Royal Aberdeen Golf Club at Bridge of Don, Aberdeen is the sixth oldest golf club in the world, and is also ranked in the UK's top 20 best courses. Course manager Robert Patterson is looking forward to hosting the Walker Cup on the Balgownie Links in 2011, and as part of the build-up to this major tournament the club has recently renewed its John Deere course maintenance fleet for the second time.
A total of 21 new machines have been bought on a five year John Deere Credit finance deal from Alpha Plus Groundcare, West Broomhill, Kintore, with 19 older models from the previous fleet being traded in.
The new package included four 2500E hybrid greens mowers, four 180C walk-behind greens mowers, two 7500 PrecisionCut fairway mowers with grass boxes, an 8800 TerrainCut rotary semi-roughs mower, a 2653A tees & surrounds mower, two 4320 compact tractors, a 1500 Aercore aerator, five TE Gator electric utility vehicles and a Pro Gator, to add to his existing 4700 and 4115 compact tractors and three 220B walk-behind greens mowers.
"The Walker Cup will be the biggest tournament we've ever had here," says Robert Patterson. "The course is pretty much set up already, so it's just a case of trying to polish it all up for 2011. I'm very happy with the way the golf course has improved over the years, the presentation in particular is the best it's ever been, and a great part of that can be put down to the use of newer and better machinery than we've had in the past, as well as general improvements in technology.
"This is one of the reasons why we opted for the 2500E hybrid mower, to minimise the chance of burst pipes and hydraulic oil leaks as we build up to the Walker Cup," he adds. "Cleaning up afterwards is very difficult, and it takes a long time to get rid of the scars, so we really can't take the risk.
"We also decided to buy the narrower width 180C walk-behind greens mowers, as they are far better and more manoeuvrable on undulations, particularly when working at low cutting heights during the summer - and having four instead of three saves us a lot of time.
"The lightweight 7500 fairway mowers with their smaller cutting heads also give us a better quality of cut on mounds and hollows around the course, while the 8800 rotary mower is one of the best machines we've ever bought, again for its quality of finish and ease of changing the cutting height, which is a big factor on this machine.
"In addition to the mowers, we changed two of the compact tractors for models with the latest quiet cab. The new eHydro transmission is more consistent for spraying and Vertidraining, and the cruise control is very easy to use. We also chose electric Gators to reduce our running costs, as well as the noise factor on the golf course.
"When the previous deal ran out, we did try out other companies, but we found John Deere was still the best and I was very happy to continue using their machines, especially as you can get the whole package under one umbrella," says Robert. "We have built up a very good relationship with the dealer, especially our new mechanic. Reliability, performance, back-up and service from the dealer and the manufacturer are all very important areas - but dealer service is still 50 per cent of any deal as far as I'm concerned."
The photograph shows (left to right) dealer Raymond Warrender of Alpha Plus Groundcare, Royal Aberdeen Golf Club course manager Robert Patterson and John Deere territory manager Richard Charleton with a number of the club's new John Deere machines.