London Golf Club workshop manager Dennis Excell is leaving behind the Toro machines he has had the pleasure of working with since his career began and retiring from the club he joined at its very beginning.
At school Dennis had a plan to work as a panel beater, instead a career in mechanics in the agriculture and horticulture sectors followed. Dennis says: “I just found something I liked doing. Grass machinery grabbed my attention from the beginning and then I was introduced to Toro and life at a golf course, which to me was a winning combination.”
Over his career Dennis has seen many changes to Toro machines and the work required to maintain a golf course to the high standards required by today’s discerning golfers. “The job now is much more mechanised than it was at the beginning and vast improvements have been made to the machines we use,” he says. “They’re more reliable, easier to maintain and not so costly. Now there’s the option of working to a five-year turnaround on a replacement programme, too. All this means much better playing surfaces for golfers!”
Peter Todd, course manager at London Golf Club who has worked with Dennis since 1992, says it was always going to be sad saying goodbye to such a well-liked colleague. “Dennis had the perfect personality and temperament for the job. He was always approachable and whatever the problem presented to him was upbeat and cheerful. He saw the bright and funny side in everything, and of course was incredibly competent at the job.”
Trevor Chard from Lely-Toro who has worked with Dennis for 20 years echoes the sentiment: “Dennis is a long-standing member of the golfing community who will be missed by many: A good workshop manager is invaluable. You could say they are the lynchpin that enables greenkeepers to effectively and efficiently do their job. Dennis Excell is one of the best. His workshop is one of the most well-ordered and organised I think I’ve ever seen!”
Since February Dennis has been imparting his knowledge of how the workshop is run to new recruit Colin Baxter who takes over as the club’s new golf course equipment manager. Colin comes from Mount Edgecombe Country Club in South Africa, the 36-hole all-Toro golf club. “It’s been an ideal transition and we feel confident about the future of the workshop,” says Peter.
So what now for Dennis? After decades of working at London Golf Club Dennis will be spending time with his family and getting on with the extensive list of DIY jobs they’ve put together for him. He’ll also be putting his retirement gift of a set of golf clubs to good use – at London Golf Club, of course!
London Golf Club www.londongolf.co.uk