Middlesbrough Golf Centre has invested in a package of new golf course maintenance equipment supplied by Cramlington based John Deere dealer Greenlay, to further improve its pay & play and membership offering to golfers in the region.
The John Deere Financial contract lease deal included a John Deere 2500E hybrid electric greens mower, 2653B tees & surrounds mower, HPX Gator utility vehicle and 220SL walk-behind greens mower, plus a Wiedenmann Super 500 multi-purpose sweeper/verticutter/flail mower and a Team Club tractor-mounted sprayer.
The centre has been run by Sports and Leisure Management (SLM) since 2016, through its national consumer brand Everyone Active. SLM is the longest established leisure management company in the UK, since 1987, and currently runs 150 leisure and cultural facilities in partnership with 45 local authorities.
"SLM has taken on the responsibility for managing a number of these sports and leisure facilities all over the country, as local councils find different ways of coping with increasingly limited budgets," says general manager Andy Hill. He was appointed to run the centre in January 2017, having been involved in golf for 30 years.
"This is the one of the organisation's few golf facilities, and coming in was a bit of a challenge," he adds. "This is the first time I've had to fully manage my own centre, and Everyone Active is very leisure centre focused, so golf is quite a new departure for the business."
The centre includes an 18-hole, 6330 yard parkland course set in 160 acres in south Middlesbrough, now featuring newly installed academy tees, plus a nine-hole pitch and putt course, a floodlit driving range and a retail shop with golf simulator. A new footgolf course was also opened in April this year.
"Since I arrived, Everyone Active has been very supportive and agreed a budget to bring about the further improvements that were needed," says Andy Hill. "Really, managing a golf centre is no different to managing a leisure centre. We just needed the right management team and structure in place to justify the investment.
"Our experienced course manager John Grey had already done much of the necessary groundwork over the past seven years since he arrived at the centre, but we quickly agreed he needed an additional greenkeeper/mechanic and new machinery to bring the course to where we wanted it to be, which I'm pleased to say has resulted in this new fleet deal with John Deere and Greenlay."
"We needed to focus on the finishing touches around the course, and the new machinery will go a long way to helping us achieve this," says John Grey. "A major factor for me in choosing John Deere equipment is the level of service and aftercare from the dealership team at Greenlay, as well as the company's reputation and product range.
"I've always had that consistently throughout my 35-year career in the industry, wherever I've worked - every John Deere dealer I've dealt with, including Double A Trading in Scotland, has always been superb in that respect."