A five year contract hire with maintenance package from John Deere Credit has allowed The Oaks Golf Courses at Oaks Park in Carshalton, Surrey to acquire an extra mower for their fleet, and to improve their fairway cutting regime.
The Oaks at Epsom was named after the original manor house built on the property, and one of its later owners, the 12th Earl of Derby, gave his name to another famous horse race. Horses of a different kind power the new John Deere fleet on the 18 and 9 hole pay & play courses and 16 bay floodlit driving range.
New machinery includes a 1600T wide area mower, a 3235C fairway mower, two 2653B tees & surrounds mowers, two 2500B triplex greens mowers (one fitted with groomers), a 1445 front rotary mower with 1.8m (72in) mulch deck, a 3520 compact tractor with front loader and two Gator 6x4 diesel utility vehicles, all supplied by local dealer Golf & Turf of Wokingham in Berkshire.
"We were spending a lot of money each year on our older machines and basic maintenance costs were spiralling out of control, whereas now we are saving more using up to date technology," explains head greenkeeper Phil Benn, who has been at The Oaks for 19 years. "The club had never bought a package before, only replacing the odd machine now and then.
"The finance option allowed us to upgrade the whole fleet at one time, and the competitive rates offered by John Deere Credit meant we had the flexibility to order an extra 2653B mower within the same budget. This meant we have been able to improve the overall fairway cut, with more definition at three different levels, something we simply couldn't have done with the machines we had before.
"With the 1445 front rotary, we can also get into the rough grass on steep banks that we've never been able to cut before. There's no question it was the most cost-effective way for us to go, to take the course to another level.
"In addition, as part of the package our local dealer Golf & Turf does all the servicing, as we have no workshop or technician. I simply monitor the machine hours and ring the dealer for servicing as and when necessary - if there are any other issues they will be picked up then. It's a massive bonus for us to have that level of service.
"Nowadays presentation is everything, with so much competition you have got to offer people the highest possible standards, particularly on a pay and play course. Golfers judge everything with their eyes, if they see a great looking course, they'll come back again.
"Since we started using the new John Deere fleet, members have already been very complimentary about the playing conditions all around the course, which is all you can ask for."
The Oaks Director of Operations, Mark Burridge, adds: "The new John Deere machines have given us the benefits of both cost control and a great looking course. The finance package has provided a new way forward to put our course back at the top end in terms of quality and course presentation."
Photo caption: Greens staff at The Oaks Golf Courses using some of the new John Deere machines.