Elsham Golf Club, near Brigg, is a well wooded parkland course not far from the Lincolnshire Wolds, with its own irrigation lake. However, following a recent site appraisal an STRI report suggested the club aerate its fairways rather than irrigate, and recommended a Vertidrainer.
John Deere dealer salesman Tony Jenkins of F G Adamson & Son at Swanland, North Ferriby sourced a machine for head greenkeeper Nigel Broadwith and his four full-time staff to use, but they had one problem - they didn't have a tractor big enough to pull it.
After looking at a number of options, club manager/secretary Tim Hartley decided to enter into a new five year finance lease agreement with John Deere Credit, and the club took on its first big John Deere fleet for course mowing and maintenance - a 46hp 4320 compact tractor with front loader, a tractor mounted Aercore 1500 aerator, two 2500A greens mowers and a 2653A tees & surrounds mower plus spare reels for greens and tees, a Turf Gator utility vehicle and a new Series II 1600 Turbo wide area rotary mower, one of the first sold in the UK.
"We've been reconstructing a number of tees, greens and bunkers since I arrived here, as well as updating our irrigation system," says Nigel Broadwith, who came from Fulford Golf Club four years ago to take up the head greenkeeper position at Elsham. "It's more like a heathland course really, as it's very sandy and dries up in the summer very easily, so good aeration and irrigation is vital.
"We already had an older John Deere compact tractor and front loader, as well as a walk-behind greens mower, so we knew the dealer and were happy we'd get good back-up service and parts support. It's been great having new machines to work with, especially as we didn't have any back-up for our previous greens mowers and reels. Members expect you to have spare units, and standards are a lot higher out on the course these days.
"The wide area mower is used on two bands of semi-rough grass round the fairways, and on other rough grass areas. We weren't expecting a roof on it when it was delivered, so this was a bonus - it's safer for the operator, and it can be made up into a fully enclosed cab in future if necessary.
"One of the new 2500A greens mowers is used on tees and approaches, and the other on the greens - the advantage now is that we can double up on the greens for competitions. The 2653A utility mower cuts the greens surrounds, collars and tee banks, as well as round the bunkers."
Tim Hartley confirms that the club's decision to opt for a replacement finance scheme was the correct one. "The package price was right for us, and John Deere Credit's finance arrangements were best that I found in the marketplace. A five year rolling lease is a very easy way to budget, you know exactly where you are from year to year, and it makes my job as a golf club manager responsible for finance a lot easier.
"Golf these days is a very competitive business, and as a club we need to present the course in the best possible way. We have an excellent team of greens staff, and we are delighted to be able to support them with equally good equipment, which we know is in good hands and will be used well to the benefit of the course and club."
The photograph supplied shows Elsham Golf Club manager/secretary Tim Hartley and head greenkeeper Nigel Broadwith (seated in the Gator) with John Deere dealer salesman Tony Jenkins of F G Adamson & Son, and the club's greenkeeping staff with the new John Deere fleet.