Lees Hall Golf Club is the latest purchaser of a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor and attachments. Situated three miles south of Sheffield, it was designed by Alex Herd, the Open Champion of 1902, and opened in 1907 as a 9-hole course. It was remodelled to 18-holes in 1911 creating a 6,171 yard, par 71 parkland course with commanding views over the city.
Ian Whitehead is the Head Greenkeeper and heads a team of four dedicated greenkeepers. He has been in the job for 16 months, having previously been Course Manager at Hillsborough Golf Club for 23 years.
"I'm really lucky to have a very supportive committee with the president and greens chairman putting their trust in me and providing the funds to help with my suggested improvement programme. It's no secret that the course has been in decline for some years, but I see this as a challenge. We've implemented some immediate improvements and the members are making the right comments. We have upgraded various machines including a greens mower, tees mower and a greens iron.
"However, the purchase of the Ventrac 4500 from local dealer, Russells Groundcare, has been the real bonus. It's a powerful, multi-purpose compact tractor on which you put many attachments. Glen Sawyer of Russells recommended it to me and I trust his judgement. We had a demonstration and it was a no-brainer; we had to have it. We had intensive operator training when it was delivered so everyone can get the maximum out of it.
"Like other recent purchasers of Ventrac, I was sceptical when I first saw the machine, it's a bit quirky, but once you've sat on it you realise it's a powerful and versatile tractor, very smooth to drive and the articulating Contour mower deck leaves a great finish. Its hill climbing is excellent and that's a prime consideration here.
"We're already looking at other attachments as we prepare our 2018 budget. There's so much that this single machine can do with its selection of accessories which include a Tough Cut deck, Stump Grinder, Edger, Blower and more. I'm really excited about this machine and the challenge ahead; the perception of the club is already changing in the local area and membership is moving in the right direction. Good greenkeeping practices and the equipment to carry them out are essential. With the continued support of the club, we'll get there.
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