The Buckinghamshire Golf Club's workshop manager James Wilkinson is an exemplar of best-practice machinery maintenance - so much so he's been made a Toro brand ambassador for parts and servicing. Here, he shares his top tips for keeping your Toro fleet in tip-top condition through winter…
1. I'm a great believer in prevention rather than cure. Because we maintain our machines to such a high standard whatever the time of year, they're in good shape when they come into the workshop for their autumn/winter servicing. I give them a full service, from the engines and hydraulics to changing all the filters. The cutting cylinders are also reground, and the bottom blades changed as well as the bearings.
2. And now's also the time to give your machines a really good clean. Grass gets everywhere! It holds water, so will cause rust if left. While cleaning should be a daily maintenance job, this is the ideal opportunity to give them an extra thorough clean when you strip them down. This also helps maintain the machine's trade-in value - like a lot of Toro customers, we work on a five-year depreciation programme, after which the cutting machines will be traded in. So it's in your best interests to keep them in good nick as you'll get a better price for them.
3. I also give my machines a good paint job as part of my autumn/winter servicing routine. Spraying any worn areas helps keep rust at bay - it's a job that shouldn't be overlooked. I also feel it's important the machines look good when they're out on the course. This gives members a positive impression of our high presentation standards - they appreciate seeing the shiny red hoods and gleaming white wheels out at work. Which is vital because, at the end of the day, they pay for all this!
4. We're very hot on parts and servicing and have never had a problem in all the seven years I've been here. I keep a good stock of Toro parts in the workshop. But when I do need a part, Toro's parts service is fantastic and very reliable - if the part you need isn't in stock, it's guaranteed to be with you within 72 hours, which is great.
5. Personally, I'd never compromise on non-Toro parts just for the sake of a couple of pounds. They never fit right and make more work for workshop managers like me! For example, it's never worth buying a spurious bottom blade as you end up grinding half of it away before you can get it straight.
6. This bit of advice is for those holding the purse strings - the Buckinghamshire has really invested in the workshop and staff training since I joined seven years ago and it's paid dividends. I'm proud to manage one of the best golf club workshops in the country and represent Toro in terms of my parts and servicing knowledge and skills. As a result of all this, I barely spend any time out on the course on machine breakdowns because I have everything I need to keep our Toro fleet at its best.
7. And on that note, I'd also stress the importance of keeping your workshop in good order. You could eat your dinner off my floor! I believe a clean and tidy workshop is a happy and productive workshop, which inevitably sets a high standard from the word go. Health and safety in the workshop is top of my list as it is better to be safe than sorry when you work in a workshop full of potentially dangerous equipment like grinders, welders and air-tools, etc.
If you don't have an in-house Toro-trained mechanic like James to take care of your autumn/winter servicing needs, be sure to book a service with your local Toro dealer or service centre. For more information contact distributor Lely UK's Toro servicing and parts department on 01480 226800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toro Commercial products are distributed throughout mainland UK by Lely UK Limited, 1 Station Road, St Neots PE19 1QH. Call 01480 226800, email email@example.com or visit www.toro.com/www.lely.com for further details.