Members and visitors at the Thirsk and Northallerton Golf Club in North Yorkshire are getting more of a challenge from the rough and having to plan their shots with care, thanks to a thicker, more upright sward. This dense, healthy growth is an added benefit of the club's purchase of a Progressive Pro-Flex 120 mower from the Grass Group.
"We previously used two sets of gangs, but they were becoming increasingly costly to maintain and service, incurring bills of £3000 a year, and it was hard to get parts for them," explains head greenkeeper Roger Mackerell.
He began to research high output trailed mowing solutions for the club. "We couldn't justify a dedicated ride-on rough mower, and as we have the tractors it made sense to continue to utilise them."
The 3m cut Progressive Pro-Flex 120 was chosen mainly for its productivity and quality of cut.
"It used to take 32 man hours to mow all the roughs, but one tractor, one driver and the Pro-Flex can get through it in 18 hours, or two and a half working days," Roger explains. "So our machinery and fuel costs are less and our maintenance costs have also been reduced considerably - the Pro-Flex is a relatively simple mower so the only service parts are belts, pulleys and blades."
Blades should last two to three years and belts two seasons, so replacement parts costs are low.
Roger comments that the cut offered by the Pro-Flex is of a very high standard. "Cutting at 50mm, the blades create a vacuum which stands the sward up and it has thickened up considerably. This gives a more definition to the course and has really boosted its visual appeal."
It can also cut in the wet, allowing the greenkeepers to get a head start in the mornings.
"The mower is very straightforward to set up and operate. It is a wide machine, but is surprisingly manoeuvrable in tight corners, especially as we have got more used to it," Roger points out.
Routine maintenance is very straightforward too - blades are sharpened two or three times a season, the machine greased once a week, and every month the operator takes the guards off to check its overall condition.
The Pro-Flex 120 has proved very reliable and durable in the 14 months it has been on the course, Roger comments.
"Lloyd Ltd Bishop Auckland supplied the Pro-Flex 120 and we have a very good relationship with the representative Alistair Whitby, while the Grass Group came along and showed us all round the mower at the demonstration. We would look to keep this mower for 10 years, and given the lower maintenance costs, we would expect it to pay for itself in five years."
This gives considerable peace of mind, he adds, and allows for forward planning for other machinery purchases for the club.
"It is a brilliant mower and we have been really pleased with our purchase," Roger comments.
Almost as pleased as the golfers who get their shots right and master the newly challenging rough.
Client contact - Tim Merrell - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Grass Group, Wadebridge Farm, Landwade, Exning, Newmarket Suffolk CB8 7NE UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1638 720123 - Fax: +44 (0) 1638 720128 - www.thegrassgroup.com