PING, a brand with a strong heritage and one that is synonymous with performance and innovation, is a family-owned business founded in 1959 by Karsten Solheim. Renowned for its innovative golf equipment, the company is also involved in golf course ownership at Gainsborough Golf Club, which is just a short drive from its European headquarters in Lincolnshire.
As part of a three-year plan that will see the club's entire course maintenance equipment fleet updated to John Deere, Gainsborough recently took delivery of several new machines from area sales manager Steve Blanchard of local dealer F G Adamson & Son at Langworth, Lincolnshire.
PING and John Deere have more than a local connection. The biennial Solheim Cup match between the best women golfers from Europe and the USA was founded by the Solheim family, and John Deere is a Patron of and machinery supplier to this prestigious event. "PING prides itself on the quality of its products and service," says Gainsborough's course manager Greg Skinner. "John Deere and F G Adamson & Son are built on the same ethos, so we are delighted to be working together."
Greg and his greenkeeping team are responsible for two courses, the 123-year old Thonock Park and Karsten Lakes, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017. "We needed to renew our ageing equipment fleet to improve the overall presentation of both courses and bring them up to the standard golfers expect from a PING-owned property," says Greg. "Presentation and quality are very important to our members and for attracting more visitors to all of the club's activities.
"F G Adamson & Son showed exceptional understanding of our requirements and their knowledge provided a huge amount of in-depth information that guided us through the machinery selection process. In addition, they provided several demonstration machines for us to test, which proved crucial in our final choices."
Gainsborough's general manager Ben Hatch adds: "Overall, the package is a huge investment and F G Adamson & Son showed us how quickly they could get parts from John Deere's UK premises at Langar, Nottingham, its distribution centre in Germany and even the USA, if required. This level of after sales service and support gave us great confidence we were making the right decision."
The latest additions to the fleet include a 9009A rough mower, 7700A 4WD fairway mower, two 2500E hybrid electric mowers for use on the greens and tees, two HPX Gator utility vehicles and a 1200A bunker rake. These have joined machines from the deal's first phase in 2016, including a 7400A semi-rough mower and a 1600T wide area rotary mower, plus additional hybrid greens and tees mowers, Gators, bunker rakes and two rotary walk-behind mowers for use on the amenity grass areas.
"The club has ISO 14001 environmental accreditation and we want to be as green as we can," says Greg. "The 2500E mowers are not just quiet, there is also less chance of hydraulic leaks. They produce a nice stripe and on the greens their offset cylinders eliminate the triplex ring effect on the clear-up lap, which minimises compaction.
"These go out most days and they run at lower revs, which we estimate saves us approximately 1250 litres of fuel a year. In addition, the brush tender conditioners are kinder on the grass, resulting in less disease. If we can cut out even one fungicide application a year, that's a saving of £2000.
"When Steve Blanchard demonstrated the 9009A rough mower, it just blew the competition away for quality of cut, speed and presentation," Greg adds. "It's really changed the way we cut the Karsten Lakes fairways, as we've widened the semi-rough from one to four bands because of how well this machines performs. It's made the whole course a much better experience for the golfer.
"The 7400A TerrainCut mower goes places its predecessor wouldn't and has the traction to handle the banks on the courses and those around the clubhouse. I also believe nothing touches the HPX Gator for ride comfort, carrying capacity and towing ability - it's a very, very good utility vehicle.
"It was a long process selecting the equipment and negotiating the overall package but that was a good thing, as we made better decisions and ensured we got exactly the right machines for our needs."