The biggest package of John Deere golf course maintenance equipment sold in Devon and Cornwall has been delivered by dealer Masons Kings of Chudleigh to Woodbury Park Golf Club near Exeter.The Club's first John Deere fleet includes a 260SL walk-behind tees mower, three 2500B triplex greens mowers, two 8700A fairway mowers, an 8800A semi-rough mower and a 1600T wide area rotary mower plus two XUV 855D and two HPX Gator 4x4 utility vehicles, a ProGator fitted with an HD200 amenity turf sprayer and a 1200A bunker rake.Bought on a three-year finance lease as a like-for-like replacement for the club’s previous fleet, the equipment is used to maintain not only Woodbury Park’s 27-hole parkland golf course but also its full-size football pitch and grounds.“I think the finance package is the best way to go,” said Woodbury Park's golf course & estate manager Ian Chenery. “We get the benefit of a full warranty, and changing the fleet every three years gives us almost trouble-free course maintenance; I know John Deere machinery will easily be reliable for that length of time.“We've used all the other leading manufacturers’ equipment and we wanted to see how John Deere performed,” he added, while paying tribute to the part Masons Kings’ professionalism and focused approach to aftersales service played in securing the deal, which he said justified the dealership's ‘Premium product – Premium support’ motto.“Masons Kings and their turf sales consultant Lee Kirk were awesome. Not only did they come up with the best price, they went above and beyond the call of duty in keeping in contact with us. They were also the only supplier to provide training for two of our mechanics every year for the full term of the lease. This is important as, in addition to the training, it enables them to keep up-to-date with any new features John Deere introduces on its machines.”Ian Chenery has been equally impressed with the equipment's performance on the course. “Whatever John Deere has done over the past few years, they've done it right. The fairway and greens mowers give us the best finish, as the groomers lift the grass before it is cut, and the greens mowers maintain a consistent evenness of cut, as the pivot system enables the cutting units to follow undulations.“The new TechControl computer on the A Model fairway and semi-rough mowers is also very good – surface damage is minimal as the course manager can set the turning speed, as well as the forward and transport speeds. And the machinery has performed reliably; there have been teething problems but that always happens with new equipment and it hasn't been a major issue.“If the equipment works as well in three years’ time as it does now we'll certainly go with John Deere again. The whole experience of working with the company and with Masons Kings has been brilliant, and if it wasn't for Lee Kirk the deal wouldn't have happened.”Masons Kings group turf sales manager Andrew Bowey added: “We are delighted to have established a new partnership with Woodbury Park Golf club and are very keen to grow the relationship. Lee Kirk did a sterling job of representing the dealership and John Deere, and we are all very proud of him. We believe the sale of the equipment is only the first step and that our service and back-up is second to none, which puts us ahead of the competition.”
Renowned for its leading greenkeeping and golf course management training and education programmes, which have produced many of the world’s top greenkeepers, SRUC Elmwood Golf Course has recently invested in a new fleet of John Deere and ancillary equipment supplied by local dealer The Double A Trading Company Ltd.
Bought with a full service and maintenance contract following a rigorous three-way tender process, the extensive John Deere fleet includes new A Model fairway, rough and surrounds mowers, walk-behind and ride-on greens mowers, Gator utility vehicles, amenity turf sprayer and top dresser attachments, compact tractors and a commercial walk-behind rotary mower.
The deal also included a Tru-Turf greens roller, Lewis 2-tonne trailer and an Air 2G2 air injection machine, all supplied by Double A, who additionally advised the college on converting and equipping the course workshop to John Deere dealer standards.
“The SRUC procurement team did a lot of the groundwork for the tender, and I was involved in the assessment and scoring process,” says Matt Baird, deputy manager, course management at SRUC Elmwood. The college is located at Cupar in Fife, close to the ‘home of golf’ at St Andrews Links. “The rest of the greenkeeping team also gave constructive feedback on the machines we had on demonstration.
“This was the first time I’ve been involved in such a process and it was really interesting to see how a whole package deal like this comes together. The response from John Deere and Double A was very comprehensive, and they scored particularly well on areas like service and maintenance, call-out times, operator training and overall value for money.
“In addition, Double A could offer everything we needed, across the board, which was a definite plus. We worked together to identify the best equipment choices, and I was also introduced some things I never knew about, such as the Air 2G2 injector.”
As the only college of its kind in the country with a fully working 18-hole golf course that boasts 550 members plus pay-and-play visitors all year round, as well as a driving range and a teaching and short game area, SRUC Elmwood presents a unique challenge.
As Matt Baird explains, “We have to balance the college’s educational needs with the demands of running a commercial golf course, hence the size and variety of the equipment fleet. The machines are in constant use in all conditions year in, year out, so they need to be 100 per cent reliable all the time, and not just sitting in the shed for half the year.”
Students on the one-year NC, HNC and HND courses at the college really benefit from their real-time experience on a working golf course, adds Matt Baird, who started at SRUC Elmwood as an instructor in 2006. (Double A Trading dealer principal Sandy Armit was himself a graduate of the college in 1981).
“A big part of greenkeeping is working around member golfers, and students need that exposure and experience. They can get practically involved in all the issues rather than just talk about them in a classroom, and it’s a good discipline for our course staff as well – the whole team has contact with the students in one way or another, from supervising individuals to overseeing project work.“As a result, the course is constantly changing – as part of their course students have to complete certain tasks, so they’re always doing something, whether it’s remodelling tees, bunkers or greens or any other type of on-course work. It all feeds into the curriculum and goes a long way to explaining how the college has built up such a great reputation for training first-class greenkeepers.”
John Deere dealer Burden Bros Agri Ltd will be expanding its agricultural machinery business in the south-east of England this autumn, by taking on the sales area currently managed by Bell Agricultural of Romney Marsh in Kent.Burden Bros Agri currently has two outlets, at Stockbury in north Kent and Framfield in East Sussex, and employs 45 staff in total. Existing arrangements for sales and customer support of John Deere and other product franchises in south Kent will continue until further notice; Burden Bros Agri plans to open a new outlet in due course to ensure continuity of supply and service to John Deere customers in the area.The change is part of John Deere’s ongoing Dealer of Tomorrow strategy, which is designed to strengthen the European dealer network and provide long-term stability for both dealers and customers.“We are delighted to have been asked by John Deere to expand our services and facilities to cover the Kent and East Sussex region and parts of Surrey,” says Burden Bros Agri dealer principal Dale Burden. “This ties in well with our plans to grow the business and to be the partner of choice for the products we deliver.“We are committed to building on the high levels of service and after-sales back-up that customers in our new trading area have been accustomed to receiving from Bell Agricultural. We look forward to maintaining a healthy and successful business relationship with the farming community throughout the south-east of England.”Burden Bros Agri Ltd is the most recent John Deere dealer to be recognised by the London Stock Exchange as one of the Top 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain. The LSE report is a celebration of the UK’s fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized businesses. To be included in the list, companies needed to show consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years, significantly outperforming their industry peers.The dealership was also one of the first in the John Deere network to develop its own FarmSight division, providing farmers and contractors with the latest precision farming services and technology. New developments include JDLink telematics, Remote Display Access, Wireless Data Transfer and other advanced methods of seamlessly connecting machines, operators and fields to improve productivity and efficiency.