Ventrac – Three years on at Honiton Golf Club: Honiton Golf Club in Devon purchased their Ventrac compact tractor and Contour mowing deck in March 2020, just days before the first Covid lockdown and in that time it has been performing consistently well, according to Stuart Broom, the club’s head greenkeeper.
“We sit some 850 feet above sea level and are an 18-hole parkland course with a practice facility, situated on clay, so we can be wet at times, but our elevation and exposure to the wind helps the course dry reasonably quickly,” he said. “I came here in 2015 as deputy and was appointed head greenkeeper in 2019.
“There’s six of us in the greenkeeping team with experience ranging from 38 years to the newest member at just 8 months. Like many other clubs, we had an influx of members as a result of Covid; for us it was significant at around 200, bringing the total membership to 670. We have a great committee, who are fully supportive of us and actively encourage our professional development, which is good for the younger lads.”
“We needed to improve the visual appearance on the banking around our greens and tees and also the semi-rough. I looked at several competitor machines across the major brands, but the Ventrac stood out because of its versatility; there’s a wide selection of implements you can get for it. The second reason was that it’s certified to operate on 30-degree slopes, so from a health and safety point of view, it’s a no-brainer. We have numerous slopes out there that we used to strim, but we now use the Ventrac and save multiple work hours, they get cut more regularly and they look better.
“During the original demo, the demonstrator noticed that we had a SISIS slitter in the shed and asked if he could attach it to the rear linkage and take it across the greens. I was bit sceptical because we usually tow it with our worktruck and I wouldn’t put that on the greens as they were wet. Undeterred, he put it on the back, went across the green and you just wouldn’t have noticed; it was impressive. So, the light footprint was another significant selling point and we use it for that purpose as well during the winter.
“We recently purchased a small link box for the rear of the machine, which can carry a selection of tools and again we use it winter for changing holes. We also have it on the back when cutting banks, so we can carry a strimmer and blower to complete the job in a single operation.
“We hired the Tough Cut deck from our local dealer, Devon Garden Machinery (DGM), to clear gorse and bracken from around our 9th and 13th greens and it performed brilliantly; it’s a fantastic piece of kit. I did break a couple of belts, but the servicing information on this machine is superb. You open a cover and all the information you need is there. It includes the part number, so you can order it and it’s with us the following day. From initial demonstration, through delivery, to after-sales support, Price Turfcare and DGM have been excellent.”
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