Birmingham, England: The desire for continual improvement at Leamington & County Golf Club has heralded the acquisition of the Foley ACCU-Sharp 605.
Head greenkeeper Jason Cooper and General Manager Bryan Frazer are committed to elevating one of the finest parkland courses in the English Midlands.
The most recent example of their common objective has been to bring grinding in-house with their first ever on-site grinder, from Foley United, a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Criteria were drawn up, options examined and the result now sitting proudly in the workshop sporting familiar green and black colours is the ACCU-Sharp 605 spin and relief grinder.
Frazer is the driving force behind this progressive and forward-thinking club. By providing Cooper and his team with equipment they need, Frazer’s aim is to improve on the already high standards by building a reputation for excellence.
While it is Frazer’s hope that Leamington & County Golf Club will attract some of Britain’s top female golfers in years to come, the improvements begin by improving the course.
“The core thing for us was that buying the grinder through a finance deal was a no cost option because we already had a cost for contracting. This on-going expense is now gone, and the fixed term means we will be cost free within five years,” Frazer said.
He added: “By learning new skills and having our own machine, it would be cheaper than the winter service work and provide us with the flexibility we need to offer more events.
“Ian (Robson, ProSport UK) invited us to Farol’s (John Deere dealership at Hinckley) for a demonstration of their Foley grinders. It didn’t take me very long to say to Jason: ‘We could definitely use this grinder to raise the quality of the golf course’.
“Along with the new drainage schemes underway, we will be able to sustain a better course for the same money. Then look at how we offer that to our members and the wider golfing world.”
Of the numerous considerations in the decision-making process, the most crucial for Cooper was the time it would take to learn and operate the grinder for first-time users.
After going through training with ProSport’s Robson, Cooper and two of his staff quickly realised the simplicity of operation.
Cooper said: “Learning to use the machine has been fine. Two of us are more mechanically minded than the other that’s using it, but I wanted him on board so someone who knows the process is always on site.
“He found it incredibly easy and intuitive to use, with the direct training provided by Ian to explain the basics. We’ve got it on a rotation system where one strips the unit down, one does the grinding and then the other person rebuilds, and we swap it around so we all get used to it.
“The really interesting aspect we have discovered is the concept of relief grinding. Once you understand the principle, it makes perfect sense to take grinding from basic sharpness to a whole new level of excellence. It gives us that on-going improvement in the quality of the cut, we reduce disease, we reduce fungicides, we reduce pesticides and gain a lot of flexibility.”
All these positive benefits will allow Cooper to pursue his goal of having the course at the same high standard for the entire season, while furthering Frazer’s vision for the club.
Cooper said: “We can plan when we’re going to grind now, for example before our main club event. We can give the cylinders a quick sharpen and we’ll have a nice crisp, clean cut. We can work with this flexibility and see what we can achieve. If a mower goes off cut or the reel is damaged we aren’t waiting for a day and half for it to be fixed. We can turn it around ourselves and get back up and running within a few hours.”