With Crystal Palace Football Club currently investing in the development of its stadium and academy training ground facilities, its grounds team knows the importance of ensuring the club has a fleet of reliable machinery. Which is why they've invested in yet more Toro machines.
Assistant head groundsman Dean Waters with the Toro fleet at Crystal Palace Training Ground
Bruce Elliot, head of grounds and estates, explains: "We've now been awarded Category 1 status and are focussed on becoming one of the country's leading academies, and a huge part of that is investment in the training grounds. We have planning permission for a new full-sized pitch and nine new pitches at the academy with work having started this summer. With such a big project planned for the 2020/2021 season, it was important we upgraded and expanded our machinery fleet beforehand to prepare for it.
"Toro is a worldwide recognised brand, and the reason for that is the build quality and reliability of the machines. We've had Toro machines at the club and performing well for the last four years and while we did look into other brands, there was really no comparison."
With TYM tractors also included in the deal, it's an investment in distributor Reesink Turfcare as much as anything else, says Bruce: "We first added Toro and TYM machines to our fleet in 2016 and have always been impressed by the work they've done, so we decided to make our biggest purchase with Reesink Turfcare yet. We needed to replace some older machines at the academy and we also wanted to expand the fleet at our main training ground and stadium."
And it's a significant investment which will benefit the Selhurst Park stadium, academy grounds and training grounds. New to the club are a ProCore 648 pedestrian aerator and TYM T293 tractor for the stadium, a Reelmaster 3575-D mower and Workman MDX utility vehicle for the academy grounds and two Greensmaster TriFlex Hybrid 3420 mowers and a ProCore 864 tractor-mounted aerator with TYM T393 tractor for the main training ground. These join the ProCore SR70, Workman MDX-D and TYM T353 purchased in 2016 for the training ground.
Having seen Toro in action at the club for several years already, Toro was always the first choice for Bruce when looking to expand the fleet, he says: "We've been impressed with Toro since it arrived on site four years ago. Take the ProCore 648 as an example. I consider that to be the pedestrian aerator on the market to beat, it's outstanding. Previously, we were hiring one in every time we needed to aerate the grounds, so when the opportunity came to purchase one, there was no question for us that we were going to get it."
With Toro and TYM in use across all the grounds at Crystal Palace and doing a good job, Bruce is looking to the future. He says: "We started to see the benefits of Toro and TYM very quickly four years ago and it's important we maintain those standards now. Plus, the timing of bringing these new machines on board is perfect with such a big project underway.
"We're confident we'll be able to rely on Toro and TYM to provide the excellent standard of turfcare maintenance we need and it's highly likely we will be investing in more Toro and TYM as the club's facilities expand."