Peel Golf Club is a picturesque course situated on the west coast of the Isle of Man. Established in 1895, it was opened to help establish the town's reputation as a fledgling Victorian holiday centre. Today, apart from providing a challenging test of golf, it is renowned for the longevity of its course maintenance equipment.
The oldest machine in the fleet is a Jacobsen LF3810, built in 1994 and with 4,100 hours on the clock. It still has its original five cutting cylinders and original engine glow plugs. In the past 17 years it has only ever required two hoses to be replaced and is still used weekly during the season for the first cut of the rough adjacent to the fairways. During the football season it is used to mow the local football pitch of Peel AFC, adjacent to the club's 18th fairway.
However, the machine that has worked even longer is a 1999-built Jacobsen GreensKing IV, which has clocked up 4,500 hours and is now semi-retired. It is used to maintain the practice ground, where on Tuesday evenings during the summer months over 100 juniors regularly train and receive tuition.
Also in the fleet is a 1995-built Jacobsen TriKing with 2,650 hours, now relegated to a back up machine; a 2,600 hour Jacobsen G-Plex, built in 2004, which now mows tees and aprons and a three-year old Jacobsen LF3800 fairway mower with over 900 hours.
At the other end of the scale is the recently purchased Jacobsen Eclipse 322 hybrid greens mower, the first of its kind to be delivered on the Isle of Man, which in its first season has done 450 hours.
Commenting on his machinery longevity, head greenkeeper Clive Patterson said,
"I have a small team here; there's only four of us including me and I impress on everyone the importance of looking after the equipment. I'm no mechanic, but I do most of the routine maintenance and carry an extensive range of spares so that we can cover most angles.
"I first used Jacobsen equipment when I worked at Arcot Hall Golf Club in Northumberland some 18 years ago, and since then I've always admired the quality of cut from a Jacobsen cutting cylinder. Looking at my equipment now, I think I'll have to add quality of build to that!"
The club's assistant head greenkeeper is Geoff Rice and he commented on the newest addition, the Eclipse 322 saying, "We saw the Eclipse at Harrogate two years ago and our secretary was very impressed with its innovative features. We held off purchasing for a year, then our local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer, JR Riley, held a demo day here to show its capabilities to all the clubs on the island. They left it with us the following day and all of us were more than happy with it. Let's hope in 10 year's time we can say we've put 4,500 hours on it as well."
Ransomes Jacobsen is a Textron Inc (NYSE:TXT) company and more information can be found at www.ransomesjacobsen.com.