EDITOR'S BLOG: A well oiled machine

Take proper care of your kit
EDITOR'S BLOG: A well oiled machine

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the importance of choosing the right machinery which stated how our sport turf industry has changed in the last forty years regarding the choice and range of machinery we now have available.

In recent weeks, I have seen at first hand the huge investments both Gleneagles and Wentworth have made in machinery purchases to ensure they are able to deliver the playing surfaces and environment that they are striving to produce at their respective sites.

It goes without saying, in recent years we have seen a dramatic rise in the amount of machinery and equipment we have at our disposal. We now have a plethora of machines to help us undertake and make easier the daily routines of maintaining our natural landscaped facilities, urban communities, schools and universities grounds and sporting facilities.

Recently I attended the official hand over of a large fleet of John Deere machinery supplied By Farols to Enville Golf Club. It was a culmination of two years’ work by the club’s course manager Andy Wood, backed by the forward thinking board. Andy was keen to point out the decision to invest in John Deere equipment was based on several commercial benefits the club will gain from their partnership.

Andy has had a long relationship with John Deere, having worked closely with them at his three previous clubs, Robin Hood, Cosby and the Belfry. It is all about relationships and the back up and servicing of the machinery we are investing in. Like all golf clubs they go through machinery cycles. And when these cycles come to an end, it is often time for the club to reflect and look at new opportunities. In Andy’s case, Toro, their previous main supplier, their deal was coming to an end. So The club took the opportunity last year to start the process of looking at what the three leading main suppliers (Ransomes, Toro and Deere ) could offer. A range of demos took place and after a long debate the club decided to go with John Deere. It was not necessarily about price, but more about the back-up, warranty and service John Deere offered along with the support given by Jacob Shellis from Farols.

In total the club have invested in twenty-eight John Deere machines that includes mowers, Gators, trailers and tractors.

This is coupled with the fact that Farols was able to supply additional required equipment such as Sisis Veemo MK2, Trilo BL400, Fleming 4 tonne trailer and the ever popular Ventrac 4500 with five attachments.

Andy, took on the role of course manager at Enville in June 2017 and since his appointment has worked tirelessly with his fifteen staff to improve the condition of the course by improving the playing surfaces, opening areas up for regenerating heather and improving the golfing experience at the club.

A more detailed account of his ambitions and work since his appointment will be featured in a forthcoming feature article in TurfPro.

As machinery and equipment becomes more technical it is vitally important that you look after it, use it correctly and ensure it gets serviced and repaired properly. I still see too many sheds and yards littered with damaged, broken and unused machinery.

For many sports clubs, this time of the year, particularly for bowls and cricket clubs whose playing season has come to an end, during the winter months would be a good time to get your mowers serviced and repaired.

As for mechanical equipment, preventive maintenance, moreover, the planned maintenance of equipment, will help to improve equipment life span and ensure it is more reliable, particularly when starting up.

You should regularly check, fuel and oil levels along with checking air filters, hoses and grease any moving parts. Tighten up any loose bolts and nuts before use.
A reputable garden machinery servicing company will look at a whole host of things. When they do a full service on a petrol rotary / cylinder mower.

In the main this this will be to:

  • Remove all covers and guards, steam clean the machine to remove any grass build up and oil residues.
  • Service the carburetor and clean it, flush the fuel tank to remove any stale fuel and contamination.
  • Replace the pull starter cord and re-wind the return spring and lubricate all moving parts.
  • Check the air gap on the ignition coil and fit a new spark plug/s, replace the air filter and change the engine oil.
  • Sharpen and balance the blades, check all drive belt and cables and make any necessary adjustments to height adjuster mechanism and all control levers and cables.
  • Tighten the engine mounting and handle bar bolts.
  • Run and test all machine functions.
  • Check engine running speed and tune carburetor.

There are many benefits of a properly operated preventive maintenance program, for example equipment downtime is decreased and the number of major repairs are reduced.

So, my advice is you buy / invest in good quality tools, equipment and machinery. And then spend time looking after it and getting it serviced at the end of the year.

By doing so you will get a better return on your investment and more importantly have peace of mind that your tools and machinery are fit for purpose.

Finally, one of the best ways to source new machinery and see what’s on offer is to attend one of our trade shows. You can read my colleague, Steve Gibbs' report from the recent huge U.S equipment show, GIE+EXPO today and this week, I myself will be attending SALTEX 2019 at the NEC.

This show aims to be bigger and better than ever before, with over 300 exhibitors showing off their products and services. Our very own TurfPro and Service Dealer magazines will have a stand at the show along with the many other leading lights of our industry.

Personally, I find the show very rewarding, having the opportunity to meet so many clients, customers and fellow professionals under one roof over two days.

I hope to see you there. If you’re able, it'll be well worth your while making the effort to come along – I truly believe there is so much to see and gain from attending our trade shows.

Laurence Gale, TurfPro editor

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