Nestled in South Buckinghamshire in the beautiful Thames Valley, Burnham Beeches Golf Club has over 650 members who regularly play this testing course. To keep a golf course which has been played on for over 120 years at its best, you need a dedicated team of staff and reliable equipment to maintain it. The 160-acre 18-hole parkland course has a committed team of six full-time greens staff headed up by Lee Bishop, who has been at the club for the past 16 years.
Lee passionately explains the importance of having the right equipment. "With our existing machinery up for renewal we started looking around at what was on the market. After trying all of the big names with demonstrations we looked beyond to the dealer service and support, along with any finance offers. We made a club decision and went for a five-year operating lease package of 24 new machines supplied by our local Golf & Grass machinery dealer, Farol Ltd."
The new machinery line-up is mainly made up of John Deere equipment, with some innovative attachments to complement them. Heading up the fleet are a pair of John Deere 8800 five-deck rotary mowers for the roughs and a pair of 7700 five-gang fairway mowers, followed by two 7200 semi-rough triple cylinder mowers which also handle the first cut.
The greens are looked after by two 2500E hybrid electric triple cylinder mowers equipped with 11-blade cutting heads, and a pair of three-gang 2500B greens mowers fitted with seven-blade heads and rear roller power brushes cut the tees. For other smaller areas around the course and clubhouse a pair of 54cm cut JX90 commercial walk-behind mowers handle the job with ease.
A John Deere Pro Gator utility vehicle married to a Dakota 410 spreader makes the ideal machine for applying top dressing, and a smaller CX Gator and JSM 'sweep-n-fill' brush make light work of getting the greens ready for playing, along with removing thatch and moss from other grass areas. A John Deere 36hp 3520 compact tractor works in harmony with an Aercore 1500, a 1.5m aerator working at a maximum depth of 4 ½in with hollow, solid or micro tines.
Other new machinery includes a Greentech slitter with 6in spikes and a Buffalo KB4 blower for removing debris, leaves and grass from the course. A Tru-Turf RS48 self-propelled greens iron ensures a smooth playing surface and an Allett BJB42 scarifier is used on the tees and approaches. All of the smaller machinery is transported in two large TFM Groundcare trailers towed behind the Gators.
The course is mainly laid to a rye, poa annua and bent mix of grass and is kept in the summer playing season to heights of cut of 72mm on the rough, 25mm on the semi-rough, 15mm on the fairways, 9/10mm on the tees and approaches and 3mm on the greens. Mowing ranges from daily to once a week, ensuring the course is always looking its best. Lee is currently heading up a three-year bunker renewal program, reshaping and refreshing all of the bunkers across the course.
Lee chose Farol because of the progressive attitude displayed by the company and Golf & Grass Director, James Moore. "Farol have been great with the whole process of purchasing, delivering and setting up the machinery. They do not just supply the machines but care about everything else that we need, and they are always on the end of the phone if we need any technical advice.
It does not stop there either, as also under the Farol umbrella are Stihl machinery, Makita power tools and tyre sales and repair for our machines - it's a true one-stop shop."
With the successful and outstanding upkeep of the course by Lee and his team, Burnham Beeches will be hosting the British Amateur Ladies Open in 2016 and more tournaments in the future.