The Royal Burgess Golfing Society, located on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland, has seen vast improvements in the quality of its golf course, resulting in an increase in membership figures, after purchasing a range of equipment from Jacobsen.
Head Greenkeeper Chris Yeaman has been at the club since 2009, after being selected for the post ahead of 80 other applicants from across the UK and Europe. Chris brought more than 40 years greenkeeping experience to The Royal Burgess and explained how he saw a lot of potential when he arrived,
"When I first arrived in 2009, the course was not in the best shape. This was partly due to an ageing fleet of machinery and equipment that was just not doing the job. Membership figures suffered as a result of this because people expect a certain standard of maintenance on the course, especially from a club of The Royal Burgess' calibre. With this being said, I was excited at the prospect of being handed a challenging job where I could really make my mark on the course."
Chris previously had experience with Jacobsen equipment and encouraged the club to invest in high-quality machinery for the greenkeeping team to use and raise the standards of the golf course. With the club's blessing, Chris invested in two Cushman Turf Truckster utility vehicles with topdressers, two TR-3 triplex cylinder mowers, an AR522 for rough, an 11-blade Eclipse 322 ride-on greens mower, two LF570 lightweight fairway mowers and two Iseki 546 tractors.
Commenting on the purchase of these machines, Chris said, "The Eclipse 322 is the best greens mower available on the market. I know a few people in the industry who say that the new technology scares them, but when it gives you results good enough for the US Open, the Scottish Open and the French Open... there's really no argument. It is a surprisingly simple machine to use and the swing-out centre unit makes it extremely easy to maintain, which our mechanic is thankful for!
"At The Royal Burgess, we have a signature 11th hole where there is a hill that has been notoriously difficult to maintain. The AR522 is a powerful machine which negotiates the hill perfectly and hugs the contours without any signs of strain on the engine; a feat that no other mower has been able to achieve.
"It is one thing to have high-performing machinery, but without back-up and after sales support, then the whole thing is futile. We are extremely lucky to have Fairways GM as our local dealer; we have had a fantastic relationship from day one. The service guys are always quick to fix any issues that may arise, and they deliver on their promises every time.
"Nick Brown (Corporate Accounts International) at Jacobsen is also a testament to the company. He invited us to participate in a voice of customer session, where a number of people were asked their opinions on a range of Jacobsen machines. Some of the suggestions made during this session were actually taken on board and implemented on the products concerned, which was great to see."
"I have a fairly small team here of seven, plus one mechanic, to maintain an area of 100 acres. Whilst this is manageable, I know that if we didn't have the right equipment, our working days would be a lot longer, and the quality of the course would be compromised. As it stands, I'm extremely happy with the improvements we have seen on the course, and the club is also seeing a return in the form of increasing membership figures."
The Royal Burgess Golfing Society traces its origins back to the 18th century with the first publicly recorded explicit reference to its existence in 1735 appearing in a 19th-century edition of the Edinburgh Almanac. The present-day course at Barnton measures 6,511 yards (5,931 metres) and has a par of 71. It is set in scenic parkland just six miles from Edinburgh City Centre, and one of the features is the variety and positioning of many mature trees, including a large number of specimen trees. The Course is renowned for its smooth fast greens, lush, well-manicured fairways and well-positioned and designed bunkers.
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