The history of golf at Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire continues to evolve, with the summer of 2016 marking the official reopening of the world renowned Ailsa course, following extensive changes by golf course architect Martin Ebert. In summer 2017, King Robert the Bruce will be unveiled as Trump Turnberry's second major course.
In the largest equipment deal John Deere has ever signed in the UK and Ireland, a new and comprehensive golf course maintenance fleet was supplied by dealer Nairn Brown Ltd of Busby, Glasgow, on a John Deere Financial four-year lease arrangement.
The package of 95 machines included walk-behind greens mowers, tees & surrounds mowers, E-Cut hybrid electric greens and fairway mowers, rough mowers, top of the range compact tractors and both diesel and electric Gator utility vehicles. Additional machines and staff were also provided by John Deere and dealer Nairn Brown as tournament support for the 2015 Ricoh Women's British Open.
Golf courses and estates manager Allan Patterson, whose CV includes Gleneagles and 10 years on the Castle Course at St Andrews Links, oversees a team of more than 40 greenkeeping, gardening and estate staff at Trump Turnberry. All were involved in some way in the choice of the new machinery fleet, as workshop manager Jim Campbell explains:
"The staff were asked to fill in appraisal sheets, looking particularly at the things they were most comfortable with, which helped the selection and final decision making processes," he says. "Price is always a key consideration, but back-up is more important still. It's no good simply having the best kit - if it does break down, the question is how quickly can it be fixed? The relationship with the dealer is also very important."
In response to the need to maintain a consistent finish across the course, Jim programmes the A Model mowers' TechControl system before going out with each operator and tweaking the mowing and turning speeds to suit the individual. This strikes a balance between getting the job done in the time available and achieving the best possible cut quality.
"Height of cuts on the tees, surrounds and greens are pretty standard, we try not to change them around too much," says Jim. "The 8000AE hybrid electric mowers are used on the Ailsa fairways, while 2500E hybrids cut the greens on the Kintyre and 220SL hand mowers cut the greens on Ailsa. The Kintyre has more grass and bigger fairways, so more productivity is required from the mowers on that course.
"We tend to cut the fairways twice a week, the greens every day, the tees and surrounds three times a week and the rough once a week. Generally we aim to hand cut as much as possible, for the visual results. Quality of cut on the John Deere walk-behinds and triples is very good, and meets our expectations.
"The fairway mowers are equipped with Quick Adjust seven-blade cutting units plus rotary brushes instead of groomers - these are less aggressively set, and help to flick up the grass into the boxes. The 220SLs are also equipped with brushes, and 11-blade cylinders."
Allan Patterson adds: "Mr Trump is the first owner of Turnberry to really address the changes that have been needed for some time. To allow the course to regain and maintain its top status, we have to push on and improve what's here. Over the last couple of years Turnberry has probably experienced the biggest and most significant of all the changes to Trump courses, and this underlines our desire to return to the very top tier of golf in the UK.
"Our aspiration is to raise standards and the quality of course presentation by increasing cut frequencies. For tournaments and big events, there's enough kit to cope, and we aim to maintain the very best condition possible. Mr Trump's support and investment will allow us to move forward with confidence to achieve our ambitions."