A party of 159 Ransomes Jacobsen guests and staff attended the Golf Industry Show in Orlando and were among the first people in the industry to see a prototype of Jacobsen's new ride-on hybrid greens mower. Ransomes Jacobsen is a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.
The unveiling of this radical prototype of the Eclipse 322, signifies a major shift to the next generation greens mower. This technically advanced triplex mower features electric drive to the three cutting cylinders with power supplied by a drop-in 48 volt battery pack. Being a true hybrid, there's also the option for either a petrol or diesel engine powering a genset to provide electricity to the traction drive motor and the cylinder motors.
The group for the five-day round trip was made up predominantly of greenkeepers with a small contingent from industry bodies and the media. The delegation came from all areas within the Ransomes Jacobsen marketing territory, which encompasses Iceland to India, and it involved very long flights for most of the party. After a good night's sleep they were welcomed at breakfast the following morning by Dan Wilkinson, the President of Jacobsen.
The hectic itinerary was supported by superb hospitality. Guests had the opportunity to spend one and a half days at the GIS Show, held at the Orange County Convention Center and were able to visit the combined Jacobsen and E-Z-GO booth, which featured a range of new products including the new RXV golf car.
The Saturday of the visit was devoted to a session of Product Focus Groups, held at the Crowne Plaza Universal hotel, where all guests were able to provide input and see, first hand, some of the new product developments from Jacobsen. The CityJazz restaurant at Universal Studio's CityWalk was the venue for the evening dinner, which featured an impromptu, but highly entertaining singing performance by the Icelandic distributor and their guests.
Sunday morning was a free day with many of the party taking the opportunity to visit local theme parks, shopping malls and other attractions in and around Orlando.
The final leg of the tour involved an early morning departure for a flight to Charlotte in North Carolina to visit the Jacobsen manufacturing facility and the recently completed warehouse, distribution and head office facilities at Quality Drive.
Ian Somerville MSc, Course Manager and Soil Scientist at Brocton Hall Golf Club commented, "What a fantastic trip! From start to finish, going to the Show, the focus groups at the hotel and the visit to Jacobsen were absolutely brilliant. The attention to detail and the organisation of the whole trip was a logistical triumph."
Course Manager Stewart McMillan from Mill Ride Golf Club added, "The opportunity to be with a peer group of greenkeepers from clubs around the world and to be able to discuss different issues in a relaxed environment was invaluable. On behalf of every one of the guests I would like to thank Ransomes Jacobsen and their dealer network for this wonderful opportunity."
Image: (top) The group in Orlando: (bottom left) The group who visited the Jacobsen facility in Charlotte: (bottom right) The prototype of the new Jacobsen Eclipse 322