The 18-hole parkland course on Harpenden Common in Hertfordshire features a mixture of mature woodland and gorse. The club has used a Trilo SG400 vacuum sweeper to deal with the substantial leaf fall for many years now, but the introduction of a scarifying unit has changed the dynamics, says Head Greenkeeper Sean Brocklehurst.
Golf has been played on Harpenden Common since 1895, with the golf club formally founded in 1931. The majority of holes are set on common land, posing numerous challenges when it comes to maintenance. Therefore, any machinery that can quickly and efficiently deal with some of the larger tasks is a welcome relief for Sean and his team of 7.
"The hundreds of trees we have which line the fairways and other areas means that every autumn we have a huge problem with leaves" explains Sean. Prior to the Trilo's delivery leaves would be blown into large heaps and vacuumed into a trailer - a 2 or 3 man job. "We knew we needed a multifunctional unit to speed up the process so looked at a number of machines, but the SG400 ticked all of our boxes. We've never looked back. The size has really suited our needs, as has the good working speed and easy manoeuvrability compared to some that we demo'd. We can blow leaves into lines or piles, and then with the main deck or wander hose we can remove and compact them in one pass, even those under trees - the whole course can be cleared in just 2 or 3 days."
This year, for the first time, they have fitted the Trilo SG400 with the optional Verti-Cut unit to scarify the fairways and semi-roughs on the course. Sean again, "It does a very neat job, handling the contours very well and removing masses of dead organic material that is collected at the same time. It takes under a week to do all the fairways, all of which show signs of recovery very quickly after the operation. Utilising the machine for both scarifying and leaf collection means the SG400 has become a very useful multifunctional tool for all year-round operation and has allowed us to keep all areas of the course spotless. It has also freed up labour and time that we have been able to put into other projects on the course. It's also worth adding the back up support we've received from Jon and Jeremy at Trilo. They have been quick to respond to any problems or questions we've had and will visit if needed."