The first complete new irrigation system for tees, greens and fairways using John Deere parts is going in at Blackpool North Shore Golf Club, following the company's move into the European golf irrigation market earlier in 2008.
John Deere is now the only worldwide manufacturer to offer irrigation, domestic and commercial groundscare equipment, utility vehicles, compact tractors and finance, all under one brand name.
Designed by consultants York Martin International of Ringwood and installed by Arden Lea Irrigation of Preston, Blackpool North Shore's new system was arranged through John Deere dealer Balmer's of Burnley, as part of a five year preferred supplier agreement and service contract for course machinery and irrigation equipment.
The irrigation installation will include a state of the art computer-based Aurora control system and a new water storage facility. The links-type course's existing John Deere fleet has already been extended with the addition of a new 8700 PrecisionCut fairway mower, 8800 TerrainCut rotary mower, 2653B tees & surrounds mower, 2500E hybrid greens triple mower, two 180C and two 220C walk-behind greens mowers, bought on a John Deere Credit finance programme.
Course manager Iain Gunn first saw the new irrigation equipment demonstrated at John Deere's Feedback event for greenkeepers and groundsmen in Germany in 2007.
"Our old system has been in for 34 years, and was basically outdated," says Iain. "We needed extra capacity to cover the whole course, particularly the tees, and the course maintenance fleet was also ageing, with little back-up for individual machines.
"The club had recommended we look for a single supplier solution, and this is where John Deere and our local dealer Balmer's suited our needs ideally - following a long and very comprehensive tender process, we found there was no other company in a position to offer us the complete package we were looking for.
"The dealer has worked very hard to ensure we're getting exactly the system and equipment we wanted," adds Iain. "They have also done themselves a great deal of good by way of other service and support during the year - it gave us confidence in the machines, and the back-up is first class. The finance deal has also put us in a very good position to renew the machinery fleet as and when required.
"We are already getting phenomenal feedback from members saying how good the standard of the course is, especially the greens, and John Deere can take a lot of the credit for that. The new greens mower gives the best cut I've ever seen, and their latest generation fairway mowers provide a similar quality of cut.
"In our efforts to make North Shore as good a golf course as it can be, the combination of John Deere products from a single source and the country's leading designers and installers of irrigation systems means we have arrived at a very professional solution. This has been a great deal for the club going forward."
Image 1: Iain Gunn and Darren Barker with examples of John Deere's new golf irrigation sprinkler heads.
Image 2: Dealer salesman Darren Barker of Balmer's, Blackpool North Shore Golf Club captain Graham Shaw, John Deere territory manager Marcus Morris and course manager Iain Gunn with the new John Deere machines.