A massive fire in January 2015 saw Suffolks' Thorpeness Golf Club lose all of their equipment - valued at £355,000! For Course Manager of 22 years Ian Willett, the replacement of his fleet has been gradual, ensuring that each new machine is spot on for the current requirement of the course. In 2017 it was the turn of a new topdresser and a Rink DS800 from Charterhouse Turf Machinery was bought after advice from local dealer Tomlinsons.
"We tend to stick to regular light dressings to keep things balanced" explains Ian who is supported by a team of six full-time, and two part-time, greenkeepers. "I spoke to our local dealer and they brought the Rink over for a demonstration. It's a great piece of kit that's quick and easy to use. The size of the unit is just right and, when mounted on our ProGator, can do greens, collars, approaches as well as tees - it can get just about everywhere!"
The Rink DS800 Topdresser can be trailed behind a 30hp compact tractor with the benefit of 4 wheels on an articulating axle, or fitted to a John Deere ProGator or Toro Workman truck for a lighter footprint. It has a variable spread pattern up to 12m (36ft) and delivers an accurate finish thanks to the dual spinners which can apply precise amounts of material, even if the material is wet.
Keeping operations simple, at the start of the season Ian will work out the set up and adjust the Rink accordingly, so for the occasional heavier dressing only a small adjustment is required. "With one hopper of sand we can dress two greens and can get around all 18 in as little as four hours." The topdressing work, in conjunction with vibrate rolling the greens has helped the team create a course with true putting surfaces. "We're not aiming for extremely fast greens. We want people to enjoy playing here so my aim is to create a fair, but challenging experience. Now that we have the Rink, the regular and accurate dressings around the course are already making a big difference to the overall playability."