Bolton Old Links GC's championship course is poised for some significant grooming after taking delivery of four Wiedenmann UK machines. Delivered in March were a Whisper Twister blower, a Terra Spike GXi8 HD aerator, a 1.7m Terra Rake and a Super 500 three-in-one sweeper collector.
"The board is very supportive of our work," said Head Greenkeeper, Steve Hemsley. "Since 2013, a particular focus has been regular aeration. Four years down the line all our fine turf is considerably firmer and consistent so we've achieved what we planned. Now, as a few key kit pieces have become tired, the board has opted not just to replace them but found scope to invest with additional machines. Aeration to tees and greens is still crucial but there's a wider programme of rough management and improving our fairways to pursue."
With the help of dealers, Balmers GM and groundscare specialist, Andrew Meeks in particular, Steve Hemsley and his team of four thoroughly reviewed all options before deciding upon the right machines for task.
"Easily the Super 500 will make the biggest impact," continued Steve Hemsley. "Already you can see an instant difference to several vast areas of unplayable rough. Rough can be good for definition but at the moment ours is just too thick and harsh. We need it thinner - and in time wispier - to bring it back into play. It doesn't matter that we have undulations, the Super 500 follows the ground so we'll cut and collect at every opportunity, dragging the Terra Rake through to clean it, removing hidden debris."
The Terra Rake, known industry-wide as an ace scarifier, is also earmarked to target thatchy areas on the fairways and roughs.
"The fairways need to be far more free-draining. Extra scarification will help but that's also where the new aerator comes in… The GXi8 is not just for the tees and greens, it's pretty much able to access all areas. In the few short weeks we've had it, we've found it unbelievably quick, so it's just the matter of picking the right time and getting out there."
Bolton Old Links' final machine, the Whisper Twister blower is another purchase with lots to do.
"Our course is on quite an exposed site," continued Steve Hemsley. "We're not troubled so much by leaves as we have mostly pines, but collecting windfall is constant. The blower will be able to round up debris and blow into the path of either the Terra Rake or the Super 500. What a difference that will make. Then it will be back on rough management duties or tidying up after we've scarified the fairways."
"All our new Wiedenmanns are versatile and particularly efficient when working together. That's in keeping with the spirit of our greenkeepers here. Job variety and rotation is important to us all. Everyone is being trained on all machines giving total flexibility for the work ahead."
Andrew Meeks, Groundcare specialist at Balmers' Burnley depot, Wiedenmann UK dealer for the area, who has a long standing relationship with the club said:
"We work with Steve and his team to maximise the productivity and lifespan of their machines. These new deliveries have come at the right time and their particular choices mean the course will instantly reap the benefit. Not only did they select Wiedenmann kit they signed preferred supplier agreement committing to a long term relationship between Balmers GM and Bolton Old Links GC. The addition of a new ProGator and HD200Select sprayer, John Deere 7700A Fairway Mower, John Deere 4049R Compact tractor and Lastec rough mower are testament to the club's commitment to invest in the course both in the short and long term."