Blackwell Golf Club, founded in 1893 and situated in rolling parkland south of the M42 near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, has taken a package of turf maintenance equipment from local Ransomes Jacobsen distributor, TH White Ltd.
Included in the equipment package are two of the latest hi-tech Jacobsen Eclipse 322 hybrid riding greens mowers, an AR3 rotary mower, a TR3 tees and surrounds mower and a Cushman Turf-Truckster multi-purpose utility vehicle.
The fleet was delivered in September following a series of comparative demonstrations of equipment from various manufacturers.
"I've been very impressed with the Jacobsen AR3," said Adam Moss, assistant head greenkeeper. "The mulching capability of the rotary decks has taken me by surprise. It has dealt with the combination of long grass and fallen leaves exceptionally well and produces a really good finish. It's also very nimble, especially in the plantations that line some of our fairways and it has plenty of power.
"What can I say about the Eclipse? The quality of cut is superb; so much so that members are commenting on the excellent condition of the putting surfaces. The great thing is that you get a consistent cut on every green and everyone can see the improvement. The other major factor is the fuel saving; I've only been filling the tank once a week during autumn, so the savings have been significant. The hybrid power system using a much smaller diesel engine than in a conventional ride-on, coupled with an electric generator really influences fuel usage."
Blackwell began life as a nine-hole course in 1893, constructed on land that formed part of Lord Hewell's estate. It was extended in 1923 to 18 holes and today measures 6,260 yards with a par of 70. Over the past 70 years the club has produced three English Amateur champions including Terry Shingler who, at the age of 44, was the oldest player to win the competition.
"We are a very traditional golf club," says Finlay Clark, the club's former professional who has just celebrated his first anniversary as club secretary, "with values that reflect the history of the game, fair but demanding. That's why we partnered with TH White for our latest purchase of equipment; they have been exemplary throughout the purchase process. Simon Bingham, their local sales representative has been patient, diligent and meticulous; nothing has been too much trouble and the level of service has been really impressive. They are the perfect business partners."
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