Lease deal brings course machinery fleet to Surbiton GC

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu March 30, 2018 05:16 Updated

When it comes to course machinery, Surbiton Golf Club has done things the same way for many years. But times are changing, starting with the delivery of its first full fleet. The lease deal with Toro and Reesink Turfcare is a clear signal of the club’s desire to deliver a golfing experience to members that will be the envy of other clubs in Surrey.

When Andrew Kerr joined the club in Chessington as head greenkeeper in April 2017, he went straight to work with the greens’ committee to update the five-year course improvement plan. To make the agreed plan possible, it was decided that a complete overhaul of the way the club acquired and replaced its machinery was needed.

Clint Whittaker, club secretary, explains: “We used to purchase machines outright when required, as part of our capital investment plan. This meant we had machines of varying ages, some of which couldn’t provide Andrew with the performance he needed to deliver the course results we expect. So rather than just replace a few machines, we decided to acquire a whole new fleet that is optimised to meet the very high expectations of our members. This lease is a big deal in many ways. Not only is it a big deal literally, with 14 brand new greens, tees, fairway and rough mowers, plus a sprayer, but it’s also a significant shift in the way the club sources course machinery.”

Andrew says: “The world of golf is very competitive. There’s a great deal of choice for players, so it’s imperative to be the best you can be on the budget you have. We’re a very busy club owned by the members. We’re not one of the biggest, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have the best presented course around. I was determined to bring the best machinery to support our course maintenance regime. I wanted to show the membership what’s possible when you have the right equipment. We have an excellent team in place. Now they have the machinery to produce the fine turf that delivers a great golfing experience.”

As a club owned by its members, this change in policy had to not only win over the committee, but 700 members too. Andrew continues: “It only took one viewing of the latest Toros, brought in by Reesink, to convince everyone that Toro was the brand to go with to raise the bar. I’ve found the management and the members to be entirely supportive, and when it came to the benefits of a lease agreement they were in absolute agreement.”

Clint agrees: “Andrew suggested a different approach to our machinery sourcing plan to bring in the results we wanted. He demonstrated that a lease was the best option, Toro proved in the demo they were the best quality, and Reesink brought in some surprising figures. All in all, we could see this was an investment in the future of the club we had to go with.”

Andrew is currently finalising his qualification as a master greenkeeper. Such a prestigious accolade demonstrates the incredibly high standards and professional approach Andrew sets for himself and the course. Andrew says: “By committing to machinery on a lease deal, I could select a fleet of modern machines to deliver the results I want to see. I’m a big advocate of hand-tapping the important areas around the tees, greens, approaches and surrounds. That creates the kind of finish I want to see, the type that brings the ‘wow’ factor and creates a course we’re all proud of. And that’s why we invested in seven pedestrian mowers.”

Four Greensmaster 1000 and three Greensmaster 1600 pedestrian mowers are delivering this ‘wow’ factor. Bringing the muscle are two Reelmaster 5510-D ride-ons, two TriFlex 3420 hybrids, one with an 11-blade set-up and one with an eight. A Groundsmaster 4700-D, two Groundsmaster 3500-D mowers and a Multi Pro 5800-D complete the stellar cast.

Mike Taylor from Reesink Turfcare says: “Andrew came to us with a clear vision of what he wanted the machinery to achieve. It was a joint effort between Reesink and Surbiton Golf Club to make sure he got everything on that list to realise his vision. It was a big step forward for the club and provides real certainty that the greens team can meet member expectations.”

Summing up the deal, Clint says: “Surbiton has a long-term commitment to delivering an excellent experience to members on and off the course. Bringing the new Toro fleet to the club is proof of that commitment. By providing our team with the very best technology money can buy, we will enable them to employ a very modern and effective approach to course preparation and maintenance. It’s better for the club, better for the greenkeeping team and better for the members.”

The course quality is central to the club’s success. There is a packed competition diary in 2018 including the club’s ProAm and other PGA events. It’s the norm for over 150 members to compete in a medal and roll-ups are popular all week. As a result, there is real pressure on the fleet to be reliable and this is yet another reason why Andrew says Toro was the only choice: “I have used Toro for many years and always found it to be highly reliable. Although Toro comes close to it, I recognise nothing is perfect. That’s why I also always consider back-up and support. I feel comfortable we’ll get what we need when we need it from Reesink.

“Our Toro fleet is delivering what I believe it should. The new technology we have at our fingertips means the greenkeeping team is making a real difference to the playability and quality of the course.”

So, where there is a will there is a way. You don’t need the biggest budget to get the equipment you want, or the finish you feel your members deserve. Look at the options with your management committee and where relevant the membership. Find the best people in the dealer and distributor network to talk to about what you want to achieve and consider that, just like a picture, a demo is worth more than a thousand words.

Reesink Turfcare is the exclusive distributor in the UK and Ireland for Toro professional turfcare machinery and irrigation products for the golf, sport and amenity sectors. Tel: 01480 226800, email info@reesinkturfcare.co.uk or visit reesinkturfcare.co.uk

 

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu March 30, 2018 05:16 Updated
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