Ventracs replace ageing fleet at Ladbrook Park Golf Club: Ladbrook Park Golf Club, situated in the Warwickshire countryside near Tanworth-in-Arden, has put its trust in Ventrac and taken delivery of FOUR Ventrac 4520 all-terrain compact tractors and 13 attachments to maintain their prestigious 1908 Colt-designed course.
Kevin Fellows has been the course manager for 38 years, having joined the club in 1985 from nearby Shirley Golf Club. He was appointed to his current position in 1994.
Commenting on the club’s decision to take this route, he said,
“With the exception of our fine turf areas, the majority of the course is now maintained with Ventrac equipment. It fits in with our agronomic requirements and does everything apart from fine turf and aeration. For all other areas – approaches, fairways, semi, rough, our ecology areas, transport, ditching, haulage – the Ventrac system fits perfectly. At the moment we have everything we need. It fits our current maintenance plan; tomorrows objectives and our longer-term direction.
“Selling it to the board of directors was not an issue. The initial thinking was to identify machines for replacement on a like-for-like basis and then progressively, over the next few years, replace and update as necessary. The alternative was to take the Ventrac route. Fortunately, the Finance director and board were keen to fund our replacement programme, with the support of the Greens committee, whichever direction we chose.
“When the cost options were put on the table it became a bit of a no-brainer. It is difficult to justify spending close to £100,000, or thereabouts, on a dedicated mower to cut rough, which does nothing else apart from macerate leaves and then put in the shed at the end of October and let it sat there, doing nothing for 3-4 months.
“I spoke with the club’s Finance and Greens directors in conjunction with the greens committee and we arranged a demo with a couple of Ventracs and a selection of implements. After some training and machine familiarisation, Jon Lewis, Price Turfcare’s regional sales manager, who I’ve known for years, left it with us so we could thoroughly evaluate it on our course. When you’re looking at new equipment you need to bring your team with you. You sit back and listen to what they say and sitting there one lunchtime, there was a comment which really sticks in my mind; one of the guys said ‘it’s becoming increasingly difficult to say no to.’ And he was right, because it suited our course. You’ve got invest in machinery that suits your course.”
“It was a big commitment to swap out our existing fleet and go, almost exclusively, with Ventrac. Once we started to look, we became increasingly discontent with some of the market forces; supply lines and cost were major considerations. As a course manager you have to think laterally, so I asked myself is there a better way of doing this? Covid caused a reset in thinking; prior to the pandemic a lot of clubs were committed to one manufacturer or another. We were principally a one manufacturer machinery operation.
“I was looking for something that gave us more versatility and began by looking at compact tractors from various manufacturers. Then, by pure chance Jon Lewis dropped by one afternoon with a trailer of Ventrac equipment. Naturally enough I had a look and next morning Jon gave me a brochure. And the rest is history!
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