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All quiet on the north-western front

Greenkeepers in the north-west of England are preserving the peace and tranquility of their courses, thanks to John Deere’s 2500E hybrid electric triplex greens mowers. Home of the Stableford scoring system, Wallasey Golf Club in The Wirral is particularly anxious to keep local residents happy and specified two new 2500Es from local John Deere dealer Turner Groundscare of Tarvin, Chester to help them do just that. “The new mowers deliver optimum cutting at low noise levels, which is ideal for us as housing fringes the eighth and ninth holes of our 18-hole course,” says Chris Peddie, who has been Wallasey’s head greenkeeper for 22 years. “Noise can be an issue when you’re often working from 6.30am, and even earlier on competition days.” Keeping quiet isn’t the only concern for Chris and his five-man greenkeeping team. “A links course like Wallasey is hard on cutting edges, as the sand can quickly blunt them. We regrind all our cutting units, so we need to know how easy they are to strip down. John Deere has simplified the removal of the groomers and rear brushes by introducing quick release clips – this makes the task a matter of minutes, not hours, and so saves us a lot of time.” The 2500Es need less servicing too, says Chris, and the hybrid electric design minimises the biggest worry of all – hydraulic oil leaks, which he’s suffered three times in his greenkeeping career. Limiting the risks of such leaks offers Chris added reassurance, he says. Noise and oil leaks are also key issues at Delamere Forest Golf Club in Cheshire, which bought its first John Deere 2500E greens mower with QA5 quick-adjust cutting units from Turner Groundscare in spring 2013. Course manager Andrew Ralphs says: “We’ve always bought John Deere mowers, but invested in our first 2500E because I wanted to minimise noise and the risk of oil spills on the course at a time when we are undertaking an extensive three-year renovation programme on our 88 bunkers and a number of tees. “The quality of build and quietness in operation are everything I expected they would be, and my concerns over the risks of hydraulic oil leaks on the greens have been laid to rest,” adds Andrew, who has also suffered from burst hydraulic lines during his 24 years at Delamere Forest.“We use the 2500E twice weekly on the greens. It allows us to reduce fuel consumption, noise levels and leaks, without compromising on cut quality – it’s a win:win all round.”

John Deere lawn tractors get a facelift

A new design for the John Deere X300 Select Series range of lawn tractors has been introduced to coincide with this year’s launch of the new X310 model. The bonnets across the range now match the John Deere family style of the company’s agricultural tractors and present the same fresh and modern appearance.Suitable for areas of grass up to 8000m2, the lawn tractors in this range are extremely straightforward to operate. Performance and reliability are guaranteed with a powerful, fuel-efficient engine and easily adjustable cutting height, which can be changed without having to leave your seat.Excellent manoeuvrability in the tightest spaces ensures a perfect cut, even in the most intricately landscaped gardens. Standard features include automatic transmission, Twin Touch foot pedals, cruise control and an ultra-comfortable seat.The five lawn tractors that make up the X300 Series offer a choice of mower decks with cutting widths from 97cm (38in) on the X300 model to 122cm (48in) on the X320, plus options to collect, side discharge or mulch grass clippings. For year round versatility, these lawn tractors can be fitted with a front-mounted brush, snow blade or snow blower.UK list prices for the X300 Series start at £2825 plus VAT; the starting price for this year’s new model, the X310, is £3600 plus VAT.

Fairway mowers tick all the boxes

With views across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran, Ailsa Craig and beyond, Western Gailes Golf Club in Ayrshire is regarded by many as the hidden gem of Scottish seaside links courses.It has frequently been used for final qualifying rounds for The Open Championships played at Royal Troon and Turnberry, and has hosted the Curtis Cup and eight Scottish Amateur Championships. Jim Devlin has been course manager here for 14 years, and over that time has built up the course maintenance fleet to the stage where he and his team of seven greenkeepers now have the right mix of machinery to look after the course the way they and club like it.“We look at what’s available for the jobs we’re doing, and try out the different makes,” he says. “Our first priority is to get a good deal for the club. All of the greenkeeping staff operate all the machines, including me, so everyone is consulted on the best options and we produce reports on each machine that’s demonstrated.”The club has been a customer of John Deere dealer Nairn Brown Ltd at Busby in Glasgow since 2007, when the first machine bought was an Aercore 1500 tractor-mounted aerator. The newest to arrive are two 7500 PrecisionCut fairway mowers, equipped with quick-adjust QA5 5in cutting heads with rear roller brushes and 11-blade reels. These are used to produce a fine cut on the fairways and roughly 4ac of grass nurseries, plus the practice areas.“This was our first time trying out John Deere mowers,” says Jim. “The lads thought the 7500 was the best machine for the job of the four we tried on demonstration, and said it ticked all the boxes for them. It’s easy to use and service, and the new QA cutting units are a lot lighter for getting on and off the mower for maintenance and sharpening, for example.”Both the mowers are fitted with Mauser cabs, for which Nairn Brown is the official UK importer. “The cabs are definitely needed, and make working in the prevailing weather conditions here much more comfortable,” Jim adds. “It’s quieter in the cab as well, so you can hear the radio now! The ball joint design on the cutting heads is good too, they really follow the ground contours very closely on our undulating links.”Two-thirds of Western Gailes is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, so Jim Devlin and his team only use organic fertilisers and very little pesticide. “With so much of the course being an SSSI, obviously we’re very limited in what we can do,” he says.“Everything is managed as naturally as possible, and we have maintained pretty much the same approach over the years, as the club likes the course to remain just the way it is. The machinery we use has to do the jobs we want as efficiently as possible so we can look after the course the way we want to, and the new John Deere mowers certainly help us do that.”