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Arsenal FC and Wimbledon (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club)


Jeff Lenihan

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London is the location this week. Yesterday was a morning trip to Arsenal FC's Training Centre to meet with head groundsman Steve Braddock.

 

With us, we brought an Air2g2 and a Koro with a Universe rotor. The staff there tested out the Air2 on a patchy area of grass and used the Koro to clean out one of their Desso Grassmaster pitches.

 

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The Air2G2 on demonstration at Arsenal FC's Training Centre.

 

The Universe rotor on the Koro did a fantastic job of removing the unwanted grasses and leaving the Desso fibers in the ground. Steve is very knowledgeable about his natural grass, and was even kind enough to show me their artificial turf as well. You can see it below in the picture being used as storage for their equipment and tractors!

 

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Koro on a Desso Grassmaster pitch

 

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Left was before and right is after the Koro (they had raked and broken up the turf before on the left)

 

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Artificial pitch being put to good use at the training centre

 

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First team pitch. It's the end of the season and it looks fantastic

 

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Steve, me, and Andy from Arsenal

 

In the afternoon, we took a trip to Wimbledon and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC), the home of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

 

Neil Stubley, the head groundsman, is just the eighth head groundsman at the AELTC since it was founded in 1868. Neil took us to see most of the courts, including Court #1, #2 and the famous Centre Court. They keep the Centre Court and Court 1 under guard 24/7 and that security is tightened further when tournament time comes around.

 

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Me with Neil Stubley, head groundsman at AELTC

 

Neil explained to us that they try to keep all 41 courts there up to Championship standard as many days out of the year as possible. One of the ways they do this is by using a Koro on every court after the tournament, even the hallowed grass of Centre Court. Neil has been Koro'ing for ten years and has seen the benefits of Poa annua control that it provides.

 

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#2 Court. Drainage is handled by underground pumps because this court was built 5 meters below the water table

 

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Centre Court at Wimbledon

 

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Overhead roof is adjusted during the day to let light get to certain areas. Weighs 1,400 tons.

 

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No. 18 Court

 

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No. 1 Court is covered to give it some extra growth in time for the tournament in 5 weeks

 

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Tennis ball made completely out of succulent plants

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Guest Mike O'Keeffe

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Great post, great visits with Steve and Neil who both hosted Ohio State students in the past.

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