Scotland's National Stadium, Hampden Park, in Glasgow, has reported significant improvements in pitch quality, time management and operator comfort following an investment in Toro machinery made last year as part of a five-year exclusive deal.
Head groundsman at the 52,000-seater stadium, Stephen Bache, had wanted to upgrade the turf maintenance equipment to Toro since he joined Hampden in 2002, and now his wish has been realised. "I came from the golf course industry and I believe Toro is the best turfcare kit you can get," he says. "We were coming to the end of our agreement with another manufacturer, so the time was right to make the move."
As part of the agreement, Stephen now has a whole range of Toro kit working on and around the pitch - a Workman e2050 electric utility vehicle, a Greensmaster 3250-D ride-on mower, three 1600 pedestrian mowers, a Pro Sweep 5200, ProCore 648 pedestrian aerator and Line Painter 1200.
"The Toros have made such a big improvement in quality, time management and comfort," says Stephen. "They are all so well designed and suited to their particular task. The 1600 delivers a superb quality of cut, and it's very lightweight and a joy to use.
"I think the ProCore 648 is probably the most innovative machine I have seen in a long time. It pretty much saved us from having to returf the pitch last summer. We can have a problem with surface water after heavy rain, which means the pitch can often be damaged badly during a match. However, with the ProCore we can now solid core in advance of a match and the water is gone, with no evidence we have cored at all.
"The Pro Sweep is great for clearing up debris and divots from the pitch. With celebrations after Cup matches there is a lot of cleaning up - all that Flutter Fetti and ticker tape - but with its soft brushes and light footprint the sweeper makes a great job of it without damaging the pitch at all.
"The Workman electric is a great runaround, and is quiet, clean and goes all week on just one battery charge." Stephen also has a 3250 ride-on greens machine and says that although it's traditionally a golf model, he chose it for Hampden because of its lightweight design and great quality of cut. "We use it to cut twice a day sometimes during the summer and the results are superb. No wheel marks at all."
The Toro machinery was supplied by local dealer Scottish Grass Machinery.