When we last spoke to Robert George, head greenkeeper at Thorndon Park, four years ago, he was busy turning the club Toro red. Since then, the club has become the first in Essex to be ranked as a top 100 UK course.
"We are the first club in Essex to gain ranking in the top 100," says Robert. "I definitely think using Toro has helped us achieve this, which is why we have invested in more machines."
The club, set in 240 acres of the Brentwood countryside, is described by the top 100 courses as 'always beautifully maintained… with hard strong greens'. The turf is 'lush and springy making the course a lovely parkland treat'. Robert attributes this success to having a regular programme of upgrading and replacing machinery.
"We replace our greens mowers every four years and fairways, tees and surrounds mowers every five years," Robert explains. "I feel this keeps us on top of improvements in technology, maintains productivity, increases reliability, and ultimately keeps us ahead of the game."
This approach is perfectly illustrated with the replacement of the club's Greensmaster 3250-Ds with three TriFlex Hybrid 3420s. Robert explains: "It's easy to see how Toro stays on top of technology with this switch. The hybrids have the superior cutting and high levels of presentation of the diesel, but the technology is all 'green'. They handle well and are really easy to service. We do that on site and the guys have commented how quick and easy it is to look after the cutting units, in particular."
"We have maintained productivity with a like-for-like replacement of our Groundsmasters to the latest GM4700-D, and the Reelmasters to the RM3100-D. I know there is nothing else to rival these on the market and there is no need to look anywhere else."
Robert concludes this recent deal, worth £200,000, by opting for all the benefits of electric power in a utility vehicle with three Workman MDEs. "I've always maintained that Toro always has something new to offer customers, whether it's the cutting units or the way the machines are powered, it's always moving forward, something that has been particularly evident in this machinery order."