One of the finest private golf clubs in the world, Loch Lomond sits on the historic Clan Colquhoun estate, alongside the famous bonnie banks of the Scottish loch. This prestigious parkland course – currently ranked 52nd in the world’s top 100, and rated the best inland course in the British Isles by Golf World magazine – provides an experience and an atmosphere that is uniquely its own.
Earlier this year John Deere announced a three-year exclusive deal as preferred supplier of course maintenance equipment to Loch Lomond Golf Club, home of the 2003 Barclays Scottish Open and host to the tournament since 1996.
Glasgow based John Deere dealer Nairn Brown is now supplying a full range of John Deere machines to the course, which is maintained by a team of 16 full time greens staff and two mechanics. They are led by director of agronomy Ken Siems and golf course superintendent David Cole. Siems and Cole have both been at the course since 1994, the year it was bought by the American Lyle Anderson Company.
This company has recently acquired a second Scottish course, Dundonald, near Troon in Ayrshire, which opened for play at the beginning of July.
Loch Lomond, which is open from 1st April to 31st October, features a total of 110 acres (45ha) of managed turf in grounds covering 800 acres (325ha). Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, the course was constructed on naturally marshy land and the local environment is generally very wet – average annual rainfall is around 80in, and in 2002 this figure reached 100in, so good drainage is very important.
“Historically it’s definitely getting wetter and warmer in the UK – the 10 wettest years in the past 100 have occurred in the last two decades,” says Ken Siems. “Our aim is to provide members with a highly maintained golf course, with firm playing conditions, whatever the weather. We therefore carry out drainage work whenever we can – if the ground is well drained and firm, you can maintain it properly but if it’s wet and boggy you can’t.
“Loch Lomond is quite different to most other courses, in that many members come to play only once or twice a year, so every day here is like a members guest day – we have to keep the course at a high level of condition and presentation at all times, and the John Deere equipment helps us to do that.
“We aim to provide all our members with a great memory when they leave – the quality of the experience is important and we are trying to achieve the same high level of quality all year round.”
For the 2003 Barclays Scottish Open, most of John Deere’s full line of golf and turf equipment was busy keeping the course in first class shape, from cutting greens and fairways to liquid fertilising and raking bunkers. The line-up includes 2500 triplex greens mowers, which are used almost exclusively on the fairways, and include verticut attachments, rollers and conditioners.
The main fleet also features 180B walk behind greens mowers, a 2653A tees & surrounds mower, a bunker rake, E-Gator electric utility vehicles and heavier duty Pro Gator models fitted with the new HD200 sprayer. A new John Deere 6020 Series tractor drives the trencher for drainage work, and there is also a small fleet of white liveried E-Gators that are used by the pro shop’s service staff, ferrying members’ bags and other equipment to and from the first tee.
A number of older machines, including walk-behind greens mowers and compact tractors, that were among the first John Deere machines bought in 1994, are also still working and earning their keep around the course.
“Our mechanics like the John Deere machines,” adds Ken Siems. “They are easy to operate and service, and the backup from Nairn Brown is very good, with parts delivered overnight and extra tournament support provided for the Open. Ultimately we’d like to keep the course looking like it is right now every day of the year.”
John Deere Limited www.johndeere.co.uk
Loch Lomond Golf Club www.lochlomond.com