When Chris Lewis, course manager at The Leicestershire Golf Club, says his Toro mowers go the extra mile, he really means it.
Because the club's Toro Groundsmaster 4500-D rough mower and Reelmaster 6500-D fairway unit have clocked up working hours well in excess of the average machine life-expectancy of 4,500 hours, translating into thousands of miles of reliability.
Chris says that the nine-year-old Groundsmaster 4500-D has done more than 8,000 hours while the seven-year-old Reelmaster 6500-D has done almost 7,000 hours. That's equivalent to over 460,000 and 345,000 miles respectively!
"Our 4500-D has been out mowing every day during the growing season since we bought it in 2003," Chris reveals. "We only have the one mower to do all the semi-rough on an 18-hole golf course, so it's cutting morning 'til night eight hours per day. And our Reelmaster is in use three or four days a week, depending on conditions."
Chris says that the mowers' impressive performance is partly thanks to the robust build-quality and reliability that Toro machines are renowned for. "Our course is on old ridge and furrow agricultural fields," he continues. "This means the course has a lot of contours for the mowers to manoeuvre - they get quite a bumpy ride! The 6500-D also has some very steep areas to climb. The wear and tear they get as a result makes their longevity all the more remarkable."
But the real secret to getting so many miles out of his mowers is proper machinery maintenance. "We have a strict maintenance programme. There are five full-time members of staff, who are each responsible for the care of their own machine. As soon as the machines return to the greenkeeping buildings at the end of the working day, they are cleaned off using an air-line before being parked up for the night. Jet-washing is kept to a minimum and used only if absolutely necessary to avoid getting water in machinery bearings. The machines are also regularly greased at least one or two times per week."
Chris says that maintenance costs for the two mowers remain low despite their age. "The 4500-D has needed a few replacement parts, but both models have the same engine and chassis, and are otherwise still going strong. The sixth member of our team is 67-years-old with a background in agricultural machinery and he works for me from April to October, but does three or four weeks of intensive maintenance in January. That's when we send the cutting units off to be reground, too. It really keeps the machines in peak condition and is certainly the reason they've lasted so long."
But he's also a big believer in using his local service centre. "The Mower Shop at West Haddon, and Steve Bartle and his team, provide us with professional advice and prompt replacement parts, enabling us to keep machinery downtime to a minimum. And, after the growing season we've experienced this year, that has been a godsend."
Chris says the club has a "sea of red" Toro machines because of their reliability and longevity. "I've been in the industry for over 20 years and have used all sorts of machinery makes, including those that barely last a season. We stick with Toro because it's reliable and good value for money. Yes, you pay a bit more at the start, but the quality and longevity speaks for itself. How long these two machines have lasted has definitely exceeded my expectations."
For more information on Toro machinery, call distributor Lely UK on 01480 226800, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.toro.com.