GM3 At West Herts 50 Years On

GM3 At West Herts 50 Years On: The first Toro Greensmaster 3 ride-on mower was sold to the West Herts Golf Club in Hertfordshire in 1969. And fifty years later the GM3 is back at the club where it all began, united with the person who sold it all those years ago.

Rochelle Bedford, marketing manager at Reesink Turfcare, the sole Toro distributor in the UK for golf and sports fields equipment and irrigation products, says: “As Toro celebrates its centennial milestone serving the golf industry across the world, it encouraged us to look back at how it all began for Toro in the UK.

Andy Smith – Course Manager and John Cockburn – (former) Oliver Landpower


“We discovered that the very first GM3 sold in the UK was still going 50 years later! Also uncovered was the club that bought the machine and who sold it!”

The person in question, John Cockburn, tells us how it all came about: “I was working for Flymo in 1968 when I was told we’d be receiving a prototype of a new machine to trial and debut at a three-day exhibition in Meyrick Park in Bournemouth. That machine was the Toro Greensmaster 3.

“I was working with two demonstrators, Graham Pooley and Geoff Urquhart, at the time and seeing as none of us had used the machine, we decided to ask Meyrick Park Golf Club, which neighboured the exhibition centre, if we could trial the machine there. They kindly said yes, so early in the morning of the first day of the show we cut all the greens at the club to see how the machine performed.

“We were all really impressed, and with a better knowledge of how well the machine worked we cleaned it down and returned it to our show stand. We were able to demonstrate the machine with more confidence and got good feedback from customers.”

And it was this positive response which led to Flymo ordering 14 machines when they launched, the first of which John promptly installed at West Herts Golf Club. Many things have changed over the years, but there are some constants. Installation training upon delivery and the brand’s reputation for producing long-lasting, reliable mowers to name just a couple.

John says: “The machines proved to be extremely reliable, doing a first-class job and quickly building up a good reputation. We easily sold all 14 of the GM3 mowers in that first year, along with others that followed.”

Andy Smith, course manager at West Herts Golf Club since 1993, says it was a ‘blast from the past’ having the GM3 back at the club: “Seeing the GM3 really took me back to how things used to be. West Herts is a Toro club through and through. From the very beginning it recognised the quality of Toro and all these years later, we still consider it to be the brand to be beaten.”

In the early-80s Lely UK, as now Reesink, took over the distribution of Toro and what has built up since is a reputation centered on reliability, durability and support, says David Cole, managing director of Reesink.

“The Toro Greensmaster 3 was an innovative ride-on product born from Toro’s established golf focus and it projected the brand into the UK as a producer of high quality, innovative golf equipment. Since then a mutual trust has developed between our customers, us as distributor and Toro which can be truly viewed as a partnership. We’re extremely proud to have represented Toro and its product values for so many years and we thank our UK golf customers for their long-standing loyalty, confidence and trust.”

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Trilo A Help At Mid Herts GC

Trilo A Help At Mid Herts GC: Located in the Hertfordshire countryside, Mid Herts Golf Club is one of only a few heathland courses based in Hertfordshire. After being neglected for a number of years, a project is underway to re-establish the native heather around the 18 holes by Course Manager Jody Wilson. Assisting Jody in creating the ideal growing conditions, is his team of five greenkeepers, and a fleet of machinery from Trilo. 

“I first came across the Trilo product during my time at Woburn Golf Club, where we purchased one of the first machines in the UK” explains Jody, who has now been at Mid Herts for 13 years. “In my opinion they are leading the market for leaf and debris collection so when our previous machine started causing us problems, I turned to Trilo to look at alternatives.” With two Trilo BL740 blowers already in the shed, he added an S4 vacuum sweeper to his collection over the winter of 2017/18.

Trilo A Help At Mid Herts GC

The club has been working closely with Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust on a plan to open up woodland areas to encourage the regeneration of heather, which has been a big project for Jody. “We have a lot of oak trees which have encroached on the course over the years which means our leafing season goes on and on. Heather and long grasses don’t like organic matter, so in an effort to create the right conditions, we collect every single leaf that falls – a daily task in the winter. We use our BL740’s to blow the debris off the course where it is then collected up in the S4.” In use from the moment it arrived, the S4 collected over 140 loads (or 560m3!) of leaves over the autumn/winter period.

While mainly used for leaf collection, Jody also has the flail attachment for the S4 meaning they can now cut and collect the long roughs in one pass, which was previously conducted by two separate machines. “Now we can do both jobs simultaneously, we’re saving time and manpower and the interchangeable attachments make it a versatile, year-round machine.”

“Where we’ve been clearing the leaves away, the heather has been naturally reoccurring across the course. It’s been an ongoing project for me for the last 10-11 years, but we’re now making real progress. Both us as greenkeepers, and the players, are delighted.”

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