A TYCROP MH-400 materials handler/topdresser has been added to the machinery fleet at Royal Birkdale Golf Club with the aim of bringing long-term benefits to the Lancashire links course. Its first major task is to assist course manager, Chris Whittle, in his preparations for the 2008 British Open Championship, taking place at Royal Birkdale from 17 to 20 July.
Supplied by Turfmech Machinery through local sales and service dealer, Turner Groundscare, the MH-400 was selected by Chris for its ability to apply top dressings quickly and evenly across large areas with minimal surface marking.
"We are aiming to further increase the firmness of all fairways ahead of the Open Championship and needed a suitable machine able to apply effectively the selected medium sand top dressings," explained Chris. "I knew that Paul Smith, head greenkeeper at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club, had been using an MH-400 for a number of years so I phoned and asked for his opinion. He told me that the machine was not only an excellent top dresser, but its other capabilities had totally revolutionised the way that materials are moved and handled on the golf course."
Following Paul's recommendation, Chris Whittle arranged with Turfmech a demonstration of the MH-400. Carried out in October, it took less than 30 minutes to convince Chris that the machine was right for the job.
"First and foremost, it did the principal task that we wanted it for really well," he commented. "Spread pattern is very even and both the application rate and bout width can be altered easily. I also like the machine's walking-beam suspension which keeps all four wheels firmly on the ground across undulations and the fact that it can be used as a bulk re-loader of greens top dressers out on the course. Materials are offloaded quickly and cleanly from the MH-400 using a combination of moving belt floor and hydraulically-raised rear end."
Delivered to Royal Birkdale in early November, the MH-400 was in top-dressing action the same day, completing all 18 fairways in a little over two days. "The speed and accuracy of the machine have to be seen to be believed," said Chris. "All the signs show that the dressings are having the required effect and further applications are now planned in the spring ahead of the Open Championship. From my standpoint, the machine does everything that is claimed for it and you cannot ask for more than that."
Royal Birkdale MH-400 1.jpg - TYCROP MH-400 top dressing the 18th fairway at Royal Birkdale.
Royal Birkdale MH-400 2.jpg - Pictured with Royal Birkdale's new TYCROP MH-400 materials handler/top dresser are, from the right: Chris Whittle, course manager, Royal Birkdale; Brian Spruce, Turner Groundscare; Ian Waddington, Turfmech; Ian Roberts, Turner Groundscare.