Since taking over as the new owners of Weald Park Golf Club in August 2010, AAF Leisure initiated a new investment programme that includes general refurbishment of the clubhouse and extensive work around the course, as well as new machinery - and despite the severe winter weather leading to lost playing days and income, the club has managed to attract over 80 new members in first few months of 2011.
Four new John Deere machines were ordered from dealer P Tuckwell Ltd of Ardleigh, near Colchester, on a finance lease scheme, including a 2500E hybrid greens mower, a 997 zero-turn mower, a 4720 compact tractor with cab and 400CX front loader and a TH 6x4 Gator utility vehicle. These are now being used by head greenkeeper Keith Eastell and his staff on the course, which features USGA standard greens.
These are run alongside a number of other John Deere machines that the club has bought over the past few years, under different owners, including a 2500A greens mower, a tractor-mounted Aercore 1500 aerator and TC125 core collector, a Pro Gator utility vehicle for spraying and top dressing, and a 1200A bunker rake.
"Our reasons for choosing John Deere include reliability and ease of use, particularly the layout of the controls," says Keith. "But the big determining factor is the dealer service we get from Tuckwell and salesman Neil Peachey in particular. We just can't have machines being damaged or breaking down and taking ages to repair or replace, as has happened in the past with other machines we've had.
"Spare parts is another key factor, both their cost and availability. Tuckwell has a very good parts manager at the dealership - we generally order by phone and he just seems to know all the part numbers and if they're in stock, plus I think they're good value for money, to be honest.
"We are also swapping over to John Deere golf irrigation heads at the moment, as we recently bought 80 to replace our existing greens units, and the next phase will be to do the tees and approaches as well. We've currently got a mix of different makes on the greens and tees, and we wanted to standardise them, which makes things much easier all round. It also came down to cost of the John Deere heads in the end, which were very competitively priced."
For further details and/or photographs, please contact:
John Deere Limited
Tel: 01949 860491
Photo caption: Weald Park head greenkeeper Keith Eastell (seated right in the Gator) had a hand in the clubhouse's design, having come to greenkeeping after a career as an architect.