Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (6 April 2021) Essendon Country Club, located deep in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside, has purchased a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor and a trencher attachment to help maintain its two 18-hole parkland courses.
Course Manager Craig Gibson, an industry veteran of 31 years, is delighted with the new addition to his fleet and says;
“It’s fantastic; I’m hugely impressed. It’s not often a piece of kit excites us, but this is very different as we can use it all year round. The lads love it, it’s easy to use as you can just jump on and go. It’s really popular with the team.
“I first saw it at another club and was impressed with its tidy finish, then by chance Rupert Price cold-called me to see if we wanted a demo, so I invited him along. We have a clay-based courses and can be very wet in winter, but this machine is brilliant in the wet. Following the demo, it was like a ‘light bulb’ moment, so I made the made the business case to the club management and we agreed the purchase.
“At the moment we have the Trencher attachment as we’re putting in additional drainage, but Rupert kindly loaned me a Tough Cut deck as well, which is an awesome attachment and makes light work of brush and scrub in the woodland margins.
“My next purchase will definitely be the Contour deck attachment. This is an articulating deck which we will use for our bunkers and green surrounds. That’s the unique selling point of Ventrac; it’s so versatile and it can get to areas on the course that other machines simply can’t access.”
After leaving school in 1990, Craig Gibson completed a Level 2 NVQ in Sports Turf Management before taking up his first job at Welwyn Garden City Golf Club. From here he moved to the Forest of Dean, then onto Forest Hills as deputy course manager, where he spent 10 years. He then returned to Hertfordshire as head groundsman at St Christopher’s School in Letchworth before joining Essendon as course manager in 2007.Essendon Country Club (formerly Hatfield London Country Club) consists of two 18-hole parkland courses, known as The Old course and The New course. The Old course is an undulating 6,800-yard mature parkland course designed by Fred Hawtree and opened in 1976. The New course, opened in 1992, is somewhat flatter but at 7,100 yard offers a challenge to any golfer. The club has a modern approach to golf welcoming all levels of golfer and the clubhouse, built around a 16th century barn, offers excellent facilities.
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (25 November 2020) Saunton Golf Club, situated south of Woolacombe on the coast of north Devon, is the latest golfing venue to purchase a Ventrac 4500 all-terrain compact tractor and a selection of attachments. Delivered by local dealer, Devon Garden Machinery, the package includes the 25 hp tractor unit in its 8-wheel configuration, a Contour deck, a Tough Cut deck and Power Rake.
Formed in 1897 as a 9-hole course, the 103-year old club now has two 18-hole championship-standard links courses, with reputations that stand comparison with the finest in the UK. The East Course is ranked No.12 in the Golf World ‘Top 100 Courses in England’ and the West Course is No. 98.
Murray Long, the former Courses Manager at Sunningdale, has recently been appointed Course Manager at Saunton. Commenting on the Ventrac he said,
“We need to control bramble and scrub around the courses and we have pathways made of seashell shingle, which can become rutted and uneven over time. The practice ranges are enclosed by steep banks, which we maintain by the labour-intensive job of strimming. To tackle these issues, we needed a versatile machine and thought that a Ventrac might provide the solution.
“I first saw it during visits to BTME and then became aware of the positive feedback from respected industry professionals in our trade magazines and on social media. Following our initial enquiry to local dealer, Devon Garden Machinery, they quickly provided quotes and a demonstration, which confirmed the premise that this was the machine for us. Their service has been excellent throughout.
“Until you experience it working, it’s had to appreciate how versatile it is. We purchased the Tough Cut deck, which will help combat the bramble and scrub issue; the Contour deck will be used on the banking around the practice area and some areas of rough. The Power Rake is great attachment as it agitates the shingle, smoothing out the ruts, leaving pristine pathways.
“It will certainly increase productivity and reduce the use of machinery linked to hand/arm vibration hazard, such as strimmers. It is unique in its multi-use applications giving it extreme versatility. I have seen many machinery demonstrations but none have been as impressive as the Ventrac. Every course would benefit from having one.”
Saunton’s General Manager, Jon Sutherland added,
“As Murray has indicated, it was a very impressive demonstration. I hadn’t seen the machine before, but it quickly became apparent that not only would it increase the productivity of the greenkeeping team, but also safeguard them as well. Paul Vickery, our Chairman of Greens, attended the demonstration and we quickly made the purchasing decision. It will certainly contribute to raising the already high presentation standards of our facility, for members and visitors alike.”
Saunton has hosted the R&A Boys Amateur Championship on two occasions. In August 2019, 252 of the world’s most talented boys battled it out over our East and West Courses. After 91 holes of play, the winner Tom Gueant of France beat Wilmer Ederö from Sweden in a sudden-death play-off on the first hole of the East course. Saunton also hosted the Championship back in 1997, when a young Sergio Garcia won the title, before amassing the highest points total for Europe in Ryder Cup history, and also winning the Masters Tournament back in 2017.
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (26 March 2020) Agwood Ltd, based at Swingfield, near Dover in Kent, is the latest turf machinery dealership to join the Price Turfcare Ventrac dealer network in the UK.
Agwood was formed by Ian Wood back in 1978. An independent company, they pride themselves on their record of exemplary customer service demonstrated by their recognition as BAGMA Approved Testers for Trailer Brakes, PUWER and LOLER Approved Installers of Tracker and Cesar Datatag and NSTS Sprayer Testers.
Commenting on the appointment, Phil Bush said;
“Since Rupert Price launched his business three years ago, the Ventrac product has really taken off in the UK. It’s a very well-made piece of equipment, yet easy to work on. It’s also very versatile because of the numerous attachments that can be mounted on it. Rupert has done a tremendous amount of groundwork in the past three years and it’s certainly paying off as our industry recognises the potential of the multi-purpose machine. We are delighted to add this remarkable brand to our product portfolio that already includes Massey Ferguson’s range of tractors, harvesting and groundcare equipment, along with Lemken, Opico and Suzuki ATVs.
Rupert Price, Managing Director of Price Turfcare, the UK and Ireland distributor of the Ventrac 4500 compact tractor, added,
“We are steadily building our dealer network and only taking on reputable dealers who we believe will add value to the brand. We require our dealers to be pro-active, focussed on the product and capable of providing exceptional customer back-up and support. Agwoods’ exemplify these requirements and we’re delighted to welcome them to the Ventrac family.”
Price Turfcare’s current dealers are: Fairways (GM) Ltd; Nairn Brown; Lairds Grass Machinery; Davies Tractors; John Osman Groundcare; Russell Group’s Groundcare Division; Sharrocks; Cheshire Turf Machinery; Fentons of Bourne; RT Machinery; Upson Mowers; Agwood Ltd; TH White Groundcare; and Devon Garden Machinery.
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (12 February 2020) The Rothschild Foundation has purchased a Ventrac 4500 all-terrain compact tractor and Tough Cut mowing deck from supplying dealer, RT Machinery Ltd, to help maintain the gardens and grounds at Waddesdon Manor near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. The Foundation manages Waddesdon on behalf of the National Trust.
Mike Buffin is Gardens Managerat Waddesdon and heads a team of 14 full-time gardeners and four students on one-year assignments. His impressive CV includes working at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, the University of Pennsylvania, the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and National Trust. The gardens department manages over 400 acres at Waddesdon.
“We have wildflower meadows dotted around the estate, many on challenging slopes,” he said. “I’m attempting a change to the direction of our maintenance regimes, looking to get more versatility from our equipment and taking a more environmental approach, where possible.
“There’s a broad expanse of lawn at the front of the house, which takes a lot of wear at our annual events, such as the Christmas Fair, Colourscape in May, Summer Fest in July and Chilli Fest each September. The initial demo highlighted the benefits of the Aera-vator in relieving the compaction and the overseeding attachment worked particularly well. However, it was on the wildflower banks where the machine really came into its own. It was a wet day and the Tough Cut deck performed admirably in these challenging areas. We have been using several different mowers to achieve the high level of presentation expected at Waddesdon. The versatility of the Ventrac has simplified this and it is now one of our principal mowers.
“RT Machinery have been excellent and the ability to hire-in attachments means we have the opportunity to undertake an extended evaluation to enable us to draw up a shortlist of attachments for future purchase. It’s the ideal machine for us because of its versatility, the ease of changing attachments and its slope mowing capabilities.”
Waddesdon Manor was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild between 1874 and 1885 to display his collection of arts and to entertain the fashionable world. Opened to the public in 1959, Waddesdon Manor is managed by the Rothschild Foundation on behalf of the National Trust, who took over ownership in 1957. It’s home to the Rothschild Collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts.
The estate includes the Dairy, a beautiful and historic 19th century building, used exclusively as a wedding venue; the Five Arrows Hotel, Windmill Hill Archive and Flint House, a domestic dwelling commissioned by Lord Rothschild and completed in 2015, winning that year’s RIBA House of the Year Award.
Norse Commercial Services (NCS) has purchased a Ventrac 4500 all-terrain compact tractor and Tough Cut deck, through supplying dealer Ernest Doe & Sons, to help maintain the embankments of the new Broadland Northway. The 19.5 km (12 mile) dual carriageway, formerly known as the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NNDR) connects traffic from the eastern approaches to the northwest of the city.
Completed in April 2018
at a cost of £208 million, it has 39 km (24 miles) of embankments that have
been planted with 380,000 native shrubs and trees, including gorse, oak, acer
and hawthorn. Areas with no tree or shrub planting have been seeded with four
differing mixes of wildflower seeds. It is these wildflower areas that the
Ventrac and Tough Cut deck are maintaining.
Simon Mutten is the
Head of Policy and Strategy at GYB Services, Project Co-ordinator for the NCS
and lead liaison with the client, Norfolk County Council. Commenting on the new
machine he said,
Management Plan requires a cut and rake of the wildflower sections twice a
year. This is the first year that the embankments have been cut and we required
a machine to work alongside our existing Roboflail, to increase productivity on
the larger areas. We have 1.5 million square metres to maintain, so we were
looking for something more productive to ensure that we provide best value to
Martin Adcock is Operations
Manager at Norwich Norse Environmental, one of the three companies involved in
the joint venture to maintain the highway, and was the person tasked with
finding a solution to the maintenance issue.
“My first action was an internet search for slope mowers. Remote controlled mowers, including our Roboflail, featured prominently but productivity was an issue due to their limited width of cut. The Ventrac also featured in the search and, with its 1.7 metre cutting width and maximum speed of around 16 km an hour, it appeared that it could do the job. However, I had not heard of the machine before and was quite sceptical. I contacted our dealer, Ernest Doe, who is a trusted partner and has supplied us with groundscare equipment for many years.
“They advised that they had experience of the machine and could arrange a demonstration, which was done very quickly. Once I’d seen it in action, and had a chance to operate it myself, I realised that it would certainly do the job for us. The demo was brilliant; it tackled the embankments with ease and left a very acceptable finish. With a ground pressure of just 6 psi, it’s gentle on the newly established slopes and can be used at 30 degrees, something no other ride-on machine can achieve. We are also using it around the lagoons that take the water run-off from the road.”