0 Continuous improvement is the secret of success at Honiton Golf Club

Continuous improvement is the secret of success at Honiton Golf Club

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John Barden, Head Greenkeeper at Honiton Golf Club, faces a challenge increasingly familiar to greenkeepers up and down the country.

"There is a continuous need for improvement" he stresses. "It's driven partly by TV coverage, which raises customer expectations about how a golf course should be presented. My aim is to deliver a consistently high quality and enjoyable experience for everyone who plays Honiton. That means working hard with my team and giving them the right tools to do the job."

At Honiton, John liaises closely with his Club Secretary, Brian Young, to ensure there is sufficient investment to provide the right tools. This year alone, they have added seven specialist Jacobsen machines to the fleet. In May 2005 they took delivery of a Greens King VI, four 522 pedestrian greens mowers, an LF3800 fairway mower and a 6010 three-deck rotary from P.J. Flegg, the local Ransomes Jacobsen Dealer.

John believes that specialist machines are essential in the quest to achieve better presentation. He already has two Jacobsen Greens King VI mowers and an AR250, all providing excellent service, so it was natural that he would use that as a start point.

"After negotiation, we achieved the best deal we could for the Club - that's the best overall value. We have purchased high quality equipment from Ransomes Jacobsen which precisely meets our needs. We receive high quality local support from P.J. Flegg, who provide excellent training and after care. This business is all about sustainable relationships and I am sure we can look forward to a successful future for all parties."

The 600 playing members at Honiton (out of total of 900), plus many Societies, tee off for nearly 40,000 rounds a year. As John jokes "No member who's had a bad round ever compliments the greenkeeper!" However members now play much more frequently. Whereas in recent years many played just once a month, now it's more likely to be once a week, suggesting they are finding the experience as enjoyable as John strives to make it. Also, he stresses "Societies invariably give compliments on the course condition. I think we must be doing something right."

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