Sports turf contractor's results fuel recovery hope

Business upturn noted by MJ Abbott for last year as firm looks ahead to further progress in 2014.

Filly Course: reconstruction job - image: MJ Abbott
Filly Course: reconstruction job - image: MJ Abbott

Sports turf contractor MJ Abbott has reported a strong upturn in business in 2013 and anticipates making further progress in 2014.

The company was among 130 exhibitors at the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition at the Harrogate International Centre (21-23 January). It said its golf construction division enjoyed a particularly successful year.

"In 2012 we only constructed three golf holes - two at Effingham Golf Club and one in Woking - but 2013 was a completely different story," said contracts director Steve Briggs.

"The year got off to a strong start with an 18-hole reconstruction of the Filly Course of the Outer Course at Royal Mid-Surrey and a complete rebuild of 14 greens at Long Ashton in Bristol."

Small projects were also undertaken, notably bunker refurbishments at Copt Heath, Gerrards Cross, North Hants and Flackwell Heath, along with an irrigation reservoir and reconstruction of tee complexes at Birchwood Park Golf Centre in Kent.

The sports division also reported an exceptionally busy year, with 16 natural pitches and a 3G artificial facility constructed for London Irish RFC, turf pitches at three academy schools in Sussex and two sites in Buckingham plus a reconstruction of the sixth-form cricket ground at Harrow School.

"We are excited about the prospects for 2014," added Briggs. "We have a number of orders on our books already, golf course architects and sports turf consultants are busy preparing tenders and there is a vibe around the industry generally that things are improving."

Industry event - Visitor record surpassed

The BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) reported a record year for visitors, with more than 8,500 people attending the three-day show. Rigby Taylor marketing director Richard Fry called the show the "best for many years".

New British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association chairman and Chippenham Golf Club course manager Chris Seale added: "It's been fabulous. I've spoken to turf professionals from America, Australia and all across Europe as well as the UK, which just goes to show the global appeal of BTME."

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