Toro electric-powered equipment played a key role in helping course manager Craig Gilholm and his team ready the course for The Open Championship.
The snag for Royal Liverpool and the 18-hole Hoylake course is its location in a densely populated area. Mowing noise is not appreciated at any time of day, let alone at 4am. Last year, course manager Craig Gilholm came up with a solution. He replaced his existing 'conventional' greensmowers with full-electric pedestrian greensmowers and hybrid for the ride-on greens triples. He also went for electric Toro Workman utility vehicles to provide quiet transport around the course.
"We wanted to make a switch away from diesel and petrol for the broadest of environmental reasons," Craig says. "But cutting pollution, to include noise, is also a key priority and one that is key to the sustainability of golf."
His selected kit includes six lithium-ion battery-powered Toro eFlex 21 pedestrian mowers, plus four diesel hybrid Toro TriFlex 3420-D ride-ons. These mowers had already proven themselves over the course in 2013. No concession is made to how they operate either, Craig and his team expecting them to perform exactly as they would demand a 'conventional' powered fleet of machines.
"The eFlex mower's on-board computer system ensures full performance is delivered right to the moment when the mower needs to stop for a recharge," says Craig. "At present we can mow five greens per charge with groomers and push brushes, which is just right for our needs. The eFlex models replaced conventional Flex 21 petrol models and I can see no difference in performance but appreciate the simplicity and low noise of the battery models."
The diesel-powered hybrid TriFlex 3420-D has proven a hit too, with electric power to the Dual Point Adjustment (DPA) cutting units doing away with hydraulics to the mowing circuit. Further, the mowers can be operated at a lower engine speed, reducing noise and fuel consumption.
To help ensure all 18 greens delivered consistent play throughout the tournament, Craig and his team used his recently acquired Toro GreensPro 1240 rollers ahead of play, a further two being provided by local Toro dealers Cheshire Turf Machinery.
"We have worked with Royal Liverpool for over 10 years," says managing director Steve Halley. "We all pull together when it comes to helping prepare the course for The Open as we know just how much pressure there is."
And Craig says: "Our local dealer and Lely UK really helped out. I have every faith in the Toro kit we use, the latest electric and hybrid technology delivering the productivity, quality of cut and performance we demand."