Fleet finance package suits Dunstable Downs

Steve Mitchellin Golf

Founded in 1906, with the current 18-hole course designed by the great golf course architect James Braid in 1931, Dunstable Downs Golf Club is a classic natural chalk downland course that can offer golf almost 365 days a year, because of its excellent drainage.

At 800ft above sea level on the Chiltern Hills, it is one of the highest inland courses in the UK, with fantastic views over the Downs and on into Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire.

The club's new course maintenance equipment fleet, delivered by John Deere dealer P Tuckwell Ltd, was bought on a rolling five year programme using a John Deere Financial package including PowerGard maintenance. The deal included three John Deere 2500E hybrid electric greens triplex mowers, one of which is used for tees and approaches, and a 7700A PrecisionCut fairway mower.

"It was probably the biggest machinery deal this golf course has ever signed, and a substantial investment for a club of this size," says general manager Duncan Mutton, who together with ex-greens chairman Mark Smith conducted a full maintenance and equipment review. "We wanted to enhance the quality and appearance of the golf course, and felt that the best way to do that was to put a fleet deal together, rather than simply change one or two individual machines each year.

"We had worked with Tuckwell for many years, and John Deere and its bespoke finance package proved to be the most appropriate for our requirements. The dealer team was very professional, and Neil Peachey in particular opened our eyes to a new way of budgeting for a full replacement programme that would meet our needs.

"The key for us was that it would give us the chance to adopt the latest new technology, such as John Deere's E-Cut hybrid electric mowers, and greatly reduce the costs of maintenance and repair associated with running older equipment.

"Neil and his colleagues took us through every stage of a very careful and comprehensive process, looking at our future maintenance requirements, and made a number of recommendations. Our head greenkeeper Frank Scullion then requested a slightly different set-up, and they answered all his questions more than satisfactorily.

"At a series of successful demonstrations, the greens staff loved the new machines and their versatility as soon as they tried them, and straight away said the greens mowers gave a better cut. The whole deal was very good, including the trade-in value on our old machines, and there was really no downside to it at all.

"Not only do we get great back-up service from Tuckwell, John Deere Financial were also extremely helpful and gave us some sound advice when putting the package together - this was a very advantageous part of the whole deal. There were no surprises either, and in the current financial climate that's exactly what we needed."