Murray Long, Courses and Estate Manager at the prestigious Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire, has recently taken delivery of three Jacobsen SLF1880 super light fairway mowers from local RANSOMES JACOBSEN dealer, T H White Ltd of Reading. RANSOMES JACOBSEN is a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.
The club's previous fairway mowers were proving too heavy when turning close to the heather areas after cross cutting the fairways on the Old course and as a result the heather was suffering.
"Our previous fairway mowers were old and we were looking to replace them," he said. "They were also heavy and were damaging the heather as they turned after each pass across the fairways. I was looking for a solution; something lighter, but with a similar work rate. We're also encouraging more fescue on the fairways, so a lighter machine will result in less compaction and, hopefully, a more amenable rootzone.
"A couple of years ago I was invited on a trip to the US by Ransomes Jacobsen and was fortunate to visit Wingfoot, Augusta, Westchester and Quail Hollow. Although at that time not a user of their equipment, it certainly raised my awareness of their product range and I remembered seeing the SLFs in action.
"We contacted T H White and had two machines here on demo. We timed them against the older machines using different reel configurations and although the cutting width of the SLF is slightly reduced, they performed superbly and, what's more, the operators really liked them.
"We have introduced a specific 'Fairways' team, who will be responsible for mowing the Old course, under the leadership of Daniel Turner. We held a British Open Qualifier in June and hosted the Ricoh Women's British Open, which was played here at the end of July. It was the first time that we used the SLFs for tournament preparation and we were delighted with the result.
"One point I would make and that's the professional manner of the T H White team throughout this purchasing process. They could not have been more accommodating; not only have they provided everything to a tight timeframe, they've also invited Ian Hazell, our Workshop Manager, to their Reading depot to look at the machines from a technical angle and brief him on the regular maintenance programme."