Having begun its long relationship with Toro with a fleet deal in 2013, Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent has continued to trust in the brand, becoming a Toro Total Solutions customer with the installation of new irrigation in 2018 and leasing further machinery in 2019.
And the club, which is the host of this year’s Open Championship, has had its faith in the brand pay off, particularly when it comes to Toro irrigation, which has helped the course navigate a series of droughts in the last three years.
Course manager Paul Larsen said: “We’ve had nothing but drought since the new irrigation system was installed in 2018, so it’s been very hard work to keep the standard of the course high, and Toro has been instrumental in helping us through that.
“We had Toro Lynx Central Control System and over a thousand sprinklers installed across the greens, tees and fairways in 2018. The flexibility of the sprinklers and precision of Lynx control has meant that we’ve been able to target our irrigation to the surfaces that needed it most and conserve water through a series of very dry and hot summers.”
It’s this precision, brought about by Toro’s technological innovation, that was the main reason for the upgrade in 2018. “We wanted to get to the next level with our irrigation, so that meant getting a system on board that utilised innovative technology,” says Paul. “Being able to control water in millimetres with Lynx control is ideal, and the ability to change the trajectory on the sprinkler heads from 15 to 25 degrees depending on the wind is also fantastic.
“Since the new irrigation installation, we’ve expanded on our greens and we’ve been trying to grow back in turf on the fairways which had suffered from drought, so although we’re using more water than before, there would be a lot more wastage if we were still using our old system. Plus, we’ve now created our own reservoir to help with the need for extra water, so we can avoid using mains water and be more sustainable.”
And with The Open now looming, it’s testament to the quality of course maintenance that Royal St George’s employs that getting the course ready is “business as usual”.
“We haven’t changed how we maintain the course in the run up to The Open because we are always maintaining it to the highest standards for our members,” says Paul. “With the irrigation, we have set moisture levels that we want to achieve throughout the year, and with Toro we can see how close we are to those levels and apply the correct amount of irrigation in the right places to achieve that.”
Although the quality of Toro products has certainly played a part in the excellent maintenance of the course, the backup, training and support from Reesink Turfcare has done so as well.
“Reesink has been brilliant throughout the whole process,” says Paul. “I find that it’s easier to learn a product and get the most out of it when you’re dealing with the right people – and that’s certainly Robert Jackson from Reesink. On the rare occasions we’ve had an issue, he’s been able to find a solution, and the training we’ve had on the irrigation system has been superb.
“In fact, the training has meant that we have become self-sufficient and can now carry out small projects and adjustments ourselves, for example adding extra sprinklers to some of the walkways. And it’s no different with the machinery backup as well. It’s all excellent,” concludes Paul.