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Toro deal for Downfield GC

Toro deal for Downfield GC: Having worked at Gleneagles and St. Andrews, John Watson, course manager at Downfield Golf Club in Dundee, knows a thing or two about immaculate greenkeeping. As well as expertise and timing it’s about having the right equipment, which is where the club’s exclusive relationship with Toro comes into play.

John explains: “I’m a firm believer that when it comes to maintaining greens, it’s best not to overcomplicate it. Simply, if you want to produce the best finish you need the best machines.

Toro deal for Downfield GC

Toro deal for Downfield GC

“That’s why we work exclusively with Toro – the quality of the machines and the standard of the cut is better than anything.

“We’ve been using Toro for years and you get what you pay for. The machines are simple to operate, have very few technical problems and the build quality is the best in the market. We like the ease of servicing and that a lot of the bearings are sealed meaning they require less maintenance.”

Downfield Golf Club has a full mowing fleet on site, which includes greens, tees, fairway and rough mowers, utility vehicles, sprayers and aerators.

“In having an all-Toro fleet we are able to streamline our consumables,” continues John. “For example, we use one type of engine oil and one type of hydraulic oil which, from a servicing point of view, makes our job more straightforward.”

John heads up a six-strong greenkeeping team who are responsible for maintaining the course, which has previously hosted prestigious tournaments such as S.P.G.A Masters, P.G.A Scottish Open and been a former British Open Qualifying Course. The course is famed for its location within lush Scottish parkland, as well as its diversity of tree species and native wildlife.

The Toro fleet is operational all year-round with the Greensmasters out daily, the apron mowers out three times a week and the fairway mowers cutting twice a week.

Having such a rigorous schedule it’s imperative that the machines are in excellent working order and John credits Rab Wilson from exclusive Toro distributor, Reesink Turfcare, with quickly trouble-shooting any issues to minimise down-time.

John continues: “Rab is fantastic. We get on very well and he will always come to our assistance immediately if we have any problems, although they are few and far between.

“It’s all about getting the job done at the right time and if you haven’t got the right kit you can’t do it. We are experiencing more extremities in the weather – colder, drier springs, milder winters, prolonged periods of snow and ice – so in having the Toro fleet we know we have the very best machinery for the job!”

To find out more about the Toro range or the finance options available, call Reesink Turfcare on 01480 226800, email info@reesinkturfcare.co.uk or visit reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Multi-Seeder ‘pivotal’ at Downfield GC

Multi-Seeder ‘pivotal’ at Downfield GC: After spending almost three months under constant snow and ice, a Multi-Seeder from Redexim has been crucial in regaining coverage on the greens at Dundee’s Downfield Golf Club.

Having previously borrowed or hired a seeder when required, the arrival of the Multi-Seeder 1600 in April 2021 couldn’t have been better timed for Golf Course Manager John Watson as the recovery from winter die-back commenced.

Multi-Seeder ‘pivotal’ at Downfield GC

Multi-Seeder ‘pivotal’ at Downfield GC

John and his team of six have been busy working on a number of projects around the 18-hole parkland course, including thatch removal and improving the drainage on some challenging clay-based greens. The investment in course condition continued with the purchase of the club’s first seeder. “I had seen a few reviews of the Multi-Seeder, and after speaking to Scott McNeil at Hendersons, they arranged to bring a demo unit in for us to carry out some overseeding on a couple of greens. I knew straight away it was going to be the machine for us!”

Under the guidance of Redexim, the Multi-Seeder dimple seeder has been re-engineered to feature an all new seed ratio and seed feed system which offers incredibly accurate distribution for all seed types – including bents. “A bag of bent seed is expensive so you want to be getting the very best germination possible with every bag. The Multi-Seeder fitted with two sarel rollers creates thousands of pots, at the perfect depth, to achieve just that and it was this feature that impressed us on the demonstration and sealed the deal.”

Following a tough winter, John has so far covered all 18 greens twice, with some additional work carried out on particular problem areas. “We lost so much coverage and it’s not an exaggeration to say that the Multi-Seeder has been pivotal in getting the greens back to where they should be. Having our own seeder now means we can carry out the operation when conditions are just right – our most recent pass, with favourable weather and growing conditions just right, gave us germination in seven days.”

John concludes, “It’s a great piece of kit, nice and simple to set up and operate. This Multi-Seeder is going to be a great asset for the club and help us greatly in our strive to constantly improve overall course condition.”

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Downfield GC choses Super 500

Downfield GC choses Super 500: The resourcefulness and positivity of Course Manager, John Watson, and his team of six, at the parkland course of Downfield GC, Dundee, saw them through a tough ‘stop-start’ winter.

“You can only worry about what you can control,” said John Watson, brushing aside that a relentless combination of ice and 12 weeks’ snow cover, played havoc with well laid plans for the first quarter of the year.

Downfield GC choses Super 500

Downfield GC choses Super 500

Fortunately, John Watson’s purchase of two machines from local dealer, Fairways GM at Kinross, last November, helped him make the best of any weather windows.

The first was a Wiedenmann Super 500, 3-in-1 high dump, sweeper collector, which is famed for being able to keep working in frosty conditions.

“It’s been permanently attached to a hydrostatic tractor; it works a treat on that, so smooth. Primarily, it was for leaves and then of course, rough management. It picked huge amounts of leaves right away, and then a few storms meant we virtually had to start again. Leaves are vacuum packed nice and tightly. We high dump them into one of our 5 tonne cage sided trailers. We’ve taken photos of what it does and quite honestly, it’s so good, people think we’ve used Photoshop,” continued John.

The second machine is the Maredo MT200 Flex Verticutter, supplied via GroundPro to Fairways GM and indeed, to all Wiedenmann UK dealers.

The Maredo has three mechanically driven heads which follow contours individually and can give either a light groom or verticut, or a deep scarify, down to  a maximum 25 mm, particularly appropriate to greens, tees and aprons.

“I chose the Maredo for its manoeuvrability. It’s on a three point linkage behind the tractor so when it comes to doing tees or greens, it’s just a case of pulling up the lift lever. They are light, quick and easy to position in the tightest of spots. What I like is they drop the organic matter and debris behind the machine rather than up in the air and there is no running it over.  I was also conscious if you hit a stone, it wasn’t airborne, so for me it surpassed the H&S requirements and it worked better for us than others demonstrated. Just in the last few weeks have we been out scarifying the practice area ridding it of moss and organic matter down to about 8 mm. It’s neat and thorough.”

John’s ethos is to work smartly and productively, maximising output with all of his team involved.

“We have three tractors and they all work in tandem when we cut and collect the rough, we have one tractor running back and forward with the trailers, taking them to be emptied and to drop off points around the course, one blowing and the other working the Super 500 constantly with no wasted journeys back and forward to empty.  Same principles with the Maredos; when we are scarifying, we use our blower to row up the debris, the Super 500 to collect and trailers positioned for high dumping. None of this is rocket science but organise well and you make the most of a good day,” continued John Watson.

Mike Lindsay, Fairways GM’s Area Manager said: “The Super 500 and Maredos will work well together.  John had been keen to add them to his machinery feet for some time and now they are doing exactly what he’d planned.”

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ICL Praised At Downfield GC

ICL Praised At Downfield GC: ICL products have been a mainstay throughout John Watson’s 20 year greenkeeping career, and the Downfield Golf Club Course Manager has recently singled out H2Pro TriSmart and Greenmaster Pro-Lite Invigorator for praise.

This beautiful parkland course in Dundee was once described by Paul Lawrie (1999 Open Champion) as ‘one of the finest inland courses in Britain’ and has played host to many prestigious events over the years. In 2016, Downfield was chosen as a qualifying course for the Senior Open which was played at Carnoustie. In the past, it has seen the Scottish PGA Open, the SPGA Masters, Scottish Amateur Championship 2014 and the UK Girls Home Internationals all take place. It was also the venue for the 1999 and 2007 Open Qualifying stage.

ICL Praised At Downfield GC

John has been in the industry ever since leaving school and after landing the Course Manager position at Downfield he revealed that he was keen to further improve the course.

“I’ve been a greenkeeper for 20 years and have used ICL products throughout my career. All three of my main areas (greens, tees and fairways) are covered by ICL products.”

John firstly focussed on his greens and has noticed a significant improvement since applying H2Pro TriSmart wetting agent.

“My greens have always performed well but I am of the mind-set that there is always room for improvement. I started using TriSmart and it has worked really well for us. The greens are not drying out as quickly as they used to and even the greens that are prone to drying out because of nearby tree roots are retaining moisture better.

“We go with our first application in April and continue to apply it on a monthly basis until September at 10L/ha. We try to get it on early because the greens tend to dry out in April when the spring winds start coming in.”

For his tees and aprons, John has reported fantastic results from using Greenmaster Pro-Lite Invigorator 4-0-8+2MgO+4fe. Over recent years, Greenmaster Pro-Lite Invigorator has gained a reputation as an outstanding micro-granular fertilizer for high quality, fine turf nutrition and just last year ICL launched  Greenmaster Pro-Lite Invigorator Plus 4-0-14+2MgO+8Fe. This new formulation features a higher iron and potassium content than the original Invigorator.

“We used the original Invigorator last year at the start of April after aeration work and we saw a very good recovery, good colour and it lasted for over six weeks which I was extremely happy with.

ICL Praised At Downfield GC

“This year, we had a prolonged spell of rain through the winter, so I decided to go with an application of Invigorator Plus as it has a higher iron content and because we had a bit of moss on the tees. In the past I haven’t used granular feeds on my tees but the more experience that I have gained, the more I have learnt about the course and what it needs.

“With the added iron content, we saw a good bit of colour within a couple of days and then we saw the growth within a week or so. I actually decided to apply it to the greens as well.”

The new Invigorator Plus contains the mineral polyhalite, which has been found to bring enhanced turf colour and quality responses. It is a complex crystal product discovered at a depth of 1300 metres below the earth’s surface under the North Sea and is mined at ICL’s own mine in Cleveland – a site which John has been fortunate enough to visit.

“I went down the mine recently and it is great to be in a position where I have seen how it goes from a raw product through to a final product suitable for an end user. I’ve also been over to the laboratory in Holland and after seeing both of these I would say that it gives you confidence in just how good the ICL products are. You see first-hand exactly what goes into a producing a bag of fertilizer for example. The research and science behind this process really is quite remarkable.”

Please contact ICL on +44 (0)1473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

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