware of what the reopening and new playing conditions are, and what you have planned to get things back up and running.”
The Air2G2 GT Air Inject from Campey Turf Care Systems has played a significant role in transforming the greens at the La Grande Mare Golf Club in Guernsey.
When he arrived at his new job two-years ago, course manager, Rick Hamilton, spoke to the members about their main concerns and the quality and playability of the greens was top of the list.
Because the course is built on marshland, the soil is very silty heavy clay, making it a problematic soil profile to produce a healthy root zone. The dense profile was causing the greens to hold moisture in the winter and hardpan in the summer, meaning there was little control of how they performed throughout the year. From his previous experience in Asia, Rick knew the Air2G2 was precisely what was needed to open up the soil profile and bring life back into the greens.
“When I first analysed the greens, I knew we had to take action,” Rick explained. “It was at the point that when we tried to change the holes, we would sometimes snap the blades in the hole cutter because the greens were that hard. The greens are old, they are 25 to 30-year-old push-up greens, so there is no drainage, and the soil type doesn’t help with that.
“For me, the Air2G2 is a game changer. Every now and then over the years, different machines come into the industry, and I would say it is one of those game changing machines. I brought it over on hire from a dealer in Jersey and went out, and I could hardly get the probes to inject at first because the surface was that hard. But I managed to do it with the deep probe and close spacing to really get through into the greens and loosen them up to get water and wetting agent in.
“The first afternoon after we did it, the members came out and played and couldn’t believe there was no disruption to the surface at all, and they were surprised with how clean it was. A few weeks later on we had a bit of rain, and we had a competition and the good golfers couldn’t believe how receptive the greens were with the ball holding.
“The difference in the greens is massive in terms of playability, root development, the health in the root zone and getting the water to penetrate. And in the winter when it’s a bit wetter and softer, it helps to release some of the water and get the greens to drain.”
For Rick, the impact of the Air2G2 was immediate, and after using his own machine for a year, the difference is obvious for everyone who plays La Grande Mare. Because of the course construction and location, there is an extensive aeration programme in place that sees the Air2G2 used regularly along with needle tining, a combination that has made members the happiest they’ve ever been with the greens.
For more information about the Air2G2 or the new Air2 Hand Probe visit www.campeyturfcare.com.
Guidance to support your golf facility during the current health crisis
FEGGA’s recommendation in light of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, is that you should follow the instructions issued by their National Greenkeeper and Golf Associations.
You can find this information by going to our members page and go to the Country Association and following the link.
If your Association does not have guidelines for Essential Maintenance, the R&A guidelines below would be the FEGGA recommendation to follow
Essential Maintenance Statement for Golf Courses During COVID-19 Outbreak
The following Essential Maintenance Statement for Golf Courses is published in view of the extension of the UK Government regulations, the changing seasonal climatic conditions and the need to utilise the time of reduced greenkeeping teams most effectively.
Essential Maintenance Statement for Golf Courses during COVID-19 Outbreak
The following industry statement sets out a reduced, essential maintenance regime for greenkeeping that limits activity on the golf course whilst protecting workers, jobs and securing the playing surfaces at golfing facilities. When a resumption in play is allowed, this will be vital to get the millions of golfers back onto our courses, benefiting their physical and mental wellbeing. The golf industry is only sustainable if greenkeepers continue to work but it is paramount that this is done in a safe and secure environment.
Our industry statement outlines those treatments considered essential for the safe maintenance of a golf course during the current government restrictions. It is accepted that golf courses exist in many different forms, on many different soil types and in differing landscapes, and that this guidance may require adaptation.
The primary consideration must be the health and wellbeing of greenkeeping staff. All golf facilities should implement stringent measures to ensure staff members are not at risk. The number of greenkeeping staff and the amount of time they are at work should be kept to a minimum and be tailored to fit with the agreed essential maintenance programme.
Measures should include but are not limited to:
• Focus on hygiene and social distancing
• Ensure staff members work separately
• Allocate individual machinery to one worker only
• If multiple staff are on site, then stagger working hours and break times
• Limit or prohibit use of communal areas
• Regularly disinfect any surface that is contacted e.g. door handles, fuel pumps, communal machinery
• Ensure there is a robust lone working policy
Greens should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of three times per week. Dew removal should be considered on non-mowing days as required to prevent disease spread.
Tees and green surrounds should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of twice per week.
Fairways should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of once per week.
Managed roughs and grass paths should be mown according to need to a maximum of once per week.
Only roughs considered to be in direct play should be mown allowing for naturalisation to areas largely out of play.
The height of cut adopted for all these areas is site specific but the elevation of the cutting height on fine turf areas is advised to minimise unnecessary stress on the turf. The application of plant growth regulators during periods of excessive growth is acceptable. The aim of the above operations is to maintain uniformity, density, texture and health to allow surfaces to be quickly brought back to an appropriate playing standard once play resumes.
Irrigation and Nutrition
Irrigation and nutrition should be carried out as necessary but with the objectives of keeping the turf alive, maintaining a full sward and preventing turf thinning. Avoid excesses of either input which will only serve to promote unnecessary growth and necessitate more maintenance. Utilise best practice methods where available, such as wetting agent application, use of moisture probes and surface aeration, to optimise efficiency of water use on key playing surfaces.
Construction and Renovation
Starting construction or renovation projects is not considered essential at this time. The completion of unfinished winter projects that are already underway is permissible but only if this can be done safely by greenkeeping staff, and without increasing staffing numbers.
Machinery and Equipment Maintenance
This should be carried out as required to ensure that essential equipment is kept safe and operational.
Operations such as maintaining bunkers, penalty areas and wider practice facilities and aerating, top dressing and spraying on a routine basis are not considered essential at this time. However, it is conceivable that occasional spraying or the application of a cultural practice, such as aerating, top dressing and overseeding, may be considered essential at certain times and in some circumstances (for example, to control or manage acute pest, weed or disease issues or other localised disorders).
Given the fluidity of the current situation there may be a requirement to update and re-issue this guidance in respect of future government advice.
21 April 2020