Leven, Fife, Scotland: On the south coast of Fife, Dumbarnie Links officially opened for play at the end of May – a couple of weeks later than originally planned due to government-imposed restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the vision to provide a links-style golf experience of international quality for all to enjoy, the course is being operated as a pay-and-play facility, with no members being contemplated.
Designed by former Walker Cup and Ryder Cup player Clive Clark, Dumbarnie Links has 1½ miles of sea frontage with panoramic vistas over the Firth of Forth. The design features a number of elevated tees where holes play directly towards views of the sea, while a number of the tees and greens are also close to the water.
US-based OB Sports Golf Management (Dumbarnie’s operating/management company) and John Deere dealer Sandy Armit of Double A first signed a partnership deal in 2018 for the supply of grow-in and maintenance equipment for the course construction project and beyond. The new machines have been bought using a mix of John Deere financial operating and finance lease options, including three-year PowerGard cover with full maintenance.
Armit said: “We were excited to be involved with this project from the very beginning, and since the initial supply of John Deere equipment on loan we have been phasing in a full fleet of course maintenance equipment over the past two years.”
Grahame Taylor, Course Manager at Dumbarnie Links, grew up in Leven and came to Dumbarnie from the Old Course at nearby St Andrews.
He said: “The golf course construction work took just six months to complete, which was very quick for a project of this size and importance. We originally had several John Deere 220E walk-behind greens mowers on loan for a couple of weeks after sowing the greens in summer 2018, when we were lucky enough to have perfect growing conditions.
“Double A’s golf specialist, John Bateson, then supplied two 8000 Series fairway mowers and half a dozen Gator utility vehicles, plus a bunker rake and a 2653A utility triplex mower.
“We kept most of the loan equipment until the new machines started arriving this year. This gave us a good opportunity to carry out quite a few trials with different machines to see exactly what we needed and what worked best for our conditions. For example, with a 345-acre property and the need to stay in front of play, we had to decide how many fairway mowers would be required because of the travelling times around the course, and we ended up with three 7500A E-Cut hybrid electric machines.
“The dealership was very accommodating and helpful all the way through this process. Nothing has been too much trouble for John Bateson. He’s always answered all our questions promptly and found solutions to any problems. It’s truly been service with a smile and a great partnership.
“We’ve also had three new 2750E hybrid electric triplex mowers this year, and we’re very happy with them. Our team love using this machine – they’re comfortable to operate, follow the course contours really well and the grass collection is much improved. I also like the functionality of the mowers’ TechControl system, which allows you to set the required speeds and clip frequency to achieve consistent and repeatable results across the course, regardless of who’s operating the machine.
“We’re now in the process of completing the clubhouse, road access and car parking. Despite these disruptions we’ve been incredibly busy since we opened for play. The course is looking fantastic, and we’re all absolutely delighted with the way things have gone.”
John Deere is an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.