UCL Groundsman of the Year praises Headland Amenity for Welby Road pitch transformation

With 12 years of greenkeeping experience under his belt, Carel Fourie has been turning his hand to the maintenance at Holwell Sports FC. And he’s made quite the impression, scooping the United Counties League Groundsman of the Year title for 2019/20. Assisting Carel with the transition from fine turf to sports turf has been Alex Hawkes of Headland Amenity, who has overseen the construction of a nutritional programme that has boosted the health, appearance and playability of the Welby Road pitch.

“What started out as an advisory role, and carrying out the occasional spot treatments, turned into me being appointed as the club’s first permanent groundsman three years ago” explains Carel. “While I have done a lot of spraying and built up knowledge on a range of Headland products for golf, getting to know what would work for football was a real learning curve.” Following soil sampling and analysis by Alex, a programme was introduced based around Multigreen® temperature-controlled release fertiliser.

With field longevity of five to six months, Carel applies Multigreen® 28-3-15 in early summer and follows this up with an application of the 15-0-22 formulation in September. “Despite our heavy clay profile, Multigreen® gives us a long-lasting source of Nitrogen, that can be supplemented with other products for targeted treatments.” While Carel uses a range of Headland products in his nutritional programme, worth particular note are a tank mix of Elevate Fe®, Xtend® and Clipless NT® which is applied every six weeks through the summer to boost the visual qualities, together with a combination of Turfcomplex® and TriCure AD™ which has proven to successfully nurse the pitch through periods of dry weather and drought.

“I utilised the time during lockdown to conduct some heavy renovation work which included hollow coring and overseeding, which germinated really well largely thanks to nutrients sustained in the soil from the previous application of Multigreen®, alongside a treatment of H-Cote™ Mini which I put down in early March.” The lockdown also didn’t stop the invaluable technical support from Headland. “I was sent a kit to take my own soil samples which Headland then analysed to make sure everything was still on track. There were a couple of times where WhatsApp came in handy too, with Alex able to identify some issues we were having with Brown Patch via video call when he wasn’t able to visit the site.”

With golf and football firmly on his CV, Carel is also now undertaking some work at Melton Mowbray Cricket Club. “Each surface brings its own unique challenges, not to mention the added complications that COVID has presented, but we’re nothing if not versatile, and with enthusiasm and the right advice I relish those challenges!”

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