Most of you will, no doubt, have noticed that the Pitchcare website has had a facelift. Our web development department have been busy (and amazingly quiet) working hard to ring the changes. The site is much crisper and, more importantly, easier to navigate and to source relevant information.
After eleven years of existence, we have gathered, written and accumulated a huge amount of information, and the biggest single reason for the overhaul was to allow turfcare professionals easier access. For example, we now have a dedicated technical reference section where you can look up anything from diseases and pests to pitch markings and salary scales. Our monthly diaries have always been one of the most popular areas of our website, and these are now more prominently displayed.
Of course, it would have been remiss of us not to take the opportunity to redesign the website, and this has been done to allow easy viewing on hand-held devices, but also paves the way for far more video streaming, shopping and member interaction.
After a change, I always find the first few visits a little baffling, working out where things are again (it's an age thing, Ed.), but I have now got used to them and have found surfing easier. I am also told, by our clever web monkeys, that it will allow them to add lots of new functions over time.
We had our first frost of the season this morning (14th Oct) and so I thought I'd check out the long range weather forecast to see what we have in store. Whilst all the usual agencies say that their offerings are provided with "low confidence", it's interesting that most are suggesting that this winter will be cold again, with airflow coming from Scandinavia.
Mind you, all the early reports last year were saying that winter 2011/12 was going to be even colder than the previous three. The reality was an extremely mild few months, with very little snow and ice about.
The weathermen want to wait until the end of November before committing themselves but, what they are currently forecasting, is that the wet and windy weather we have been experiencing for much of the year, will be back again over the next few weeks. That sounds like a safe bet to me!
The appalling 2012 weather has continued to plague the UK. Rain, rain and more rain, on already waterlogged soils, has made it the worst year many can remember for our industry.
Summer sports suffered considerably, with cancelled games and reduced revenues, but the implications of a wet summer - whilst seeing good lush, top growth - has meant root systems have not had to drive down through the soil in search of water. These shallow root systems will be the cause of failing winter surfaces, and it's a long winter before the spring warmth returns to aid recovery.
The various company open day events, seminars and roadshows that myself and my colleagues have attended recently, were all very well supported by greenkeepers and groundsmen. These have all been really well organised, allowing end users to get up close and personal with the products, whilst also seeing how the various companies function.
Events like these are not cheap to run, but the signs are that more and more companies are joining forces with non-competitive partners to provide even more meaningful and complementary demonstrations and displays for the benefit of attendees, whilst sharing the costs of the bacon butties and refreshments laid on to keep them fed and watered.
There are now so many ways to view and gather information and, in these frugal times, companies have to spend their pound wisely to gain maximum benefit whilst, at the same time, providing a worthwhile visitor experience.