The world's oldest golf course has just bought John Deere's newest hybrid mowers to help improve playing conditions.
Musselburgh Links, The Old Golf Course, near Edinburgh, is officially recognised by Guinness World Records™ as the oldest playing golf course in the world. Documentary evidence shows that that the game was played here as early as 1672, although Mary, Queen of Scots is also reputed to have played at Musselburgh over a century before this, in 1567.
Managed by East Lothian Council, the 9-hole pay as you play course is laid out across Musselburgh racecourse, and is open to the public all year round. To make the most of the historic connection, visitors can even play with a set of original hickory golf clubs.
The council has bought the area's first John Deere 8000e E-Cut hybrid fairway mower and two 220e walk-behind hybrid greens mowers, from Haddington based dealer Thomas Sherrif & Co. All three machines are fitted with the same 11-blade QA5 cutting heads, which provide cutting widths of 46cm (18in) on the greens mowers and 2.03m (80in) overall on the lightweight fairway machine. The award winning QuickAdjust cutting cylinders allow rapid height of cut adjustment from either side of the units.
These three new machines join an existing John Deere 2653A tees & surrounds mower and a 2500A triplex greens mower with groomers and GreenTech attachment system.
"The decision to choose the hybrid mowers was made primarily to help reduce our carbon footprint, as well as cut fuel consumption and noise levels," says East Lothian Council's Amenity Technician Dougie Fox, who first saw the machines in action at the John Deere Golf Roadshow in 2009. "We are trying to embrace hybrid technology across all of the council's machinery operations, so these new John Deere mowers are a good choice for us."
Head greenkeeper Alastair Patterson adds: "We have been buying John Deere equipment for a good 10 years now, all through Sherriffs, and I must stress that their back-up service is excellent, as is the quality and precision of John Deere mowers. We had a good go with the machines before we decided to buy them, and found they were the best fit for the size of our course.
"Having spoken to many other users as well, I would say a lot of golf clubs are going down the same road with this new technology. The new floating head on the greens machine in particular helps with undulations, and the finish is far superior. I think John Deere has really listened to its customers in designing these new mowers, and it shows in the way they perform."
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The photograph shows (left to right) head greenkeeper Alastair Patterson and Amenity Technician Dougie Fox of East Lothian Council, with dealer salesman Dougie Archibald of Thomas Sherriff & Co and the new John Deere hybrid mowers on the 4th green at Musselburgh Links. Known as Forman's Hole, this and the 5th hole lie just outside the racecourse boundary.