The new Jacobsen package, brought in by Orwell Park School to cater to a massive increase in girls' cricket and cut for multiple other sports, has hit the grounds team for six.
The switch between sports at the Suffolk based private school had a massive impact on how the grounds team, led by Grounds Manager, Kelvin Gunnell, operated. A total of 139 matches were played on nine squares in one season, with the team also preparing surfaces for rugby, golf and football.
Because of the number of sports played on the 110-acre site, Kelvin worked with Jacobsen dealer, Ernest Doe, to put together a package with enough power and finesse to provide the high-quality cut for all sports the school wanted.
This package includes an LF570 high-performance reel mower that is used on the rugby pitches, fairways and off-field areas and Greens King 526s and 522s that were specifically purchased for use on the cricket squares.
Kelvin begins: "When the girls switched to cricket from rounders I don't think anyone could have predicted how well it would go and how enthusiastic they would be towards the game.
"They absolutely love playing, and we've now got nine squares to accommodate the additional matches. It's been a lot of extra hard work for the ground staff, and it is having the added squares that made us think about what mowers we needed.
"We were looking for a package of new equipment that incorporated various fine turf mowers for the different sports we have. Some were specifically for the squares, and we also wanted to incorporate the LF570 as a progression from the hydraulic five-gang we previously had.
"The Fairway mower has turned out to be a great acquisition, it suits our undulating land, it's cutting really well, and we'll be using it later on today even though it's quite moist and we've had a bit of a wet period. Having that flexibility when it comes to slightly wetter periods is a big bonus for the areas we have to cover. It's performing well up quite steep gradients and down steep gradients as well, so for us, it's been great."
Preparing surfaces for a variety of sports simultaneously requires strict cutting schedules and makes reliability a crucial factor. To make sure the Orwell team are always cutting on time, Ernest Doe put together a comprehensive service package that has impressed Kelvin.
"Having the various mowers for specific sports is exactly what we need, but it means they need servicing at different times," Kelvin explains. Some days, we can be cutting golf greens with one mower, cricket squares with another, and the rugby pitches with a third mower. That meant incorporating a service package into this deal was crucial because we want our machines to be out cutting when we need them.
"We've got Chris, who comes once a month, and any problems that we've got are ironed out straight away, and he services the machines every month, so the service plan is working really well for us."
Jacobsen's full selection of professional sports turf and golf mowers can be found at the brand new jacobsen.com.