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Greenkeepers to the fore

Greenkeepers to the fore: Episode three of Syngenta Golf’s new docuseries Changing the Business of Golf is streaming now – and follows the greenkeeping team as they transform Stanedge Golf Club.

‘On Course for Change’ features Head Greenkeeper Christian ‘CJ’ Johnson as he oversees a major course upgrade while coping with new parenthood; Greenkeeper David Morgan renovates an overgrown par-three; and we meet new recruit James Wyatt, a pilot grounded by the pandemic, as he swaps runways for fairways.

Greenkeepers to the fore

Greenkeepers to the fore

Watch now: syngentagolf.com/changing-business-golf

“Nobody really notices the role of the greenkeeper,” says James, who is seeing golf from the greenkeeper’s perspective for the first time. “Everybody comes along, they play their golf, they expect the greens to be tidy, they expect the grass to be in good condition, but you don’t tend to see all of this as a player.”

But it’s not just customers who have high expectations. New course owner and PGA Professional Fame Tate believes course conditions are critically important to the customer experience – and the long-term success of her business.

“The golf course was my number one priority for change,” explains Fame. “If we were going to get people back, it was the golf course that was going to have to change.

“I want it to look absolutely immaculate. And as much as I wanted to wave my magic wand, make grass grow and make the greens perfect and do all these things instantly, I very quickly realised things take time.”

Join Fame, CJ, James and David as the turf team transform the Stanedge course to meet the demands of a growing membership.

And catch previous episodes following Fame’s remarkable one-woman mission to change golf, transform the customer experience and make her club a friendly and inclusive community venue.

Watch all episodes, streaming now, on Syngenta Golf: syngentagolf.com/changing-business-golf

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Toro at the fore for two clubs

Toro at the fore for two clubs: Green Circle Leisure is bringing in more Toro to keep standards high as it embarks on the next stage of development across two of its clubs in the North West.  

For five years, Toro machinery has been at the forefront of Green Circle Leisures’ investment in Allerton Manor Golf Club in South Liverpool and Sherdley Park Golf Club in St Helens, Merseyside. Now with both clubs having made great progress, two new Toro Greensmaster 1000 walk behind cylinder mowers have been bought in to provide the best possible maintenance for the new turf across the new greens and tees of Sherdley Park.

Toro at the fore for two clubs

Toro at the fore for two clubs

In 2015, Green Circle Leisure, the official golf operating partner with Liverpool City Council, purchased a fleet of Toro machinery from Cheshire Turf Machinery in Stockport, as part of the reinvention of Allerton Manor Golf Club. The company’s excellent relationship with Cheshire Turf Machinery, and the reliability and quality of Toro machinery, led to Green Circle Leisure purchasing additional Toro machinery for Sherdley Park Golf Club in 2018, after becoming the operating partner of St Helens Council.

Steve Halley, managing director at Cheshire Turf Machinery said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Michael Hanlon, chief executive at Green Circle Leisure, and his team and witness the transformation of the golf courses and facilities in their care. Since 2015, as well as investing in new equipment, Green Circle Leisure has moved to protect that investment by confirming maintenance programmes with us on all their machines, helping to ensure the continued improvement of the golf courses.”

Director of golf, Bryan Joelson-Mulhall explains: “Over the past few years we’ve invested in both Allerton Manor and Sherdley Park, with our goal from the start to provide facilities as good as or better than private members clubs, while staying affordable and accessible to the whole community. In order to continue making improvements to the courses in line with our goals, we need the best machinery. And having the best machinery means Toro.”

A number of improvements have already been made to both clubs, with more on the way as the redevelopment continues, and this led to Green Circle Leisure to add to its Toro fleet with the purchase of two Greensmaster 1000 walk behind cylinder mowers for Sherdley Park.

The Greensmaster 1000 is ideal for greenkeepers needing an efficient and easy to operate walk-behind mower that delivers an excellent quality of cut. The front weight bias offsets the operator’s natural tendency to place weight on the handle, allowing the reel to better follow ground contours for a consistent cutting height, plus it is uniquely weighted, front to rear, providing greater turf penetration.

“We’re working to make Sherdley Park an all weather course, suitable to play year-round,” says Bryan. “So that means new greens, new tees and new bunker systems. We needed high-quality walk behind mowers for the maintenance of new turf as it grows in, and the Greensmaster 1000 is perfect for that.”

And with planning permission approved for the next phase of work at Allerton Manor, it certainly seems like its fleet of Toro machinery, which includes two Greensmaster 1600s, two Greensmaster 1000 pedestrian mowers, a Greensmaster TriFlex 3400, a Reelmaster 5510-D, and two Groundsmaster 4000-D machines among others, will be put to work over the next couple of years.

“We’re going to be turning the course at Allerton Manor from a par 67, to a par 72,” says Bryan. “That’s alongside a brand new golfers pavilion, adventure golf course for families, a driving range, hotel and spa and a new greenkeeper compound.”

Richard Shields, Allerton Manor head greenkeeper said: “We are always looking at how to improve the courses, and Toro does a fantastic job keeping standards high and improving the quality of the course. We don’t hesitate to bring in more Toro when needed as we know the importance of having reliable, quality kit.

“Since 2015, Toro machinery, the after-service care from Cheshire Turf Machinery and Reesink Turfcare and the feedback from the team have all been good, so we’ve no plans to change a winning formula.”

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

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