Ventrac and Sisis package for Merlin Golf Course

Peter Driverin Machinery & Mechanics

One of the latest golf clubs in the west country to realise the versatility of Ventrac equipment is Merlin Golf Course on the north Cornish coast. Situated on high ground close to Mawgan Porth and only a short drive from Newquay, this heathland course enjoys stunning views towards the Atlantic Ocean.

This latest package, delivered by local dealer Devon Garden Machinery, included a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor unit with Contour mowing deck and a Sisis Multitiner 1200.

Martyn Bennett is the Course Manager and is assisted by two long-serving greenkeepers, Rob Hall and Carl Quible. He joined Merlin just 8 months ago after four years as deputy course manager at Caversham Heath Golf Club in Berkshire and before that spent 12 years at Basingstoke Golf Club in Hampshire.

"We were in the market for a new rough mower and my predecessor had a demonstration back in July 2018," he said. "We had a further demonstration when I arrived, so I could confirm that it would be suitable for the course and I wasn't disappointed. It's remarkably powerful for a sub-25 hp tractor, quiet and produces an excellent stripped finish with no mess. We used gang mowers previously so this has been a revelation. It's so manoeuvrable and has reduced our fuel bills for maintaining the rough by 50%; that's a significant saving.

"It's a versatile machine with a unique front mount system and standard 3-point linkage on the back. The Sisis Multitiner fits easily on the back, so it's not just Ventrac attachments that can be used, increasing the versatility of what it can do."

Carl Quible is the principal operator of the machine and says,

"We have some extreme slopes around the course and I feel 100% safe when I'm mowing. It enables us to maintain the banks on a regular basis and can go where other mowers cannot go. It's a powerful compact machine and has certainly enhanced the presentation of the course."

Built in 1991, the course has been owned by Jim Barlow since 2004 and is now benefitting from investment at all levels. Redesigned to cut out long walks from green to tee and with new bunkers and tees, it's a challenge off the white tees, especially when the wind blows! The club house was opened in 2005 and has recently been extended and refurbished including a new patio overlooking the 18th green.

The club has its own wind turbine and small solar farm which also provides power for the contemporary holiday apartments on the course.