Ardfin Golf Club’s golf manager and mechanic were in complete agreement that the club’s hybrid machinery purchases should be Toro.
Carved along the shoreline at the top of a cliff on the Isle of Jura in Scotland, Ardfin Golf Club is not only one of the most unique golf courses in the world, but one that has had the least interference in the natural landscape it is part of. And to both keep its spot in the top 100 best golf clubs to play at and continue the sustainability work it is known for, the club is now trusting its greens to Toro.
Golf manager Simon Crawford says: “I’ve used Toro before in previous jobs, including overseas when I worked in Barbados, Austria and the Middle East. Nothing can compare to it, it’s my favourite brand to use and as soon as I came here, I knew we’d have to switch. Our mechanic is also a Toro fan and prefers to work with Toro machinery, something that also has a big impact on what we buy. It was a match made in heaven.”
Speaking of heaven, Ardfin’s location as part of the Inner Hebrides is pretty close but maintaining a golf course in such a remote location doesn’t come without its challenges. Ardfin has managed to strike a balance between the site’s environmental needs and the commercial side of business while remaining at the top of destinations for both UK residents and international visitors looking for “a golf experience that’s like an adventure”, says Simon.
“An island like Jura is a precious place that we try to protect as much as possible. When the course was first built, we didn’t move a lot of land; instead, we reused the topsoil, improved the drainage and kept everything on a smaller scale to ensure habitats were protected – the greens are narrow, and we have fewer bunkers than usual. We don’t use fungicides or herbicides and try to have as little impact on the environment as we can: everything is recycled, and all the grass cuttings are used for composting. Getting more sustainable machinery was the logical next step.”
The club chose a Greensmaster TriFlex hybrid 3420 riding greensmower and a Reelmaster 5010-H fairway mower as starters from Toro distributor, Reesink Scotland. Both are hybrid machines and a perfect fit for what Simon and his nine-strong team are looking to achieve at Ardfin.
“We are trying to slowly but surely move away from using hydraulics and diesel engines,” he explains. “These ones we bought don’t have hydraulics thus there’s less of a chance of damage on the greens, tees, approaches and fairways. It gives us peace of mind.
“The difference in quality is also quite noticeable compared to other brands and the staff enjoys working with them. Overall, Toro machines are more robust, easier to set up and look after and we find the cutting units stay sharper for longer, too. Not to mention their brilliant finish. The service we get from Reesink is fantastic. It’s an easy company to deal with, with good aftersales and good contacts. Plus, when we ordered from them it only took a couple of months for the machines to arrive.”
So, what’s next for the club? Simon explains: “We’re expanding the site by adding a new nine-hole course and when we do, we’ll be looking after 36 holes in total. So, we need to buy a lot more machinery to ensure we stay efficient and productive and, of course, provide the best experience to our visitors. It also needs to be reliable and have good longevity, which Toro delivers 100 percent.
“We’re planning on going down the all-electric route next and have our eyes on a couple of the Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 greensmowers. They will solidify our sustainability plan and help us carry on the work we do for generations. The technology is there, and it’ll only get better so we’re very excited to bring it into the club,” he concludes.