Birmingham, England: Former Ryder Cup venue The Belfry is enjoying the benefit of new Toro equipment. It follows an investment by owners the KSL Club Corp in more than £200,000-worth of new Toro machinery last year.
Angus MacLeod, Director of Golf at The Belfry, has been a Toro user for over 33 years and the company’s mowers have long been used at The Belfry. “As far as I am concerned, Toro equipment is in the premier league,” said MacLeod.
“We run all Toro mowers at The Belfry and have invested in new ProCore aerators, workman utility vehicles and dedicated greens rollers this time. But choosing Toro goes beyond the equipment. For me it is the people that I deal with that are of equal importance.”
MacLeod praised the support he receives from his local Toro dealers, Redtech Machinery Ltd, good back-up being one of his key demands. He also said he appreciates being offered the chance to evaluate different items of equipment and being able to talk through his needs with people who understand his requirements.
A good example is the GreensPro 1200 roller. “Dedicated greens rollers are really useful items of equipment but I have to say some of the designs I have tried are not really that operator friendly,” he said. “As it is offered with a steering wheel, the Toro GreensPro 1200 is easier to use. The unit we now have does a good job working to prevent any debris build up on the rolls and delivering a consistently firm playing surface.”
When evaluating the tractor-powered Toro ProCore aerators, MacLeod suggests he was impressed by their quality of work, build quality and ease of maintenance. Of equal importance was the post aeration finish. The need is to aerate with the minimum interruption of access to the courses, the adoption of Toro aeration kit being subject to meeting tough performance demands.
Key likes include the hydraulic top link fitted to both the ProCore SR72 and SR75 models as they enable depth setting to be altered on the move.
Yet MacLeod does not necessarily adopt all the latest Toro equipment. Given the choice between fixed head Greensmaster 1000 and the advanced floating head Greensmaster Flex pedestrian greens mowers, MacLeod selected the former as he feels they can give a tighter cut on the greens on The Belfry’s three courses.
When MacLeod became Director of Golf at The Belfry in 2012 he took on three very different courses: the Brabazon, PGA National and the Derby. Each course has its own distinct character and golfing challenges.
Getting to grips with one course is difficult, but three presents an even greater task. To add just a little extra frisson of challenge, these courses are for many a benchmark of excellence.
“I am keen to keep an eye on equipment developments and am always open to trying new kit,” he added. “Those who play golf at The Belfry have high expectations and it is my job to ensure we meet them. This means I expect a lot from the equipment we use.”