With a backdrop of rolling countryside, a historic XVIth century church and quiet village green only a short walk away, Long Sutton Golf Club has been under the care of director, Graham Holloway since August 2007.
In just two years, working alongside fellow director and PGA qualified professional, Gareth Harding, the 6,352-yard course has benefited from substantial investment. Top of their list has been improving the overall drainage of the fairways and fine turf areas. Two of the holes have been improve significantly with redefined greens and fairways; in particular the low-lying rather wet fifth has been raised in height by five feet and a brand new green built.
Just 45 minutes’ drive away in the historic market town of Frome, is the equally-spectacularly appointed, Orchardleigh Golf Club with its championship course. Nestled within the Mendip Hills area and near a wealth of interesting tourist sites, Orchardleigh was built in 1994 under the watchful design eye of Brian Huggett, now a 2010 Ryder Cup Ambassador.
In March of this year, it became available and the two directors rose to the challenge again. Says Graham Holloway: “Orchardleigh is a spectacularly scenic club and when it fell into administration we decided to act quickly. The courses are only 30 miles apart; convenient enough yet not too close to directly compete.
“My brother, Peter, moved south from Oswestry to take up a role as director at Frome and oversee its development. When we started refurbishing Long Sutton we made arrangements to borrow a Terra Spike from another nearby course.
“Pretty quickly we were able to see a distinct improvement to the quality of the fairways the Wiedenmann machine made. As a direct result of the work at Long Sutton, once we took over the second course we knew we wanted our own Terra Spike.”
The versatile XD6 deep fast aerator has a 1.6 metre working width, and combines excellent productivity with a depth down to 275 mm. Despite its robust construction it is also readily portable, another consideration when it came to this particular purchase. Making full use of economies of scale, both courses now share the Terra Spike XD6, each course following its own maintenance programme and adhering to its joint custody timetable.
Course Manager for both sites, Pete Tulk, who has a committed team of five at each location, says it was the combination of speed and productivity which made it an easy choice: “Principally we bought it to aerate the fairways and greens. When we borrowed the other XD6 my team worked late into the evenings but we got all the fairways at Long Sutton done in just a week.
“The XD6 totally meets our needs. The tines stay in place and you don’t need to worry about them coming out. They lock in and are simple to change. We’ve already got 12 mm and 20 mm diameter tines and are about to receive a set of hollow cores,” he enthuses.
“The hydraulic depth control feature, Quick Set Depth, is exceptional – when you travel on to harder ground and you want to ‘work’ the ground up a bit, just one quick adjustment and you are off again. It’s got so many good points – it’s just right for us.”
Rikki Bown, sales specialist from Somerset dealers, Rochford Garden Machinery at Wincanton, who sold the aerator said: “We added the Wiedenmann franchise last summer and it was just what we needed to add value to our product line.”