Southampton Football Club, nicknamed The Saints, is the first club in the Premiership to invest in Toro's all-electric Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 riding mower. It has purchased two, has plans to order two more - and according to head groundsman Graeme Mills - it won't be long until other clubs follow suit.
From left, Mark Winder, David Timms and Graeme Mills from Southampton FC., at the Staplewood training ground, Football Development & Support Centre, in Southampton.
Like more and more clubs in the Premiership, Southampton FC has an all-encompassing sustainability strategy. Called the Halo Effect, the thinking is that by making the right choices now, it paves the way for a better tomorrow - and one crucial aspect is clean energy.
And if there's one thing the Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 brings to the equation, it's clean energy, as Graeme, who has been at the club for almost 30 years, explains: "It was a big investment for Southampton FC to purchase the two Toro eTriflex mowers and I personally believe this shows our commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of the company. I think it will encourage other clubs to follow suit. When I was looking into the Toro eTriflex, there were a number of other clubs doing so too.
"Battery technology has advanced in recent years, sometimes people are put off by battery-operated equipment - what if it runs out half-way through the job? It's not like you can just add more fuel to get it going again! I had concerns myself at first, but I have been extremely impressed with the battery outputs of the Toro - they are more than sufficient to cover our daily workload."
But it wasn't just ticking the box for clean energy from a reliable, high-performing energy source, Graeme had another problem on his hands - noise pollution. "With the old diesel machines, we were getting noise complaints when using them first thing in the morning, at weekends, or on bank holidays," he explains. "The complaints were from local residents and coaching staff using the pitches close to where we were working. The Toro eTriflex mowers are very quiet when being operated and no noise means no complaints."
Positive feedback from the team of 12 who are using the machines as the main cutting units for the nine pitches at the Staplewood training ground includes how the fitted rear roller brushes don't seem to get any grass debris drop off the cutting units, even on damp wet mornings, and how there is easy access to all the grass boxes.
Graeme goes on to explain how he plans to bring further sustainable choices into his department: "As a department that uses grow lights, undersoil heating and irrigation systems, it can be hard to tick all the sustainability boxes but changing from diesel machines to electric/battery operated equipment is a way for us to reduce our carbon output."
As a customer of Toro's and distributor Reesink's for a quarter of a century, the combination of the two is well-suited to aid Graeme in his journey to build a more sustainable fleet, with an extensive range of battery-powered equipment to choose from. And Graeme is clearly happy to continue buying clean: he has his eye on some battery-powered pedestrian equipment to join the other two e-TriFlex machines planned.
To talk to someone about Toro technology and how the Toro range could suit your course, call 01480 226800.