As one of the newest and most advanced playing surfaces in the world, Eclipse has certainly made an impressive entrance to the UK sportsturf market; replacing the soil practice pitch at 'The Grove Hotel' in Watford in 2014, one of the 'Leading Hotels of the World'.
A former home of the Earls of Clarendon and favourite weekend destination of Queen Victoria, this 5 star hotel is now a championship golf resort, award-winning spa, and home to a practice pitch used by many professional sports teams who stay and train at The Grove, including England, Barcelona, Spurs and the American Football teams from the National Football League when they head to England ahead of their annual fixtures at Wembley stadium.
Director of Ralph Trustees Limited, owners of The Grove, Chris Andrews said: “Our original pitch was constructed by M J Abbott one year after the golf course and the Hotel had opened. Despite being extremely well received whenever used over a number of years, we all recognised that we would have to invest in a new surface if we were to meet the increasing demands from both the FA and the NFL."
"We started to look at what alternatives there were available to us in the market place. We quickly discounted full fibre and Desso options because the nature of business at The Grove is that whilst we need to be able to deal with relatively short periods of intense use, this usage is not consistent throughout the whole year and therefore the quantum of investment was not justifiable."
"We needed to come with a more imaginative solution and this is where County Turf, ably assisted by our agronomist Charles Henderson from PSD Agronomy Ltd, took up the reins and came up with the solution we have today.”
Charles Henderson explained why he recommended the use of Eclipse for this project: "A solution to fit in with The Grove’s unique business model was required, the hotel had a pitch with functional drainage and positive levels. American Football use combined with shade present on the pitch ruled out more traditional rootzone reinforcement systems and complete reconstruction of the pitch was not being considered. Motz Eclipse provided flexibility to work with the existing pitch drainage in place and achieve the necessary improvements without complete reconstruction of the pitch profile whilst providing high levels of confidence in surface stability. This resulted in significant project savings for The Grove. In addition the turf being grown off site provided much more flexibility for timing of the works”.
Chris Andrews continued: "The best praise is that which comes from the end users and I am happy to say we have had nothing but praise from the NFL. They are actively promoting the playing surface to the teams that come into the UK each Autumn as part of their series of games at Wembley. The NFL coaches and players have told us that they have found the surface very safe to use without slipping and with excellent traction. They can change direction quickly and safely and the surface is not too hard. The FA are also now using the pitch on a regular basis during their stays at The Grove instead of just training off site, so this is great news for us and with Watford being in the premier league it is going to be a busy year on our new pitch! I am confident we made a very good decision and have absolute faith in the product and County who continue to look after us and are a pleasure to work with."