Beaconsfield Golf Club, located in Seer Green, Buckinghamshire, has taken delivery of the first Smithco Tournament Ultra Lite greens roller in the United Kingdom. Delivery was made by local dealer, The Turney Group.
Stuart Langhorne has been the course manager at the golf club for the past 3 ½ years. Stuart previously gained experience of turf maintenance at Wimbledon's All-England Club, Woburn Golf and Country Club and Aldwickbury Park Golf Club, where he was the course manager for six years. Stuart made the decision to purchase the Smithco greens roller after seeing impressive results at his previous course. Commenting on the decision, Stuart said:
"I first saw the roller on the Jacobsen stand at the Golf Industry Show in America. It seemed identical to the model I used at Aldwickbury, but it was a lot lighter, which is what I was looking for because our greens tend to get quite wet. I immediately contacted The Turney Group for a demo and from that point on, there has been no doubt in my mind about which roller I need on my greens.
"Previously, we had been using a competitor roller, and rolling the greens was a two-man job for us. One person would sit on the roller and another would cane or blow behind him. The Smithco roller doesn't drop anything; it almost hoovers the greens. The roller uses a dual drive system, so we're able to drive into the rough, spin the rollers off and completely clean them before returning to the greens. I used the roller on a green just two days after we put 80-tonnes of sand on whilst hollow coring, and I didn't have to cane or blow the greens which is unheard of."
The Smithco Tournament Ultra Lite Greens Roller utilises direct drive hydraulic motors to each roller cylinder, eliminating the maintenance required on mechanical drive systems. Commenting on the benefit of low maintenance, Stuart said: "I used a different Smithco roller at my last course for five years, and I never had to buy a single part for it. It is about 10 years old now, and I hear it's still working perfectly! I have also found that the wide rollers provide extra stability. We have used rollers in the past which have tipped when going down hills, banks or travelling at speed because the rollers are too narrow. I don't have this problem now, which is great news.
"Another great feature is the manoeuvrability of the machine. It manoeuvres like a greens triple. With other rollers we've used, once you get stuck on a line, you have to go with it. It's like using a paint roller. With the Smithco roller, you can go anywhere you want, which is fantastic."
Beaconsfield Golf Club is a private member club. The course was designed by Harry Colt in 1913 and has many of his trademark features. In particular, it is very well bunkered and has unusually large greens. Each of the holes is separated from its neighbouring holes by mature mixed woodland.