Over 20 greenkeepers, all members of the northern section of the Swedish Greenkeepers Association (SGA Norrland), visited Ransomes Jacobsen's European headquarters and manufacturing facility in Ipswich as part of three-day educational programme.
After a welcome by Sales Director Rupert Price, the group split into two parties and toured the factory to see how the company's commercial mowers are manufactured. This was followed by light refreshments and a question and answer session in the company's training centre.
The visit continued with a short coach trip to Ipswich Golf Club, where they were hosted by deputy course manager Mark Clements and first assistant Joe Simpson, who provided a tour of their maintenance facility.
After lunch in the clubhouse, the group split into teams of four for a friendly stableford competition on the 18-hole heathland course.
Day two began with a coach transfer across Suffolk from Ipswich to Haverhill and a visit to the new premises of Bernhard & Company. Stephen Bernhard welcomed the group over a cup of coffee, followed by a tour of the facilities
. After a light lunch he presented a 'Better Grass for Less Money' seminar looking at all aspects of grass care including the biology of the grass plant, the agronomics of mowing turf, grinding options, mower set up and a cost analysis of employing different practices.
On day three the group returned to Ransomes Jacobsen for a series of short seminars from Director of Marketing and Product Management, Richard Comely and Master Greenkeeper and Industry Consultant Gordon Irvine.
Richard Comely provided an update on the future development of Jacobsen products while Gordon Irvine spoke about the return to glory of the lost Askernish golf course, designed by Old Tom Morris and abandoned in 1920.
This was followed by a presentation entitled 'Modern-day problems on golf courses', which generated a lively debate amongst the delegates. The day's proceedings concluded with lunch at Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club followed by another stableford golf competition and presentation of prizes.
Commenting at the conclusion of the visit, Hakan Blusi, course manager at Timrå Golfklubb said : "The visit to Ransomes Jacobsen and Bernhard's was an excellent learning experience. I would like to thank everyone at Ransomes Jacobsen who took time out to make this visit a success, especially Henrik Lund, their regional sales manager for Scandinavia. The same goes for Stephen Bernhard and his team. We learned a lot, got a real insight into the business of two major manufacturers and played two excellent golf courses."
Image: The SGA Norrland group during their visit to Ransomes Jacobsen