Three years ago, an Aberdeenshire golf club with a keen focus on ecological, environmental and sustainable best practice, chose a Wiedenmann Terra Spike GXi8 HD deep aerator. It was the first purchase made by the then newly appointed course manager at Banchory GC, Richard Mullen.
"Aeration needed to be done quickly without compromising standards. The GXi8 meant we could reduce operator time, reduce fuel and importantly use just one machine," said Richard Mullen.
Banchory GC sits on the banks of the River Dee, in the heart of Royal Deeside. In the last year the club has received huge plaudits for its biodiversity initiatives in creating both an excellent golfing surface and a welcoming habitat for nature.
"We didn't start off as a GEO certified golf course when the aerator arrived and we certainly weren't sustainable. Now three years down the line we're getting better. The fungicide usage has been reduced by half and we haven't used any insecticides at all in that time," he continued.
"We're like a links course inland. We share many characteristics of a links course. We've sandy soil and the terrain has been naturally formed. It's maybe not the largest of courses but the GXi8 goes everywhere; wall-to-wall if you like, fairways, greens, tees, approaches; it misses nothing.
"On any modern course, golfers hate the sight of holes. Frequently it's so clean our golfers are unaware we've actually been out. If your golfers aren't noticing holes then that's a huge bonus. Instantly you've got more options. "
Wiedenmann's GXi8 HD offers a patented Advanced Tine Control (ATC) system. ATC controls the entry point of the tine into the turf. All moving parts of the system like springs and heave linkages are positioned behind covers at the front of the machine away from the workings and 'dirt area'. Wear and tear is reduced and the covers help quieten the machine. The centre of gravity being closer to the tractor makes it exceptionally stable. The tines on the GXi are nearer to the front roller ensuring a uniform job as the spiking action is exceptionally precise and accurate. Constant hole-spacing is maintained even at high fast forward speed so when following the contours of the ground the quality of work does not falter.
"In a year the GXi8 can be out about 50 times but all the while helping the soil biology of our site. It's not uncommon for us to give the greens two passes, using 14mm solids, one at 5mm with 75mm centres and then 200mm deep with 10% heave at 50mm centres. Any oxygen can then be used by plants roots and soil microbes during respiration while carbon dioxide is released allowing nutrient uptake"
Richard, working with just two other colleagues, has made huge strides which have been welcomed by the local community. Already in 2019 Banchory has been a finalist in the 2019 Golf Environment and 2019 inspiring Aberdeenshire Awards.
"With a small team you appreciate the versatility and the ease of use of the GXi8. There's nothing time consuming about the machine at all. You can be doing fairways with 20mm tines then later in the session be on greens with 8 mm tines. Switching tines is super-fast. Indeed if we had a different type of deep aerator I don't think we would get half the things done that we achieve at the moment. It makes that big a difference to us." concluded Richard Mullen.
Local dealer Fairways GM supplied the club with their Wiedenmann aerator. Banchory GC also has a Wiedenmann Super 500 and Whisper Twister in its fleet.