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The Bedford buys John Deere

The Bedford Golf Club at Great Denham has invested almost £250,000 in a fleet of new John Deere course machinery, bought from dealer P Tuckwell Ltd of Maulden, Bedfordshire on a John Deere Financial six-year finance lease.


On arrival at The Bedford almost a year ago from his previous course, Woburn Golf Club, head greenkeeper Simon Trotter was encouraged by joint owners Geoff Swain (who is the current world golf trick-shot champion), Steve Kavanagh and Eamon McEvoy to upgrade the whole fleet as part of the club’s long-term leasing plans, rather than simply replace a handful of machines.


The new line-up includes a TE electric and two HPX 4x4 Gator utility vehicles plus a Pro Gator equipped with an HD200 amenity sprayer; a 260SL walk-behind greens mower plus trailer; two 2500E hybrid electric greens mowers with groomers; 7200 tees & surrounds and 7700 fairway PrecisionCut mowers; a 1600T Series II wide area rotary mower; an Aercore 2000 tractor-mounted aerator; a 3520 compact tractor with matching 300CX front loader and a Tru-Turf greens roller.


The 15-year old, 18-hole US resort style course boasts some of the largest tees in the region, in addition to big, undulating Augusta-style USPGA greens.


“Overall it was a case of wanting to invest in new technology that was best for the course,” says Simon Trotter, who leads a greenkeeping team of three full-time, one part-time and one seasonal staff, plus a full-time mechanic. “We have a lot of pretty wispy rough, which grows quite long, and previous machines just weren’t suitable.


“From tees to greens, including the driving range, we have approximately 15 hectares of grass to mow, plus about 35ha of rough. The John Deere 1600T was therefore a big factor in our choice, and proved on demo to be by far the best solution for us – it just blitzed the job. It provides a better quality of cut and plenty of power, which is certainly needed for the size of area it has to mow.


“The triplex ride-ons are used on the greens and tees, but the approaches are now mown by hand to give a better definition and quality of finish. There’s not been that much grass growth yet this year, but this has already improved the look and quality of all the approaches.


“The other key new machine is the Aercore aerator,” says Simon. “We have very good drainage that allows play all year round, but there had been no basic aeration done before I arrived, so this was immediately a number one priority. With 1.3ha of greens to manage, the 2m wide Aercore was needed for its speed of operation – ideally, weather permitting, we’ll spike the greens, tees and approaches once a month to two or three inches deep, and then use a sorrel roller every couple of weeks through the growing season.


“Due to the lack of maintenance and aeration in the past, there has been a lot of thatch and moss build-up to deal with, but since we got the Aercore in, the thatch levels have already been reduced by around 10 per cent. We’ll also be using it for hollow coring and solid tining, in addition to using scarifier units on the greens mowers, so we can really get on top of the thatch and moss and continue to improve the playing surfaces.


“Another important aspect of the deal is the dealer back-up and after-sales service, which is excellent. I’ve known the Tuckwell groundcare manager Martin Green since my Woburn days, and it’s very reassuring to know that the dealer and John Deere are there for us when we need them.”

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