0 Wiedenmann News

Ascot Racecourse choose terra spike to assist with £185 million redevelopment

Ascot Racecourse, currently undergoing a £185 million redevelopment programme, has purchased a Wiedenmann Terra Spike XF to assist with maintenance of the new turf at the prestigious horse racing venue.

The Terra Spike XF is the very latest deep aerator from Wiedenmann and is up to three times faster than conventional deep aerators. That was one of the prime reasons behind head groundsman, Gilly Gilford's decision to purchase this particular machine.

"The speed that this machine operates is superb", he said. "Time is an important factor and we have achieved 13 hectares in just two days with the XF. We are paying particular attention to the newly turfed areas, especially the Straight Mile Flat Course."

The rebuilding of the Straight Mile has been a significant achievement and is major feat of engineering having been moved 42 metres north of its original position. It has a very high sand content, unlike the original soil, which was loam based.

"The high sand content will greatly aid the drainage, especially as we have lateral drains every 6 metres along its entire length. However, it can compact quite considerably, especially after heavy rain", he said. "Regular aeration with the XF across the full width of the track will help keep the ground open and provide the 'give' that we need for racing."

The XF was purchased from local dealer, TH White Ltd in Reading, who have provided various turf maintenance to Ascot over the years. Commenting on the XF, Jeremy Tonks, Territory Sales Manager said,

"Obviously Gilly is very impressed with the speed of the machine, but it also has other benefits which make it a viable alternative to other aerators. It is very low maintenance with a minimum of greasing points. It is very smooth in operation and its vibration dampening system is very efficient resulting high levels of operator comfort. Removing or replacing different tines can be achieved in minutes, due to its patented tine retention system."

Gilly Gilford is a highly respected figure in the racing world and has been responsible for the Ascot turf for the past 10 years. Previously he worked with United Racecourses at Epsom and other courses within the group.


Bob Wiles and his greenkeeping team at the prestigious RAC Golf & Country Club at Woodcote Park near Epsom racecourse, have taken delivery of the latest deep aerator from Wiedenmann UK.

The new Terra Spike XF, the quickest deep aerator available in the UK, is being used on both the Old Course and the Coronation Course to keep compaction at bay plus further increase root growth.

"We use 12mm tines for deeper penetration on the fairways during the Spring and Autumn renovation period and in the Summer needle tines on the greens to keep the surface open with minimum disturbance", said Bob Wiles.

"The major advantage is the XF's speed. Its productivity is excellent and the time savings allow us to do other important tasks around the courses. Our members expect the highest standards, so we need the best equipment available", he added.

Woodcote Park was purchased as a Country Club for RAC member in 1913. It is situated in 440 acres and stands on the site of a twelfth century abbey. The clubhouse is a magnificent Palladian mansion built in 1679 by Richard Evelyn (brother of diarist John), and mentioned in the diaries of Samuel Pepys.

Glasgow Accies and Glasgow High School both choose TERRA SPIKE XF

New Anniesland is one of the largest sports facilities in the West of Scotland and is the home of the Glasgow Academy School. It includes six full-sized rugby pitches, a grass hockey pitch, a grass football pitch plus training area, a cricket square, three floodlit all-weather pitches, four squash courts, six tennis courts and a 400 metre athletics track. These impressive facilities are also shared with The Glasgow Accies Rugby Club, and in June last year hosted the Under 21 Rugby World Cup.

Maintaining this huge sports complex is the responsibility of head groundsman Rab Cheape and his team. To keep the natural grass surfaces playable all year long is no mean feat and Rab has recently purchased the latest deep aerator from Wiedenmann UK to help him with this task.

The Terra Spike XF is up to three times faster than conventional deep aerators and since it joined the turf maintenance fleet at 'The Accies' in September last year has been used constantly.

"With our previous machine we could only aerate one rugby pitch a day," he said. "Now, with the XF, it's possible to do three a day and it's turned a job that was once perceived as a chore into one that the team don't mind undertaking."

Since taking delivery last Autumn every pitch has been deep aerated at least three times; on one occasion the Accies 1st XV pitch was hollow cored to a depth of 75mm in just 3½ hours. Rab also stated that since the arrival of the XF they have not lost a game to wet weather.

Summing up the benefits of this latest piece of equipment, the former winner of the Scottish Cricket Union's Groundsman of the Year said,

"The XF is an excellent piece of kit; fast, reliable and requiring only minimal maintenance due to some clever design. It's robustly constructed and well supported thanks to a good working relationship with Wiedenmann UK."

Another deep aerator for Erskine golf club

The picturesque location of the golf course at Erskine Golf Club on the banks of the river Clyde belies the vagaries of the soil on which it was constructed over 100 years ago. With an assortment of clay, shale and volcanic rock it presents a major challenge to head greenkeeper, Alex Donaghy, and that's why he's purchased a Terra Spike XP deep aerator from Wiedenmann UK.

"The club purchased a Wiedenmann M180 about 11 years ago and it has provided sterling service in that time", he said. "It has been used extensively on the greens, tees and approaches and even on occasions, the fairways. However, we always endeavour to provide our members with the best possible playing surfaces and have now purchased the XP specifically for fairway work."

The machine was delivered by local dealer Nairn Brown in January and by the end of April Alex and his team had completed two passes around the course with two more passes to be undertaken this season. The plan is to aerate to a depth of 10"-12" to improve drainage and get a better run off and dispersal during heavy rain.

However, it's not just water from above that Alex has to worry about. The location of the course alongside a tidal section of the river Clyde has resulted in a couple of his greens and fairways occasionally being submerged in seawater during exceptional spring tides. Surprisingly, they have some of the best grass growth on the course!

Alex joined the Erskine club seven years ago and has been head greenkeeper for the past five years. At the moment he is at the Level 4 stage, studying for an SVQ in Horticulture & Sports Turf Management. Upon completion he will be one of only 12 in Scotland to have achieved this distinction.

The Erskine course measures just under 6,500 yards and has a par of 71. Recent improvements include refurbishment of many of the strategically placed bunkers and the addition of new Medal Tees at the 9th, 13th and 14th, which increased the yardage of these holes.

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Contact Kerry Haywood

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