Two identical Massey Ferguson compact tractors are winning praise from course managers and staff at St Andrews Links for their gutsy performance, good fuel economy and well-balanced configuration on tasks ranging from pallet handling to overseeding and deep-tine aeration to trailer work.
Purchased in 2012 by St Andrews Links Trust from local Massey Ferguson dealer, Reekie Cupar, the two 46hp MF 1547 tractors replaced a pair of similarly-sized tractors that had reached retirement age, explained workshop manager, Willie Redpath.
"Having drawn up a shortlist and arranged comparative demonstrations, we settled on the Masseys due to their impressive operating environment, sound build quality and ease of use. The proximity of MF dealer, Reekie Cupar, just 15 minutes away was also a relevant factor in selecting a tractor model that is new to St Andrews Links."
Willie pointed out that although the Links Trust has owned larger MF tractors previously, the two MF 1547s are the first Massey Ferguson compacts to have worked on any of St Andrews' seven public golf courses.
One of the new MF 1547 tractors joined the machinery fleet on the famed Old Course, managed by Gordon McKie, while the other is working primarily on the Eden, Strathtyrum and Balgove Courses, where Kevin Muir heads the greenkeeping teams.
In addition to everyday turf maintenance tasks, either tractor may be called on to help out on the practice range or any of the other three courses managed by St Andrews Links Trust.
Gordon McKie commented that the MF 1547 tractor is proving a hit with staff on the Old Course. "You can tell that by the fact that everyone gathers around the Massey first thing in the morning, hoping they will be allocated the tractor for the day's work," he said. "To be frank, it's a very good tractor that does everything asked of it without complaint. A particularly good feature is its long nose which ensures good balance when operating heavy rear-mounted equipment, in particular pallet forks fully laden with rolls of turf."
Fellow course manager, Kevin Muir, echoed Gordon's sentiments, adding that the spacious air-conditioned cab makes the tractor a pleasure to drive, enhanced by excellent all-round visibility and low sound levels.
"Both tractors have MF's DynaQPS transmission which combines forward/reverse power shuttle with push button change-on-the-move across all four gears in each of the three main ranges," said Kevin. "This feature makes driving the tractor a doddle and is ideal for turf aeration when wanting to maintain accurate holes spacing across greens.
"All in all, the MF tractor has become an invaluable member of our machinery fleet, equally happy working at creep speeds on turf as it is hauling loads at road speed up to three miles from the turf nursery. Everyone likes driving it."