Ramsdale Park Golf Centre clubhouse.
Ramsdale Park Golf Centre’s environmental efforts rewarded with prestigious GEO five-year status award
Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, a Burhill Group Limited (BGL) venue in Nottingham, is proud to announce that it has successfully achieved Golf Environment Organisation Certified® status for the next five years.
The comprehensive, modern certification was developed to encompass environmental success in the areas of golf facility operations, golf development and renovation, and golf tournaments. This status demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement around nature, resources, and the community.
Commenting on the achievement, General Manager, Theresa Plimmer, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for everybody at Ramsdale Park. It’s incredibly important to us that we operate in the most environmentally friendly way possible, and this certification is testament to the incredible work our staff have put in.
“Our greenkeeping team are constantly striving to improve the courses and club facilities and will continue to search for new, innovative ways to achieve the most sustainable and efficient practices possible.”
Ramsdale Park Golf Centre features a scenic 18-hole course with spectacular views over the Nottinghamshire countryside as well as a short course that is ideal for beginners and approach play practice. The club also has a 25-bay floodlit driving range, well stocked pro shop, Adventure Golf course and relaxed café bar and grill.
For more information on Burhill Group Limited visit www.bglcompany.co.uk.
Royal Norwich Chooses Club Car to Create New Customer-centric Golf Experience
Royal Norwich Golf Club, the first royal club in history to relocate, has invested in a new state-of-the-art fleet from Club Car, Official Supplier of The European Tour and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, as part of the club’s mission to create a customer-centric golf experience at its new site just outside Norwich, UK.
More than a simple relocation, the club has instituted a new business model based on delivering the experiences today’s customers are looking for, which has inspired an on-site micro-brewery, micro-bakery and, soon to come, beehives for honey production, nature trails, all for a more family-centric approach across the business.
The venue’s new fleet of 24 electric golf cars come from Club Car’s top-of-the-line Tempo LI-ION range, powered by lithium ion battery technology for exceptional performance and featuring the market-leading connectivity solution, Visage.
The vehicles have also been customised with a bespoke factory-order colour, stylish alloy wheels, upgraded premium comfort seats, as well as useful features such as USB phone chargers.
“We are aiming high,” said Phil Grice, General Manager and Director at Royal Norwich. “We want to create the ultimate customer experience at the reborn Royal Norwich. So while we have been a happy Club Car customer for 15 years, we took the opportunity to analyse the competition and weigh up a number of factors before making our decision to renew.
“Club Car simply come out on top. In terms of style, comfort, features and reliability – we felt they would provide the kind of on-course experience we are looking to deliver. And that is our driving factor.”
Delivered and maintained by local Club Car dealer Ben Burgess, the new fleet was also a hit with the groundskeeping team at Royal Norwich due to a number of features that support maintenance of the pristine new courses.
The lighter frame of the Tempo LI-ION vehicle means less daily impact damage to the courses, while the Visage system allows the club to map the course and create no-drive zones, which are especially helpful through the wet winter season.
Kevin Hart, Director of Golf Sales EMEA at Club Car, added: “The new course and clubhouse at Royal Norwich are simply spectacular, but even more impressive is their modern approach to creating a true experience every time you visit the venue.
“To be selected to be part of that experience pays testament to the quality of the Club Car product, and demonstrates why we are market leaders.”
For more information on Royal Norwich visit: https://www.royalnorwichgolf.co.uk
For more information on Club Car visit: https://www.clubcar.com
Trimax Takes on the Challenge
Flexibility is the name of the game for the small greenkeeping team that looks after the two extensive courses at the Woodlands Golf and Country Club on the edge of Bristol. Whether cutting the beautiful lake-fringed greens or building a new car park, you will find the same people keeping the place looking good while steadily taking it forward.
Wander into the maintenance building (neatly concealed in the middle of the course) and you will often find Course Manager Mark Powell also maintaining the machinery. It is then imperative that the hardware is as flexible as he and his team – and that makes good sense of using a Trimax Pegasus S4 from Lister Wilder to look after the many acres of rolling semi-rough.
The club has come a long way since its original transformation from heavy farmland some 40 years ago. Since 1999, when it was acquired by brothers Ian and David Knipe, the pace of change has accelerated with a progressive rebuild which in 2018 delivered not one but two fine courses with expansive greens built to USGA specifications.
With the benefit of landfill to raise and contour the site as well as fund the work, what used to be an 18-hole golf course in need of attention is now 36 holes that drain to perfection.
Both the Masters and Signature courses have benefited from a £5 million pound spend and close only when blanketed in snow. The club has come a long way – and yet the largely pay-and-play clientele can still get a weekday round for £16 and a weekend circuit for £20. They can also for £15 hire one of a large fleet of buggies and relax after their round in a comfortable clubhouse.
The club is located close to one of the UK’s main motorway crossroads, which puts a legion of travelling golfers within an hour’s journey. It is also seeing the benefit of the scrapping of the toll on the Severn bridges and the sad closure in recent years of several courses in the immediate area of South Wales.
The fact that many pay-and-play golfers have to fit their golf into busy schedules has persuaded the club to ease back from
the time consuming pastime of hunting for balls in deep rough. Semi-rough fringing the fairways is, therefore, the name of the game at Woodlands which is also relaxed about its dress code. But in case you think its an easy playing proposition, there are more than 30 bunkers and ten out-of-bounds lakes waiting to trap you. Most spectacular of all is the Signature’s 17th green, which exists as an island accessed only by a narrow track.
The Trimax Pegasus S4 was designed for grass cutting challenges like this one and works all day at a steady 6mph behind a 100hp tractor, delivering 40 to 45mm semi-rough.
“This is our second Pegasus,” says Mark.
“The first one did more than ten years’ service and we were very happy with it. The build quality is excellent and it delivers a good quality of cut at a reasonable speed. It hugs the contours of our undulating ground well and you can use it even on quite steep banks with no problems.”
Given his own second role as mechanic, Mark likes to maintain a stock of basic parts, which in the case of the Trimax he draws from Mark Quartermain at Lister Wilder’s Cirencester depot. “If something does go wrong then I know I can get it moving again very quickly, and I simply replenish our own parts stock. Having said that, the Trimax is a very reliable machine and all it usually requires is a daily grease.”
Trimax has minimised that routine with 15% less grease points and has also introduced sealed spindles on the Pegasus. The result is a healthy 35% overall reduction in maintenance costs.
Mark was one of the Knipe brothers’ first recruits in 1999 when he joined to work alongside his father Roger who was at that time Head Greenkeeper. “It has been a massive job but a great privilege to be involved in a project like this from the very beginning,” he says. “Not many greenkeepers get the opportunity to do that, and to work with owners with a vision who continue to invest both their time and money to achieve it. They put their faith in me and I have learned a lot.”
He adds: “We have done it all with a small but hard working team of greenkeepers and the guys who work with me deserve full credit. There isn’t much that we don’t take on ourselves.”
He also applauds the input from golf course construction specialists MJ Smith who have had a key role to play in the contouring that has given the Woodlands Golf and Country Club the beautiful environment that it enjoys today.
Reesink’s John Pike Retires After 48 Yearsin the Turfcare Industry
Reesink Turfcare has announced with sadness and genuine gratitude for the role he has played in the company, the retirement of regional manager John Pike. After 17 and a half years working with the Toro UK distributor and its predecessor Lely UK, and close to half a century working in the turfcare industry, it’s certainly been an interesting career.
John first started work straight out of school and made the move to Triumph Motorcycles in the West Midlands, but after completing his engineering HND he soon realised he belonged in his home county of Dorset. He moved back and began working as a warehouse assistant at J.T. Lowes Garden Machinery, part of the Flymo company (the original importers of Toro), in what was originally meant to be a summer job, but soon saw him work his way up to trade and retail sales manager, and then area sales manager for Flymo in 1986.
It wasn’t until 2001 that he joined the then Toro UK distributor Lely as a business development manager, and it was his passion for Toro machinery that inspired him to join, says John. “I had been involved with Toro since 1972, and enjoyed demonstrating the Toro70, 58, Trojan, GM3 and GM72 through the 70’s and 80’s and saw the brand develop and progress. I’ve always had faith in Toro’s quality and its place as an industry leader within turfcare.”
Coming from a consumer machinery company, John was one of the first to join Lely without full commercial experience. “I had to go from selling many thousands of inexpensive mowers a year, to selling hundreds of Toro machines at a much higher price point, so that was definitely a learning curve for me.”
“I’m particularly proud of the work I did appointing service centres, some of which I had to really fight for,” says John. “And of course whenever I was able to convert a customer to Toro that gave me a real buzz. The harder the challenge, the more satisfying it was!”
John has seen many changes throughout his time in the industry, but the move towards finance deals he says has been the biggest. “It used to be that clubs would buy one or two machines a year on a rolling basis, which would mean they’d end up with a fleet of both brand new and 10-year old machinery! When I started, I would only get two or three fleet deals a year, and only really with the bigger clubs. Now, the introduction of finance options allow more clubs, irrespective of size, to secure fully modern fleets for course maintenance, which has been a really positive change to see.”
David Cole, managing director at Reesink says: “John has been the stable bedrock of our Midlands and South West regions forever, it seems. So, replacing him will be an obvious challenge – but he leaves his many colleagues and dealer partners in good shape for the next step. We wish John a long and happy retirement and thank him for his excellent contribution to the Toro profile and customer service in his region.”
John’s retirement plans have changed somewhat due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, however this isn’t going to stop him from enjoying all of his hobbies.
“Originally I was meant to be flying off to the sunny Maldives to spend a couple of weeks detoxing the workaholic out of me! But that will have to be postponed for now. Instead, I’m looking forward to enjoying my hobbies; shooting, water skiing, off-road driving and photography - definitely enough to keep me busy!”
Having “loved every aspect of the job” it certainly is bittersweet for John to be saying goodbye. “I will miss most the relationships I’ve made during my time at work. I’ve made so many friends, and I’ve had so many lovely comments and well wishes already from customers and colleagues alike. In return, I wish them all the best for the future.”