With a bias towards winter sport, forgive me for talking, again, about the high quality of the majority of the pitches that our Groundsmen produce. The winter brought with it a mixed weather bag and plenty of rain, which caused problems for those with a heavy fixture list.
With the advent of portable lighting systems, it is quite easy to see the haves and have nots. I believe that three quarters of the Premiership grounds now use artificial lighting to induce growth all year round and that has proved its worth, the pitches at Aston Villa, Newcastle, Tottenham and Arsenal, amongst others, have looked superb all season. The fact that a near 100% sward of grass can be maintained throughout the dormancy period, under lights, speaks volumes for the future of natural grass.
The April-May issue of Pitchcare magazine sees the end of our third year in print and I am deeply appreciative of all the contributors who willingly (along with a bit of badgering from our editor) provide good technical and practical articles for inclusion. It is no mean feat producing a 100 plus page magazine for each issue, particularly because 70% of the pages are filled with top quality editorial. Of course, we always welcome more articles so if you would like to see yourself, your club and your experiences in print then please give one of the team a ring or email your article to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of you will be aware that our new look website is now up and running. It offers an easier and more navigable framework for members and is completely free to join.
We have already received lots of positive comments on its evolution and we continue to look for ways of improving the site further. The membership sits at well over 31,000 as I type, that's an awful lot of industry knowledge under one roof!
We put daily news and articles on the site, including working diaries for all grass sports. In total there are now over 5,000 articles, all fully retrievable, using the search function and, in addition to this, the message boards offer around 50,000 postings and replies. If you can't find an answer to your question from here, post a new message and you'll generally receive good advice in as little as a few minutes.
We have also made the shop far more prominent. I know (from talking to people) that many didn't even know that Pitchcare has a large on-line shop. We offer around 3,000 items across materials, machinery and products at very competitive rates.
We are continually bringing members special offers, and shopping online has never been easier. If you're after larger quantities, please ring the sales team for best price.
As you will see from this issue, we are continuing to drive forward with our educational courses. Working with our partners we are able to provide training to one man bands and staff groups alike. Having completed another successful Essential Management Skills, we are now looking to book you on to one of three more courses organised for this autumn. If you manage staff and would like to improve your managerial skills then get yourself on this enjoyable and very reasonably priced 2-day event.
Best wishes to all of you for the coming months.