Established in 1901, Newark Golf Club in Nottinghamshire is an 18-hole parkland/heathland golf course with a driving range and practice facilities maintained by a greenkeeping team of six led by course manager Alex Clarricoates.
(Left to right) Newark Golf Club greenkeepers Jim North and Nigel Walker, operations manager Rob Hall, dealer F G Adamson & Son Langworth depot manager Simon Fountain, course manager Alex Clarricoates, Charlie Gillman and Matthew Haynes (new apprentice greenkeeper Henry Woodman is missing from this photo)
Alex joined the club from school on work experience 13 years ago and was then offered a full-time job. Since he became course manager three years ago, a new club board took the opportunity after the first Covid lockdown to restructure the running of the golf course and make some necessary improvements. By outsourcing the pro shop and clubhouse to franchise operators, this freed up extra money to spend on the club's main asset, the golf course.
"The club was very supportive and happy to make the investment I thought was necessary to improve the course quality, rather than simply making do with what we had," says Alex. "I was therefore encouraged to put together a list of the machines we needed to get us properly equipped. For example, we used to hire in a contractor to do the vertidraining, but we now have our own machine which gives us much more flexibility and costs the club less money in the long run."
"Having bought our first John Deere package in 2017, the old fleet needed upgrading. There was a mix of deals on different terms with and without maintenance agreements, so essentially we emptied the shed and replaced the fleet, with the help of our local dealer Simon Fountain at Adamson's Langworth depot."
"In particular, we decided to invest in new mowers dedicated to the rough, semi-rough and fairways, to give us more flexibility with the cutting regimes. We can now mow the roughs, aprons and tees more regularly, whereas before one machine had to do two jobs, and we also have a specialist amenity turf sprayer, which we didn't have before.
"Another benefit is that one of my assistants, Jim North, used to work with Simon at the previous John Deere dealership, so he's familiar with the kit and can look after all the service and maintenance."
The new John Deere fleet (pictured on the 8th hole) includes three 2550E hybrid electric triplex mowers with two spare sets of 7- and 11-blade reels, a 6700A PrecisionCut fairway mower, 9009A TerrainCut and 1600T WAM Series 3 rotary rough mowers, a 4066R compact tractor with 440R front loader and 4-in-1 bucket, a ProGator 2030A utility vehicle with HD200 sprayer and cargo box plus TH 6x4 and TE electric Gators.
Ancillary equipment bought as part of the John Deere Financial five-year finance lease package deal includes a Charterhouse Redexim Top-Brush and Verti-Drain 7416 aerator, a Campey Turf Care Vredo DZ 214.07.5 compact seeder and a Tru-Turf RE50 greens roller.
"After the course was shut during the last lockdown, it took the team about a month to prepare the course ready to open again, using the new equipment, and it was in mint condition straight from the off," says Alex.