The wet and windy winter may have inflicted much misery and mud on long-suffering British golfers, but it has provided the opportunity for one environmentally-friendly product to make a more than welcome mark.
Firing a pressurised mixture of air and water from a high-velocity nozzle, Zelup’s cleaning system has been greeted with enthusiasm across the country by both club members and greens’ staff.
Manufactured in France, where it is a well-established brand with nearly 180 clubs on board, Zelup is swiftly making inroads into the UK market and, significantly, its latest signing is the state-of-the-art JCB Golf & Country Club in Staffordshire.
Other high-end clients include several well-known Home Counties names – Wentworth and Foxhills in Surrey, Middlesex quartet Muswell Hill, Hendon, Sudbury and Mill Hill, Marriott Tudor Park in Kent, Burnham Beeches (Buckinghamshire) and Mill Ride (Berkshire).
But golf is not the only sport to benefit from this innovative new technology, which uses 15 times less water than the current generation of high-pressure cleaners. Watford Football Club is on board with Zelup 3 at both its Vicarage Road stadium and training ground at London Colney; other Premier League teams are showing an interest while rugby clubs, another established market in France for Zelup, are also on the radar.
Owner Thomas Issler, an engineer who founded Zelup nearly eight years ago, says: “I sold my previous company in 2011 because I wanted to concentrate on developing a device that would use less water during the cleaning process.
“I knew that water shortage would increasingly become an issue and that equipment was needed to do a better cleaning job while using a lot less water. As a result of our ongoing research, the ratio of water to air in our latest patent, Zelup 3, is roughly 1:10 – 10% water and 90% air in other words.
“Our initial models, Zelup 1 and Zelup 2, were designed mainly to clean shoes and the wheels of trolleys, but Zelup 3 is more powerful and cleans buggies and greenkeeping machinery as well. Additionally, Zelup guns are nothing like as noisy as the old traditional cleaners.”
With the cost of mains and bore-hole water rising steadily as an overhead for golf clubs, Zelup’s technology has obvious merits as club and course managers strive to stay within their budgets in the face of awkward trading conditions.
Zelup’s UK and Ireland representative, golf industry veteran Tim Greenwood, is preparing for a massive spike in interest from clubs over the next couple of years.
“This really is an exceptional product, so it’s important to show potential clients what it can do and how much money it can save them,” he says. “Also, since the ban on the use of the carbendazim fungicide to control worm casts it’s become harder to clean off the additional mud that collects with air alone – another important benefit from Zelup’s precise mix of air with water.”
Zelup’s head office is in Lyon, in south-east France, while production and maintenance is at a factory in nearby Condrieu.
“Overall, about 60% of our customers rent their devices with maintenance contracts while 40% own them outright, though we give them a check-up every 12 months,” Issler says. “The way that works is the client returns them to us and we service them, attending to any parts that need upgrading before sending them back. This usually happens during the summer when there is less demand for the machines.”
For further information and to arrange a demonstration, contact Tim Greenwood on 07815-097928 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.