A new business for Steve Nixon but in an area of the turf industry that is very familiar to me. Having started my career as a mechanic, then going on to be a Greenkeeper for several years I spent a large part of my professional career working for Bernhard and Company.
After a short spell working with a local Ransomes Jacobsen dealership I have gone back to a part of the turf maintenance area that I know well, enjoy and totally believe in.
So I have formed Reel Solutions a company specialising in all aspects of cutting technology, providing an on-site regrinding service, which includes full winter regrinds and mid-season touch up grinding. Also training and education will be an area that we will be very active in, providing training for existing grinder operators in the correct use and maintenance of their systems, also training at various levels in the maintenance and setting of mower cutting units. Correct setting and maintenance of the cutting units is something that is often overlooked, but it is vital to how your machinery performs, the after cut appearance and health of your turf.
Another service that Reel Solutions will be providing is pre-tournament preparation, this is when an organisation has an important event or tournament pending, Reel solutions will come in a few days before and make sure all the cutting equipment is in perfect condition and performing to the best possible standard therefore allowing the GreenKeeper/Groundsperson to concentrate on all the other million and one jobs that need to be done. Having personally been involved in machinery preparation at many major golf tournaments around the world I will be bringing my experiences and knowledge to help ensure that everything is cutting and performing to the highest possible standard.
Timing Is Essential
Providing an on-site sharpening service gives the customer a level of service that can only be matched by owning your own grinders (only we provide the labour and expertise), but it also enables the customer to decide when is the best time for them to have their equipment sharpened.
Traditionally we have the mowers sharpened in the winter months when the equipment is being used the least because of how long it can be away at the repair shop. This makes perfect sense that you don't want to be without your equipment when you need it the most, you get the cutting units back from regrinding with new bottom blades fitted and all the cylinders sharp.
Then the first few times mowing with the freshly sharpened cutting units you clean up all the worm casts, twigs and other winter debris from your turf, therefore quickly starting to blunt and damage the blades you have just spent a small fortune on getting sharpened. By the time you get into your full growing season the mowers are not cutting anywhere near as good as when you first got them back from the grinding shop!, but traditionally this is the way we have always done it because of the small window of time you can allow your mowers to be off site.
Why not sharpen the cutting units after you have cleaned up the winter debris from your turf, let last season's blades do the clean-up job and then have them sharpened just before you get that lush new spring growth. Your mower blades will be in perfect condition at the time you need them most and now will stay sharper for longer into the season with proper regular maintenance and resetting.
Then a regrind during the cutting season will take you in to the winter with your mowers still in reasonable condition, therefore not ripping and damaging the turf at a time when the turf is at its most vulnerable. This is just one of the reasons I felt a mobile resharpening service could be a benefit to turf managers as they don't lose control of their equipment at vital times and gives them full control of their maintenance programs. Mow in the morning and then we can sharpen the mowers in the afternoon ready for the next morning's cut.
Demand for Better Quality
Practises in turf maintenance have changed a lot over the years with more top dressing being used, frequent aeration, lower heights of cuts and the demand for better presentation, but in a lot of cases our sharpening rituals have not moved forward with the demand for increased turf quality. The way your mower cuts every day can have an enormous impact on how your surface is presented, it's playability and how the turf stands up to the stresses that it is subjected to. So don't compromise on your quality of cut it is a huge part of your maintenance jigsaw.