GreenKeeping reports that The Club Company, which owns and operates 14 Country Clubs across the UK, has taken delivery of a further Ventrac 4500 compact tractor with Contour mowing deck and blower attachments. This latest combination has been delivered to Woodbury Park Hotel and Golf Club near Exeter and brings the total of Ventrac machines within the group to four.
“This is an exceptional machine combination,” said course manager Gareth Tucker. “Unlike some parts of the country, we had a very wet summer and it has continued into the autumn. This has created some challenges for the greenkeeping team, but the Ventrac has got us out of jail on many occasions. With its minimal ground pressure it can go out in all weather. The Contour deck is used on the semi-rough and the quality of finish for Captain’s Day this year was exceptional; we can lift the height of cut and also use it on the rough.”
“SALTEX just gets better and better for us”, says Rupert Price, Managing Director of Ventrac’s UK distributor Price Turfcare
“For the past two years we’ve been coming to the event with the intention of raising the profile of the Ventrac brand, but this year there was a significant change. Visitors now know of us through our marketing initiatives including the social media platforms of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, together with the editorial coverage we have received in the trade media.
“We’re still working exceptionally hard demonstrating the versatility of the equipment and the recent Turf Maintenance Live (TML) event, just a week before SALTEX, was another opportunity to get the product in front of prospects.
“Many of the visitors to our stand were saying that they had seen us on social media and in the trade publications. Now they are wanting to see the equipment that is creating the buzz. At the close of the show, when we analysed the number of demonstration requests we had received, I was quite dumbfounded. With these added to those from TML, we are going to be extremely busy between now and the spring of 2020.
Tom Bailey, Area Sales Manager at RT Machinery, has won Price Turfcare’s Dealer Sales Achievement award and has been presented with £300 worth of store vouchers in appreciation of his efforts.
Rupert Price, Managing Director of Price Turfcare, the UK distributor of Ventrac said,
“As a young company we are heavily dependent on our dealer network and the enthusiasm of their sales teams. RT Machinery has readily accepted the challenge of promoting Ventrac and Tom, in particular, has excelled with some serious sales in his territory. He fully understands the attributes of the machine and its accessories and has targeted large estate owners in his area, with outstanding success.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank not only Tom, but all of our dealers and their sales staff for their fantastic commitment to Ventrac since we launched the business just under three years ago. We have certainly arrived in the UK groundscare market and it is thanks to their combined efforts.”
Tom joined RT Machinery in June 2015 as a trainee Area Sales Manager from the estate management team at SAS UK. He then completed three years of RTM training and has progressed to be one of the company’s highly skilled and dedicated Area Sales Managers
– Trevose Golf & Country Club, situated five miles west of Padstow in Cornwall, is the latest business to appreciate the benefits of owning a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor and attachments. Delivered by local dealer Devon Garden Machinery, the package included the Ventrac 4500 compact tractor, a Contour mowing deck and Power Rake.
Owned by the Gammon family, Trevose is one of Cornwall’s premier golf destinations with 36 holes of golf including the 18-hole Championship course, the 9-hole Headland course and a 9-hole short course. The Championship course was designed by Harry Colt in 1925 and has recently undergone extensive renovations under the work of architects Mackenzie & Ebert. In recent years it has hosted The Brabazon Trophy (2008), The McGregor Trophy (2012) and the English Men’s County Finals (2017). In June this year it is the venue of a Staysure Tour event – the Farm Foods European Legends Links Championship.
Neil Ivamy is the Course Manager and heads a team of 13 greenkeepers. Explaining the decision for the addition to his fleet he said, “We were in the market for a semi-rough mower and Vic Robinson, the Area Manager for Devon Garden Machinery suggested that we look at the Ventrac. I had my doubts initially as I was worried that the width of cut was slightly less than our existing pod mower, which would put significant time on the mowing operations across the three courses. However, the manoeuvrability of the machine was fantastic, reducing turning times and cutting areas we would normally have to strim, leading to improved overall productivity. We had two demonstrations and when these were concluded, I realised that my doubts were unfounded; the finish was excellent. The Ventrac is very versatile; it’s not just a mower. We purchased the Power Rake attachment in the package and that’s how I justified it to management; we can use it to enhance the appearance of the entire property, not just the golf courses.
The Power Rake is a great attachment and can reinstate pathways very easily and without the need to import new material to fill potholes. We have numerous paths around the property and it certainly reduces the maintenance hours. We also use the it when reinstating our turf nursery to rotovate the soil before reseeding. Although we didn’t purchase the Tough Cut deck or the Power Broom, they both performed superbly on demonstration and I will certainly be looking at them in the future. “The machine performs brilliantly on slopes; it can work safely up to 30 degrees, and we are now maintaining banked areas more frequently, including some that would only be strimmed twice a year. We can attach our Wiedenmann TerraRake to the rear 3-point linkage and rake the clippings to the bottom of the slopes for easier collection. Without doubt, this is a very versatile machine.”
Neil began his career at the age of 14 while still at school, working weekends in the Pro-Shop and with the greenkeeping team at nearby Merlin Golf Club, before joining on a permanent basis when he left full-time education. In the winters of 2003 and 2007 he played club cricket in Perth, western Australia and on his return spent two years in the landscaping industry. He joined Trevose as an assistant greenkeeper in 2009, was promoted to deputy course manager in 2012 and course manager in 2015.
East Anglia – The CGM Group is one of the latest landscape contractors to purchase a Ventrac package from Price Turfcare. Supplied by local dealer Ernest Doe & Sons, the package includes a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor and Finishing deck.
Managing director Tim Glover and his wife Julie started the business over 35 years ago carrying out grass cutting for the local authority in West Dereham and now provides grounds maintenance, landscaping, arboriculture, facilities management and pest control services to commercial and domestic customers throughout East Anglia. The Group employs over 180 staff working on a wide range of contracts from local authorities, agricultural processors, housing associations, schools and sports clubs through to one-off hard landscaping projects. CGM Group has bases in King’s Lynn, Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough and regularly undertake projects in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk.
Explaining the rationale behind the purchase of the Ventrac package, Head of Operations Marcus Glover said,
“We were in the market for a new machine for our contracts with large factories and distribution centres and saw the Ventrac at LAMMA. I spoke to Rupert Price and he arranged a demonstration, which took place in February. It performed really well and we took delivery soon after. At the moment it is used exclusively for these mowing contracts, but we’ll be looking at the Power Rake and Power Brush attachments later this year as we can see more applications that will suit our business. It’s certainly a versatile machine.”
Adrian (Ady) Seymour is the principal operator and has been with CGM for 12 years. Commenting on the attributes of the machine he said,
“This is a great machine for the operator; it’s comfortable, highly manoeuvrable and very easy to use. The hand controls are intuitive and the articulating frame means we can get into tight areas, reducing additional strimming time. A tank of fuel lasts all day and once I’ve finished, I can clean it down with a light pressure washing. The deck flips up almost vertically, so that helps with cleaning, greasing and blade changing. Under the bonnet everything on the Kubota engine is easily accessible and I can easily access the radiator to blow it clear with a compressed air line.
“With its eight-wheel configuration it’s also very safe on slopes and good in wet conditions. The Finishing deck leaves a really nice finish, so much so, that I’ve been complimented by senior managers at several of our customers when I stripe up the roadside verges and entrance roads to their sites.”
Andy Seymour says that the Ventrac is a great machine to operate – comfortable, highly manoeuvrable and very easy to use!
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.”
“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.