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Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years

Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years: Gullane Golf Club in Scotland and Toro certainly have history. With the latest deal taking it to 25 years, it’s a partnership claimed to have produced putting surfaces as close to perfection as nature will allow. 

That accolade was made about the effect of the Greensmaster TriFlex Hybrid 3420 mowers on the course for the Scottish Open three years ago and with a new machine in the club’s last order, clearly the Toro effect continues.

Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years

Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years

“Toro gave us the attention to detail to create near-perfect conditions. It always has, and it’s why this latest deal takes our relationship to a quarter of a century,” says course manager Stewart Duff.

With three 18-hole courses, Gullane No. 1 carved into ancient links turf, Gullane No. 2 sweeping down to a nature reserve, and Gullane No. 3 with views across Aberlady Bay to the Firth of Forth and beyond, it’s no wonder the club is regarded as one of the most picturesque golf spots in the world. And with a state of the art short game practice area, driving range and children’s course as well, Toro certainly has a lot of area to cover when it comes to maintaining the course. Helping with that is the Groundsmaster 4700-D, which is a like-for-like replacement in the last order from Toro distributor Reesink Turfcare.

Stewart explains: “We split our Toro fleet between the courses as we have so much ground to cover, but there are a couple of machines we use across all three; the Groundsmaster 4700-D is one of those machines. With a cutting width of 12.5ft alongside a high-powered engine it’s incredibly productive.”

And it certainly gets put to good use at Gullane, says Stewart: “In the growing season we have the machine in use five days a week across all the courses, doing three times the amount of work compared to our machines that just work on the one course. So the 4700-D that we had in our last fleet for four years, actually did the equivalent of 12 years’ worth of work – but even then, it was still going strong when we signed the new agreement.”

Joining the Groundsmaster 4700-D and the Greensmaster TriFlex Hybrid 3420 mowers in the last fleet purchase was the Toro Workman utility vehicle and ProPass 200 topdresser.

Stewart continues: “We’re constantly looking at small tweaks we can make in order to get the best possible results and improve the courses for all, and Toro plays a big part in that. For example, we opted for the two Reelmaster 3550-D fairway mowers as the smaller sized cutting units allowed us to follow the contours better, which results in a better quality of cut. The slick tyres on the machines also prevent any turf damage when turning.”

Included as part of Gullane’s tournament support fleet in 2018 were Toro’s GTX electric utility vehicles and they certainly impressed Stewart with him saying at the time he’d be changing his utility vehicles to be Toro based on his positive experience. The arrival of three Workman utility vehicles in the last order sees Stewart true to his word and it sounds as though Toro will be around for many more years to come at Gullane.

Stewart concludes: “The team and I are delighted to have Toro here at the club for another five years; although realistically that’s more than likely going to be another 10 years. We really do feel as though we have the best possible machinery for the courses and with a club that wholeheartedly supports that relationship, I can only see us continuing to invest in Toro in the future.”

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Procore 648 a hit at Muir-Of-Ord

Procore 648 a hit at Muir-Of-Ord: Muir-Of-Ord Golf Club, located a few miles north of Inverness in Scotland, has chosen to invest in Toro for the first time, purchasing a ProCore 648 pedestrian aerator to enable quality aeration across the whole course.  

Head greenkeeper, Darren Hexley, explains: “We’ve never had Toro at the club before, but once our old aerator was reaching the end of its life, we seized the opportunity to improve the course with Toro. We’d been working with a tractor-mounted aerator and were keen to get a pedestrian aerator so we could access more areas of the course.”

Procore 648 a hit at Muir-Of-Ord

Procore 648 a hit at Muir-Of-Ord

Years of research, customer input, testing and attention to detail went into making the ProCore 648 the most productive and efficient walking aerator on the market, something Muir-Of-Ord is now experiencing.

“We noticed a difference from just the demonstration,” says Darren. “Staff and golfers have commented on the improvement that can be seen already. As a pedestrian aerator, we no longer have to drive over greens, and with no tyre tracks it’s a much cleaner job. But the biggest thing is that we’ve been able to cover areas of the course we weren’t able to before, such as slopes and the backs of bunkers. The benefits of this is huge. With just one Toro addition to our fleet we’re able to vastly improve the course.”

Darren is no stranger to the quality and results from Toro having previous experience with the brand, he says:  “I’ve used Toro before at previous clubs, and indeed the ProCore 648, so it was no surprise that it proved itself here to be a brilliant piece of kit. We could instantly see the benefits of the ProCore 648 over our old kit.”

It’s not just the improvement to the course that matters though. As a club with only three permanent staff members working on the course maintenance, having efficient and reliable machinery is vital. Something the ProCore 648 certainly delivers on.

“With only three of us on the greenkeeping team, having efficient and reliable machinery is very important and goes a long way,” says Darren. “The ProCore 648 will allow us to get out first thing in the summer and cover more ground than we could with our tractor-mounted aerator in the same time. The variable speed setting also really helps with that – it provides a consistent speed for a more even application.”

With the club’s only Toro machine having made such a difference to both the productivity of the staff and the quality of the playing surface, it seems only natural Darren is now wanting to bring more Toro on board.

“Once we’re in a position financially to make further machinery investment, it is certainly my preference to look to Toro. It would be great to invest in some of the latest technology, in particular one of Toro’s hybrid mowers.”

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QuadChip a hit for Tai Tarian

QuadChip a hit for Tai Tarian: Tai Tarian are one of the largest social landlords in Wales, responsible for over 9000 properties across the Neath Port Talbot County Borough.

A dedicated Arb team make up one of seven in-house grounds maintenance teams, looking after the borough’s green spaces. With over 7000 trees under their remit, a QuadChip 160 from GreenMech is keeping the team on track, providing ultimate flexibility for kerbside working.

QuadChip a hit for Tai Tarian

Martyn Davies, Senior Neighbourhood Coordinator, spearheads the team which was set up in 2012. “The very first job was to source the machinery we were going to need to cope with the variety of tasks of materials we were going to be handling. Access when turning up to narrow car-lined streets is one of our biggest headaches but having seen the full 360o turntable on the QuadChip 160, we quickly decided it was the right chipper for us.”

With the majority of domestic tree works taking place in restricted-access and/or kerb-side locations, the manoeuvrability and flexibility of the QuadChip sees it in use five days a week. “With the QuadChip, we can turn the chipper 90o to the road and bring brash from the gardens of properties and feed it straight into the chipper, with the chips going straight into the back of the tipper – it’s brilliant! We then recycle this material around trees and put it to community use, creating pathways and borders.”

So impressed with the versatility it delivers, Martyn has exchanged the chipper like-for-like three times, taking delivery of his newest model in January 2020 from their local dealer, Powercut (Wales) Ltd. “The back-up support we get from them is fantastic and was another crucial factor in why we chose this machine.” Final word from Martyn, “As we now embark on a new tree planting programme, the workload for the team is only going to increase, but we’re safe in the knowledge that with the QuadChip we’ve got a robust and reliable chipper at our disposal to tackle the tasks at hand.”

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Football club hit by vandals

Football club hit by vandals: A reward has been offered for information on the vandals who damaged a football pitch on Christmas Day.

Leysdown Football Club’s ground in Shellness Road on Sheppey was targeted by vandals sometime last Wednesday when tyre tracks were left in the grass.

Football club hit by vandals

It has led to bosses from fellow Island club, Sheppey United, putting up a £500 reward for any information which leads to the prosecution of the offender.

Leysdown FC manager Charles Osmond said his father and one of the club’s groundsmen, John Osmond, came across the tyre marks in the evening after Charlie had inspected it earlier in the day.

The 22-year-old said: “The pitch is ruined which is a real shame because my dad does a lot of work down there.

“We are probably going to have to postpone fixtures or find another ground to play on.

“Unfortunately there is not a lot of surveillance down there.

“I was more gutted to be fair, a lot of the players were angry because the groundsmen spend about five to six days a week there making sure we’ve got nice fields to play on.

“Leysdown is like the place that time forgot so why they chose to use our pitch is beyond me.”

In the past, the club’s changing block has been targeted by vandals and dugouts smashed up.

The cost of the damage caused to the pitch has not yet been estimated.

It is not yet known for certain if any of the team’s fixtures, including those later this week will have to be called off or postponed because of the damage.

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PRO 34R a hit at Colliers Park

PRO 34R a hit at Colliers Park: Dylan Thompson, grounds maintenance manager at Colliers Park, believes that the Dennis PRO 34R far exceeds every other rotary mower he has used in the past.

The former Sheffield Wednesday FC assistant head groundsman has been in the top role at Colliers Park for six months now and is already making his mark. With all eyes on the FAW’s brand new development centre, Dylan and his two members of staff are helping to maintain the two natural turf pitches and the synthetic pitch to the standard expected by a national footballing body.

PRO 34R a hit at Colliers Park

The FAW left no stone unturned in the launch of Colliers Park and Dylan found himself in the fortunate position of receiving an arsenal of brand-new turf maintenance products – two of which were Dennis PRO 34R’s.

“To be honest, the PRO 34R was the machine I wanted most and this was based on my previous experience of using Dennis Mowers,” he said. “I had heard about it on social media and I spoke to other people in the industry – I heard so many good things about it and to not hear anything negative whatsoever was obviously a massive positive.”

The Dennis PRO 34R is a 34” (860mm) rotary mower which has been designed to help groundsmen achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface. It is ideal for sports pitches and lawns producing the enviable ‘Dennis Stripes’ while a powerful vacuum flow collects debris quickly and efficiently.

The angle of the cutting deck and twin blades can be easily adjusted using a single ‘click adjuster’ ensuring the mower is suitable for changing conditions and meeting groundsmen’s requirements.

“It’s very impressive – I was expecting it to be good but not this good!” continued Dylan. “The clean-up is absolutely fantastic no matter if it is wet or dry and it sucks up so much into the grass collection box. It is also quick so we are saving time – we are normally going on speed setting 3 which is the perfect speed for us. We have tight turnarounds so the size of these mowers is ideal because you can get so much done in little time.

PRO 34R a hit at Colliers Park

“We try to use them after every usage but we actually use them during the week as well. It has surprised me as to how good the front brush is. If there is any dew in the morning, then it will take that straight off and it can also pick up any leaves. The finish they leave is really good and you can hardly tell the difference in cut between this and a cylinder mower.

“The PRO 34R’s are probably our most used machines and I can assure you that this isn’t just your standard rotary mower – it is far better.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter @DennisMowers and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/DennisMowersUK. You can also view the latest Dennis videos by visiting www.youtube.com/DennisMowers

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Toro a hit at Robin Hood GC

Toro a hit at Robin Hood GC: Robin Hood Golf Club in Solihull has come on board as a Toro fleet customer for the first time as course manager Luke Dennis attests to Toro outperforming other brands across the UK and beyond.

With a career that has seen him work on championship courses hosting major tournaments such as The Ryder Cup, across the UK for European tour events at the Belfry, Forest of Arden and Slaley Hall and further afield to Sweden for the Scandinavian Masters, as well as working in machinery parts maintenance, Luke certainly has an in-depth perspective when it comes to golf course machinery.

Toro a hit at Robin Hood GC

“I have the benefit of having experience working on the maintenance of machinery parts and as course manager which means I can look at a machine from two different perspectives – what it requires for upkeep and how it operates,” says Luke. “And my experience has shown me on both fronts that Toro outperforms and outlasts the competition.”

The club has had a mix of machinery up until now and the difference in having a full Toro fleet of high-quality, durable machines is palpable. And it came as no surprise to Luke when extensive demonstrations for the club’s new fleet, organised by Reesink Turfcare’s Jon Lewis, beat out the competition.

“In particular the Reelmaster 3575 really stood out,” says Luke. “The after cut appearance achieved with the perfection brushes is the best I’ve ever seen despite unfavourable weather conditions at the time of the demo.

“We also opted for the Reelmaster 3100 with groomers to enhance the semi rough. Although quite an unusual decision, so far we have received amazing feedback on the definition and quality of the ball lie achieved, which allows a cleaner impact to the back of the ball for golfers.”

With Robin Hood Golf Club now 126 years old, the parkland course of Harry Colt design is a well-regarded golfing venue near Birmingham, and its recent addition of a full Toro fleet comes as the next step in its ongoing development.

Over the last ten years, there’s been a substantial investment to help reconstruct and modernise the course, and the Toro package deal is the cherry on the cake, explains Luke.

“The full Toro fleet means we have reliable, high quality machines, which allow us to present the course to a high standard week-in week-out for our members and visitors,” concludes Luke. “And I’m pretty sure we will continue to see the course improve with Toro on board.”

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RTC A Hit At St Mirren

RTC A Hit At St Mirren: To keep on top of the maintenance of a newly-laid 4G astro surface at their Ralston Training Complex, St Mirren FC have purchased an RTC unit from Charterhouse Turf Machinery.

For the facility’s sole Groundsman, Alan Michie, it has improved both the efficiency and speed of regular surface brushing.

RTC A Hit At St Mirren

Forming part of the 3.7 hectare site, the artificial pitch is home to first team and academy training throughout the week, and matches at the weekend. “Just before the 4G pitch was open for play in September, I was very pleased to find a new RTC brush unit from Charterhouse land at my door” explains Alan, who has been running the training ground for the last two and a half years. “We had previously used a tractor and brush combination which wasn’t the most practical – timely to set up and, being in one of the wettest areas in the country, often meant I was unable to get out at all.”

“The Chairman and Head Groundsman at the stadium had been in talks with Ian Lauder of Charterhouse and decided the versatility and simplicity of the RTC was a perfect fit to keep on top of the regular maintenance. Ian came in to do some training with me, but it’s so simple to use, it’s fantastic. If I’m struggling for time, the guy who looks after our youth department will go out and brush for me. He finds it therapeutic!”

The convenience of a self-contained unit means Alan can easily keep up with the regular maintenance on the high-wear surface, brushing on average five or six times a week. The RTC brushes fold to allow storage and access through gaps as narrow as 90cm, although when deployed, the unit will cover an impressive 200cm in one-pass. “I can also use the tow bar on the back to take other tools out with me that I use for work on the natural grass pitches. It pulls a small trailer no problem.”

Proving itself to be a real multi-purpose machine, Alan adds, “it does a fantastic job of levelling off the pitch, spreading the rubber well to prevent compaction. The ongoing maintenance of the unit is also very simple. For me, it’s crucial that the maintenance is simple, but effective. For this, the RTC is ideal.”

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Toro A Hit At Radley College

Toro A Hit At Radley College: Four years ago, Radley College welcomed a new Toro fleet of Groundsmaster and Reelmaster mowers to the independent boys’ school in Oxfordshire. As the facilities continue to grow we hear how Toro has performed during its tenure.

There’s a lot of pressure on Radley College’s grounds team. Not only does it have the upkeep of some of the most extensive and finest public school sporting facilities in the country on its hands, but with the school increasing the number of bursaries and scholarships for the first time in its 172-year history, the sports facilities are expanding too.

Toro A Hit At Radley College

Luckily, grounds manager Adam King and the 19-strong team in the estates department, including groundsmen, greenkeepers and gardeners, have the benefit of a Toro fleet of Groundsmaster and Reelmaster mowers working across the 14 rugby pitches, 10 cricket squares and football pitches, three astroturf hockey pitches, tennis courts and a nine-hole, par 34 golf course.

The College’s latest fleet joined four years ago in a significant lease agreement with Reesink,

Adam says: “With more to do, the biggest benefit from our Toro fleet in the last four years is how it’s saved us time, allowing us to be more efficient and productive. Having two Reelmaster 3100-D mowers for the weekend cutting of the cricket outfields and aprons has been particularly beneficial.”

As the school gears up for a new boarding house opening in 2020 and the expansion of the sporting facilities to accommodate, the reliability of the fleet as well as its time-saving aspects has not gone unnoticed by Adam.

“We chose this combination of machines with specific work in mind and they’ve not only delivered on that but more. We’ve built more natural and artificial sports surfaces into the equation and got them into play. Plus, there have been no problems running the fleet, no breakdowns or issues.

“The lease agreement with Reesink allowed us to have new machines straight away, while also covering winter service, and all at a fixed cost. We were able to manage our budget and benefit from new and upgraded equipment at an important time in the College’s history.”

So, what’s next for Adam and the team? “We were at BTME to take in the new technology and product development on offer, and I was most interested in seeing lightweight three-wheel fairway mowers and greens mowers which we haven’t specifically had before. Plus, there’s been developments in engine size and I’ll be interested in seeing the effect of that on our surfaces here.”

Since then, Adam and the team have trialled the Toro Reelmaster 3555 and 3575 mowers across the School, based on which Adam concluded they are the “best bits of new kit I’ve seen in a long time and versatile enough to be multi-sports mowers”.

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Vandals Hit Ellesmere Port GC

Vandals Hit Ellesmere Port GC: Police have taken to social media to reveal the damage caused by vandals at a recently re-opened golf club.

Ellesmere Port Golf Club, also known as Hooton Golf Club, relaunched last month with the Ian Woosnam Golf Academy.

Vandals Hit Ellesmere Port GC

The site, which closed suddenly last October after operators Mack Golf ceased trading, is owned by Cheshire West and Chester Council  (CWaC) and the Academy, set up by the former Ryder Cup  captain and US Masters winner, has run the business from the start of April.

But Ellesmere Port police officers have taken to Twitter to show the damage caused by motorcyclists who have rode their vehicles on the course, which they estimate to be worth ‘hundreds of pounds’.

Officers are currently working to try and identify those responsible for causing the damage.

The post read: “Bikers have caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage at the recently re-opened Ellesmere Port Golf Club, not the sort of driving we’d expect to see here!

“Officers are following leads to identify the riders.”

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PRO 34R A Hit At Beaumont

PRO 34R A Hit At Beaumont: The new Dennis PRO 34R rotary mower is significantly improving the vast array of pitches at De Montfort University at Beaumont Park, says head groundsman Cameron Flitten.

Beaumont Park in Leicester has recently benefitted from a multi-million pound investment and has been transformed into an outstanding venue which boasts first-class sports facilities.

PRO 34R A Hit At Beaumont

In 2015 De Montfort University agreed a 25-year lease on the council-owned Beaumont Park and has been home to the university’s men’s and women’s football teams for past three years. The facilities are also widely used by the local community.

Cameron, who has been the head groundsman throughout this time, revealed that his interest in the Dennis PRO 34R was first ignited when he received a glimpse of the prototype model.

“One day their Area Manager was dropping some equipment off to me and on the back of the trailer there was a machine that I had never seen before. I asked him what it was and it was then that he told me it was the Dennis PRO 34R prototype.

“I had previously used Dennis Mowers in my former job at Loughborough University and I knew that they were reliable and renowned for giving a first-class presentation, so after asking a few questions, I was adamant that I wanted one.

“At the time it was winter and an incredibly wet winter at that. I was struggling to get on the pitches at certain times and ideally, I like to keep weight off the natural pitches so I was looking for an option where I didn’t have to take the tractor on. The PRO 34R seemed to be just what I needed.”

PRO 34R A Hit At Beaumont

The prototype which Cameron saw that day was launched at SALTEX 2017 with the sole purpose of gathering feedback from potential end users. Over the course of the next twelve months, the mower was refined and developed based on the input from the groundsmen who would eventually be using it. With no stone left unturned, the all new PRO 34R was unveiled at SALTEX 2018.

The Dennis PRO 34R is a 34” (860mm) rotary mower which has been designed to help groundsmen achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface. It is ideal for sports pitches and lawns producing the enviable ‘Dennis Stripes’ while a powerful vacuum flow collects debris quickly and efficiently.

The angle of the cutting deck and twin blades can be easily adjusted using a single ‘click adjuster’ ensuring the mower is suitable for changing conditions and meeting groundsmen’s requirements.

Unique features of the Dennis PRO 34R Rotary Mower include:

  • 5 forward and 1 reverse selection for speed of operation
  • 90 litre capacity grass box
  • Fully adjustable angle of deck for changing conditions
  • 2 section cast aluminium rear roller
  • Easy to use height of cut gauge
  • Single point height of cut adjustment for ease of operation
  • Optional front wheel or smooth/weile roller options
  • Front brush for standing grasses upright
  • Adjustable handlebars for operator comfort

“At this time of year, you are not really cutting; instead you are using it more as a vacuum cleaner,” said Cameron. “Ideally you just want to remove any loose fragments of grass, debris and soil which sits on the top of the pitches after use because the more organic matter you remove, the less disease you get. In this respect, the PRO 34R is superb and it has certainly helped to keep the pitches cleaner, which will also no doubt make my job easier when it comes to the renovations in spring.

“It also gives us brilliant presentation which is thanks to the roller on the back. I like the fact that it has the brush on the front, so it stands the grass up, the blades go over and then it hoovers it all up.

“The PRO 34R really is a fantastic piece of kit and it is doing a brilliant job. All the staff love using it – especially my assistant groundsman because I can never get it back off him.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter & Instagram @DennisMowers and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/DennisMowersUK. You can also view the latest Dennis videos by visiting www.youtube.com/DennisMowers

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

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