Happy 100th birthday Rigby Taylor

By Alistair October 31, 2019 08:30 Updated

One of the biggest suppliers of course management products to greenkeepers, Rigby Taylor, is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. We speak to executive chairman Chris Clark.

Chris Clark

Rigby Taylor is celebrating its centenary anniversary this year, congratulations! What do you think the 100 years has enabled Rigby Taylor to bring to the daily management programmes of greenkeepers throughout the UK?

Rigby Taylor provides the finest, most diverse range of products and solutions for an equally diverse range of applications and budgets, giving the best results for our customers; all underpinned by exceptional and continual research and development.

Unparalleled logistics in terms of supply chain and delivery ensures we meet market demand in terms of budgetary constraints, changing practices, climate change, sustainability and the never ending quest for the optimal playing surface.

Rigby Taylor’s specialist, technical support team services the daily needs of customers, whilst at the same time ensuring all customers are valued and receive top quality products with a cost effective service to match.

A strong, reliable partnership between Rigby Taylor technical specialists and greenkeepers has been key to the success of both parties

All those maintaining the golf course are as responsible as any other in the club for member retention and the visitor experience. How does Rigby Taylor work in close partnership with course managers to support the maintenance programmes?

A strong, reliable partnership is key; the course is the jewel in the crown of any club and working closely together with the course manager, Rigby Taylor technical specialists build integrated maintenance programmes to deliver quality playing surfaces, satisfying playing members and visitors alike. Introducing advanced fertilisers such as Microlite with super micro granules ensures exceptional accuracy and application consistency. Such products and programmes deliver long term sustainable value to the club and the greenkeeping team in terms of plant health, course presentation, superb playing surfaces, all within a manageable budget.

Rain Bird sprinklers in action

Rigby Taylor is now working in partnership with companies such as Bayer, Rain Bird and POGO. How did this come about and  how will this benefit golf clubs?

The technical ability, national coverage, marketing acumen and the highly efficient logistics capability of Rigby Taylor makes an attractive proposition to any manufacturer or distribution partner. Bayer, Rain Bird and POGO, and others, all saw the potential in a market leading partnership.

Beyond the obvious benefits these partnerships bring, they allow Rigby Taylor to advise on, and support, a wider range of integrated solutions, bringing greater benefits to turf professionals. Take, for example, water management issues. We have had an industry leading range of wetting agents for many years but quite often a problem in this area can have more than one cause; irrigation being one so we considered that there was an opportunity to use this knowledge and expertise in the application of water and it was from that point the partnering with Rain Bird came about. Another case in point was Bayer’s decision to partner with Rigby Taylor in the launch of Exteris Stressguard, its new turf fungicide.

Rigby Taylor can advise and deploy the specialist skills and solutions to solve a range of multifaceted issues, saving customers’ time and money as well as ensuring top quality results.

With the withdrawal of chemicals, sustainability is increasingly to the fore. What immediate steps are Rigby Taylor currently taking to support the needs of the maintenance of the course and what steps do you envisage clubs will have to take in the future?

I would consider that chemical revocations and sustainability are very much parallel paths rather than sustainability resulting from revocations. In all aspects of our lives our environment, climate change and preservation of finite natural resources demand new sustainable approaches.

Prevention has always been better than the cure, Rigby Taylor undertakes extensive research and development to provide synergistically beneficial and sustainable products and programmes to help turf professionals meet the growing demand of their customers in an ever more challenging environment.

A Rigby Taylor grass seed trial plot

In the eight years since you picked up the company reigns you have instigated a number of across the board strategic improvements. How have these improvements benefited those maintaining golf courses and what can new customers expect when doing business with Rigby Taylor?

Focused product development underpinned by extensive research and development, and integrated manufacturing and distribution capability has allowed Rigby Taylor to both anticipate and respond to the demands of current and future customers.

Rigby Taylor has an extensive capability both in terms of breadth and depth developed, honed and maintained over the last 100 years. Even with people living longer it is still near impossible for an individual to possess 100 years of experience, but an organisation can. Based on that cumulative experience, new customers can be sure that Rigby Taylor will have a cost effective solution for any amenity management situation. Success and satisfaction for us is when the customer returns and product doesn’t.

What is Rigby Taylor doing to meet the sudden needs of greenkeepers for products in reaction to climatic conditions and how can clubs with reduced budgets benefit?

Across the board advanced ordering is diminishing, Rigby Taylor has a 100,000 square feet warehouse in Lincolnshire and next day delivery of product all at the click of a button via web ordering. However, this does not detract from the fact that we are a customer-focused business working on a personal level with the people doing the job and to advise clubs and course managers of the best way to manage, improve and maintain their playing surfaces and who need to work within a level of budget that the club can well afford. We look to achieve the best outcome working together in partnership as ultimately, it is the golf club members we are satisfying on behalf of the club.

Rigby Taylor has circa 50 highly trained consultants / representatives visiting UK golf courses. How do they maintain a high level of expertise?

Rigby Taylor understands that customers always have a choice and therefore if they have placed their trust in the use of our products, then they must be rewarded with a high level of support. For many years the company’s recruitment strategy has been focussed on selecting individuals who have had direct experience in turf management. All field staff are provided with extensive and constant training on turf agronomy, product knowledge and are supported by a team of product managers who have expertise in such areas as grass seed breeding and selection, turf nutrition, soil and plant health, water management and spray application. Currently 86 per cent of the current field staff have previously been employed as greenkeepers or groundsmen, which enables them to relate, directly to the customer, their problems and can offer potential solutions

How do you see Rigby Taylor serving the next generation of course managers for the next 100 years?

Rigby Taylor will never rest in the pursuit of the value added advice, products and services to meet the aspirations of turf professionals and their customers. The future presents any number of exciting challenges and Rigby Taylor is well placed to play a leading role providing golf course greenkeepers with products and services that combine traditional practices with innovative solution.

Throughout the company’s history, the Rigby Taylor strategy has always focused on identifying the future needs, evaluating the opportunities and introducing products that provide meaningful and long-term benefits. For us, technology creates the opportunity, innovators make it happen.


By Alistair October 31, 2019 08:30 Updated

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