Toro's Next Generation Groundsmaster Series Fits the Bill at Historic Worsley ClubIan Brawn, course manager at Worsley Park Golf and Country Club, part of Delta Hotels by Marriott, has been with Marriott for 18 years – but the club’s trusty Toro Groundsmaster 3500-D has been there even longer.
For the last 21 years, it’s been used to maintain the Manchester club’s picturesque 18-hole PGA Championship golf course. Impressed by the mower’s longevity, Ian recently acquired another Groundsmaster 3500 with Sidewinder shifting decks to help ease the burden on its older sibling.
Ian comments: “We chose to go with another 3500 because we wanted a like-for-like model to go alongside our existing Toro machine – just obviously a lot newer! We began to call the existing Groundsmaster the older sibling but, really, we should call it the grandfather!”
Despite the older mower’s age, Ian’s in no hurry to retire what he dubs ‘the course stalwart’ just yet. “If it’s looked after and well-loved, Toro kit can go on and on,” he says. “The original 3500 still does the job, but it’s obviously not as effective as the new one.
“However, for lighter duties it’s fantastic. We’ve always kept it maintained, so it’s the perfect backup should the new mower be unavailable for whatever reason. As a club, it gives us more versatility. The new 3500, though, is without a doubt a huge game changer for us.”
One reason Ian decided to update his Toro fleet with Reesink is because Worsley Park Golf and Country Club, which will soon be celebrating its 25th birthday, is currently in the process of changing the aesthetics of its course.
“We get a huge amount of golfers here at Worsley,” he explains. “So, naturally, we’ve been using the 3500 duo, but particularly the new mower, quite often.
“We’re currently looking at how we present our course: adapting the presentation, improving our consistency of cut, bringing on a new patterning and new look.
“The 3500’s adjustable head, allowing side-to-side movement means we can get a closer cut around bunkers and sloping greens, improving presentation.”
With Toro’s unique Series/Parallel traction drive system and Contour Plus cutting technology, the Groundsmaster 3500 effortlessly navigates undulating and wet terrain while maintaining a high consistency of cut.
“In addition, we’re also adding an intermediate rough, which requires us to use both mowers side-by-side, which has been nice to see,” Ian says. “Since we’re quite a big site, having two great Toro machines at our disposal really improves the club’s greenkeeping efficiency.
“For all this, of course, we have to extend a huge thanks to Steve Halley from Cheshire Turf Machinery and Reesink, who’ve been really supportive. We have a good working relationship, and Steve and the team have always been there whenever we have issues, especially while Paul, our resident mechanic, is finishing off his training.”
Toro Lease Deal is Cost-Effective Solution to Replacing FleetPhoenix Sports and Leisure Club has secured a huge £200,000 worth of new Toro equipmentin the club’s first ever lease deal with local dealer Cheshire Turf Machinery.
The multi-sport complex located in Rotherham houses golf courses, football pitches, bowling greens and more and when the time came to replace its existing fleet to be used across all its playing surfaces, a lease package was the most cost-effective solution.
Mark Smith, head greenkeeper, who manages a team of six, says: “Leasing is something that is new to us as a club. Until now we’ve bought outright, when we’ve needed things. This was the first time we’ve decided to just clear the cutting fleet and start again, which we’ve been able to do with the lease package. Working with Reesink ensured everything went smoothly.”
The club’s new Toro fleet consists of a Toro Reelmaster 3100, Toro Reelmaster 5010-H, Toro Greensmaster 3250, Toro Groundsmaster 4300, Toro Groundsmaster 1200 towed and a Toro ProCore 648 aerator.
Entering into a lease package was a cost-effective solution for the club, says Mark: “Normally we wouldn’t be able to replace all of the machines in one go, so you end up having equipment that is 10 years old and when you start having problems with it you have to argue your case for a new machine. With a lease package, that’s not really the case. When the lease is up, it’s accepted you replace it.”
Lease packages give clubs all the benefits of ownership without the initial capital outlay. Payments made up of capital and interest can be made quarterly, half-yearly or annually and are fixed for the full period of the agreement. Reesink makes it possible for clubs to design a tailored repayment pattern that matches its business income and expenditure cycles.
Even though this is the first time the club has gone down the route of leasing, it’s certainly not its first time using Toro. Having been at the club for over 23 years, Mark is plenty familiar with these machines.
He says: “When it came time to choose a new fleet, it was between the two big brands. The price point of the lease deal was a huge reason behind why we chose Toro, but so was the fact that we’re so familiar with the brand and everyone on the team knows how to use them so not as much training was needed, we could get them straight on the turf.
“Plus, we know the quality of the machines and that if anything does go wrong, we have the backup of Reesink,” Mark concludes. “Everyone is really happy.”
The deal was brought about through Tony Dodson from Cheshire Turf Machinery who is also a member of Phoenix Sports and Leisure Club. He says: “It’s great seeing Toro out on the course, and knowing the quality of the machines it’s a pleasure ensuring my club is in good hands.”
Battery Power From Toro for The Open at Royal Liverpool
The Open returns to Royal Liverpool Golf Club for the 13th time in July and helping prepare the course for the world’s golfing greats is Toro turfcare machinery.
While most of the machinery fleet at the famous links at Hoylake on the west coast of England is Toro, leading the charge on the greens, tees and surrounds are the Toro eFlex 1021 lithium-ion battery-powered pedestrian greensmowers and Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 all-electric ride-on greensmowers.
A dedicated team of greenkeepers under the watchful eye of links manager James Bledge are making the final preparations to the course and Toro has been there every step of the way. In fact, the last time the club hosted the world’s oldest and most popular golf event in 2013, it had just taken delivery of six eFlex 1021 greensmowers and while plenty has changed since then, what’s stayed the same is the machine still entrusted to look after the greens and tees.
James explains: “We have a new par 3 which will be the biggest change since The Open was last hosted here – it is a very short but challenging hole with stunning views of the estuary and Wales. What hasn’t changed is the club’s commitment to sustainable course management in that we’re always looking for the best carbon-neutral options. And when you find a pedestrian greensmower that provides this level of precision and quality, powered by a battery, you don’t look anywhere else.
“The weather will dictate the greens speed for the week and the work we have done in the last year will ensure we have more control over this. For us that’s six teams of two out doing single and double cuts with the Toro eFlex 1021 pedestrian mowers.”
Joining the pedestrian mowers on the frontline is Toro’s Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 all-electric ride-on greensmower. While this was the machine of choice for the greens at St Andrews at last year’s championship, at Royal Liverpool Golf Club it’s being used on the tees and surrounds.
James continues: “The eTriFlex 3370 is more than capable of achieving the standard required on the greens, as we saw so masterfully demonstrated at St Andrews last year. It is quite literally one of the best machines made and it’s a great greens choice, but with the acute run-offs on our course, hand cutting is the best bet.”
Despite the reliable machinery choices, that’s a lot of trust to put in the greens team to ensure a consistency of cut across the board for the eyes of the world surely. James agrees: “The greenkeepers are the heroes here. They’re the ones out there putting in the hours and miles; they are an extremely talented team.”
When James accepted the role of links manager in December 2021 the first thing on his to-do list was to prepare for The 151st Open and what could have been a baptism of fire for many was a dream role for James.
“I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this,” he says. “Creating the most diverse volunteer team handpicked from all the best places, bringing together someone from every championship venue, having mentors from across the world to turn to and having the best brands and businesses to work with has been rewarding and will be an incredible opportunity for everyone involved. It’s great to see everyone come together with the common goal to put on the best event possible.”
Machinery dealer Cheshire Turf Machinery who has worked with Royal Liverpool for over 20 years and Toro’s UK distributor Reesink Turfcare will be providing extensive championship support and a fleet of Toro machines for the duration of the historic event.
Steve Halley, managing director of Cheshire Turf Machinery, says: “It really has been striking how enthusiastic and excited James and his team are about staging The Open. We are delighted to support their efforts to make the event as successful as possible.”
Jon Cole, divisional business manager at Reesink Turfcare, comments: "It's a privilege to be a part of The 151st Open and supporting the team at Royal Liverpool throughout the Championship again. We have worked with at least 30 of the 40 host venues of The Open that have taken place in our 40 years as Toro distributor and to be involved is always an honour.”
Reesink Turfcare Announce Four more Master Service Technicians
The Master Service Technician award, the highest training achievement Reesink Turfcare and Toro Commercial has to offer, has been awarded to four more technicians.
Chris Hester from Cheshire Turf Machinery, Ian Hill from Oliver Landpower, Stuart Barrie from Reesink Scotland and Michael Dixon from Lloyd Limited (Newcastle branch) have completed one of the most stringent and comprehensive training courses in the industry and are now able to offer the highest level of service in the UK.
The Master Service Technician (MST) programme is specifically designed to provide the most thorough training for Authorised Dealer Technicians, ensuring their skillset is updated and meets the demands of the industry’s continuous evolution.
With the rapid development of electric and hybrid technology, it’s important that the skills and knowledge in those areas progress at an equivalent rate so that technicians and dealers can better serve their customers and the Toro product.
Stuart confirms this is very much the case: “As engineers we need to keep up with industry progress and development. We all know about climate change and the move from petrol/diesel to electric power in the car industry. Not so well known is our industry is going through the same changes. This course makes sure all engineers are adequately trained to carry on with day to day repairs and requirements as the changes happen.”
When considering the advantages this will bring for customers, Ian says: “The MST course provides the opportunity to train to a standard that’s not widely available in the industry. In a customer facing role, it’s an advantage to be able to give the best level of support and advice to customers and ensure high standards of service on hybrid and all electric systems.”
Michael agrees: “Completing the MST training has meant that Lloyds as a dealer has also benefitted, receiving better warranty return rates and boosting the dealer standards score. It has not gone unnoticed by the company that my efforts have had a positive impact on the business.”
And it’s not just customers who benefit from Reesink setting the standard and offering this course as Chris explains: “For a start, it’s a huge achievement to pass the interview process and be accepted onto the course; that in itself is a worthy addition to the CV! But most of all, it’s recognition for the dedication and hard work you’ve put into your career and with it being similar to a degree in this sector, it’s a big deal.”
Summing up the benefits having a qualified MST in the business, Sean Trotter, service manager from Lloyds, says: “This training gives the engineer the recognition they deserve for their skill set and abilities. It’s an industry recognised qualification held in high esteem with our customers in the golf industry and brings financial benefits with warranty reimbursement and a contribution towards the training once qualified.”
The course has been set up with further benefits for the qualifying technician too as Michael explains: “There’s a trip to America to get a first hand insight into the goings on of Toro and where it all comes from. For someone who works for a dealer this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and trips like this rarely come around.”
Further courses run throughout the year to keep the technicians up-to-date with evolving products and technologies and with all qualified Master Service Technicians hailing from different dealers, it means there’s a good chance customers across England and Scotland now have access to this higest level of service and support.