One of Northern Ireland's most luxurious golf resorts has taken delivery of an extensive range of new John Deere turf machines from dealer Johnston Gilpin & Co to help maintain its courses
The idyllic Lough Erne Golf Resort is situated just a few miles outside the town of Enniskillen in County Fermanagh and is home to a five star hotel and two golf courses, namely the Faldo Championship and Castle Hume courses. As the name suggests the former was designed by golfer Nick Faldo and is the first by the sports star in Ireland.
This particular 18-hole par 72 course is 7167 yards long and enjoys the most amazing scenery that any sports venue could wish for. In particular the views stretching over Lough Erne from at least 11 of the holes make this a very special golf course to play on.
The resort has been chosen to host a future Irish Open Golf Championship thanks to the popularity and respect the course has earned among top golfing professionals. In addition, the Faldo Course was rated 27th in the latest Golf Digest Volvo Top 100 Ranked Golf Courses in Ireland 2016 rankings.
Lough Erne Resort is also well-known for hosting the G8 Summit in 2013, when US President Barack Obama met with other world leaders to discuss major issues. Photographs of the leaders taken in front of the hotel spiralled across the world to signal a momentous occasion for the resort, putting it firmly on the map.
Since the G8 Summit, ownership of the resort has changed hands and is it now managed by a consortium from the USA, which has invested heavily in the venue. One of the owners, Mark Ward from Texas, is regularly on site helping manage the business and was present to welcome the new range of John Deere equipment this spring.
With 600 acres to look after, the greenkeeping team at Lough Erne Resort needed a range of machines that are reliable and best suited to the resort conditions. With this in mind John Deere was the brand of choice as it ticked all the boxes.
Sean Reilly has been the greenkeeper superintendent at Lough Erne Resort for the past nine years and knows the courses inside out. He worked closely with Ricky Neill, the grounds care machinery sales manager at Lisburn-based John Deere dealership Johnston Gilpin & Co, to determine exactly which machines were required.
The management team at Lough Erne Resort, together with Sean, drew up the list of machinery they needed and thoroughly researched all the equipment available on the market. In the end they decided on six machines from the John Deere range because it is, according to Mark Ward, "…the best equipment money can buy."
He goes on to say: "One of our partners is involved in a couple of prestigious golf courses in Chicago and Oregon. He reported to us how reliable the brand is and that it really is the best in the industry. The efficiencies gained will also allow us to significantly improve the Castle Hume Course, enhancing the playing experience for its members and other players, as well as providing a great additional golf option for the resort's guests.
"Here at the Lough Erne Resort we only want the best of everything, so when compared to other available options, it was quite an easy decision to choose the John Deere brand and the services of Johnston Gilpin."
Mark and his team elected to buy a John Deere 5100M 100hp utility tractor, two 8800A TerrainCut five-gang rotary rough mowers, a 2030A ProGator utility vehicle equipped with a low-profile HD200 turf sprayer, a 1200A self-propelled bunker rake and a 2653B PrecisionCut triplex tees & surrounds mower.
Ricky Neill adds: "We at Johnston Gilpin have enjoyed a longstanding working relationship with Sean Reilly and the Lough Erne Resort. We are therefore delighted to continue this relationship by supplying this new equipment to help maintain the prestigious Lough Erne Resort grounds here in County Fermanagh. These latest machines expand the existing fleet and we hope to add more in the future, including upgrades to the Gator utility vehicles."
Sean Reilly says he is delighted with the new equipment. "We have been using John Deere rough mowers for a number of years and found them to be well suited to our terrain. The new 8800A models are very efficient and leave a good finish, as does the 2653B tees mower which is nice and compact yet extremely manoeuvrable.
"The tractor will be used with a top dresser most of the time, while the ProGator and sprayer will form a super partnership in applying liquid fertiliser and spraying for weed control. With John Deere and the dealer we have an excellent parts back-up service, should we require it, and the knowledge that if we have a problem the staff at Johnston Gilpin are always on the end of a phone to help us."
For more information, visit www.JohnDeere.co.uk.