As education representative for BIGGA's thriving Devon and Cornwall section, Graeme Gallimore knows a thing or two about tractors and their finer points.
Graeme is also course manager at Launceston Golf Club and it was in that role that he selected an MF 1540A compact tractor as being the ideal power unit for the club's demanding course maintenance requirements.
"Our ageing loader tractor had seen better days and the time had come to pension it off and give its loading duties to another tractor," he explained. "We decided to fit a front-end loader to an existing model and buy a new tractor of around 40hp that could work comfortably on all parts of our hilly course in all weathers."
As the incoming power unit was to be used on tasks such as deep tine aeration, mole drainage, top dressing, trailer work and spraying, Graeme and his greenkeeping team wanted a versatile tractor that was able also to satisfy a number of key points. "It had to have good stability, a high power-to-weight ratio, decent rear lift capacity and be fitted with wide flotation tyres so it could work effectively without compacting our clay-loam greens," explained Graeme.
Demonstrations were arranged on the course of a number of competing makes and the greenkeeping staff were given the opportunity to drive and compare the various tractors.
"All of them had their good and not so good points, but the Massey was rated the best by every one of the staff," said Graeme. "It's very smooth, easy to drive and extremely well priced for a specification which includes spool valves, a forward folding mid rollbar and a three-range synchro-shuttle gearbox ."
Supplied by local Massey Ferguson dealer, Alan Snow Agricultural Engineers, the 38hp MF 1540A is now proving a first-class investment for the club, said Graeme.
"Having been briefed on our tyre requirements, the dealer arranged for the tractor to be fitted with Galaxy Turf Specials all-round," explained Graeme. "These are spot on for the tractor's main role, namely greens aeration using a 1.9m Soil Reliever fitted with needle tines, solid tines or hollow tines at different times of the year. Most recently, we successfully mole drained several fairways and areas of rough without marking the surface, despite the soft conditions.
"Our former loader tractor was also a Massey Ferguson which had been a great servant to the club over many years. Early impressions of our new MF
Launceston Golf Club's greenkeeping team with the club's new Massey Ferguson compact tractor. Course manager, Graeme Gallimore, is pictured second from the left.