30 January 2017, 09:09
Golf courses of all sizes should have access to the best equipment, even under a modest budget.
For Eltham Warren Golf Club, the small but perfectly formed nine-hole club in South East London, this means building a fleet of Toro machines gradually over time.
The Eltham Warren course manager, Richard Hopgood, says the Club has been “totally Toro” since 2009 when he first started leasing the machines. ”When I joined the Club 25 years ago, I inherited two Toro machines and from there I have slowly but surely built up a course-tailored Toro fleet. The leasing agreement from Reesink Turfcare [Toro UK distributor] enables us to add to the shed when we need to and upgrade the machines on a regular basis to make sure we’re using the very latest technology. We have, like most clubs, a strict greens budget and the leasing agreement is ideal for managing that and ensuring the best for the club.”
The latest additions to Eltham Warren’s fleet are the Greensmaster® TriFlex™ 3420, Reelmaster 3100-D and Reelmaster 5510 fairway mower, as well as the purchase of the Club’s leased Greensmaster 3250-D. “This is a great option,” he says. “Buying the older greens mower is economical, plus it means we know the history of the machine and can put other units on the front for, say, verticutting and rolling.”
Hopgood and his dedicated greenskeeping team of two chose Toro for its “superior quality of cut.” “Eltham is one of the country’s oldest nine-hole courses with alternate tees and separate tees for the back nine. With narrow fairways too, a great accuracy of play is required to be successful. Since we turned to Toro exclusively, our members have been commenting on the improvement in the definition of the fairways, approaches and greens and how this has enhanced play.
“Not only that, but the machines are reliable and quiet, which is an important consideration for us in an urban setting. The Reelmaster 5510, in particular, has saved us half the time cutting the fairways, and the ProPass™ 200 top dresser is far quicker and has made a world of difference in improving the overall quality of all the playing surfaces. Considering our nine holes get twice the wear and tear of an 18-hole course, and the variation in soil types and ground conditions across the 47-acre site, this is no mean feat.”
Hopgood and his family have a long and involved history with the Club. His parents were members for many years, with his father David serving as Club Captain in 1987 and his mother Mary serving as Lady Captain in 2000. Hopgood became a junior member of the club at age 13, which sparked his interest in both golf and greenskeeping. His father served on many committees and took a keen interest in the condition of the course, often organising volunteers to help with additional jobs around the course. It was this influence, plus that of his uncle, a professional gardener and groundsman, that
fueled Hopgood’s love of turfcare. He started off with a miniature Webblawnmower, which he used to cut grass or pitches while out with his father and uncle. “I started on a Webb and I’ll most likely finish on a Toro,” says Hopgood.