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Testimonials from some Grass Group clients

Here are some references and feedback on the products and services provided by the Grass Group as supplied direct by customers.


ATT INFiNiSystem | Trilo | Rota Dairon | Progressive | GKB | CTI


ATT TMSystem™ at Sussex CCC saves money and the fate of a SLS1880! – Andy M

“I think the cutting quality is absolutely superb and is very easy to set up. Because the Jacobsen is a unit with 5 cutting units, a cut was a relatively lengthy task, especially when height adjustments were needed. Now, setting the cuts can take someone only about 10 minutes to complete. It’s very labour saving, especially if the heights need to be adjusted along the way as very little effort is needed. For me, the easy height adjustment is the unique selling point of these reels - apart from the fact that they are part of a system.”

“I’ve had a demo of the UltraGroomer cassette on the cricket wicket,” says Andy, “and I was amazed by how much it pulled out, but at the same time not being invasive.”

Ultra-Grooming the ATT way for The Renaissance Club – Paul Seago

“The day of the demo was very wet,” says Paul, “but John took the INFiNi out and created a great finish with no mess as everything went straight in the box. I take my hat off to him. He has used his experience as a Greenkeeper to come up with a machine that’s Greenkeeper friendly and ticks all of the boxes.”

“We have not been disappointed. They have been used continuously throughout the season - it can be pouring down with rain but the lads can still go out and do the work and leave no mess meaning we can keep to schedule.”

ATT TM SystemTM aids London Golf Club to top condition, all year roundATT TM SystemTM aids London Golf Club to top condition, all year round

ATT TM SystemTM aids London Golf Club to top condition, all year round

The London Golf Club is one of the country’s finest golf venues and a European Tour destination. Covering 800 acres the estate includes two 18 hole courses and extensive club house facilities for both golfers and corporate guests alike. Opened in 1992 the greens are a credit to the 25 staff employed to oversee both the Jack Nicklaus designed ‘Heritage’ course as well as the ‘International’, undoubtedly one of the finest downland courses in Europe.

Ever mindful of the need to keep the course in tip top condition, the greens professionals have an array of machinery to aid them in that goal. One such piece of kit making a name for itself is the ATT TM SystemTM. Glenn Kirby, Assistant Course Manager, explained “We wanted to maintain the greens at their peak condition throughout the year and decided to look for an additional verticutting unit. However, whilst talking to Tim Merrell of The Grass Group at Saltex he showed me the TM SystemTM.”

He went on, “I wasn’t necessarily looking for a cassette based system but the build quality of the Ultra Groomer module caught my attention. Tim explained the results that could be achieved from using the system and he set up a demonstration and we were sold on it. I was initially convinced a cassette based system must be a compromise against stand alone machinery but the demo really impressed us and that impression has stayed. I especially liked the idea that the system could be added to and that I didn’t have to buy the whole package in one go.”

Glenn recognised their weak area was in grooming, rolling and brushing and believes the TM SystemTM has given him the tools to deal with the tricky times of the year, like the spring with the Poa seed head flushes. The club was cautious in attracting premium rates and golf days at those times of the year but now feel the application of the Ultra Groomer as a significant compliment to Verticutting to bring the greens to peak condition.

Since having the system the units have been used every week. Glenn expanded, “On tees we’ve found them invaluable in removing organic matter, and on a longer height of turf - one pass over and the grass is standing much more upright to give a better quality of cut afterwards”.

The speed of adjustment has really impressed him and given him an option he never really had in the past by being able to adjust in situ. For example he can get out on the putting greens in the morning and see what is being pulled out of the first green. Then he can make the necessary adjustment, on site, rather than having to go back to the workshop – just a couple of clicks and it’s done.

Along with the Ultra Groomer cassettes the club also included the Vibration modules and brush attachments.

Glenn has been quick to develop the use of the vibration units, with brushes attached, ahead of mowing. He says that it goes against established practise, but the action of the brushes lifts the grass to an upright position and exposes the seed heads to be cut off by immediately mowing. He says the units allow for faster recovery out of the renovation week and is very enthusiastic about experimenting further with the versatility of the system.

Versatile collector on course for success

Versatile collector on course for success


Stowmarket Golf Club recently took delivery of a new Trilo SG400 vacuum collector with optional Scarifier, and Head Greenkeeper Matt Gill has already used it to great effect. He says: “It’s early days, but I have been extremely impressed with the machine so far.”

The parkland course in rural Suffolk features many mature trees, so leaf clearance is a vital task to keep the club spick and span. “We use the wander hose to clear leaves around the course, clubhouse and car parks, and it’s very manoeuvrable and easy to operate,” he comments.

The Trilo has also proved to be an extremely efficient Scarifier, “We’ve already scarified seven fairways, and I’m really happy with the results,” says Matt. Changing from flail collecting to scarification is a simple matter of altering the gearing and swapping the 1.5m heads.

The SG400, which has a high tip hopper with a capacity of 4cu.m, is actually doing the work of two machines having replaced a flail collector and a Scarifier. “Previously we had to clear up after the old machine, but the clean, effective collection system of the Trilo means that it can be done in one pass and by one man.” Matt commented. He also believes that its versatility means it can do even more jobs, he went on, “We also plan to use it to cut and collect long rough on an annual basis, which our previous machines couldn’t do, so we’ll get even more out of the SG400!”

When it came to purchasing a vacuum collector Matt also considered other machines on the market, but comments that they did not compare with the Trilo in terms of build quality. “I also spoke to other greenkeepers who use the Trilo and they confirmed that it is the best,” he says. “Durability was an important factor in the purchase decision and it has been costed out over three years. However, other clubs that I’ve spoken to say they have kept Trilo vacuum collectors for nine or 10 years; and even then they can be refurbished to give even longer service. It really is a well built machine that needs little maintenance and is very easy to look after.”

Local dealer Tomlinson’s supplied the SG400, and Matt says that he has had excellent support both from them and from the Trilo distributor The Grass Group.

Trilo blowers and vacuum collectors help clear 160 acres of leaves


Established in 1911, Coombe Hill Golf Club near Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, is a mature woodland course that has won many plaudits for not just its challenges but also its natural beauty. But that does not mean it does not need periodic modification and development.

Sean Whipp, Course Manger at Coombe Hill Golf Club, commenced a modification programme at the club in 2005. Among the many tasks undertaken, a great deal of work was carried out to modernise and create various buggy paths and also create up to eight new tees. As this was all done using in-house labour, it was a big operation that generated a great deal of construction waste.

“We are surrounded by predominantly oak woodland,” says Mr Whipp. “This essentially means we have to clear leaves from around 160 acres in the autumn. It is a big job that will produce between 80 and 100 tonnes of leaf litter a season.”

Now consider this. Mr Whipp made the decision that all the scrapings from the course construction work would be recycled along with all the grass clippings that were collected from tees, greens, aprons and fairways during the summer months. In a typical season, this has meant he has been handling between 400 and 450 tonnes of soil, grass clippings and leaf litter a year and when the buggy path was installed there was up to 750 tonnes of waste soil to recycle. And he decided to compost the lot, returning it to the course as a fine, quality top dressing

.
“It took a long time and a lot of work to come up with a composting system but we got there in the end,” he says. “You need the area and a solid floor to allow the material to be turned and mixed to make quality compost. Without the infrastructure you cannot produce a quality material.”

Adding that the resultant "composted" top dressing is screened using an Ultra Screen, Mr Whipp says he is now in a position to easily handle the course"s annual leaf litter load, investment in equipment to collect the leaves in recent years helping to speed up the process.

“We tried a number of blowers and vacuum collectors before selecting Trilo equipment from The Grass Group,” he says. “We use a light B7 tractor mounted blower to clear the buggy paths, the unit blowing in both directions at once, meaning one lap around the buggy path and the path is clean. For larger areas, we clear using a really powerful BL960 blower and picking up leaf windrows with a 4 cubic metre capacity Trilo SG400 vacuum sweeper and a lighter Trilo SF150 vacuum mounted on a Toro Workman.”

Adding that the equipment has to work quickly and efficiently, Mr Whipp says the SG400 is also used to collect scarified debris from the fairways and is powerful enough to vacuum leaves from our ditch network too. But none of the collected organic matter goes to waste.

“We do not mix in sand or add anything to our composted material as this would be too difficult with the location of the composting site and the quantities we would need. This would also strain our budgets considerably, but we are producing a very good end product from what was considered waste years ago. Composting needs investment, infrastructure and patience. But with the right equipment it is well worth doing and beneficial to the course as a whole.”

Trilo cleans up in leafy Surrey


Situated in picturesque, leafy Surrey, Reeds School makes great use of a Trilo BL400 blower and Head Groundsman Grant Shuttle has got on so well with a hired Trilo SG200 vacuum collector, he is purchasing one of his own.

An independent school for boys up to 16 and co-educational in the sixth form, the Reeds School has 643 pupils who enjoy cricket, rugby, hockey and tennis. One old boy has been particularly successful at tennis – former British number one, Tim Henman.

Playing fields, including two astro turf pitches, extend to 10 acres, with another 26 acres of amenity areas and driveways, so that’s a lot of leaves for Grant and his two groundsmen to tackle!
“Virtually every pitch is surrounded by trees,” he confirms. “Some eight years ago, we decided to replace the dependency on pedestrian and hand held blowers with the tractor mounted Trilo BL400, and it stays on the Kubota L4200 for most of the year.” The blower is used extensively in the school grounds, from clearing leaves and sweeping driveways to removing dirt and debris from the astroturf pitches. An essential task in prolonging the life of synthetic sports surfaces.

“We blow leaves into piles with backpack blowers and then the BL400 just clears it all away,” says Grant. “With its 180° spout rotation the blower is really versatile and can get into the tightest corners in car parks and driveways.”

Although the blower generally remains on the tractor, Grant comments that attaching it is a simple matter of lifting it onto the tractors three-point linkage and connecting the PTO should the tractor be needed for other tasks in between.

For the past five years, Grant has also hired in an SG200 vacuum collector, using the wander hose to hoover up piles of leaves that have been collected with two Iseki mower-collectors and transporting them to a central dump site. It is also used to clear leaves from slopes, rather than bagging them and having to heave the bags around.

“It is so much easier and quicker to collect the leaves picked up by the Isekis from mini dump points rather than run them all the way back to the main dump,” he points out. “The SG200 is very powerful and copes easily with wet leaves but is still small enough to be manoeuvrable.”

The SG200 works effortlessly with a Kubota ME5700, although Grant says that a smaller tractor would be more than adequate if one was available.

A change in dump policy and the opportunity to purchase the SG200 at a competitive price were the factors that persuaded Grant to buy the vacuum collector.

“It will pay for itself over four years based on the hire costs and the Trilo machines are so well built and designed that I would expect it to last a lot longer than that,” he explains. “And our own SG200 will be used year round – the Iseki mowers can cut and collect before dumping the clippings in a pile for vaccuming up, again saving transport time 30-40 mins in total rather than the 30-40 mins per load.”

Grant comments that he has found both machines to be extremely durable and reliable. “They are such good quality, we have not had any problems or needed replacement parts. We also have a very good relationship with The Grass Group, whether hiring machines in or negotiating the purchase of a new one, so it works very well.”

On board with Inturf

On board with Inturf


Inturf Ltd - professional turf growers and innovators of modern grass products and systems has an offering that is now specified by world class venues in professional sport, and by respected landscape design and construction practitioners. So when they needed a likeminded professional organisation to supply the best equipment - they choose The Grass Group.

Here is what Stephen Edwards, Inturf Joint Managing Director had to say "The 2 x SG1165s have transformed the way we collect clippings"

The right direction for North West

The right direction for North West


Ian and Andrew Mercer had heard much about the SG1165k, but with the SG1100 they already had, saw no reason to change. However, after 15 years of faultless hard work, it was decided to retire their SG1100 and buy the North West Turf have taken delivery of a new SG1165k 6.5 metre 25 acres/hour vacuum sweeper.

"We have known Grass Group and the TRILO product since they started in UK 15 years ago, the company is easy to deal with, parts are never a problem, not that we needed many, and the product itself cannot be beaten. The SG1165k is a fantastic machine and we are very pleased we made the decision to upgrade"

Ian Mercer, North West Turf.

Higher and hire

Higher and hire


We have used The Grass Groups products for our hire business for a number of years now. The machines have proven themselves time and again, our customers like using them, they are very well built and if we need parts we get them next day. As our hire business continues to grow, we will certainly continue to add to our fleet"

Steven McInroy, Managing Director, SGM Hire

Rotadairon overseeder achieves impressive coverageRotadairon overseeder achieves impressive coverage

Rotadairon overseeder achieves impressive coverage


With demand for golf year-round and ever higher expectations from members, improving greens is an ongoing task for Greenkeepers.

The Grass Group’s Jon Proffitt explains that some clubs are not only overseeding twice a year to take advantage of the best grass growing conditions, but also like to keep on top of turf cover on a more regular basis.

“Hadley Wood Golf Club near Enfield, Middlesex, has had a lot of success with the Rotadairon RGD140 overseeder, and Head Greenkeeper Simon Grand uses a rolling programme of overseeding, treating any greens that need it,” he explains.

The RGD140 is used in a cross hatch pattern, with the second pass at 30degrees to the first, and Simon has reported strong growth after just 10 days, with the first seedlings emerging in less than a week.

Hadley Wood is seeking to increase the proportion of bents in its greens, to give a hard wearing playing surface with reduced maintenance requirements. The downside, Jon points out, is that Velvet Bent is a very expensive seed, so wastage must be avoided at all costs.

“Fortunately, the RGD140 has an exceptionally accurate metering system, so Greenkeepers can calculate sowing rates very precisely,” he explains. “Using a dial on the side of the hopper, the correct position is selected for this very fine seed, applying exactly 3kg per green. It’s really easy to use.”

Good seed to soil contact is essential, says Jon, and the RGD140 is equipped with steel discs to open a slit, adjustable from 0-60mm deep to suit the requirements of different seeds, into which a seeding shoe places the seed. A set of rubber tyres follows closing and pressing the slot to give the best possible conditions for germination.

“Greenkeepers naturally worry about lines left in the turf by overseeding, but in practice, after two passes, these can hardly be seen,” comments Jon. “The narrow 48mm spacing also helps, as well as giving really good coverage.” After seeding, best results are obtained by top dressing and brushing in, followed by a pass with a mower and roller the following day. But there need be no interruption to play, another concern at busy golf clubs.

“At Hadley Wood we were seeding with golfers playing towards us!” says Jon. “Simon commented that after mowing, there was no ball wobble at all where we had overseeded, so it does not impact on the quality of the playing surface.” Avoiding compaction and turf damage is another priority, and the compact, lightweight RGD140 can be comfortably handled by a 25hp tractor, which also leaves bigger power units free for more demanding renovation work. Drive from the seeder is taken directly from the rear roller and does not require a pto or hydraulics. Weights built into the chassis aid penetration on hard ground, but additional weights can be added if necessary.

“The overseeder is close coupled to the tractor, and this alongside the use of a floating top link allows it to follow ground contours and work accurately on undulating or stepped McKenzie greens,” Jon comments.

Capable of handling a wide range of seeds – even wild flower seeds - with simple calibration via a crank handle, the RGD140 would also be a good bet for a contractor or local authority as it is equally suitable for cricket and football pitch renovation, he suggests. At 1.4m wide, it has the capacity to be productive on pitches while being compact enough to work on smaller greens. “It’s such a simple machine to use – once the operator knows the required depth and seed rate, he can set it up in a matter of minutes. Overseeding is an easy and cost effective way of improving turf, and with the right machinery it can fit into the regular maintenance regime for best results.”

Dairon Overseeder helps keep Enfield Course to Tournament StandardsDairon Overseeder helps keep Enfield Course to Tournament Standards

Dairon Overseeder helps keep Enfield Course to Tournament Standards


The drive for ever higher standards and top quality year round golf is felt most keenly in the Home Counties, where numerous golf clubs compete for members. Enfield Golf Club in Middlesex has the advantage of a long history - founded in 1893, it was one of the first 500 Clubs to be established in the UK and has a picturesque, 18 hole parkland course. From Captain’s Day to Pro/Am tournaments, Course Manager Dane Watts and his team are always busy working to keep the course at its best.

“I have been Course Manager for seven years, and in that time we have been introducing bent grasses to the greens,” he explains. “Traditionally, our overseeding programme comprised verticutting before broadcasting bents onto the surface and then topdressing, but now we are looking to put the seed just below the surface.” With this in mind Dane trialled a Dairon RGD140 Overseeder from The Grass Group. The results were positive and with the purchase, now aims to use it for all 18 greens.

“The course can be affected by flooding, but we’ve improved drainage on the greens by drill and fill along with deep solid tining and regular aeration, and we’ve reaped great benefits. Couple that with The Dairon RGD140, which puts seed in at 10-13mm depth into slits created by its discs before a flexible roller closes the groove, and the results are fantastic. The greens look very good,” he exudes.

He intends to overseed with the Dairon three or four times over the summer to really get the bents established and outcompete the Poa, which is the bane of every Greenkeeper’s life.

Dane again, “The Dairon is very easy to set up, and we’ve even managed to keep the same tractor, so the whole process has been seamless. Seed rates are easily adjustable via a dial on the side of the machine. I’m currently looking at using 2-3 bags across the greens, but once I’ve done that it will be an easy step to rate up or down if necessary.”

One last comment from Dane, “I’d seen the Dairon and knew it was the right choice for us and didn’t want to look at any other machines. Local dealer Oliver Groundcare supplied the machine, and both them and The Grass Group were very helpful and supportive during trialling and machine set. I made the right choice and am really looking forward to using it across the whole course.”

Pro-Flex 120 comes up trumps for Knott End Golf Club – Andrew Smallshaw


“It’s great – easy to maintain, strong and robust. The whole team use it, it’s a dream to attach to the tractor and operate. You can easily reverse into tight areas; something we weren’t able to do with our old machine. I also can’t fault the service provided by The Grass Group – they travelled overnight to fix a parts problem.”

2 x 15 = 11,000? It does at Crawley Borough Council! TDR 15 –Derek Charman


A very easy machine to use, he says, like adjusting the cutting height for example. Another positive point is the dispersal of the cuttings. Some mowers throw the cuttings into the path, but the TDR15 throws them away from the path due to the opposite direction the blades are moving, clearing the ground as you go.

Pro-Flex Mower Handles Heavy Workload On Historic CoursePro-Flex Mower Handles Heavy Workload On Historic CoursePro-Flex Mower Handles Heavy Workload On Historic CoursePro-Flex Mower Handles Heavy Workload On Historic Course

Pro-Flex Mower Handles Heavy Workload On Historic Course

Although Vale Royal Abbey Golf Club is just 11 years old, the picturesque parkland course is steeped in history.

It is on the site of what was England’s largest Cistercian Abbey, founded by Edward I, who in 1277 laid the first foundation stone. In the 16th century, the Abbey was pulled down and replaced with the Great House, now an impressive Clubhouse. It is reputed to be haunted, and among the protected sites in the grounds is a Nun’s grave.

The present owners purchased the Club in 2001 with what remains an ongoing commitment to operate as a traditional Members’ club, although it has recently been opened up to visitors and societies, while the Great House is a popular venue for weddings and functions.

Course Manager Jonathan Betts has been at Vale Royal Abbey for six years and leads a team of six greenkeepers; previously he was Deputy Course Manager at Delamere Forest Golf Club.

Constructed with USGA spec greens, the course also has extensive areas of rough, which can take three days to cut. Course manager Jonathan explains: “We decided to look for a new mower a year ago, as our previous machine was struggling to cover the ground, and as a consequence of wear to the bearings, was beginning to cut unevenly.”

After looking at a range of machines on the market, Jonathan came across the Progressive Pro-Flex 120. “This mower really appealed because of its robust build quality. I’m well aware that we expect a lot from our mowers – the course was farmland before, so nitrogen levels are high and there is a lot of growth. We can be cutting 20/ha a week, and although we aim to mow once a week, rapid regrowth or the need for high presentation standards during a competition can make it more often.”

Reliability was another priority, as the previous mower had spent a lot of time in the workshop, and the 3/16in deck and heavy duty frame on the Pro-Flex 120 have certainly delivered, says Jonathan.

“The course is undulating in parts, and the five individual mower decks follow the ground contours well, with no scalping,” he
points out. “Plus the cut quality is excellent, very even with no clumping even in heavy growth.”

An acknowledged benefit of rotary mowers is their ability to cut in wet, and Jonathan confirms that the Pro-Flex 120 has been out in all weathers. “With its 3m working width, it is also very quick, which helps with our workload,” he says. “Another good feature is the folding outer decks, which reduce the transport width. It means that the greenkeeper can choose the most convenient route along the paths to the mowing job, even if they are restricted in width.”

The mower is pulled by a 50hp Kubota L5030, which Jonathan says is ‘more than adequate’ and a 32hp Ford 1920 has even filled in for mowing duty when required.

Maintenance requirement is minimal, and the hydraulically tilting decks help make routine greasing easier.

“We’ve just finished our winter servicing, and costs were very low – it even looks as if the blades will last another season,” Jonathon comments.

Supplied by Turner Groundcare of Chester, the mower was demonstrated and installed by Lee Ashcroft from The Grass Group.

“Lee showed us around the mower and set it up, which was very straightforward. All of our greenkeepers can use it, which is a bonus when you are busy. I would expect the mower to last at least five years as it is so robust and reliable.”

Pro-Flex mower adds new dimension to the roughPro-Flex mower adds new dimension to the rough

Pro-Flex mower adds new dimension to the rough


Members and visitors at the Thirsk and Northallerton Golf Club in North Yorkshire are getting more of a challenge from the rough and having to plan their shots with care, thanks to a thicker, more upright sward. This dense, healthy growth is an added benefit of the club’s purchase of a Progressive Pro-Flex 120 mower from the Grass Group.

“We previously used two sets of gangs, but they were becoming increasingly costly to maintain and service, incurring bills of £3000 a year, and it was hard to get parts for them,” explains head greenkeeper Roger Mackerell.

He began to research high output trailed mowing solutions for the club. “We couldn’t justify a dedicated ride-on rough mower, and as we have the tractors it made sense to continue to utilise them.”

The 3m cut Progressive Pro-Flex 120 was chosen mainly for its productivity and quality of cut.

“It used to take 32 man hours to mow all the roughs, but one tractor, one driver and the Pro-Flex can get through it in 18 hours, or two and a half working days,” Roger explains. “So our machinery and fuel costs are less and our maintenance costs have also been reduced considerably – the Pro-Flex is a relatively simple mower so the only service parts are belts, pulleys and blades.”

Blades should last two to three years and belts two seasons, so replacement parts costs are low.

Roger comments that the cut offered by the Pro-Flex is of a very high standard. “Cutting at 50mm, the blades create a vacuum which stands the sward up and it has thickened up considerably. This gives a more definition to the course and has really boosted its visual appeal.”

It can also cut in the wet, allowing the greenkeepers to get a head start in the mornings.

“The mower is very straightforward to set up and operate. It is a wide machine, but is surprisingly manoeuvrable in tight corners, especially as we have got more used to it,” Roger points out.

Routine maintenance is very straightforward too – blades are sharpened two or three times a season, the machine greased once a week, and every month the operator takes the guards off to check its overall condition.

The Pro-Flex 120 has proved very reliable and durable in the 14 months it has been on the course, Roger comments.

“Lloyd Ltd Bishop Auckland supplied the Pro-Flex 120 and we have a very good relationship with the representative Alistair Whitby, while the Grass Group came along and showed us all round the mower at the demonstration. We would look to keep this mower for 10 years, and given the lower maintenance costs, we would expect it to pay for itself in five years.”

This gives considerable peace of mind, he adds, and allows for forward planning for other machinery purchases for the club. “It is a brilliant mower and we have been really pleased with our purchase,” Roger comments.

Almost as pleased as the golfers who get their shots right and master the newly challenging rough.

Does this roller mower get its stripes at public school?Does this roller mower get its stripes at public school?Does this roller mower get its stripes at public school?Does this roller mower get its stripes at public school?

Does this roller mower get its stripes at public school?


Farmer turned groundsman: that’s Tim Parker who looks after the 80 acres of pitches and 50 acres of parks, gardens and lawns at The Royal Hospital School in Suffolk. He’s been head groundsman there for six years with a team of eight full-time staff under him, but his route into turf care came only after formal training in agriculture at Merristwood and life running farms.

In 1980 he took on groundsman duties at Woolpit Cricket Club, where incidentally he was also captain. It was a watershed year. “I joined the IOG when I started doing the club ground,” said Tim.

“I loved it so much it became an obsession and I decided to take on the voluntary post as Suffolk County Pitch Advisor for the ECB, which meant attending training courses at Cranfield College. I was then able to go to clubs around the county and give advice. Today, I still do written reports for the ECB to help grant aid applications for clubs.”

The ECB role gave Tim a great knowledge of sports surface maintenance, so when the job at The Royal Hospital School came up, he jumped at it. Presentation at the independent school is high on the list of priorities. In Tim’s words “we are always on show.” Last year he invested in a new mower to deliver high sports surface standards even more efficiently. Traditionally, a gang mower is the choice for large scale school grounds work, but Tim opted for a fresh approach.

“We already had a 3-metre Trimax and a 5-gang trailed Ransomes sports mower, which were both very good, but decided we needed greater capacity and speed and started looking for a triple roller mower. Tomlinson’s, the local dealer, suggested we gave the Progressive TDR-15 a try, which we did. Tim Merrell of The Grass Group came out to see us with the mower and we were especially impressed with the ease of use and cuttings dispersal. We liked the spare parts back up offered too.”

Surely he shopped around? “Of course we did. We also had a demo of another roller mower, which was also a very good piece of kit, but in the end decided to go for the TDR-15,” says Tim, adding. “The new mower is giving us a great quality of cut, great striping where it’s needed and we get it in a very speedy and efficient way.”

His new machine cuts all the winter sports pitches plus the fairways on the school’s 9-hole golf course. “It pretty much does all the large scale cutting,” says Tim. “We have discovered that it’s extremely good for football and rugby. Also, because of the rolle,r we’ve found it’s extremely effective on our four grass hockey pitches, keeping them nice and flat so the ball has a good smooth roll. We mow the pitches in conjunction with slitting which keeps the surfaces in good condition over all.”

The Progressive has uniquely shaped, curved blades that create an updraft, raising the grass prior to cutting. Tim says this is very effective and produces a clean, even cut. He is finding that grass is drawn up and cut quickly. The mower comes with a spanner set to alter the height of cut, which he says you soon get used to.

“We vary height of cut it according to the sporting need,” he says. “For rugby, we like to cut between two and three inches, but the hockey pitches are cut to about an inch. The striping is fantastic because of the weight of the rollers front and back. In the past , without exception, we would have used a cylinder mower for hockey pitches and cricket outfields. Now we use the TDR-15. Early in the cricket season, I’m using it just to roll, without even mowing, to achieve a flat finish and striping.”

Tim is using a 100hp John Deere 5100R, also new this year, to power the mower. The school grounds have many a slope, so a tractor that would keep the PTO speed up to maintain rotor speed was essential. He says he mows between 6 and 8 mph and gets a consistently good finish.

“If you take it beyond that, you risk bounce which will lift the roller decks off the ground, and that’s not what you need,” he says.“On well maintained ground, the TDR-15 is incredibly quick. You can fly.”

On the school’s football pitches, where there’s room to turn easily, it takes about 10-15 minutes to complete a cut. Ten passes does the job. Tim says the Trimax used to take about half an hour. But what about when it is wet? Does the deck get clogged with clippings?

“Sometimes when it‘s really wet it is possible for some of the grass to get stuck on the frame of the machine and drop off in clumps, but that’s very rare.” he says. “We do tend to brush the grass if it is wet with a large Sisis brush before mowing. As a rule of thumb, if it is too wet we just wouldn’t be cutting.”

The contour following is apparently very good. The machine’s three decks float independently and this means they cope with undulating surfaces more than adequately. There hasn’t been much downtime so far either.

“We had an issue once with one of the rollers sticking in the bearing,” recalls Tim. “Tomlinson’s came out and fixed it extremely quickly. Apart from general maintenance and blade sharpening every now and then, this mower’s always ready for work.”

Progressive Mower is Top of The Class!Progressive Mower is Top of The Class!Progressive Mower is Top of The Class!

Progressive Mower is Top of The Class!


With pupils playing sport every afternoon and matches on Wednesday and Saturday at Highfield and Brookham School in Hampshire, the grounds team have their work cut out to keep the playing fields maintained to a high standard.

A Progressive TDR 15 roller mower supplied by the Grass Group has halved the time required to mow the sports pitches, which are set within a 175 acre estate near Liphook.

The school, which was originally founded in 1907, has 240 pre-prep and 240 prep pupils, who play football, rugby and hockey, all on natural turf pitches as well as having access to a small golf course.

Estate Bursar Paul Harris explains: “We used a fairway mower previously, but wanted a wider cut width and lower servicing costs, so we decided to look at machines more suited to playing fields.”

A trip to Saltex to review the options resulted in a demonstration of the 4.7m cut Progressive TDR 15 roller mower, which was ‘very impressive’, as Paul says: “We liked the generous cut width and simplicity of the design. The TDR’s decks offer easy access for service and maintenance, and the cut quality is fantastic.”

The tri-deck mower uses high lift blades that create a vacuum to lift the grass for a clean even cut and to disperse the clippings evenly over the rollers.

Delivered last year, the mower was soon showing its strengths at Highfield and Brookham schools. “It has cut the time needed to mow the playing fields by half, so it takes just two days now,” explains Paul. “Given that we only have the mornings available for maintenance, this is highly significant to us. Yet the finish is excellent – the Head Groundsman has even used the TDR on the golf fairways with great results.”

Despite the wide cut width, the mower is easy to pull and manoeuvre, he comments. It is partnered with a 45hp Massey Ferguson tractor, and to fit through 12ft gates to access the machinery stores, the decks simply fold up to give a transport width of 2.13m (84in).

“The ability to lift all of the decks also makes the mower really easy to clean,” notes Paul, “Some rotary mowers are very enclosed, but we can jet wash the decks on the TDR 15 thoroughly and ensure that they are totally clean after mowing.”

Paul and his team have found the mower to be very robust and well-built and it has not needed any attention, despite the high workload – it can be cutting three times a week in the summer. The comprehensive package offered by The Grass Group includes the mower’s first service and blade change this autumn, and the school has been so impressed with the TDR that it has taken the opportunity to look at more machines from the company’s range at the same time.

“We thought that while the Grass Group were with us, we should have a demonstration of the Trilo products too – they have looked after us very well and we look forward to working with them more in the future,” commented Paul.

TDR15 roller mower earns its stripes at Cambridge College

TDR15 roller mower earns its stripes at Cambridge College


Supplied through Newmarket based distributor The Grass Group, Keith Ellis, Head Groundsman at prestigious St Johns College, Cambridge, has been using his ProgressiveTDR15 roller mower for over four years now, to maintain the ten-plus hectares of sports outfield currently under his stewardship. He says, “prior to acquiring the TDR15 we had been using a gang mower but had reached the point where maintenance costs were becoming prohibitive and an issue we needed to resolve.”

Keith explains “I wanted to take a different route and considered all our options, including trailed, but I was wary of marking of our surfaces, particularly when the ground was wet. Ideally I wanted a cylinder quality finish but pto driven. Cost was also a factor and having opted for the TDR15 we have found it to be the ideal cost-effective solution for the college. The design is both robust and simple, which means we can carry out most of the on-going maintenance ourselves. As a result we have found our costs in that area are around 10% of what they were previously.”

“The combination of a cut width of 4.7mtrs (15 1/2 feet), a variable cut height of between 13mm (1/2”) and 100mm (4”) and maximum cut rate of 11.3 acres per hour at 6mph, means the TDR15 is ideally suited for our cutting regime which is three times a week. Because it’s very light, at just 1690kg, scalping or surface marking is not an issue for us. The deck has an excellent flexibility range of 40% (15% down and 25% up) and 12% front to back.

We use it year round for summer cricket outfield work and for winter topping for football and rugby pitches. Cut quality compares very favourably with a cylinder finish and the rollers give us excellent striping for an enhanced visual appearance while also dispersing clippings,” says Keith. “The tri-deck design also gives an ideal cut quality if we work on any undulating areas and can also speed re-growth by promoting root-to-soil contact for divot repair. I must say that we have been really impressed with the TDR15’s combination of performance, reliability and cost savings.”

Most splendid cutting solution for Wynyard HallMost splendid cutting solution for Wynyard Hall

Most splendid cutting solution for Wynyard Hall


Described by Nikolaus Pevsner as the ‘most splendid 19th Century mansion in the country’ Wynyard Hall in the Tees Valley is now a luxury country house hotel. And its grounds are being maintained to the highest standards by Mark Birtle and his team using a Progressive TDR-15 roller mower from the Grass Group.

The versatile tri-deck mower cuts 120 acres of parkland, including two amenity areas in front of the house which lead down to a landscape lake.

Mark explains that the requirements for the parkland are particularly exacting: “The owner does not want visible grass clippings, so the sward is cut from 3in down to 2in, once a fortnight, or once a week around the hall itself. It takes two to three days to cut, depending on the weather, and the TDR-15 does an excellent job.”

Purchased three years ago to replace a set of trailed gangs, Mark says that not only does the TDR-15 cut more quickly and efficiently, it also offers an improved finish, with no unslightly clippings left behind.

The mower has also revolutionised clearing up after the bulb flowering season, he adds: “We have two bulb areas, and once they stopped flowering, it used to be necessary to flail the stems, wait for the cuttings to dry and then pick them up with a mower collector. In just two cuts, the TDR-15 disperses all the clippings so there is nothing to pick up – it is much easier and less labour intensive.”

Mark comments that on the undulating parkland, the tri-deck design closely follows ground contours and the rollers leave an attractive striped finish.

“It is far superior to using gangs, but is also simplicity itself to operate and care for – we have to cross a couple of historic bridges, and the decks fold neatly for transport.”

The 4.7m cut mower is pulled by an 80hp tractor, and Mark comments that it is a frugal piece of kit. “When I saw the TDR-15 being demonstrated it did not seem to be power-hungry, and it has certainly proved that here, even on the bulb areas and on undulating ground.”

Ease of maintenance and simplicity are major plus points that Mark also picks out. “It is a robust, simple machine which has proved itself admirably at Wynyard Hall,” he comments. “There is so little to go wrong – when it goes out in the morning I know it will come back in one piece. I have only sharpened the blades once in three years, yet the quality of cut remains consistently high.”

He adds that he has also enjoyed excellent back-up from their local dealer, Lloyd Limited of Bishop Auckland, who have maintained a keen interest in the machine.

The Grass Groups CTI tines are a hit with Brookmans Park GC - Nick Billingt


“The range is very competitively priced,” he says, “so far we have only placed a couple of orders but are likely to be buying more in the future. They are strong, hard wearing and have lasted well - I am very pleased with them. I have also been impressed with The Grass Group’s level of service and will beasking them to look at the full variety of different types of tines we require.

Trilo cleans up for City of London CemeteryTrilo cleans up for City of London Cemetery

Trilo cleans up for City of London Cemetery


With countless trees in the scenic landscape of The City of London Cemetery, leaf collection is a demanding task which lasts from the beginning of autumn until late spring.

The land at Manor Park in East London was purchased by the City Corporation in 1853 to provide space to alleviate the problem of overcrowded burial grounds in the City.

Laid out to the designs of William Haywood, the accomplished City Surveyor, the Cemetery was opened in 1856 as a sophisticated landscape that successfully combined beauty with functionality, and contained a range of structures and buildings of high architectural quality. This 200 acre Grade II listed site is operated under a Conservation Management Plan designed to guide the care of the landscape in the future.

David Kemp is in charge of the buildings and technical services, which includes machinery purchasing and maintenance, and with his team of six machinery operators, also undertakes the arboricultural work on the site.

The Cemetery has recently purchased its third Trilo SG450 vacuum collector from The Grass Group, which David says handles a workload equivalent to two men. Leaves are raked to the roadsides and collected with the 350mm diameter suction hose, and blown into the 4.5cu.m hopper via a powerful pto driven fan, making leaf collection a one man operation.

“The Trilo is in use for six or seven hours a day, four days a week in the season,” explains David, “So we do work it hard, but it has proven to be a robust, reliable machine.”

Excellent suction and the ability to rotate the hose through 270 degrees makes light work of collecting wet or decaying leaves from awkward areas.

Leaves are emptied from the tipping hopper to a height of 2 metres, and David comments that the entire process can now be activated from the tractor cab, rather than the driver having to get out and release a catch, which offers considerable time savings and increased convenience.

All functions are operated from a remote control box, making it easy for any tractor driver to get the hang of the Trilo, according to David, and another update now makes the box detachable from the machine. “This allows it to be taken away for dry storage, which is a big improvement,” he adds.

Clearing leaves and litter makes for plenty of wear and tear, but David expects each machine to last four or five years, and he says that with normal care and maintenance, it stands up to the rigours of the work well.

“Maintenance is basic – just greasing and checking joints which may be affected by the vibration of the work – and access to service points is good,” he comments.

Service and back-up is provided by the Grass Group direct and David says that he has an excellent relationship with the company. “It is not the cheapest machine on the market, but does an excellent job for us, and as far as I am concerned there is no alternative,” he says.

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