A Ransomes Spider remote controlled slope mower is maintaining the ocean side slopes on the fairways at Old Head Golf Links, the luxurious golf resort situated on the Old Head of Kinsale peninsular in the south west of Ireland. Designed specifically to mow steep banks and slopes, this unique mower was delivered by local Ransomes Jacobsen distributor, Kevin Broderick Ltd.
Old Head Golf Links is built on a 220-acre diamond of land, jutting out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The promontory is almost an island with numerous caves running beneath the course. The links and practice area occupy 180 acres and the remaining 40 acres of unspoilt cliffs, rising in places to over 90 metres, surround the course.
Neil Deasy, the course superintendent at Old Head, says there were three main reasons why the club chose the Spider for this application.
"Productivity, playability and health and safety were the prime drivers behind the purchase of the Spider," he said. "The 2nd fairway is a typical example of what we have to contend with in terms of slopes. The semi-rough areas to the sides of the fairway are 40 degrees plus in some places with rescue areas below for wayward drives. This sloping semi-rough used to take two of the team a day and a half to trim with strimmers; with the Spider it takes just 1½ hours!
"By mowing regularly we can manage the grass, keeping it at 50mm, to ensure that any wayward balls can be found more easily and the speed of play kept to a sensible level.
"Finally, from a health and safety standpoint and operator comfort perspective, the Spider is in a class of its own. The operator can stand on level ground above the machine, so that means no stress on hip and knee joints, he's not in contact with mower, so there's no vibration issues and because he can operate it from as much as 50 metres away, there's much reduced noise levels.
"Without a doubt it has been remarkable; we've definitely reduced the time devoted to maintaining these areas from a week to a single day of man hours."
The Spider at Old Head Golf Links has been fitted with the optional lower height of cut kit, which reduces the cut to 50mm. It also a features a winch as standard; the machine can be ground anchored and, with the winch assisting, can tackle slopes up to 55 degrees. It has four rotary blades which give a cutting width of 1.23 metres and has four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering as standard, making it highly manoeuvrable.
About Old Head Golf Links
Old Head Golf Links was designed and constructed by a unique team; Ron Kirby - former designer at Jack Nicklaus's Golf Design Services, Paddy Merrigan - Australian course architect and agronomist, Liam Higgins - one of Ireland's best known golf professionals currently on the Seniors Tour, the late Eddie Hackett - former Irish golf professional and golf course designer, the late Dr. Joe Carr - Ireland's most successful international amateur golfer and finally, Haulie O'Shea - building contractor.
Old Head, par 72, comprises five Par 5s, five Par 3s and eight Par 4s - stretching to over 7,200 yards from the tips, with a minimum of six tees per hole. Nine holes play along the cliff tops, and all eighteen holes provide stunning ocean views. With the ever-changing sea breezes, the course provides a stern test to the touring pro and the high handicapper alike.
Old Head Golf Links is designed as a walking course where Members and Guests are encouraged to walk the links with a Caddie. Old Head boasts one of the largest group of professional Caddies in the country, with approximately 160 Caddies working at the Club throughout the season. The course is set up, depending on conditions, on a daily basis. Facilities include a warm up range and a short game practice area.
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