Louth’s lease deal looks long term

Steve Mitchellin Machinery & Mechanics

Founded in 1965, Louth Golf Club is situated in the Lincolnshire Wolds, an area of outstanding natural beauty. The 18-hole parkland course offers attractive panoramic views from every hole over the Lincolnshire countryside and towards the Humber Estuary.

Responsibility for the course's upkeep at this family friendly community club is down to a young team of just three full-time greenkeepers headed by Sean McDonnell, who was deputy head greenkeeper at East Herts before moving here from Bedfordshire about a year ago.

Sean's arrival coincided with the club's decision to upgrade its older competitive course maintenance equipment and invest in its first ever package for eight new John Deere machines from local dealer F G Adamson & Son, based on a finance lease deal with PowerGard maintenance set up by John Deere Financial.

The new fleet includes a 2500B triplex greens mower, 2500E hybrid electric greens mower, 7700A PrecisionCut fairway mower, 8800A TerrainCut rough mower, 2653B tees & surrounds mower, 3038E compact tractor with front loader, ZTR 997R commercial zero-turn mower and an HPX 815E Gator utility vehicle.

General manager Nikki Chantry, who is also a qualified PGA golf professional and was the club's director of golf before taking on her new managerial role in summer 2018, had recognised that Sean's predecessor was spending far too much time repairing ageing equipment and not enough time out on the course.

They were familiar with John Deere as the club had already been running a newer 8700A fairway mower and 8800A rotary rough mower as part of the mixed fleet. Together with greens chairman Richard Ablott, a meeting was therefore set up with Adamson's commercial sales manager Tony Jenkins and salesman Scott Trestrail.

Scott knows the course very well as he had worked as a greenkeeper at Louth Golf Club for 15 years before joining the dealership. He put this knowledge to good use in recommending a package to meet the club's specific requirements without overcommitting it financially, and when Sean took over he only changed one machine on the proposed kit list.

"Some of our other older machines were simply falling to pieces, and we decided that buying a couple of new replacements now and again was not a sensible approach long term," says Nikki Chantry. "In addition, we kept having to bring in people from outside to do the frequent and expensive major repairs that were necessary, so that's when Adamsons came in and showed us how to find a better solution.

"We went for a finance lease package rather than outright purchase, and John Deere Financial offered us a very competitive deal which has made our overall financial planning much easier."

Sean McDonnell was also impressed by the dealer's support when things were continuing to go wrong with some of the older machines during the changeover. "On my first day at the club the cutting units fell off one of the old greens mowers, but we got a replacement plus a banks mower straight away from Adamsons to tide us over. The dealer's been very helpful in that respect right from the start.

"I like the cut quality you get from the John Deere mowers," he adds. "You get a sharper cut without digging into the surface, and you know if you set them up at 4mm, you get 4mm. The TechControl system with password protection on the A Model mowers is good too - it puts me in full control so I can set them up the way I want in order to deliver consistent quality across the course, whoever's driving.

"With a small greenkeeping team it's vital that none of us are spending valuable time in the workshop instead of out on the course. We're now able to benefit from using up to date technology that is much more reliable and productive, and that can only be a good thing."