Gary Barnfield, head greenkeeper at Oswestry Golf Club in Shropshire, claims the SISIS Flexibrush has proved to be an ideal solution for controlling worm casts.
Oswestry Golf Club is a mature parkland 18 hole course set in the glorious Shropshire countryside and Gary has been working at the club for an impressive 31 years after joining as an apprentice. Over the years he has worked his way up through the ranks and six years ago he was promoted to the position of head greenkeeper.
Since taking over as head greenkeeper Gary has implemented a number of changes to the maintenance regimes which has no doubt reinforced the club’s reputation for being in an excellent condition all year round.
However, over recent years Gary claims that he has faced arguably his biggest challenge after a number of chemicals were removed from the turfcare market.
“With the ban of certain chemicals we have not been able to use what was once in our armoury,” he said. “This proved to be problematic, as it no doubt did for every other greenkeeper, but the biggest loss was Carbendazim. Unfortunately the worms came out and more and more casts were appearing so we had to come up with a solution.
“An STRI advisor came to visit us and recommended that we apply some sand to top dress to the areas and also to brush the worm casts and level them off before we cut. We needed to find ourselves a reliable machine that would give the worm casts a rigorous brush and we trialled four brushes from four different brands. The SISIS Flexibrush was the stand out machine.”
The SISIS Flexibrush is a tractor mounted brush which is equally effective to disperse top dressing and remove excess material on natural turf and on synthetic surfaces. The versatile Flexibrush can also be used for dew dispersal and striping for improved presentation. It has a 5.35 metre working width, its brush sections float to follow ground contours and the outer sections fold for transport and storage.
“It’s not only great for brushing the worm casts but it also stands the grass up before we cut – which improves the quality of the cut and gives us better presentation,” said Gary.
“In fact, the Flexibrush has got multiple uses because we use it for knocking dew off in the mornings and also in the winter months when the turf is not growing so much we will brush instead of cutting to keep the presentation to a high standard.
“Ultimately, we had to do something about the worm casts and the Flexibrush has done a brilliant job. I think it is a great alternative to spraying the worms and I think more greenkeepers will go down this route.
“It has been a cost saving exercise for us too because we used to have contractors come in and spray the worms but the SISIS Flexibrush was a one off payment and we get to keep it for us long as we like.
“It’s such a well-built machine and nothing can really go wrong with it – I think it will probably even outlast me!”
Perfection is the minimum requirement at Wassenaarse Golf Groendael in The Netherlands, and a new fleet of Jacobsen mowers will be contributing towards impeccable greens and immaculate fairways.
The exclusive nine-hole course is located between Wassenaar and The Hague and is known throughout The Netherlands for its fast greens and particular attention to detail, which have become prominent traits of the club.
This new fleet of machines continues the association between head greenkeeper, Marco Wouters, Jacobsen and local dealer Pols Zuidland, and Marco considers his relationship with both to be a contributing factor behind his decision.
“Besides the reliability of the machines and the quality of cut, I would like to express that the continuous support of Pols Zuidland is equally important because without the right service we cannot do our job.
“The feeling of belonging to the Jacobsen family is also something to consider. I regularly visit the GCSAA Golf Show, and I meet a lot of Jacobsen staff who are always happy to talk through my questions. So, the support from both Jacobsen and Pols Zuidland was a reason to make another seven-year commitment and hopefully another seven after that.”
To meet the standards expected by the 350 members, Marco turned to Jacobsen’s renowned quality of cut and after-cut presentation. To achieve a daily stimp between 11 and 12 on the bent grass greens during the season, and around 10 during the off-season, he purchased two Eclipse 122 pedestrian mowers fitted with bi-directional groomer systems and one Eclipse 322 triplex with 15 blades.
For Marco, this combination of greens mowers met all of his requirements while offering that bit extra, as he explains. “One of the main reasons we chose the 122 is that we could install lithium batteries, which allows us to mow quietly in the mornings without disturbing the houses that surround the course. For presentation and practicality, the decision to choose the groomers was obvious because Jacobsen’s are known around the world for their ability to do a great job, for me, there is no other name/brand that’s doing it better.
“We aim to hand mow the greens seven days a week, but there are occasions when we can’t, and that’s why we got the Eclipse 322. Quality of cut was the main reason along with durability, but other features also helped us make the decision. Our course is situated in a drinking water reservoir and is environmentally prone to contamination, so being able to eliminate the use of hydraulic fluids and oil without having to sacrifice on cut quality is excellent for us.
“Another feature myself and my team love is the swing out centre reel. It makes the daily height of cut and bedknife adjustments much easier and saves a lot of time.”
A super light-weight SLF530 reel mower was selected for use on the fescue fairways for its exceptional after-cut presentation. At Wassenaarse, all fairways are cross-mowed and boxed off, with a clear definition between the fairways and rough at all times. Being able to adjust the units at the touch of a button has made achieving this definition easier along with the groomer system that is preventing the build-up of wet clippings and leaves falling into the grass sward.
Marco’s attention to detail doesn’t stop with the course and is applied to every machine that’s used on it. It is a common site to see golf buggies dressed in club colours and logos, but at Wassenaarse the machines get the same treatment because they are regularly seen on the course by members. All of the new mowers, three Cushman Hauler Pro’s, Smithco sprayer, bunker rake and XL roller have been sprayed black and had Groendael’s logo applied, and received a very positive reaction from members who have praised the uniform appearance.
L-R, Robert Ewing – Credibility Manager, GEO Foundation, Patrick Mallet – Director of Innovations, ISEAL Alliance, Kelli Jerome – Executive Director, GEO Foundation
GEO Foundation, supported by multiple partners and stakeholders, has today announced the development of a new and ground-breaking framework for golf’s social and environmental reporting – this news was shared in front of an audience of global sustainability systems, government agencies, non-government organisations, corporations and other institutions.
The announcement represents a significant watershed in how the sport can quantifiably and consistently track and demonstrate its progress and value.
The Independent Chair of the project’s Strategic Advisory Group is Paul Druckman, former CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council. Druckman said: “Golf is a large and influential sport, comprising over 34,000 grassroots facilities in over 200 countries, hundreds of professional tournaments and with a significant supply chain. It also has powerful media and reach, and can inspire hundreds of thousands of fans.
“Golf is not unique amongst business to increasingly recognise the need to consistently measure and communicate with credibility its environmental and social impact. Through this work, golf is also gearing up to show how the sport delivers against global priorities, principally the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’’.
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director of GEO Foundation, the international not-for-profit dedicated to helping advance sustainability in and through golf, added: “The goal is to enable golf to accurately monitor, measure and communicate real impacts, and to connect that locally, nationally and internationally. It has been a complex but enjoyable challenge – studying, collaborating, developing a deep understanding of the priority metrics, mapping audiences and building user-centric software to simplify data gathering at scale.
The project began a year ago after discussion hosted by the Vidauban Foundation and the response from golf associations, as well as externally, has been tremendous. We’d particularly like to thank strategic partners: The R&A, Vidauban Foundation, Toro Foundation, and the ISEAL Innovations Fund, plus over 150 scientists, association leaders and grassroots golf course and club managers – who contributed to the various consultations.”
The framework is designed to help golf more consistently quantify and communicate its ‘net impact’ across golf’s ‘Sustainability Agenda’. As such it covers the material environmental and social issues across three main themes: fostering nature, conserving resources and supporting communities.
Following the launch of OnCourse Portugal, FEGGA took to the road to run workshops introducing the new translated version of OnCourse Portugal. FEGGA ran four Workshops covering the whole Country and connected with half the golf courses in Portugal. The Workshops covered an introduction of the concept of OnCourse, we took all the respective attendees through the sign-up process, and the many tools that make up what is now a very good resource for golf clubs to use.
First stop was Oporto GC & great to spend time with the local greenkeepers supporting “Responsible Golf Course Management” The second day saw us move south from Porto to Cascais for the second OnCourse Portugal Workshop, We received excellent response at Quinta Da Marinha, with a very motivated group of people sharing their knowledge & experiences.
Day three saw us visiting Palmares Golf Club in Lagos, home club to the FEGGA Vice Chairman Joel Nunes. Again we were meet with a great gathering of greenkeepers, sharing their thoughts & helping make our Responsible efforts in Turf Management stronger. The last venue was Quinta do Lago. Again the discussion was very positive and engaging and in how you approach Responsible Golf Course Management.
There was a very strong message that came from all the participates during all the Workshops, and a real commitment to work together, sharing their experiences for the better development of the greenkeeping profession, and ultimately the game of golf. A short Presentation was made at the recent FEGGA Conference, and already other Associations are planning to run their own OnCourse Development Workshops.
Thanks must go to the R&A for supporting this initiative. We would also like to thank GEO, the Portuguesse Greenkeepers Association, and the Portuguesse Golf Federation for their support in delivering the Workshops.
In 2018 STERF had 15 ongoing projects related to integrated pest management, sustainable water management, winter stress management, and multifunctional golf facilities and ecosystem services, all of them presented in the yearbook, which can be downloaded here: http://www.sterf.org/Media/Get/3170/sterf-yearbook-2018-korr
Other important STERF activities were:
• During spring 2018, STERF presented two new videos, From dense sward to biodiverse roughs and The golf course as an outdoor classroom. The videos can be found at:
http://www.sterf.org/sv/about-sterf/newsarchive/dense-swards-video and at: http://www.sterf.org/sv/about-sterf/news-archive/inbjudan-skolseminarium
• This extreme weather situation during the growing season 2018 highlighted a need for more knowledge about saving water and about efficient irrigation practices on golf courses. By coincidence 2018 was also the final year of the STERF project ‘Engineering better irrigation in turf ’, in which an irrigation workshop had been scheduled well before the 2018 growing season. The workshop took place at Fureso GC, Copenhagen, on 20 June.
• During 2018, the very important handbook ‘The Golf Course Managers’ Handbook on Turfgrass Winter Stress Management’, with practical advice and recommendations, was translated into Swedish and Norwegian and launched at several seminars.
• 2018 saw the release of a new step-by-step workbook, tailor-made for golf clubs, for mapping values, functions and activities on and beyond golf facilities, and also for finding key partners and engaging them in multifunctional projects that contribute to sustainable development (Agenda 2030).
• Effective dialogue between researchers and practitioners is necessary to identify research priorities in new fields and to ensure that newfound knowledge is transferred into practice. During 2018, a number of national seminars were arranged in the Nordic countries. In total, more than 400 practitioners from the golf industry participated in the seminars.
• In October 2018, Maria Strandberg, STERF, and Trygve Aamlid, NIBIO, were invited to Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, and to China Agricultural University, Beijing. The purpose of this visit was ‘Communication, visiting and learning’. It was also a great honour that Trygve Aamlid was appointed Honorary Professor at Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin.
Pinnacle of women’s golf launches sustainability plan to address climate and conserve biodiversity
The organisers of the 2019 Solheim Cup have today launched the event’s sustainability initiative which sees a wave of additional efforts to minimise the climate and environmental footprint of the event, while at the same time maximising the conservation of wildlife. Habitat destruction, exploitation, and climate change are driving the loss of half of the world’s wild animal population.
The comprehensive plan, which also integrates key elements of social inclusion, diversity and equality, is being led by EventScotland in close partnership with the event’s Sustainability Partner, GEO Foundation – the Scotland based non-profit that specialises in promoting sustainability in and through golf around the world.
The plan is also supported by all event partners and stakeholders, including The Gleneagles Hotel, IMG, the Ladies European Tour, LPGA, Scottish Golf and the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association.
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “I am delighted to see and support the 2019 Solheim Cup’s leadership in reducing its impact on our environment and climate by promoting public transport, avoiding single-use plastics and promoting sustainability to the tens of thousands who will descend on Gleneagles. I commend the organisers for taking this important step and look forward to seeing their plan in action later this year.”
Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, which is leading the staging and delivery of the event on behalf of The Scottish Government, said: “Great golf and nature-rich landscapes go hand in hand, so we are taking this opportunity to reinforce the importance of biodiversity – both to golf and to society at large. It is important major events such as the 2019 Solheim Cup recognise and minimise the impact on the environment and we hope our direct actions and indirect influences will encourage greater nature conservation across golf in Scotland and further afield.”
Matching with the central theme of Earth Day 2019, the 2019 Solheim Cup is seeking to actively “Protect Our Species”. With 19 ecologically protected areas on and around the golf courses, there is plenty of iconic Scottish wildlife at Gleneagles.
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, GEO Foundation added: “The world is facing a rate of biodiversity loss that humanity has never seen before, and with our clear dependencies on the natural world, time is of the essence. That makes it all the more important for major influencers, such as the 2019 Solheim Cup and greenspaces, such as golf courses, to take action – and when that happens, it can be hugely beneficial and inspiring to many others.”
Some of the key environmental sustainability action areas for the 2019 Solheim Cup include:
• Reducing the carbon footprint
– Public transport, car sharing, using the efficient park and ride service, clean fuels and by engaging with local suppliers and contractors
• Achieving ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’
– Avoiding single-use materials, making sure all materials are separated for re-use and recycling
• Conserving nationally and internationally important habitats
– Protect the 19 designated areas on Gleneagles Estate and the rare and iconic Scottish wildlife
• Promoting sustainability to more people
– Engaging in, and promoting, green activities.
These are complemented by a wide range of social responsibility actions that centre on diversity and inclusion, including the Aberdeen Standard Investments’ Diversity Summit, affordable ticketing and volunteering rewards scheme. Other areas of focus include access and provisions for people with disabilities, junior golf development experiences and promotion of the health and wellbeing value of golf for families.
With a host of accessible and family-friendly activities on offer, the Scottish Government aims for this to be the most family-focussed golf event ever held in Scotland with tickets for adults priced from just £10 and children under-16 admitted free of charge.
Find out more at www.solheimcup2019.com/sustainability
For more examples of how golf is helping conserve biodiversity, as well as conserve resources and strengthen communities, take a look at the Sustainability Highlights here: www.getoncourse.golf/highlights
22 Associations made the trip to Rome to engage in what was a very inspiring Conference, focusing on further development, Association stories of challenges and engagement.
The venue for the first day was the 2022 venue for the Ryder Cup, Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. We were welcomed by the staff lead by Riccardo Tirotti, Golf and Business Manager, on a day of clear skies and sunshine. The terrace was the perfect place to view the first stage of construction, this followed what was an interesting introduction presented by Riccardo and also Dave Sampson the leading Architect of the 2022 Ryder Cup Golf Course.
The first day was to focus on challenges around the globe, and also a Session on Pioneering European Turf Grass Research to Enhance Responsible Golf Course Management. This was done to build up to an afternoon Session Golf Course 2030, an R&A initiative focusing on the challenges that golf faces during the next decade and more. The speakers did a great job in preparing our members and patrons for the group work later that day, which provided results which will go a long way in producing a roadmap for the next stages of Golf Course 2030 for Europe.
Day two took on a very different journey for the day, focusing on modern technology, FEGGA Education Experiences, along with some very inspiring Association Presentations. These really went a very long way with the mission of FEGGA in sharing to benefit all. I particular Damian McLaverty did a fantastic job in sharing the recent journey of GCSAI. Many people made comments reflecting on what Damian had shared, and how it will help their own association in dealing and managing through their own current challenges.
This second day concluded that despite the current challenges, there is much to be positive with. We have great people working within our industry, and we know collectively have some great tools to work with in managing our associations and delivering great opportunities to our respected memberships.
FEGGA Chairman, Paul Worster commented “Italy was a great venue for this event. The weather was kind and the delegates received a very warm welcome from the Italian Golf Federation and Greenkeepers Association, which was mirrored by the Marco Simone Golf Club, and in particular Ricardo Tirotti, Business Development Manager.” In opening the Conference, Paul said “it doesn’t matter if you are here representing ten thousand greenkeepers, or just ten greenkeepers; your voice will be heard, and you are encouraged to take a full part”.
The formal proceedings of our AGM saw the election of Koert Donkers, of the Netherlands onto the board of FEGGA. Koert is a past FEGGA Scholarship Student of Gleneagles and has been a long-time supporter of FEGGA and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our existing board.
FEGGA want to thank our Patron Members, and Partners, their contribution to the Conference was outstanding and the engagement they showed at the Golf Course 2030 group work enabled FEGGA to have a really balanced discussion, enabling the good messages to come out of this important group work. It’s vital that the Patrons engage in Golf Course 2030, they are vital to its future success, and have already shown this through their engagement in the pilot project that has focused on United Kingdom and Rep of Ireland this past twelve months.
Finally, I want to thank our Conference Sponsors, their support is considerable in us bringing together all these organisations. A very big thank you to John Deere, The R&A, and Toro.
In looking ahead to 2020, FEGGA will be bringing its Conference to Rep of Ireland, and also hosting the International Summit. We all are very excited by the prospect of our visit and what we can build on during 2019 to ensure we continue to the work of supporting our industry and the game of golf.
Members of FEGGA have been invited to become part of the Championship support team for the Evian Championship 2019.
This is an incredible opportunity to gain experience preparing the course for one of golf’s major championships. Successful candidates will receive return airfares, accommodation, subsistence and logoed uniform.
The Evian Championship is one of only five majors on the L.P.G.A. Tour and is second only to the U.S. Open in terms of the prize fund. This year the Championship is reverting back to its original date slot in July.
Greenkeepers in the support team will ideally be available between Saturday 13th July and the 28th July. Transport between Geneva airport and the Evian Resort will be supplied as part of the package.
The Evian course is situated in Evian les Bains overlooking Lake Geneva on one side and the French Alps on the other. These views are stunning.
If you wish to be considered for the team please contact Peter Wisbey at email@example.com
Casper Erikson of Denmark shares his month long experience during the FEGGA Greenkeeper Experience programme in partnership with Textron Golf at Le Golf National
This is my story about the Ryder Cup journey I´ve been on from early June when I first heard from Dean Cleaver from FEGGA and until the end of the Ryder Cup in late September. Enjoy!
It´s Saturday June 2nd 2018, and while I´m playing a match play event at my local golf club, my phone starts to beep (as a phone does when an email is incoming) and quickly I apologise several times to my opponent. I get hold of my phone in the pocket to switch off the sound, and I see that the email I just received was from Dean Cleaver, and the subject was “FEGGA Greenkeeper Experience Programme, in partnership with Jacobsen”. I quickly read the email, which said that I was shortlisted and he had some questions for me. From that moment, the rest of my match, my golf was pure S…! (In case you guys wonder how my match ended.. I LOST BIG TIME!!)
The next couple of days I was over the roof from excitement, it was the freaking Ryder Cup on the line here! All kinds of questions came to my mind, like, how can a guy from a very small town (600 residents) in little Denmark be shortlisted to help the greenkeeper team at the Ryder Cup Venue! In other words I couldn´t quite understand that I was one of 5 left.
I answered the questions that Dean asked, and we scheduled a Skype call to have a chat. I waited 4 days from when I answered his questions and until we had arranged the chat on Skype. During these days I was afraid my head was going to explode, I can´t describe how excited I was for that Skype call! The day of the chat arrived and until he called me I was really really nervous. Once the chat was over, I was surprisingly calm, now there was nothing more I could do, other than wait for Dean and the guys to decide which of the 5 they choose.
I was told by Dean that I would get their decision on the next coming Monday. It was some very very long days of waiting for that message to come. But earlier this year in January 2018 I was selected by the Danish greenkeeper association to attend the Danish edition of FTMI. During that stay I accidentally (we had to guess a guy’s birthday in a specific month, and the guy who hit the right date or came closest would win) won a 2 day trip with the mentors to Le Golf National to play the course and to speak with Alejandro Reyes about how he manages that course. It just so happened that the trip I was going on to Le Golf National was during the day we would get the answer on which of us 5 guys they chose for the FEGGA Experience programme.
The day arrived, and we started to play. The first 3 holes were played in such hard rain it was like a shower. Normally I HATE playing golf in the rain, but that day all I cared about was the email I waited on!! The guys I played with knew that I was waiting for the answer, and during 14 holes they all mocked me about it, mostly because my golf was s… again (Let’s just say it was because I was waiting for the answer and not because that golf course was by far the most difficult course I have ever played!) On the 15th hole, a short par 3 over water, my ball just got over the water and onto the green and a 50 feet putt was waiting for me on the green. While we where walking towards the green, I saw Alejandro coming towards the green from the back side. I honestly didn´t think twice about it, during the entire match there had been greenkeepers all around the course working, so of course he would be there. He approached me when I was on my way to my ball, and he asked what I thought of the course, and if I liked how the greens reacted and played, and then suddenly he said, “Casper I also have a message for you from Dean Cleaver. You are the one we have selected to attend the FEGGA experience programme, if you would like to”. If I would like to?!! In my head I thought, of course I would like that, but what I actually did say to him, I really can´t remember! I was lost of words and my hands were shaking and I couldn´t believe it was me they had selected. That moment I´m sure I will never forget. (If anyone wonder: I hit my putt 15 feet short, with Alejandro and the guys I was playing with laughing!! Drained the par putt and made par on 16, 17 and 18. Obviously it was a message like that I needed to be able to play acceptable golf again.) After the round, Alejandro was waiting for us to come in, and we had a short talk about what I could expect on my stay there. I really looked forward to be going to Le Golf National, that guy is really something. If any of you guys ever get a chance to work for him, never hesitate, just go and do it, I promise you, it will be worth it!
The day of my trip to Le Golf National arrived, I was super excited, finally the day had come that I had been waiting for for 2 and a half months. Ready as ever I boarded the plane ready to go.
I arrived at the airport in Paris, and when I walked to the arrival hall, there was a guy there waiting for me with a sign with my name on it. Just for a couple of seconds I felt kind of important, but quickly the taxidriver said to come with him. We needed to go pick some other guys up, and they were already waiting for us. Damn! I guess I’m not so important after all! But what a welcome to receive, from day one and throughout the entire month the guys at Le Golf National was nothing but good to me and all of them made me feel very welcome. We picked up the other two guys, an Englishman from Manchester, and a guy from South Africa. Two very nice guys I got to spend the month with.
The drive from Charles de Gaulle to Le Golf National was a little more than an hour, and depending on traffic it could be a lot more, but before I new it, all I saw was signs showing the Ryder Cup, and it hit me: I was really here now. The first thing I saw on my way to the course, was a really big hospitality tent. I had never seen such a big tent before, and as we drove by we could see the grandstand, and I started to realize how big it was. We turned to the right in the following roundabout and before we could get inside the fences, armed guards had to clear us first. Armed guards around a golf course a month before a big tournament, I really started to realize how big this thing was. I wasn´t even inside and on the course yet, and already I had just lost my jaw and seen the wow factor from the outside. Now I just wanted to get in and get started. A guy came out to the gate, we waited one second after he talked to the guard, and then the taxi drove us inside and dropped us off in the middle of the yard just outside the greenkeeper shed. Finally I was here, and what a place! The size of everything, the excitement, the buzz, and all the machines that were lined up. Wow, just wow!
The fairway mowers ready to go to work!
The guy who got us inside the gate came along and welcomed us to Le Golf National. He was important, it was the guy who had spent the last two years helping organize all the workers that was going to be there for the tournament. And for approx. 180 guys where 150 of them where coming in from all over the world, there was a lot of planning for him to do. He showed us around the place, found some clothes for us, and showed us our accommodation, which were some small houses, like a little vacation home. The accommodation was just outside of the greenkeeper shed, and it was all we needed. A room with a bed, a small kitchen, a small living room, and a toilet. As a bonus we lived alongside with a lot of the full-timers there, so very quickly we got to know them, which I am sure was very important to make the month there a great experience.
I lived in the house right behind the white car. At first with a young guy from Morocco, and the last two weeks with a Spanish guy. We had about an hour to check out the place and the course before we had to check in to the afternoon shift. The time arrived, and we were introduced to the team and the team got to know who we were, and where we were from. Finally it started.
From day one I got to learn a lot. These guys have an insane eye for details, and within two hours I was already learning a lot, and I loved it. Every morning we were told, that we should always remember to take our time to do our job perfect, no matter how much time that might be. At my home club on a normal day we are 5 people including the Course Manager to take care of the 18 holes golf course, and the practice facility. When we arrived at Le Golf National, there were approx. 30 people to take care of the course, and the practice facility. And to observe how the Course Manager and First Assistant handled all these people was magnificent to see. These two and the team leaders really showed how important the right kind of communication is. A small thing such as which language to speak was a big thing to deal with every day. We are in France, but there are people from France, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Denmark and lots of other countries. Even though I think I speak quite good English, it was hard to do all the communication in English, and you do use a lot of energy on the language part. Thankfully I also learned a great deal with it, it´s hard to describe, but you learn a lot when you are forced to speak another language other than your birth language every day. No matter how much the Managers had to attend to, the communication stayed the same, and it really inspired the entire team to come together and work as one unit. No matter when and how many times us new guys asked the same stupid questions they just answered them over and over again like every time was the first one. A lot of the evenings when we were done with work, because we lived alongside a lot of the staff, we hung out with these guys, and I think that meant a lot as to how they reacted on us during our stay.
During the first two weeks we were a part of the normal greenkeeper team. We helped them with whatever they had to do. A normal day at Le Golf National the time I was there contained a morning shift and an afternoon shift. The first two weeks was a lot of final preparations on the course. All the bunker edges were hand seeded, like you take the tip of a knife with a couple of seeds and put it inside the ground where it is needed. Some of the bunker edges were returfed, we changed small pieces of grass around the greens where the grass was bad. Everything was with an insane eye of details because, as they said, the television shows everything! The passion the greenkeepers showed in fixing every little piece of bad grass was impressive, no areas were left out. We also used an entire day with 30 guys handpicking weed from the rough, all the rough, no areas were left out. At first I thought why? But when we were done and saw the areas from a larger distance, I could see why. Again, it was the details. That was exactly that they were looking for in all aspects all over the course: Perfection.
For a guy who normally comes from a total of 5 guys managing an entire course to be a part of such a large team, was a really great experience. Every day the course had to be moved a little bit closer to the perfect condition. That means that every day one guy measured everything on the greens; moisture, firmness and greenspeed both in the morning and in the afternoon. They didn´t take any chances, they preferred to know by the numbers where they were.
One of the first days I was told that we need to cut the greens surrounds, and we were 8 guys appointed. I remember thinking, why 8 guys? But I found out why. All areas on the greens surrounds were to be mowed with a normal Honda lawnmower, like the one everyone has to mow their grass in their own garden. The areas are large, really large, especially when you need to mow it with a lawnmower. So I actually went from “this is a nice little job where I really get a chance to talk to the guys”, to “ohh boy I´m tired and going directly to bed, see you tomorrow guys!” Tired? Yes. Hard? Yes. Learnfull? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely! I’m not used to do a lot of the cutting part with lawnmowers and single cutters. It’s just a different experience, like you are closer to the grass, and see a lot more details on how the grass behave. It’s kind of hard to explain if you haven´t tried it, somehow I got to learn something about how the grass is cut, and what difference it makes when you cut it with a lawnmower vs. a larger machine.
When the first two weeks were over, we were finished with repairing all the areas and we started to train for the larger tasks. For 2 weeks I was a part of the fairway team, again I thought it was going to be simple. But when there are 12 fairway mowers and they must mow in a specific way on a specific route and finish within a specific time on a specific hole, it wasn´t so simple. Actually it wasn’t simple at all! One could think that when there are so many guys doing the cut, you could just relax, but not at all! Everything, every little detail had to be perfect. Small things as the overlap from the one in front of you, the distance to the one in front, the awareness on your own and the other machines and to top it all, it was 12 guys who had just met each other. Luckily the most important language we spoke with each other was common; greenkeeping! And I was actually surprised by how similar greenkeeping is all over the world. Yes people do of course have their different opinions and ways they get the job done, but everyone gets how it is to feel their machine and when everyone is eager to get the most perfect job done, it always works out, no matter how many different ways people would have done the job. I can´t say this enough, the communication was by far what I learned most about.
When we got to the Ryder Cup week, we were split into teams, and every team was responsible for a specific area on the course. The team I was on during that week was responsible for the holes from 8-12, this included everything except the fairways and the approaches. This included cutting the tees, cutting the green, the 2nd cut and raking the bunkers. All bunkers were raked by hand and then paintrollers, yes paintrollers! First all the edges were watered and then hardened with a large roll, then the entire sides were “painted” with a 6 inch wide paintroller, and finally the bottom was raked from the pin position to the center of the bunker.
The final guys who left the hole before it was ready, was the two guys who walked around with backpack blowers and blowed all the areas around the greens and bunkers, so the grass all the people had been walking around in, was standing up in the right direction. If the greens surround, tees surround and rough were about to be mowed, it was done during the afternoon/evening when the players were finished for the day. The course was setup like this every day of the week, and everyone did an amazing job taking part in delivering an outstanding golf course. One of the highlights of my journey, was being able to actually work at The Ryder Cup. This is so unique and has its history and legacy to it. When you are there, you can feel and sense its very special and warm atmosphere.
To be part of such a team was a great experience. All the guys from all over the world, and everyday talking greenkeeping and sharing experiences was to me a privilege, and I sucked in all the information possible from everyone. And just being at the centre of such a big event for that time period, living side by side with such highly skilled people and to talk to them and having them sharing their knowledge and see and feel their passion has been an extreme joy and motivation for me. Hopefully I get to see some of the people again someday!
Finally, I just want to say a big thank you to FEGGA for giving me this valuable opportunity. I also want to say a big thank you to Jacobsen for supporting this educational experience, which for me personally has been a career changing opportunity.
Featuring the same advanced technology as John Deere’s award-winning A Model family of fairway, rough and trim & surrounds mowers, the new 6000A Series PrecisionCut fairway machines will be launched at BTME 2019 in Harrogate next January and will be available from UK and Irish dealers in the spring.
Based on a three-wheel drive, smooth tyre configuration, the 6080A, 6500A and 6700A five-gang cylinder models have been introduced to meet a specific customer need for improved budget control, while still delivering a mower designed for the rigours of fairway applications.
“With tight operating budgets and increasing labour costs, many customers need a more cost-effective solution to get the job done,” says John Deere’s European turf sales & marketing manager Carlos Aragones. “With this in mind, we challenged ourselves to design a machine that can still boost productivity and maintain quality of cut while keeping costs down, and we’ve done that with these new 6000A Series mowers.”
All three models utilise a powerful 24.7hp (18.4kW) diesel engine, and boast several other premium performance and comfort features. Just like the existing John Deere A Model range, these latest mowers offer exceptional cut quality, even on slopes, thanks to the standard LoadMatch system, while the innovative eHydro transmission eliminates linkages between the foot pedals and the hydrostatic pump.
Cutting widths are 2.03m (80in) on the 6080A and 2.54m (100in) on the 6500A and 6700A, with a choice of 46 or 56cm (18 or 22in) QA5 5in or QA7 7in diameter cutting units depending on the model. In addition, the 8mph (12.9kph) mowing speed allows operators to cut larger areas in less time.
As with all A Model machines, the new fairway mowers also feature the innovative TechControl display with password-protected controls. TechControl allows course managers or technicians to enter a range of commands, including mowing, turning and transport speeds as well as service intervals, while also providing on-board service diagnostics, to give complete and consistent control over cutting performance and quality.
The established frame design provides strength and durability, and a high quality cut is maintained in undulating terrain thanks to a rear-attaching yoke on the cutting units. Combined with the standard GRIP all-wheel drive traction system, these features allow the mowers to climb hills more easily without slipping.
The new John Deere 6000A Series PrecisionCut fairway mowers also provide several features designed to increase machine and operator uptime. These include internal hydraulic wet disk brakes that eliminate the need for linkage adjustments and grease points in the braking system, along with the traction drive system that needs only one fluid type for regular maintenance. In addition, the comfortable operator station includes CommandArm mounted controls that move with the seat.