This Open Day was run in conjunction with Syngenta, ALS Ltd, Scotts, and the STRI with each of the companies represented by experts in their own fields. Keith Kensett and John Fitzpatrick from Kensetts, took charge of the machine demos bringing with them various Graden machines together with the GPAir deep probe aerator, the PlanetAir and the Enviromist sprayers.
Responses came flooding in from all over the UK and Europe to the extent that we were somewhat concerned that the day was going to end up being a mini Glastonbury and Keith started advising people to bring their own portaloos.
Approximately 60 people turned up on the day, some driving from miles eg Peter Craig and Neil Harvey of the Hurlingham Club, Neil Smith of the Belfry, Cees Wolters of C van der Pols flew in from Holland and people drove in from Wales and Scotland just for the day.
Kim Blake, the extremely experienced course manager of Fulford Heath Golf Club had met Keith at a Graden Sand Injection demonstration but they really hit it off when Keith saw the monster 2,000 litre sprayer that Kim had built himself. Kensett then supplied Kim with the Enviromist SD5000 sprayer which he has been using with great success for the whole of last year.
Fulford Heath Golf Club were incredibly hospitable, considering they had less than one week's notice to provide venue, lunch and drinks for everyone. The food was superb and the staff didn't bat an eyelid. We would like to say a very heartfelt thank you to all involved.
The talks held on organic matter control, overseeding techniques and the Enviromist sprayers, were brief and to the point and filled with interruptions from Keith, who couldn't help voicing his thoughts on each subject at any given moment. It gave people the confidence to ask any questions they wanted without feeling awkward.
Keith and John demo'ed the machines with great success, including the superb Graden Sand Injection with fescue and bent overseeding attachments, the revolutionary PlanetAir, which cannot be described successfully in words and really does have to be seen to be believed! The GPAir pedestrian deep probe aerator, also attracted a lot of attention.
The demo of the Enviromist sprayers provoked a huge amount of interest - Bob Bolland MBPR, the Non Executive Director and Consultant of ALS commented 'All the practical work you did showed us all the importance of being ahead of the game, especially the Micron sprayer - that opened a few eyes. We contract a lot of hectares of selective weed control and this might make us one step ahead of the rest.
Another big thank you goes to Sibelco who supplied us with the kiln dried sand used for the Graden Sand Injection, at just a little under 2 days notice. Also to Sims Garden Machinery from Stratford on Avon who loaned us one of their Kubota tractors for the day.
There were people from all types of business and the atmosphere was greatly enhanced by the mix of business interests and end users who attended, all having a chance to compare their experiences of the machines they were already using and to discuss the potential of the machines they were earmarking for future consideration.
Keith does have one apology to make, which is that some of us here at the office, as we felt there should be someone in charge of taking people's names, pointing them in the right direction, etc, however, Keith was sure he could manage on the day but soon realised the error of his ways upon handing over a couple of bedraggled name sheets bearing only a handful of names, and covered in mud to his long-suffering officer manager, Jane 2!
The Open Day was such a success and so enjoyable, that the companies involved are committed to repeating the event not only in the UK but throughout Europe and into the Middle East. However, this is dependent upon a strict promise from Keith Kensett to Jane 2 that he will give just a little more notice of the next event!!