When Clacton-on-Sea course manager Alan Smith was unhappy with the performance of his existing mower, he called in Toro distributor Lely for a demonstration of the TriFlex Hybrid riding greensmower with electric cutting units - and bought two! Now he couldn't be more delighted.
Alan, who has been at the Essex links course for 37 years, says: "We were specifically looking for a hybrid machine. The one we were using wasn't performing as we expected or wanted, so we asked Richard Freeman of Lely to come in and demo the Toro hybrids for us.
It's the first time we've had a Toro demo and we were so impressed we bought two."
Indeed, Alan says he finds the technological features in a modern mower like the TriFlex Hybrid 3420 nothing less than incredible. More about this later.
Now the club's five-strong greenkeeping team is using the machines to cut its greens, tees and green surrounds at the 18-hole members' course. And Alan's verdict?
"The Toro hybrids are time- and energy-saving. Our complete cutting time is three- to three-and-a-half hours. The cut is superb and everyone here from staff to the members is pleased with the improved quality of the playing surfaces.
"We opted for brushes on the front of the machines, which are also proving a big hit. They force the grass to stand up before cutting and when you're cutting to a height of 3.5mm this makes a big difference.
It is particularly useful through May when the grass is seeding, as the brushes stand the grass up and this allows you to cut the seed heads off which quickens up the putting surface."
The Greensmaster TriFlex Hybrid 3420 is one of the first machines to bear Toro's new 'EnergySmart' label, described as a customer-led innovation with a 'green' twist.
The company says this concept cements its commitment to environmental sustainability, economic viability and social responsibility.
Having witnessed such great change in his many years as a greenkeeper, Alan says he can only marvel at how technological advances like those in his new TriFlex mowers just keep on coming.
"When I started, our triple mowers ran off cables through the shafts to spin the units," he says. "Before that it was all done by hand! That was the reality for my dad, who was head greenkeeper at Maldon Golf Club in Essex."
The Smiths are certainly better placed than most to judge the affects of technological change on the industry, with no less than three generations of greenkeepers in the family.
"When you think how far technology has come just in my time it makes me wonder what my son, who is studying for his NVQ in greenkeeping, will be telling me about in the future!" concludes Alan.