With pupils playing sport every afternoon and matches on Wednesday and Saturday at Highfield and Brookham School in Hampshire, the grounds team have their work cut out to keep the playing fields maintained to a high standard.
A Progressive TDR 15 roller mower supplied by the Grass Group has halved the time required to mow the sports pitches, which are set within a 175 acre estate near Liphook.
The school, which was originally founded in 1907, has 240 pre-prep and 240 prep pupils, who play football, rugby and hockey, all on natural turf pitches as well as having access to a small golf course.
Estate Bursar Paul Harris explains: "We used a fairway mower previously, but wanted a wider cut width and lower servicing costs, so we decided to look at machines more suited to playing fields."
A trip to Saltex to review the options resulted in a demonstration of the 4.7m cut Progressive TDR 15 roller mower, which was 'very impressive', as Paul says: "We liked the generous cut width and simplicity of the design. The TDR's decks offer easy access for service and maintenance, and the cut quality is fantastic."
The tri-deck mower uses high lift blades that create a vacuum to lift the grass for a clean even cut and to disperse the clippings evenly over the rollers.
Delivered last year, the mower was soon showing its strengths at Highfield and Brookham schools. "It has cut the time needed to mow the playing fields by half, so it takes just two days now," explains Paul. "Given that we only have the mornings available for maintenance, this is highly significant to us. Yet the finish is excellent - the Head Groundsman has even used the TDR on the golf fairways with great results."
Despite the wide cut width, the mower is easy to pull and manoeuvre, he comments. It is partnered with a 45hp Massey Ferguson tractor, and to fit through 12ft gates to access the machinery stores, the decks simply fold up to give a transport width of 2.13m (84in).
"The ability to lift all of the decks also makes the mower really easy to clean," notes Paul, "Some rotary mowers are very enclosed, but we can jet wash the decks on the TDR 15 thoroughly and ensure that they are totally clean after mowing."
The comprehensive package offered by The Grass Group includes the mower's first service and blade change this autumn, and the school has been so impressed with the TDR that it has taken the opportunity to look at more machines from the company's range at the same time.
"We thought that while the Grass Group were with us, we should have a demonstration of the Trilo products too - they have looked after us very well and we look forward to working with them more in the future," commented Paul.
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