membership, S House

Tags: BIGGA, training and development, Myerscough College, Greenkeeper International, Scotts, development, UK, Gary Baxter, South Wales, golf club, Ransomes Jacobsen, application rates, James Hutchinson, Oxon Nicholas Garbett, London Nicholas Turner, Peter Little, East Darren Selby, Central David Middleton, Northern Michael Burgin, East Kevin Taylor, Germany Matthew Dobson, East Anglia Rod Daniels, Midland Rob Wood, North East Paul Kelly, South Coast John Williams, Midland Vince Harrison, England Nicholas Spittle, South Walesl Ben Unsworth, East James Telfer, North Stewart Ewan, East Anglia Brian Victer, North James Wormleighton, Central Iain Bellshaw, Sussex David Purdue, VAT, BIGGA Member, Member, Learning & Development, Head of Learning & Development, half-day workshops, Health and Safety, half-day workshop, Learning and Development Department, Harrogate Week, Surrey Jamie Jones, London Matthew Perks, Northern Andrew Lloyd, John Colton, Surrey Matthew Woodford, London David Wootton, Kent S West, Sussex Neil Pickett, East Midland Jamie Dunning, Essex Andrew Knight, North West, Writtle College, North West Daniel Killen, Foundation Degree, Scott MacCallum, scholarship, Higher National Certificate, training needs, job performance, attitude surveys, Golf club level, comprehensive training needs, golf courses, Higher Education Scholarship, golf course management, environmental management systems, definite difference, environmental impact, Levington, turf management, Levington Research Station, Dwight Scott, The Scotts Company, supervisory staff, manpower requirements, North West David Williams, East Midland Andrew Kirk, East Midland Mark Lambert, North West Christopher Kelly, North West Liam Williams, WET WEATHER Wimbledon Park Golf Club, South West Philip Powell, Mid Anglia Antony Plummer, Vitax Supaturf Ltd, Technical Sales Representative, KNW, Appraisal interviews, test results, job descriptions, Mid Yorkshire Golf Club, Becker Underwood, Karl Geary, Speedcut Contractors of Oxford, All England Lawn Tennis Club, Becker Underwood Ltd, Steve Elms
Content: INDUSTRY UPDATE
CHANCE TO BEAT THE WET WEATHER Wimbledon Park Golf Club is prepared for wet weather after drainage work was carried out by Speedcut Contractors of Oxford. The magnificent 18-hole course, in the shadow of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, is on clay and required drainage round more than half a dozen holes. Under foremen Peter Little the Speedcut team used one of their Mastenbroek laser-guided trencher and pipe-layers to carry out drainage over the course of a week. Trenches were back-filled with shingle and sand and surfaces levelled with minimal disruption to the smooth running of the busy course.
NEW TECHNICAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE Becker Underwood Ltd has appointed Karl Geary as Technical Sales Representative with responsibility for sales in the UK and Ireland. Karl Geary joins Becker Underwood bringing over 10 years experience to the post. Prior to joining Becker Underwood, Karl spent the last six years working for a leading manufacturer of fertilisers and pesticides with activities in the horticultural, amenity and retail sectors and previously studied Commercial Horticulture at Writtle College.
NEW EXPORT ROLE Steve Elms joins Vitax Supaturf Ltd in the newly created role of Export Sales Manager. Responsible for co-ordinating and expanding the company's export business interests, Steve, who started his career in greenkeeping in 1976, brings considerable overseas experience to the post having worked as a Course Manager in Switzerland, Denmark, Germany and the Caribbean. Now based in his home county in South Wales, he is looking to develop his career in a field that he knows, which will still allow him to travel. "I've known Vitax since my first days as Head Greenkeeper," he said. "It's a well established company with a good reputation, which I'm sure I can develop further."
NEW H&S TRAINING PARTNERSHIP ESTABLISHED
NEW RECRUIT FOR SALES TEAM
Bedale based training specialist KNW are delighted to announce a new joint venture with Lucid Training of Sedbergh to deliver the best in Health and Safety Training. KNW established in 1997, has built its business on the core values of consistency, quality and flexibility delivering a comprehensive range of training courses throughout the UK. The joint philosophy is to help businesses implement health and safety policies, processes and procedures so that business benefits from H&S rather than being restricted by it.
Tycrop has welcomed Robin Lott to their turf division sales team. "I come to this industry, most recently, from industrial equipment manufacturing and distribution, where I spent 13 years building a dealer network in Western Canada. Pressure washers and industrial cleaning equipment sales has been very good to me, but the opportunity to work in the golf, turf and sport field industry for a respected Canadian manufacturer was something I couldn't pass up," said Robin.
(L to R) Mike and Jean John from KNW, Andy Binstead (CMIOSH) and John Colton from Lucid Training.
Greenkeeper International 11
Membership
MEMBERSHIP
Are you... · Moving House? · Moving Job? · Changing your mobile number? · Changing your email address? To ensure that we have the most up to date information and that you don't miss out on your monthly copy of Greenkeeper International or information on membership benefits, make sure you contact us to let us know of any changes to your details. Change of Address Checklist Who to Inform... q BIGGA q Friends, family and colleagues q Employers q School q Bank, building society, pension provider q Telephone and Internet Service Providers q TV licensing q credit card and store card companies q Local council regarding council tax q Subscriptions to magazines, charities, etc. q DVLA q Doctors, Dentist, Opticians etc q Gas, water, electric companies q Satellite/Cable Company This month BIGGA welcomes the following new members, shown on the right...
Scottish Region Stuart Beacom, Central Iain Bellshaw, North Stewart Ewan, Central James McAulay, Central David Middleton, East Darren Selby, East Kevin Taylor, North Northern Region Will Bessant, North West Nigel Booth, Northern Michael Burgin, Sheffield Thomas Chubb, North West Christopher Kelly, North West Daniel Killen, North East Lance Wilde, North West David Williams, North West Liam Williams, North James Wormleighton, North West Midland Region Michael Bunney, East Midland Jamie Dunning, Berks/Bucks & Oxon Nicholas Garbett, Midland Vince Harrison, East Midland Andrew Kirk, East Midland Mark Lambert, Mid Anglia Antony Plummer, East of England Nicholas Spittle, Midland Rob Wood, East Midland South East Region Harry Burgin, East Anglia Rod Daniels, Surrey
Jamie Jones, Essex Andrew Knight, Surrey Scott Litchfield, Sussex Christopher May, London Matthew Perks, Sussex Neil Pickett, Sussex David Purdue, London Neil Rose, London Nicholas Turner, East Anglia Brian Victer, Sussex James Witt, Surrey Matthew Woodford, London David Wootton, Kent S West / S Wales Region Josh Loughrey, South West Philip Powell, South Wales Ian Rees, South Walesl Ben Unsworth, South Coast John Williams, South Wales International Stephen Cutt, Germany Matthew Dobson, USA David Willis, USA Student Steven Ferry, East James Telfer, Kent Dorota Cwil, Rep of Ireland Corporate Stephen Edwards, North East Paul Kelly, Northern Andrew Lloyd, Northern
CONTACT US By telephone - 01347 833800 (option 1 for Membership.)
Tracey Maddison
Justine De Taure
Email: [email protected] Email: [email protected]
Brad Anderson Email: [email protected]
Other useful telephone numbers (for greenkeeper members only) Personal Accident Helpline 02075 603013 Greenkeepers Legal Assistance 0800 177 7891
BIGGA's Regional Administrators Peter Boyd SCOtland & Northern Ireland Tel/Fax: 0141 616 3440 Mobile: 07776 242120 Email: [email protected] Peter Larter northern & midland Tel: 01476 550115 Mobile: 07866 366966 Email: [email protected] Clive Osgood south east Tel: 01737 819343 Mobile: 07841 948410 Email: [email protected] Jane Jones south west & wales Tel: 01454 270850 Mobile: 07841 948110 Email: [email protected]
12 Greenkeeper International
LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT
Learning & Development
Key Sponsorship: Unlock the potential of Greenkeepers The funding provided by Gold and Silver Key Sponsors is used to produce training and career aids, DVDs, CD Roms, field guides and provide refunds for training fees and subsidised learning and development courses. The funding also helps support seminars, workshops, courses, the lending library, careers advice, posters and manuals. Many young greenkeepers owe their career progression to the assistance they've had from the Learning and Development Fund. An equal number of established greenkeepers have also been able to access the fund to continue their professional development thanks to the donations of the Gold and Silver Key Sponsors. THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING KEY SPONSORS Golden Key Golden Key Individual Members JH Greasley; WJ Rogers; Andy Campbell MG, CGCS; Iain A Macleod; Tom Smith; Frank Newberry; Christopher Lomas MG, Lee Strutt MG. Silver Key Silver Key Individual Members Ade Archer; Steven Tierney; Paul Jenkins; Iain Barr; Richard McGlynn; Steve Dixon; Sam Langrick.
Sami Collins, Head of Learning & Development, provides a departmental update... The countdown is on... Saltex is over and Harrogate Week is now a reality to all the staff at BIGGA House and the Learning and Development Department in particular. The biggest project of the year will start to wind up with the release of the Continue to Learn Education Programme featured in The Definitive Guide to Harrogate Week brochure and on the Harrogate Week website (www.harrogateweek.org.uk). A range of two-day, one-day and half-day workshops is included in the Continue to Learn programme along with a comprehensive list of seminar sessions. The seminars that are taking place on Tuesday 20, Wednesday 21 and Thursday, January 22 are FREE of charge to all visitors. Places for the seminars are available on a first come, first serve basis with our seminar rooms holding approximately 70 delegates. Two-Day Workshops: · M anage Relationships and Improve Conflict at Work · Health and Safety · Moving into Management · Making Successful Presentations Cost: BIGGA Member* Ј205 + VAT Non Member Ј330 + VAT *BIGGA Members save 38% when booking a two-day workshop One-Day Workshops: · B asic Budgeting and Finance · N ext Steps in Budgeting and Finance · D rainage: Theory, Practice and Realities · Irrigation: Planning, Installation and water management · M easuring Success · S tress Awareness Cost: BIGGA Member* Ј105 + VAT Non Member Ј210 + VAT *BIGGA Members save 50% when booking a one-day workshop
Half-Day Workshops: Getting Started with Microsoft Excel Beyond the Basics Microsoft Excel Getting Started with Microsoft Word Beyond the Basics Microsoft Word Getting Started with Microsoft PowerPoint Environmental Legislation Compliance Through Best Practice Making the Most of Your Woodlands Making the Most of Your Heathlands Making the Most of the Links Environment Master Greenkeeper Certificate Workshop Cost: BIGGA Member* Ј50 + VAT Non Member Ј110 + VAT *BIGGA Members save 55% when booking a half-day workshop TOP TIP: For those of you out there who are not yet a member of BIGGA it works out cheaper to become a BIGGA member before booking your workshop. Contact the Membership Department on 01347 833800 and select Option 1. The English Golf Union and the Golf Club Managers' Association will once again be presenting their Continuing Development Seminars on Wednesday, January 21 from 9.30 am ­ 3.30 pm with subjects including The Changing Landscape of the Golf Business and Presenting Change to Committees and Members. The day includes Lunch hosted by the EGU and the GCMA. The cost to attend is Ј50 + VAT. Industry Skill Sets/Job Specifications Most of you will recognise the term `Job Specification' rather than Industry Skill Set, but in reality, they are the same thing. They both list the tasks that a Greenkeeper, Supervisor and Manager should be able to perform. The three skill sets have been developed and agreed by industry for the industry using the National Occupational Standards. The new specifications (or skill sets!) can be downloaded from the BIGGA Training and Development Manual - go to Hole One, select the sub-text tab and click on Job Specifications.doc. The Training and Development Manual is accessed via the members area of the BIGGA website.
Greenkeeper International 13
Learning & Development
LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OF GOLF COURSE STAFF
By Stewart Brown
Staff are the most dynamic of all a golf club's resources. They need considerable attention from management, if they are to realise their full potential. Motivation, leadership, communication and pay are all included in the issues faced by management today. However, it is necessary to consider the role of training and development activities in the golf club. A question frequently raised by many is: What is the difference, if any, between `training' and `development'? Another is: What is the difference between `education' and `training'? It will be useful to examine these three terms and compare their meanings. Principally they are as follows: Education ­ usually intended to mean instruction in knowledge and skills designed to enable people make the most of life in work and in society generally; personal and broadly-based; focuses on knowledge acquisition. Training ­ normally implies preparation for an occupation or for specific skills; narrower in conception than either education or development; job-oriented rather than personal. Development ­ usually suggests a broader view of knowledge and skills acquisition than training; it is less job-oriented than career-oriented; concerned more with employee potential than with immediate skill; sees employees as adaptable resources. Generally, education is a matter for government. Training and development, however, are matters for individual golf clubs. This article looks at how golf clubs can set about meeting their own specific internal training and development needs.
Training and Development The scope of training and development activities depends on club policies and strategies. Many commercial clubs carry out the minimum of staff training and development; instead preferring to invest in recruiting trained or professionally qualified staff. However, the majority of golf clubs do have a positive policy on training and development. The first priority is to establish the club's training and development needs. This will involve using job descriptions, employee appraisal records and other such data. Planning the training needed entails setting budgets and timetables, and deciding on objectives, content and training methods to be employed. Implementation of plans is usually a joint affair between training specialists and their line and functional colleagues. It is important to evaluate results, so that changes to content and methods can be made, if necessary. The benefits of systematic training include: · P rovision of pool of skilled manpower for golf club · Improvement of existing skills · Improvements in job performance, resulting in improvement in overall productivity · Improved service to players · G reater commitment of staff (ie, increased motivation) · Increased value of individual employee's knowledge and skills · P ersonal growth opportunities for employees · C ompliance with appropriate legislation such as Health and Safety
Greenkeepers must be trained to ensure their competence for Health and Safety and the achievement of golf course standards of maintenance and presentation. The Role of the Trainer The role of training manager, or staff (often undertaken by the Course Manager or deputy) depends considerably on a club's style or culture. If training and development is actively encouraged, then trainers have an exciting and important role to play; the opposite is true for trainers at clubs wishing only to pay lip-service to training. The training staff's own competence and professionalism is the other major factor in deciding what kind of role can be played. Where trainers are highly skilled, they normally enjoy a good reputation in the golf club; where they are not, reputation and effectiveness will be proportionately less. In performing their direct training roles, training specialists are intimately concerned with (a) the identification or assessment of training needs, (b) the design, content and methods of training to be employed, and (c) the evaluation of training.
14 Greenkeeper International
Identifying Training Needs A training need is any shortfall in terms of employee knowledge, understanding, skill and attitudes against what is required by the job, or the demands of golf club change. When managers conduct a comprehensive training needs' analysis in their golf club, they may seek the basic data for this process at three different levels, as follows: Golf club level: Data about the golf club as a whole ­ e.g. its structure, services, manpower requirements, etc. Job level: Data concerning jobs and activities ­ e.g. job descriptions, personnel specifications, on the one hand, and leadership and communication activities on the other. Individual level: Data about individuals ­ e.g. appraisal records, personal training records, test results, notes made at counselling interviews and results of attitude surveys. Training should be geared towards the needs of the individual and their job role Picture Lely UK/Toro Data obtained in this way enables training staff to draw a comprehensive picture of the areas of current, and potential, shortfall in requirements. The collection of information for a training needs' analysis is carried out by one or more of the following methods: · A nalysing recorded data relating to the golf club, jobs and to individuals · A nalysing questionnaires and attitude surveys issued to employees · Interviewing managers and supervisors about their own or subordinates' training and development needs · O bserving job performance of individuals · M onitoring results of group discussions relating to current work problems, etc · A nalysing self-recording diaries, etc, kept by managers, specialists and others.
Most popular of the above methods are those which utilise existing records, and those which involve interviewing managerial and supervisory staff. One particularly important document contributing to the analysis of training needs is the appraisal form. This is the record of an employee's job performance, usually completed following an annual interview with their superior. Appraisal interviews, and the documentation which accompanies them, are the formal mechanisms by which golf clubs can assess or evaluate their human assets. In a well-managed golf club, this formal appraisal merely rounds off, in a relatively standardised way, the frequent informal appraisals carried out regularly by the club's managers as a normal part of their job. Planning Training Once training needs have been identified, the Course Manager can begin the task of sorting training priorities, drawing up initial plans, costing them and submitting their draft plans for approval. Draft plans spell out the key areas for training, the numbers and categories of employees concerned, the nature of training proposed, preliminary timetabling of training programmes and an estimate of likely costs. Training programmes can be formal or informal, and can take place `on-the-job' or `off the-job'. The latter can mean in-company, or in-service, training or it can refer to externally-provided training. The table below illustrates some of the different methods of on- and off-the-job training, and indicates some of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Training plans are designed to encompass the following: a. What training is to be provided b. How it is to be provided c. When it is to be provided d. By whom it is to be provided e. Where it is to be provided f. At what cost it is to be provided Resources put into training and development represent a considerable investment that needs evaluating to ensure it is being deployed wisely.
Often `off-site' training is beneficial as staff are free of workplace distractions and can focus better on technical aspects Picture Lely UK/Toro Evaluation of Training Evaluation is part of the training control process. Methods used aim to obtain feedback about training results and to use this feedback to assess its value, to improve things where necessary. Training evaluation is firstly concerned with setting appropriate training standards. These may take the form of policies, objectives, adherence to external standards, and standards of trainer training and qualifications. The next key point is the collection of relevant training feedback data. Finally, there is the impact on golf club goals to be considered ­ e.g. what has training done for profitability? This is a favourite question from top management, but is extremely difficult to evaluate because there are many other variables that impact on these goals. For further education and training advice, contact your local specialist land-based college. Most offer advice, bespoke training and a range of education and training courses often leading to recognised qualifications. About the author Stewart Brown is Team Leader ­ Sportsturf and Mechanisation, Myerscough College, Bilsborrow, Preston PR3 ORY Tel: 01995 642305 Email: [email protected]
LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT
FEATURE
SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME By Melissa Jones
The Ransomes Jacobsen Scholarship Scheme, run in conjunction with BIGGA, has helped fund many aspiring greenkeepers through their studies, and aided them in fulfilling their ambitions of becoming fully qualified greenkeepers. "Ransomes Jacobsen has invested over Ј107,000 to support the Higher Education of BIGGA Members since 2002. This funding has been invaluable in ensuring that greenkeepers are the leaders in the sports turf industry," said Sam Collins, BIGGA's Head of Learning & Development. We at BIGGA cannot underestimate the importance of this financial support from Ransomes Jacobsen and thank the company for its continued investment in our members," added Sami. Among those who benefited from the scheme this year was Gary Baxter. Gary has been employed by Mid Yorkshire Golf Club since November 2006 as Deputy Head Greenkeeper and will be using his money to study for an Online Sportsturf Foundation Degree with Myerscough College. "The scholarship funding has made the degree affordable, it has helped to fund the books that are needed and the annual fees for the course," he said. "Once the degree has been passed I hope there will be more opportunities in England or Europe to become a Head Greenkeeper," said Gary. James Hutchinson, Assistant Greennkeeper at Fairhaven Golf Club, in Lytham, has been a BIGGA member for 17 years. "During this time I have watched BIGGA grow to the professional Association it is today, offering advice and help to all its members," said James. James started work at Fairhaven from 1988 until 2000 - when he left to become self-employed as a gardener of both landscape and maintenance. He found he did not enjoy this as much and missed greenkeeping, so returned to his post at Fairhaven in 2003 where he has been ever since. "In 2007 I was given the title of Eco Coordinator and with the help of our greenkeeping team gained the award of Best Newcomer in the BIGGA Golf Environment competition, sponsored by
Ransomes Jacobsen, Scotts and Syngenta - an achievement both myself and Fairhaven are proud of," enthused James. In August of this year, James was accepted onto the Ransomes scholarship scheme, "Without this my study may not have been possible and raising finance or funds could have been a problem - thank you BIGGA and Ransomes Jacobsen for making this greenkeeper very happy." The online Foundation Degree course James will be studying, covers modules such as: plant cell biology ecology conservation, business planning and the management of sports turf machinery all of which will help him to achieve my personal aim of golf course management. The course will take place at Myerscough College, Preston, through online delivery, which will take three years to complete. Students who had completed their studies received relevant awards for their hard work and study in late summer, thanks to this BIGGA scheme, superbly supported by Ransomes Jacobsen. "We are now into our sixth year of sponsorship of BIGGA's Higher Education Scholarship programme and it goes from strength to strength. As a major manufacturer of turf care equipment we have a duty to support our industry sector. Anything Gary Baxter
we can do that assists turf care professionals to improve their understanding of fine turf, while at the same time raising their profiles, can only benefit the industry as a whole. This year we have supported seven scholars, so I hope that James, Christopher, Stephen, Kerry, Steven, Gary and Lee have found their studies worthwhile and of benefit to them in their chosen careers," said David Withers, Ransomes Jacobsen's Managing Director. BIGGA has been able to help its members follow courses of higher education by offering them a scholarship since 2002. Many greenkeepers have been able to attend N/SVQ Level 4, Higher National Certificate, Foundation Degree/HND, BSc Turf Management and MSc Sports Surface Technology courses thanks to continued sponsorship of the Scholarship Scheme by Ransomes Jacobsen. The amount of the scholarship awarded depends on the course and the funding available. The applications are assessed on the candidate's number of years as a BIGGA member, their contribution to BIGGA and their previous training and development. Anyone wishing to be considered for a scholarship fund should contact Sami Collins, BIGGA's Head of Learning & Development on: [email protected] James Hutchinson
Greenkeeper International 17
FEATURE
MAKING THE `APPLIANCE OF SCIENCE' SIMPLE
Scott MacCallum visited Scotts' Levington Research Station and learned just how much goes into producing the products you use on the golf course.
We all like things to be straight forward and get irritated when they become even a little bit complicated. For example, we love it when we switch on our computer and everything boots up perfectly, but when there is a little glitch and it doesn't work instantaneously we turn into Mr Angry, particularly if we are left hanging on a premium rate helpline. It's the same on the golf course. You want to put an application on the course as part of a turf management programme, or to counter a disease which may have developed, you want to know that everything is in place to enable you to do just that. You also want to know that the action you are taking is going to be effective. The Scotts Company, a BIGGA Golden Key supporter, prides itself on using cutting-edge technology to produce effective products for use on the golf course, and making life as simple as possible for its customers. "We only develop a product if we are sure it is going to improve on what is already available or if it's a new addition to the product portfolio, one that is going to make a real difference to the end-user" explained UK & Ireland sales Manager, Nick Martin.
"Scotts is an extremely innovative company. We make a huge investment in research and development across the world and right here in the UK at Levington. The development of a new product can take many years, from the initial stage of identifying a need moving through the chemistry to testing and registration," he added. Scotts was launched in 1868 when an American soldier, Orlando McLean Scott, left the Union Army and embarked on a new business venture with the mission statement, "Farmers need, and shall have, clean, weed-free fields". OM Scott made its name as one of the America's leading distributors of horse-drawn farm equipment before adding a farm seed business to its portfolio. In 1907 Dwight Scott, his elder son, identified just how important the garden lawn would become in American culture and began offering grass seed by mail order and in 1916 the company received an order for 5,000 pounds of Kentucky Bluegrass from one of the first golf courses to open in the States ­ Brentwood-in-the-Pines, on Long Island, New York. The UK business unit of Scotts Professional was formed in 1991 and is based in Ipswich. Its research station, unique to the UK, is located a few miles away in the village of Levington. It covers 7.1 hectares and boasts two 2,000 square
metre golf greens, one built to USGA guidelines and the other a traditional push up green, as well as other areas which replicate the various areas on a golf course. "The greens aren't the best in Europe but they're not meant to be. We use them to test our plant protection products for example, to measure how effective they are at preventing and treating turf diseases. Our greens are managed and maintained in a way that enables us to test those products in natural conditions," explained Dave Steward, UK & Ireland Marketing Manager, as we strolled around the impressive facility. "The greens are large because we split them into three and use them on a three year rotation to give the trial areas time to recover," he added. There is also an area which has been overseeded with weeds ­ more expensive than high quality grass seed, would you believe ­ so prototype herbicides can be given a genuine challenge. Among greenkeepers, Scotts is probably best known for its fertilisers such as Greenmaster and Sierrablen. The company is at the forefront of controlled-release fertiliser development and the key roles of its scientists is to produce coatings which react in certain ways to specific temperatures and soil conditions. The Levington soil is high quality which is great in normal circumstances,
18 Greenkeeper International
FEATURE
but to ensure fertiliser trials are not distorted by a soil rich in nutrient the Trial team - there are 15 people who work at the Research Station - have stripped an area and replaced the soil with a sand mix which is virtually nutrient-free. A small garden shed to the side of one of the trial areas contains a Ј30,000 piece of reverse osmosis equipment which, aside from something you'd expect to find in a Tardis, lowers the electrical conductivity of the borehole water. That way, any improvements are purely down to what is being tested and not from any of the existing nutrients in the soil or water. In addition to the turfed areas there are greenhouse areas and flowerbeds as the Station is used for the testing of Scotts' consumer and ornamental horticulture products as well as those for the turf market. Indeed, testing on plants like poinsettia and cyclamen can amplify any pros and cons of a test more than a test on a particular grass type, so there are cross over benefits to be had from trialling such an extensive portfolio at one site. We visited the area being used to test the company's new seed range. "We acquired the rights to the Tee to Green range and have also been developing our own varieties which originally came from Oregon. These contain salt and drought tolerant varieties. We're carrying out extensive testing in European and UK conditions and have been extremely pleased with what we have seen so far," said Nick, as he took another opportunity to study the test plots. Scotts' product development always has the job of the end-user in mind. Greenkeepers who are under pressure to have their course looking perfect prior to a tournament and to maintain its health and appearance despite difficult winter weather conditions look to applications of iron as a useful tool. To highlight the benefits of the site, Trials Officer Roger Page, undertook a demonstration of Effect Iron, a product which was launched at Saltex the following week after four years in development. A two metre square patch
was sprayed with the promise that it would have noticeably greened up within three hours. Not being able to resist a sneaky peak, we had a quick look 45 minutes later and there was a definite difference in the sprayed patch and the area around it. This was more pronounced when we did return after the full three hours. Walking around the Station you can't fail to be blown away by the vivid colours and smells of some of the test plants but the experts are not distracted by this gardening explosion they are more concerned by objectively marking each plant to see how it measures up against its peers. The investment in Levington is huge because product testing in the UK is tightly controlled by the PSD. "All tests are carried out to the required regulatory standard so that products can be registered when required. Scotts regards compliance with legislation as a minimum requirement," explained Dave. The trials, in addition to discovering whether Scotts is sitting on a new wonder product, also allow testing to see what application rates are optimum. Modern day pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and the like require much lower doses than their predecessors to produce the same, or significantly better results, because they used the latest, modern active ingredients in their formulation. That can only be beneficial for all. All Scotts' development, production and operational processes are scrutinised to assess environmental impact and continually improve the company's environmental profile. Key to the structure of the process is ISO 14001, the international specification for environmental management systems which outlines the requirements for establishing an environmental policy. As well as its own corporate responsibility, Scotts is keen to promote environmental awareness among endusers and has been a key sponsor of BIGGA's Golf Environment Competition along with Ransomes Jacobsen, Syngenta and, as of this year, Golf Monthly.
"We see tremendous benefits in being involved. Looking at some of the past winners they are superb ambassadors for the game of golf in showing just how much expert conservation and environmental work goes on. There is an amazing amount of diverse wildlife on a golf course that you wouldn't get if the golf course wasn't there and managed in an environmentally-responsible manner," said Dave. In addition to environmental impact, efficacy has been at the forefront of the minds of all leading chemical companies. With so much attention being drawn to the game of golf and European-wide restrictions on chemicals, much research goes on to provide the most effective products at the lowest application rates and often replacing older products which complied with older regulations but which have been overtaken by more advanced chemistry. Keen to promote the responsible use of pesticides, Scotts has sponsored the Amenity Forum's `Check Your Sprayer' campaign launched at Saltex. "We promote integrated pest management solutions. Sometimes a chemical is not the best option. It is just one of the tools in the kit that should only be used when it's needed. That is the advice we give," explained Dave, who added that their entire sales force are BASIS and FACTS qualified to give advice. "If you have a healthy plant it is much less susceptible to disease, so it doesn't need as much outside help." Scotts has no doubt about the benefits of being a BIGGA Golden Key Supporter and contributing to the Learning and Development Fund. "We've always supported education and training not just in the golf world but also in the sports and the growers side of our business. Just as our scientists are working hard to find solutions to everyday problems on the golf course, greenkeepers' learning must continue, so we're pleased to support BIGGA in its ongoing provision of training and education to the industry."
Greenkeeper International 19
FEATURE
YORKSHIRE'S FINEST TAKE THE HONOURS Scott MacCallum was lucky enough to attend the John Deere Team Championship at Turnberry to share the experience with the finalists. 20 Greenkeeper International

S House

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