A major investment in John Deere golf course maintenance equipment has been made by Quinta do Lago, for use on the Portuguese resort's three 18-hole championship courses in the Algarve. A similar deal has also been signed with sister resort PGA Catalunya in Spain.
The revamped North Course, the South Course and Laranjal are complemented by extensive practice facilities including the first Paul McGinley Golf Academy and the only TaylorMade Performance Centre in Southern Europe. Machines will also be used at the resort's new professional level training and coaching development The Campus. Targeted at both elite and amateur sports, this will feature the first independent hybrid Desso GrassMaster training facility in Europe.
Quinta do Lago was voted Portugal's number one golfing venue in Golf World magazine's inaugural Top 100 Resorts in Continental Europe rankings list in 2016. It has also been named Europe's Best Golf Destination at the World Golf Awards in 2015 and 2016, and been given the Editors' Choice Award for Best International Resorts in 2016 and 2017 by Golf Digest, ensuring the venue's place among the world's golfing elite.
An initial fleet of 27 John Deere machines including tractors, fairway & rough mowers and Gator utility vehicles along with other ancillary equipment, supported by PowerGard extended warranty and maintenance contracts, were delivered this summer by the local, family owned John Deere golf & turf dealership Torre Marco SA. The dealership has its own fully equipped maintenance facility, the only one of its kind in the Algarve.
The choice of John Deere as Quinta do Lago's preferred equipment supplier was made on the recommendation of golf course superintendent Paul O'Mahony, following what he describes as a "very strenuous process". Paul previously worked his way up through the ranks at Old Head of Kinsale in Ireland, becoming course superintendent there in 2003 before moving to Quinta do Lago in 2011.
Paul formulated a unique model to measure a series of performance and quality parameters that were applied to each of the main machinery suppliers before going through the usual tender process. The model was specifically built to satisfy the resort's full fleet requirements over a 10 year period, keeping each machine 'in range' in terms of life expectancy and residual value, with points awarded for service, machine quality, value and additional aspects such as training and support.
"Downtime is no time may be a cliché but that's because it's true," says Paul O'Mahony. "It's very important to have reliable, fully functioning equipment, and this has to provide the same levels of precision and quality that we as a team set out to achieve every day across all our golf operations. Having worked with John Deere equipment at Old Head and initially brought in tractors and Gators to the courses here at Quinta do Lago, I'm very comfortable that we can establish an effective partnership with the company and the dealership.
"Our staff are always put under pressure to meet expectations, and the same will apply to the machinery we use - everything will continue to be measured, to ensure we make the most of the assets we invest in. That applies not just to the equipment but to the whole package, including aftersales service and support, parts delivery, reaction times and so on.
"We are a commercial entity - our aim is to be the best and provide the best golfing experience we can. The faster, more efficient and more productive the machinery can be, the better - it all leads back to that commercial imperative."