Significant investment in Ventrac equipment at Wrotham Heath Golf Club
Wrotham Heath Golf Club, situated in the rolling Kent countryside near Sevenoaks, has taken delivery of a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor with two alternative mowing decks and a stump grinder attachment, from local dealer MAB Groundcare.
Established in 1906, Wrowtham Heath is a members club and features an 18-hole golf course situated on a sandstone ridge which results in excellent drainage ensuring the course is playable all year round. A recently installed irrigation system on the tees, fairways and greens together with a new bore hole and holding tank ensures the best playing conditions, even in the driest weather.
Bryan Preece is the head greenkeeper and has been at the club for the past six years, having previously worked at West Malling, Nizels and a spell in Riverside Golf Club in Tasmania. He heads a team of five greenkeepers and works closely with former Captain and current Greens Chairman, Stan Topliss.
“This is one of the best pieces of equipment that I have ever purchased,” Bryn said. “Our Toro Sidewinder was getting a bit long in the tooth and I was looking for a replacement tees and bunker surrounds mower. I read an article in a trade magazine where Peter Pattenden at Carden Park was extolling the merits of his recently purchased Ventrac. Peter is guy I wholeheartedly respect, so I contacted the UK distributor, Price Turfcare and arranged a demo here for the team and the Greens Chairman. We selected the toughest area we could find, some banks covered in bracken on the 3rdfairway. and it dealt with it with ease. In fact, it was the best machinery demonstration I have ever seen.
“We are a heathland course and over the years bracken and unwanted trees have encroached on the margins. We have embarked on a five-year planned process of returning it to a more traditional state and in just the first couple of weeks since delivery the Ventrac has proved its worth. The ToughCut deck is great at removing the bracken and allowing the underlying heather to thrive. It can go anywhere on the course and tackles any slopes with ease. We do everything in-house and the versatility is amazing.”
Greens Chairman Stan Topliss added; “This was a significant investment for our club and we are delighted with the purchase of this Ventrac. As Bryn said, its versatility is amazing; with the Countour deck we can manage many areas around the course and the stump grinder comes into it’s own for woodland management.The ToughCut deck is a marvel. We will certainly be looking to add more attachments and I know that Bryn is hinting that he would like a second machine!”
Billingbear Park is the latest Golf Club to invest in Ventrac
Billingbear Park, located alongside the M4 at Wokinghamin Berkshire, is the latest golf club to purchase a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor complete with a rotary Contour mowing deck. Supplied and delivered by local dealer, GAGroundcare Ltd, the new combination will be used for multiple tasks across the family-owned 9-hole complex
Martin Blainey and his family have owned the club since moving from Hertfordshire to the Billingbear in 1996 and it is one of the oldest 9-hole courses in Berkshire, dating back to Victorian times. It was ploughed for the planting of cereals during WW1 and WW2, before being reinstated as a golf course to a design by Dr Martin Hawtree in 1989. Martin and Jacquie Blainey are now semi-retired and their son Greg and daughter Laura are now responsible for day-to-day operations.
Commenting on the Club’s latest purchase Martin Blainey said, “I’m good friends with Chris Brook, the respected courses manager at The Club Company, who has just purchased a couple of Ventracs for his operation. He has been very impressed with the versatility of the machines and recommended it to me.
“We initially purchased it with the Contour deck, which we are using on the semi-rough and surrounds, but have every intention of adding further attachments over time. The safety it offers around the banks of the lakes and the stability when we’re mowing the banking that separates us from M4 motorway, is superb. Our next purchase will probably be the Trencher, which will help us when we come to upgrade our irrigation system or run power cables to other areas on site.
“I’m convinced that this type of compact tractor and multiple attachment combination is the way forward for golf clubs similar to ourselves. Why buy different mowers for various parts of the course, when you can have one power unit and a selection of attachments with the versatility to undertake numerous jobs, not only on the golf course, but around the entire property. Apart from the triple cylinder attachment, most of the accessories are under £10,000, so the cost of adding versatility to the course maintenance regime is very effective.”
The Club operates on a Pay and Play basis and has a healthy number of members. The Old Course consists of nine full size holes with two alternate tees per hole, enabling 18-holes to be played. There is also a 9-hole, par 3 course, aptly named as the New Course. There are two lakes on the complex and water features on several holes on both courses.
Although a relatively new dealer, GA Groundcare, through owner Ashley Stevens and sales manager Alun Wright, have a long association with the Blaineys and Billingbear Park. Over the past 20 years they have provided a range of equipment for the business when they both worked for their previous employer in the area.