Forest Pines hosts John Deere Team Championship finals
Forest Pines Golf Club near Brigg in north Lincolnshire is the new finals venue for this month's John Deere Team Championship golf competition, which has attracted a total entry of over 400 teams throughout Great Britain and Ireland. The course was also used in June for the local qualifying event, organised by John Deere dealer F G Adamson & Son of North Ferriby and won by East Yorkshire club Cottingham Parks.
Established as a brand new championship course in 1996, Forest Pines features three challenging loops of nine holes fashioned out of mature woodland by golf course architect John Morgan. Course manager David Norton and his greenkeeping team are now using a fleet of over 30 John Deere machines, supplied by Adamsons. This has almost doubled in size since the course first opened, with the help of a planned replacement finance scheme from John Deere Credit.
Mowers include six 220B walk-behinds and two 2500 greens triples, a 3235B fairway mower fitted with fairway tender conditioners (FTCs) for early morning cutting, a 2653A tees & surrounds mower, and a new large chassis 48hp 4700 compact tractor with Lastec articulated rotary mower deck, which is used for cutting the semi-roughs in the summer; this is replaced by a Verti-Drain in the winter months.
These are complemented by an electric E Gator and a 6x4 diesel Gator utility vehicle, and two additional 4010 Series compact tractors, one fitted with an Aercore 1500 mounted aerator.
"With 27 holes plus a practice area, and very heavy usage of the course all year round, we need a big machinery fleet and a lot of staff to keep on top of the workload," says David Norton. "All three nine hole loops start close to the clubhouse, so we also need to work quickly around the whole course.
"We cut the greens every day, and the fairways three times a week, depending on the time of year. Because there's so much tree cover, we also do a lot of aeration to keep everything breathing and draining freely.
"This is why it's such a good winter course, as it doesn't get waterlogged or muddy. It's challenging to get all the holes in perfect condition all year round, though, and that's why the equipment is used to the maximum."
Forest Pines hosts a number of pro-ams, PGA and Euro Pro Tour events and other tournaments, some of which, because of its location, are open to both Midlands and Northern PGA sections, and many of which take place over the winter months - hence the heavy traffic on the course.
As a result, some of the playing areas have recently been overseeded with ryegrass, to maintain the presentation and improve wear, and several tees have been expanded. The club has also invested in a new machinery shed, fuel station and an eco-friendly self-contained wash-off system.
"Obviously we've been very happy with the John Deere equipment, which is why we've committed to an ongoing replacement scheme," says David Norton. "The machines are comfortable, manoeuvrable and easy to set up and operate. The range meets our specifications, and the parts and service back-up from the dealer is excellent."
Photo: Forest Pines course manager David Norton (seated front right) with Tony Jenkins of John Deere dealer Adamsons and the club's greenkeeping and gardening team with the John Deere equipment fleet, pictured at the 16th hole.