The oldest golf club in Ireland, the Royal Belfast, founded in 1881, has taken a pioneering approach to managing its steep banks and slopes with the introduction of a Ransomes Spider II remote controlled mower from local Ranomes Jacobsen dealer Broderick (Northern Ireland)
With the introduction of more rigorous Health and Safety standards, Course Manager Jim Eager, had to find alternatives for mowing the steep banks that frame the lawn in front of the clubhouse. Previously these were maintained with hover mowers, but this practice is now forbidden under tighter HSE rules.
"From the clubhouse members have an unspoilt view across the lawn to the Lough and the distant Antrim hills beyond. When we were unable to maintain the banks to the normal high standards we were under pressure to find an immediate solution," he said. "I spoke to Broderick's and they quickly provided a demonstration of the Spider for the Greens Committee and my greenkeeping team. It was immediately obvious that this was the ideal solution and with the committee's backing, we placed the order.
Paul Raphel is the principal operator of the machine and says, "Since we bought the Spider we have found other tasks for it, so it is becoming more versatile, and not the specialist piece of equipment we originally purchased. It's particularly good on wet ground, which is good considering the prevailing climate here. We have a steep bank around our 17th tee so we use it maintain this awkward area, as well as trimming some bunker edges.
The club has moved twice since 1881 and the current 18-hole, par 72 course was constructed in 1925 to a design by Harry Colt and remains largely unchanged to this day. 'Royal' status was granted in 1885 and the current Patron is HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York. The Club has hosted numerous major tournaments over the years and is the venue for the British Girls Amateur Championship in August 2010.
Jim Eager concluded saying, "With the tradition here at Royal Belfast it is vitally important that we maintain the highest standards for our members. We are proud of the high level of presentation that we achieve and this latest mower and the efforts of my greenkeeping team will ensure that these exacting standards are maintained."
Additional information about the company, its products and commitment to customer support is available at www.ransomesjacobsen.com.