Post Show Report From Turfco
The company’s managing director, Rupert Price was particularly upbeat. “We deliberately chose a location in one of the walkways that linked the Purple and Green zones and it worked exceptionally well for us,” he said. “Many people asked if we were late booking our space, as it was a slightly unusual position, but this was a deliberate decision that paid off brilliantly.
“This is the third time that we have attended the show and there’s definitely a different vibe from the first two occasions. Nobody really knew of us back then, but now they come onto the stand and say that they’ve seen us on social media or in the press and they want to see the equipment in the flesh, so to speak.”
“Needless to say, with the amount of footfall across the stand, we’ve had some great enquiries and there’s a lot of work to do over the coming months, when we’ll be following up the leads and booking demonstrations.”
“Personally, I don’t think the decision to change the layout of the event was an issue; Jim Croxton and his team did a very good job of trying to ensure that every location was well signposted, but you can’t expect to get it absolutely correct at the first attempt. I’m sure there’ll be a few tweaks next years; it was still BTME, but slightly different.”
See the full report here…
Successful Ventrac Demo Day at Russell Group
“One of the most successful events I’ve ever attended!” said Rupert Price after the Russell Group’s Groundcare Demo Day at Stocksbridge Golf Club in Sheffield.
Organised by Glen Sawyer, Russell’s Equipment Sales Manager based at their Rotherham depot, the dedicated Ventrac Demo Day attracted in excess of 40 visitors from local landscape contractors, golf courses and a national hire company.
An unprecedented five Ventrac 4500 compact tractors with a total of 13 different attachments were assembled at four stations within a comfortable walking distance of the clubhouse. Visitors rotated between each station and were able to see each implement demonstrated and, in some cases, ride and drive the machines.
Implements and attachments demonstrated included four different mowing decks, two blowers, trencher, edger, Aera-vator, Power Broom, Power Rake and stump grinder. Also on demonstration and makings its UK debut was the new Boom Mower, to be officially launched at SALTEX at the end of October.
After an excellent lunch prepared by the clubhouse staff, visitors were invited back onto the course for more in-depth demonstrations, to see the climbing ability and all-round performance of these versatile machines.
Commenting after the event Glen Sawyer said, “This was an excellent day and it certainly surpassed our expectations, It was a great team effort from my team, the guys from Price Turfcare and the staff at Stocksbridge. Head greenkeeper Jamie Hobson was most accommodating allowing us to dig trenches, clear bracken and reshape the edges of his fairways and the guys driving the machines did a great job. Anyone who has visited Stocksbridge knows that it has some very steep slopes and the demo team certainly put the equipment through its paces.
“We have had the Ventrac franchise for a year, sold more than we had anticipated and felt we should get it front of a wider audience. I think we achieved that today.”
Rupert Price, Managing Director of Ventrac’s UK importer Price Turfcare added, “I’ve been in this business for over 20 years and this was the most successful demo day I have ever attended. I am extremely grateful to Glen and his team; these events take a lot of time and effort to organise and you never know how many people will turn up. But there were only a couple of no-shows and we were certainly able to impress the visitors with the versatility of the Ventrac range. A great day!”
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.
DJUKE, the specialist sports turf maintenance company, managed by former Queenwood course manager Cameron McMillan, has purchased a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor and a selection of implements to enhance the company’s service portfolio to golf courses and other turf-related businesses. The new package of machinery was delivered and installed by local dealer, RT Machinery, based at Nether Winchendon, Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.
Cameron McMillan, who was at Queenwood for 15 years through the initial construction phase, grow-in and the opening in 2001 until 2015, is one of the McMillian dynasty that has managed many prestigious golf courses in the south of England.
We purchased the Ventrac to broaden our service offering to our growing client base, he said. Since establishing the company in 2015 we have become known as aeration and drainage specialists through our DryJect, Graden and PC Drainage franchises. We are now enhancing our range of services to help customers maintain everything within the boundary of their property.
Our initial purchase included Ventrac’s ToughCut deck, the Power Rake and a Power Brush. Woodland management is a time-intensive task for any on-site greenkeeping team. The ToughCut deck is excellent for managing these areas; it can cut through bracken, brambles and young saplings with ease and leaves a very acceptable finish. The Power Rake is very impressive. We had a demonstration on a foul day and it renovated the surfaces of machinery pathways and golf car paths with ease. The Power Brush is typical of Ventrac’s attachments, easy to connect to the tractor and highly efficient in use. I can’t believe how compact, powerful and manoeuvrable the Ventrac is, whichever attachment is connected.
Without doubt this addition to our fleet will enable us to improve the non-playing surfaces for our clients and provide business opportunities that were not previously open to us. I’m delighted with the machinery package and the superb service provided by Rupert Price and his team.
Cameron McMillan has been in the fine turf industry for 36 years, beginning his career as a trainee at Sunningdale in 1982. He moved to Liphook as head greenkeeper at the tender age of 21, before getting involved with his first construction project at Pffafing Golplatz in Bavaria in 1990. In 1992 he joined Laleham Golf Club in Chertsey as course manager, moving to Stockley Park before taking the position at Queenwood in 2000.
By Appointment – R T Machinery Joins The Ventrac Dealer Network
R T Machinery Ltd, based at Nether Winchendon, Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire is one of the latest turf machinery dealerships to join the Ventrac dealer network in the UK.
The Company was formed by managing director Richard Taylor back in 2001. An independent company, RTM’s strengths lie in over 30 years of industry experience, a keen interest in machinery and a willingness to provide a quality service and value for money. The team consists of a group of dedicated and experienced staff who have a shared interest in sport, sports and fine turf machinery and customer satisfaction.
Commenting on the appointment, Richard Taylor said, “Since Rupert Price launched his business just over a year ago, the Ventrac product has really begun to take 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. We’re now getting out there and showing potential customers just what it can do. Rupert has done a tremendous amount of groundwork in the past 12 months and it’s certainly paying off as this industry is waking up to the potential of the multi-purpose machine.”
Rupert Price, Managing Director of Price Turfcare, the UK and Ireland distributor of the Ventrac 4500 compact tractor, added, “We’ve been steadily building our dealer network over the past year 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. RTM certainly meet those requirements and we’re delighted to welcome them to the Ventrac family.”
Price Turfcare’s current dealers are:
Frank Nicol Farm & Garden Machinery; SGM Contracts; Russell Group’s Groundcare Divison; Cheshire Turf Machinery; John Osman; Lairds Grass Machinery; Fentons of Bourne; RT Machinery; Upson Mowers; MAB Groundscare Machinery; DJ Scott Garden Machinery; GA Groundcare and Devon Garden Machinery.
Price Turfcare has been awarded the UK and Ireland distribution rights for the Ryan range of turf maintenance equipment.
For an initial six-month period from June 2017, Price Turfcare will be the joint distributor together with existing distributor, Ransomes Jacobsen. Following the successful transition at the beginning of 2018, Price Turfcare will become the exclusive UK distributor of Ryan branded products.
Pat Cappucci, President and COO of Schiller Grounds Care said,
I’ve known Rupert for many years and he is hugely respected within our industry. He has 20 years of experience, mostly in senior sales management positions with Ransomes Jacobsen, so he knows our product portfolio very well. His decision to form his own company was a considered one; he has recruited a group of former colleagues with similar experience, to provide sales, parts and service support.
We thank Ransomes Jacobsen for the great job they have done over the years, but having a dedicated and focussed sales operation in the UK is vitally important for this Schiller brand. Concentrating on our products, and the complementary Ventrac product, gives Price Turfcare a portfolio of equipment to help golf, sports turf professionals and lanscapers create and maintain pristine playing surfaces. We are delighted to appoint Rupert and his team as custodians of our products and our reputation in the UK and Ireland.
…To Help Maintain The Grounds Of Their World-Class Training Centre!
Last season’s FA Premier League runners-up Tottenham Hotspur Football Club have taken delivery of a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor and three out-front attachments to help maintain the landscaped areas at their world-class Training Centre in Enfield, North London.
Commenting on the new equipment, Darren Baldwin, Head of Playing Surfaces and Estates at the club said,
I was in discussion with a major machinery manufacturer about a mower to cut my steep landscaped areas around the Training Centre. By chance, Rupert Price of Price Turfcare, who I have known for many years, had a demonstration nearby postponed at short notice. He gave me a call and asked if he could pop in for a chat and a coffee and perhaps show me his machine.
This chance meeting evolved into one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. I looked at the machine, and to be absolutely honest, I doubted its ability to perform here. We took it to the western end of the complex, which we are developing as a community area and where we have a large perimeter bank, which we have not touched since we moved here from our old Training Centre in Chigwell.
Rupert had the Tough Cut deck on the tractor unit at the time and I was blown away by its performance. It knocked down and mulched vegetation that was probably two metres high and on some very severe slopes. I was amazed that a 24 hp machine could clear unmaintained areas with apparent ease. However, that’s only part of the reason for purchasing the Ventrac. I was sold on its versatility; changing the numerous attachments is so easy. He changed to the Finishing deck in a couple of minutes and we went out and tried that. Again, it performed extremely well. Completing my initial purchase is the Trencher attachment, which can reach a depth of 1.2 metres and will be invaluable when we are doing renovation work in the future.
Paul Jones, Darren’s right-hand man at the Training Centre added,
The possibilities with this machine are endless. We are constantly evolving and there are many upcoming projects which the Ventrac range of attachments can help us with. In the US, it is used extensively to prepare baseball fields and we use similar techniques during renovation. I’m sure it won’t be long before we add to the list of attachments. Highlighting what Darren has already said, the speed of changing between implements is impressive, the access to the blades under the decks is easy with some clever engineering and the versatility is second to none.
It’s a challenging time again for Darren and his team at the Training Centre with a massive pitch renovation programme in place, the construction of the new 45-room Lodge and the landscaping of a helicopter landing area.
Darren concluded saying,
This is a hugely exciting time for everyone on the grounds team here at Tottenham. In a year’s time we will be managing the most advanced sporting arena in the world. The technological solutions that are evolving to manage the new stadium pitch would have been unimaginable a few years ago. The hybrid turf Football pitch sits in three trays above an artificial American football pitch. The three trays separate and then slide into a parked position below the south stand and southern podium, where it will continue growing using the latest grow lighting technology and also mown daily.
However, we also need to maintain the highest standards at the Training Centre and with 24 grounds staff maintaining 20 training pitches on a 77-acre site, we need the best possible equipment we can procure. I believe we have done this with the addition of the Ventrac to our machinery fleet.
More coverage can be found at:
Turfpro Weekly eNewsletter
Turf Matters Website
Turf Business Website
We’ve received a series of amazing reactions from the media since the BTME show including this fantastic report appearing in TurfPro’s weekly update.
Managing Director Rupert Price commenting on the first two days at BTME;
“What a great way to launch the business! The show has been the perfect platform for us with significant enquiries including three that look like they will turn into sales. Also excellent media interest with several interviews and a video interview with Turf TV. I’m delighted with the response and interest we’ve received.”