Lancashire's Bentham Golf Club has chosen a Wiedenmann Terra Spike GXi8 HD to help its team make the most of weather windows.
This summer, the family run club with its backdrop of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, proximity to the Dales and Forest of Bowland has attracted golf tourists from across the country. Its 'on course' cottages and high-end vacation pods have offered something different and proved hugely popular.
The course, too, has seen additional member traffic, prompting the purchase of a deep aerator. For head greenkeeper, Shaun Conway it marks another positive step for the northern club.
"I joined Bentham in April during lockdown, which was a little strange to say the least. Initially, my family and I lived in one of the lovely holiday cottages," said Shaun, "so it really was an unusual, but memorable, beginning."
"But it's all gone well. Lots of good things are happening; a new practice putting green is almost built; the course is looking sharper and the arrival of the new machine means a huge boost to our aeration programme."
"This is my first Wiedenmann. I've known Terra Spikes by reputation but it's the incredible smoothness you notice... when you leave the cab you don't feel shaken up. I actually tried the 'Wiedenmann tea cup test' where you place a full cup of tea on top and set off across a green. I tried mine with a flask cup. Not a drop lost! An unexpected stone halfway through your trial isn't good though, then it definitely spills …"
Bentham's Shaun Conway and Wiedenmann UK's Andy Kerr, right, discuss the in cab operationns
"Immediately after installation we got all tees spiked with 20mm tines to 10cm with 5 degrees of heave. Next day, one of the lads started tackling the fairways to 15cm. You don't need extra spanners; it's a tool free and runs quietly and quickly. The speed is just great… it buys peace of mind that the job will get done."
"We're a small team, mostly three, but sometimes four. This autumn, when conditions allow, we'll be all over if we can, targeting known wet spots. A network of paths around the course means we can pretty much access all areas. For now, we're operating with 8mm and 20mm tines but next year 12mm tines will come in handy. After the initial phase, the aeration programme going forward is to be out little and often. The speed and easy operation mean every three to four weeks. Even across the summer, we can get some discreet work done without golfers knowing."
Bentham Golf Club is supplied by local dealer Balmer's Garden Machinery at Burnley. Balmer's golf and turf machinery sales specialist, Ben Cook, and Wiedenmann UK's demonstrator, Andy Kerr, together did the installation and operator training.
Ben Cook said: "The GXi8 gives Shaun flexibility to take advantage of weather windows. Aeration is one of those vital tasks dependent on prevailing conditions. Once the decision to 'go' is made you can get nine greens done in an afternoon."