Martin Sampson

Lead Instructor and Assessor

Martin delivers a wide variety of Lantra, City & Guilds (NPTC) and UK Rural Skills accredited training across the country, covering all types of pesticide application, sports ground maintenance, and the use of tractors, ground care machinery, ATVs and hand held equipment. He is also a City & Guilds (NPTC) Assessor for pesticides and land-based machinery, a Lantra End Point Assessor (EPA) for greenkeeping and sports turf, oversees the company's Lantra Customised Provision courses, and is a visiting tutor for one of the country's foremost land-based colleges. Martin also provides consultancy and advisory services to commercial organisations within the ground care sector.

He has more than 35 years’ experience in the ground care industry, beginning his career in the valleys of South Wales with Taff Ely Borough Council where he learnt his trade as a groundsman. He worked his way through the ranks, eventually achieving the post of Area Grounds Maintenance Officer for Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council. Martin left Wales in 2000 to take over at Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City. He then went on to develop his career in the private sector, working at a number of prestigious facilities including;

Head Groundsman - Harlequins Rugby Football Club

Director of Grounds - Epsom College

Grounds Maintenance Manager and Head Groundsman - Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, Twickenham

He was also an FA appointed Pitch Judge for the Groundsman of the Year Awards.

Martin holds a number of turf culture qualifications, including the National Practical Certificate in the Science and Practice of Turf Culture and Sports Ground Management and the National Technical Certificate in the Science of Turf Culture and Sports Ground Management.


Chris Parry

Chris Parry

Qualified Instructor - sports turf maintenance

Chris Parry has more than 35 years' experience as a groundsman and horticulturalist and is currently Head Groundsperson at a foundation of four independent schools in the East Midlands. He began his career in the maintenance of local authority green spaces and sports facilities and his experience is wide ranging and varied, including the maintenance and preparation of cricket squares and wickets, bowling greens, football, rugby and hockey pitches, grass tennis courts, athletics fields, golf course greens and tees, synthetic surfaces, the installation and maintenance of drainage and irrigation systems and general estates maintenance. Chris was previously an FA appointed pitch judge for its Groundsman of the Year awards.

His previous positions include Head or Deputy head groundsman positions at:

  • Leicester City Football Club
  • Harlequins Rugby Football Club
  • The Dorsington Estates
  • University of Warwick
Doug Price

Doug Price

Qualified Instructor and Assessor - spraying, machinery and equipment

Doug has worked with the Grounds Training team since its inception and is one of our most enthusiastic and experienced Instructors and Assessors. He also makes a valuable contribution to the development of our training courses, most recently designing and delivering our stem injection course for the control of invasive weeds such as Japanese Knotweed.

Doug's background is as an agricultural/horticultural and crop sprayer engineer, a path he followed for over 20 years. In 1996 he became Depot Manager for an agro-chemical company, and it was during this period that he commenced his training to become a City & Guilds registered Instructor. In 2000 he achieved his D32 qualification as an Assessor, and in 2017 he resumed a previous qualification (held from 1998 until 2002) as a Lantra Instructor and Assessor.

Doug achieves an enviably high pass rate with his learners, who appreciate his friendly, approachable nature, his enthusiasm, and his impressive knowledge of all the subjects he teaches. Keen to remain current, Doug gained his C.A.A. licence to operate drones, working with a Harper Adams special interest group (SIG) formed to explore use of drones in agriculture and other industries for crop spraying.

Frank Newberry

Frank Newberry

Supervisory and Communication Skills Tutor

Throughout his career Frank has worked extensively with groundstaff and greenkeepers, and well understands the particular challenges faced by those in supervisory and management positions at sporting establishments, public schools etc. He is a gifted communicator who is as effective at energising huge conferences as he is at coaching people one-to-one. Frank has more than 40 years' line management, consulting and training experience in the public, private and voluntary sectors and brings an innovative yet down-to-earth approach to training and development. Since 1992 he has worked as a consultant and conference speaker working principally in the grounds management and greenkeeping sectors. Prior to this he was employed by British Telecom in various roles, including Tutor and later Head of Group at BT Management Training College, and Senior Consultant in BT's Consultancy Unit.

Frank's Key Professional Competencies include:

  • Master trainer (interpersonal skills, assertiveness, customer care)
  • Accredited Recruitment and Selection Assessor
  • Speed Reading/Speed Memory training design
  • Customer Service Training and design
  • Change management consultant
  • Consultancy Team leader
  • Conference Speaker
  • Trainer team leader
  • Meetings Facilitator
  • Executive Coach
  • Business English Teacher
  • Careers Counsellor

John Handley MSc

Ecology Tutor

John delivers a range of ecology courses for Grounds Training. He has more than twenty years of experience working within the amenity sector, has a Masters degree in Biological Recording from Birmingham University, and functions as an effective bridge between the amenity horticulture and ecology; an area where there is a developing awareness that more attention will be required. John is a qualified tutor, but it is his experience as a practitioner, seeing systems from a manager’s perspective, which is a real strength. He understands issues from the inside and recognises how to support and communicate to teams to help them create their own solutions.

John started off in farming and spent over a decade in the amenity sector as part of the contracts team at Amenity Land Solutions, progressing to the role of Senior Technical Manager within Maxwell Amenity. His interest as a botanist made him aware of the significant declines in our natural world: born in 1970, within his lifetime there has been a 68% decline in global wildlife populations. As a Senior Technical Manager, John was able to influence management and help the company engage with the changes needed to meet the growing challenges of the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

His ongoing aptitude for, and commitment to, education encouraged him to complete a Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector and his passion and enthusiasm has enabled him to become an Associate Tutor for the Field Studies Council, a charity he promotes because of the training he undertook and for its ethos of inspiring children and adults about nature. He also teaches at Manchester Metropolitan University, one of the few remaining UK universities still teaching whole organism ecology. John's consultancy helped Natural England develop the Long Term Monitoring Network, a database that is increasingly providing insights into the impact that we are having on the natural world within England. He has also worked as a surveyor for Natural Resource Wales, the Forestry Commission, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.


Melvin Pooley

Melvin Pooley

Qualified Instructor - sports turf maintenance

Mel is a Sports Surface Consultant involved in various projects in East Anglia and is currently a lecturer in Construction at the College of West Anglia. Mel joined the construction industry as an apprentice bricklayer in 1961, gained his City & Guilds craft certificates and then carried on with his studies to complete his HND at Cambridge College of Technology. He has held positions in construction management during most of his working life, where he gained his Industrial Management Qualifications.

In 1968 Mel became the Assistant Groundsman at March Town Cricket Club in Cambridgeshire, where he was a regular team member. Mel studied in his spare time to expand his knowledge of sports facilities and attended courses to gain his qualifications in groundsmanship. He became the Head Groundsman in 1975 and still holds this voluntary position. In 2003 he began his studies at Cranfield University and gained an MSc in Sports Surface Technology. He is a qualified NVQ Assessor and also an Internal Verifier for City & Guilds Qualifications.

Mel has been lecturing in Sports Surface Construction and maintenance for six years and is a qualified teacher, having gaining his PGCE in 2005. He delivers all levels of sport surface courses but specialises in cricket. He is also an ECB pitch adviser for Cambridgeshire.

Richard Murray

Richard Murray

Qualified Instructor - sports turf maintenance

Richard started his career within the horticultural industry covering all aspects of grounds and shrub maintenance and handling equipment of all types, eventually achieving the position of greenkeeper instructor at Reaseheath College.

Building upon the knowledge and experience gained during his 7 years in horticulture, Richard then spent the following 10 years as an approved contractor, carrying out all aspects of tree surgery and landscaping for the commercial and private sectors and local government. Following a period of intensive training, Richard then took responsibility for a team of local authority groundstaff maintaining large areas of open space, shrubs and grass areas to new government standards.

After 40 years in horticulture, arboriculture and sports turf culture, Richard decided in 2009 to channel his energies into passing on his knowledge and became a freelance instructor within the ground care industry, delivering training courses ranging from in-house instruction to nationally-recognised qualifications including Lantra Awards and City & Guilds (NPTC).