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Good things come to those who wait

Good things come to those who wait: It was a deal a couple of years in the making for Hainault Golf Club in Chigwell, Essex, as it changed machinery brands and settled on a large fleet with Toro and Reesink, and it was worth the wait according to course manager Paul Selbie.

Choosing a new machinery brand and partnering with a new distributor are two big decisions, requiring research and demonstrations, and it can take time to be sure it’s the right move for the future of the club. But actually, Paul says, the decision to commit to Toro and Reesink Turfcare was a straight-forward one, made with no hesitation: “This was my first machinery fleet deal at Hainault. I appreciate it’s a big thing to step away from what the club and team have known and relied on for a long time, but with the previous machines well-overdue an upgrade, it was the right time to present all the options to the team.

Good things come to those who wait

Good things come to those who wait

“Everyone was involved and while I had used Toro previously, no one else had,” Paul continues.” The feedback was really interesting from the demos and it brought everything to the table, not just the performance of the machines, but the bigger picture. For example, was Reesink the right distributor, was Richard Freeman the right contact and would the support and back-up be there?

“The Reesink team was really involved in demoing the Toro machines with us and you could clearly see this was important to them. Richard made it feel like the beginning of a long-term relationship, it certainly wasn’t just a deal to him.”

Paul says the machines ability to cope with the two courses which are both hilly, parkland and tree-lined, led the team to unanimously conclude that Toro suited the lay of the land and performed very well. And while there could have been better machines out there for certain aspects of course maintenance, what couldn’t be bettered was the whole package and the deal was done in 2018.

So why the delay in the process? Well, that comes down to factors out of Paul’s control such as renegotiating the lease of the land, Paul says: “We had to press pause and while it was frustrating, it was worth the wait to receive them in 2020 of all years. We’ve had the time to get to know the machines, their capabilities and can confirm that Toro really does exceed in terms of efficiency. That counted and meant that despite a reduced work force the course was in excellent shape when we opened back up again after lockdown.”

Included in the order are two Toro Greensmaster TriFlex 3400 mowers, two Greensmaster 3250-D mowers, two Reelmaster 5610-D mowers, a Groundsmaster 3500-D mower, the Groundsmaster 1200 towed rotary mower, a Workman GTX utility vehicle and a GreensPro 1260 greens roller.

Paul says: “It is a fleet predominantly focused on frontline machines, but with further investment plans in place for the next couple of years, that won’t be the case for long. Business is good, the course is presenting really well and we’re planning on putting Toro through its paces with some improvement projects over the winter months too so we’re in a positive place with some exciting things to look forward to.”

To talk to someone about the finance options available and how the Toro range would suit your course, call 01480 226800.

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The men who made it happen

The men who made it happen: When Malcolm Campbell struck the official first drive to open Dumbarnie Links in early summer it was a proud moment and one that he sometimes felt he wouldn’t be around to see.

Malcolm, a respected golf writer, who had the dubious pleasure of being my boss in the mid 80s, had been the driving force behind the golf course and the man who had experienced first-hand the highs and lows of turning a dream into reality.

The men who made it happen

The men who made it happen

“We moved to Lower Largo in 1993 and had a disused railway line at the bottom of the garden. One day we walked about a mile along it towards Elie and I came across land that I thought was just waiting to have a golf course built on it. It was all fescue bent on pure sand and you could see where sheep had dug out what could have been old fashioned bunkers,” recalled Malcolm.

In many ways, however, having identified the land for a potentially world class golf course was the easy bit. Who owned the land? Could they be persuaded to turn it over to a golf course? Who would invest the type of money required to build such a course? Would it get through planning? Will the various pressure groups be appeased? Who could design a golf course to fulfil the potential of the land?

That last question was the only one with a straight-forward answer.

Malcolm had long been friends with Clive Clark, the former Ryder Cup player, BBC commentator and award winning golf course architect.

“I visit Clive every year at his home in Palm Springs, California and one evening we were sitting having a gin and tonic and I started telling him about this piece of land. I told him that he’d make a great job of it but that we’d need to find a developer, investors and convince the owner,” explained Malcolm, who had by this stage found out that Lord Balniel, the owner of Balcarnes Estate, was the man who would need to be persuaded.

One might have thought that dangling the carrot of a new Fife links course in front of potential investors would have drawn quite a crowd but Malcolm and Clive found it harder than they had hoped and the initial investor actually pulled out when the project was well into the planning process.

“It then took another year for Clive to put together another group of private investors and we had to start the planning process again from the very beginning.”

Having been persuaded that his land would make a world class golf course, Lord Balniel was on board, even agreeing to free up more land when Malcolm showed him what moving the original site up to some higher ground could offer.

“It was a huge site and from the escarpment the views were incredible stretching all the way from Elie across the Firth to Edinburgh. When I visited it with Lord Balniel he said we could take what we needed. So I went back to Clive and we reappraised the plans and he did a fantastic job on the newly agreed land, with 13 holes looking out to sea and only two holes, the 7th and 17th playing uphill,” explained Malcolm, who had ladled more pressure on his old friend by saying that it needed to be a course ranked in the world’s top 100.

“There was no use just building another golf course. It needs to be ranked in the top 100 to tap into the American market and, let’s face it, if you are going to build a links golf course near St Andrews it would have to be in the top 100 worldwide.”

But judging by the now completed and opened course, neither Malcolm nor Clive need worry. It is stunning and there is one other course somewhere out there, which is going to drop out of that elite listing.

Due to Covid, Clive couldn’t make it over to the grand opening so it was left to Malcolm to play the opening shot but while he was disappointed not to have his old friend there doing the honours Malcolm revealed that they had played many rounds the previous summer, with only minor tweaks being made by Clive along the way.

Malcolm can rest happy that golf course he “discovered” is now being shared by golfers and will be for as long as golf continues to be played.

Commending dealers who do more

Commending dealers who do more: Reesink Turfcare recognised its dealers at its annual Aftermarket Dealer Awards ceremony, which was held in February.

Recognising an overall Dealer of the Year for ‘Excellence in Customer Support’ alongside Outstanding Performance in Service, Skills and Parts, the awards acknowledge the top performers in customer service across Reesink’s UK dealer network and are a huge achievement.

Commending dealers who do more

Commending dealers who do more

The much-coveted Dealer of the Year Award for Excellence in Customer Support is awarded to Lloyd Ltd. While Cheshire Turf Machinery in Stockport was awarded for Outstanding Service, Lloyd Ltd for Outstanding Skills and Revill Mowers in Gloucestershire for Outstanding Parts.

David Jackman, Reesink’s operations manager, says: “As a distributor, we are focussed on the way we communicate with our customers and the way we deal with customer support. It’s why we work closely with our dealers and delight in awarding those who do more to offer the very best in customer service.”

Reflecting on the win, groundcare service manager Glen McVittie at Lloyd Ltd, says: “Winning these awards is a real reflection of our team and their hard work. At Lloyd Ltd, we are committed to both investing in our staff to realise their full potential and offering our customers the best possible service and results. We are thrilled to have had that recognised by Reesink and to have come away with the top prize for Dealer of the Year and the award for Skills.”

Runners up in the categories are The Mowershop in Northamptonshire for Service, Oliver Landpower in Hertfordshire for Skills, RedTech Machinery in Coventry for Parts and Cheshire Turf Machinery for Excellence in Customer Support.

Reesink awards those dealers achieving the best scores in keeping with its Service Level Agreement (SLA), which benchmarks great customer service. Rated on quarterly Key Performance Indicators (KPI), within each of the three sections, the Dealer of the Year Award combines the KPI scores from all three.

David explains more about the scheme: “Over the years, we have continued to invest in our customer service and especially so in our after sales offering. One of the ways we showcase to our customers the quality of Reesink’s service is through our Service Level Agreement, which is adopted by all our Authorised Service and Dealer Locations. With this, customers can be sure that our excellent dealer network reflects Reesink’s core customer service standards, goals and considerations, and these awards are further proof of that.”

Mark Woodward, service director at Cheshire Turf Machinery, says: “By committing to following Reesink UK’s service level agreement, our service department has been elevated to the next level. To see the result of that acknowledged by winning the award for Service and finishing as the runner up for Dealer of the Year is extremely pleasing and a strong testament to the hard work of our after sales team.”

As a leading UK distributor of top turfcare brands, delivering excellence on all fronts, and particularly when it comes to customer service, is paramount to Reesink – and doing so with all its business partners is vital, concludes David: “Over the years, we have continued to invest in our customer service and especially so in our after sales offering and to see that represented by the dealers so brilliantly means we are achieving in our goal to keep on improving the overall experience for all our customers.”

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Reesink Commend Dealers Who Do More

Reesink Commend Dealers Who Do More: Reesink Turfcare is delighted to announce the winners of its Aftermarket Dealer Awards. Commending exceptional performance, the awards acknowledge the top performers in customer service across Reesink’s dealer network.

With awards in Outstanding Performance in Service, Parts and Skills, as well as recognising an overall Dealer of the Year for ‘Excellence in Customer Support’, it’s an impressive accolade to achieve.

Reesink Commend Dealers Who Do More

This year the winners are: Redtech Machinery Limited in Coventry for Outstanding Performance in Service, Oliver Landpower Limited in Hertfordshire for Skills, and Revill Mowers in Gloucestershire for Parts. While the much coveted Dealer of the Year Award for Excellence in Customer Support is awarded to Cheshire Turf Machinery in Stockport.

Reflecting on their win, Cheshire Turf Machinery’s service director Mark Woodward said: “Winning this award is proof of the great effort from our parts and service team, who have enabled us to achieve this award for a second year in a row. I would also like to thank the staff at Reesink who provide us with exceptional support and assistance throughout the year.”

Runners up in the categories are Cheshire Turf Machinery for Service, Lloyd Limited in Cumbria for Skills, Gambles Grass Machinery in Nottinghamshire for Parts, and Revill Mowers for Excellence in Customer Support.

“We work incredibly hard throughout the year to ensure we are always working to the highest standards,” says Revill Mowers joint director Jason Revill. “Customers are at the forefront of everything we do and awards like this give them the ultimate reassurance that their Toro machines are in safe hands.”

In keeping with its Service Level Agreement (SLA), which benchmarks great customer service, Reesink awards those dealers achieving the best scores, rated on quarterly Key Performance Indicators (KPI), within each of the three sections, while the Dealer of the Year Award combines the KPI scores from all three.

As a leading UK distributor of top turfcare brands, excellent customer service is paramount to Reesink – and delivering that with all its business partners even more so, says Reesink operation manager David Jackman.

“We are continuously investing in improving our customer service after a sale completes. Our Service Level Agreement which outlines core customer service standards, goals and considerations adopted by all our Authorised Service and Dealer Locations is another way to showcase to our customers the quality of Reesink’s service.

“These awards provide an excellent platform on which to highlight the fantastic service and work that our dedicated dealers produce and we’re delighted to recognise all of the winners and runners-up. With continued recognition and encouragement of high standards of customer service, ultimately, the customer benefits from an improved overall experience – which is what we’re all here to provide.”

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The Man Who Beat The Beast

The Man Who Beat The Beast: When most of us were tucked up in bed, with the heating blasting and dreaming about what we were going to do with our football-free Saturday, Cambridge United stadium manager Ian Darler had other ideas.

In depths of the night, the stadium manager travelled to the Abbey, flicked on one floodlight and got to work.

The Man Who Beat The Beast

It was 4 a.m.

Heading towards his 40-year anniversary with the club, when we caught up with him just before kick off he seemed unfazed by not only the 3 am start that morning but also even getting the game on, despite it being only one of 10 to beat the ‘Beast from the East.’

“It would have been very easy to turn a blind eye and the game would have been off,” he said.

“But I just think you just do your duty. It’s your professional pride at the end of the day.”

Indeed, Darler and his team – made up of a dozen or so volunteers from CFU and his fishing friends – had a long-term plan to ensure the game went ahead.

The pitches had been covered for nine days but the freezing conditions were still proving too much for them to deal with as temperatures dropped to as low as minus-11 with windchil.

And a bit of ingenuity – from using a customised plough to getting the snow to act as an incubator – meant there was very little danger of the game being called off in the end.

 “To be honest getting the game on wasn’t the challenge,” he said.

“We’ve have had had pitch covers on for nine days as I always work to a 10-14 day programme.

“Apparently I came in for a bit of criticism on social media because I took the sheets of yesterday but I could see quite clearly the actual pitch was frozen and the covers were insulating the frost on the ground.

“We saw snow was coming and that it was likely to climb to zero. Obviously zero from minus six, minus seven is a massive thaw so the troops came in yesterday for me, we got all the sheets off and blew the layers of snow off and I was praying for the snow last night as I’ve used the snow as a incubator previously.

“Got up this morning about 3.30 am and went outside and saw it was 0.5 degrees and thought, ‘happy days!”

“I got in here, put one floodlight on, cracked on and by time the safety officer turned up all I had was about 25% of one corner to do.”

His efforts were recognised and he was, along with the other volunteers, named the man of the match during the U’s 1-1 draw with Luton Town.

And as Darler said, it would have been easy to let this game slip away like a majority of those in the Football League did.

And that’s is what is most impressive about this all. It took a lot of hard work, a lot of heart and shows how much people really do care about the club, and Darler, who has a book coming out about his 40 years working in football, was quick to thank all those involved.

“I have got the most amazing team of ground staff, which is made up by stewards who have worked for me for over 30 years,” he said

“They just appear like the borrowers and then a load of fishing mates come out the woodwork to bail me out.

“Because they’ve worked with me for so long I don’t have to tell them, they know what the process is.

“12, 14 people showed up in the end and six, seven were from CFU and seven or eight are my friends.

“I’m a fisherman, I’m used to going out a three o’clock in the morning!

“It’s a nice end. I’ve been quite fortunate had a publisher come forward and I’m having a book out about forty years working within the football world.

He added: “These days are great. It just gives you the opportunity to I’m just as keen now as I was 40 years ago. It’s always a challenge.

“I just love the challenge.”

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