Newly delivered to The Wisley Golf Club in Surrey, the Bernhard Express Dual 5000 is already maintaining super sharp blades on their fleet of mowers. Operating at a whisper and harnessing the very latest in computer technology this cylinder spin grinder goes one-step-beyond. Steven Byrne has been with The Wisley for three-and-a-half years and in November 2003 was appointed course manager. “Our aim is to see if we can take the course further ahead,” he says.
Covering 230 acres this 27-hole course has a team of 32 – which includes two dedicated mechanics and a landscaping team of five. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr the privately owned club has 700 members who are also shareholders.
Steve was previously course manager for 10 years at the Fota Island Golf Club in County Cork, Ireland, and while at the club he bought Bernhard grinders. “I have been around the block, so to speak, and have seen what grinders are available so I knew what we were buying when we purchased from Bernhard and Company,” he says. “We have a 15 year-old pair of Bernhard grinders here which are being retained to sharpen the fairway units but our mechanics wanted a new grinder to speed things up and eliminate a lot of down time.
“Originally I looked at the Express Dual 3000. It was when I was at this year’s GCSAA Show in Orlando that I saw a prototype of the Express Dual 5000 and changed our order.”
Featuring a specially designed, fully enclosed cabinet, the fact that it was a quieter model made a vital difference. “Three of the holes on the golf course converge quite close to the course maintenance and workshop area so we try to keep the noise and disturbance to players to a minimum,” says Steve.
Reducing labour costs, mowers are ground in-situ, without the need to remove the bottom blade or rollers. With an easy to set cylinder drive – the operator can just start the cycle and walk away.
Having used the ED 5000 Steve says, “The difference sharp blades make to the course is astronomical. Our grasses on closely mown areas are predominantly creeping bent and annual meadow grass on a very silty soil with a very low infiltration rate, so we have to control thatch. We apply lots of top dressing and that produces plenty of blunt blades.
“One week we use greens mowers with top dressing units attached and the second week just the greens units. Units can be ground really quickly and soon be back in operation.”
Quietness and speed of grind are not the only considerations. “Agronomically it makes a dramatic difference when disease is lurking around to cut the grass with sharp blades,” says Steve. “It means a speedier recovery of the grass itself.”
Currently the workshop facilities are being doubled in size to allow a new area for grinding, welding, stores and storage of more than £2 million worth of equipment. The new workshop area should be ready by the end of September. Steve finds the Express Dual 5000 works really well and is in use doing what it does best – the daily grind.
Bernhard & Co www.bernhard.co.
The Wisley www.wisleygc.com