In a 'normal' year John Clarke, courses manager at Woburn Golf Club in Buckinghamshire, has a greenkeeping staff of 40, of which 12 work on the Marquess golf course. When the club hosts a professional tournament, as it did this year with the 40th Ricoh Women's British Open, the greenkeeping staff numbers rise to 80 for the tournament course alone.“There is a huge amount more preparation and maintenance needed before and during the event,” says John, who is in his ninth year at Woburn. The club has a long association with the Ricoh Women’s British Open, as it first hosted the championship in 1984. This year marked Woburn's 10th staging of the event, but its first as a major championship, since the Open had become an official LPGA major tournament in 2001. It was also the first time it was played on the 7213 yard Marquess course, rather than the 6983 yard Duke's course.The pressure to maintain the high standard of the playing surfaces also saw a substantial increase in the number of John Deere mowers used on the course. Additional machines were provided by John Deere and dealer P Tuckwell Ltd, Maulden, whose support at the event also included the provision of tractors and other equipment.“We normally have two 7500AE hybrid electric fairway mowers on each of our three courses, but during the championship we had 10,” says John. “Deere and Tuckwell set these up to our specification for reel size, number of knives, roller type, clip rate and tyre selection, so the cut quality was the same across the board.“This is a lightweight, fine cut mower which gives a perfect cut on our grass species. The Women’s Open was held in July after a wash-out of a June and we had little time to prepare the course, but the 7500AE is a confidence booster – it is a high quality mower that treads lightly and gives a great cut in all conditions.“In addition to the specification of the machines and the setting up, Deere and Tuckwell provided a 24 hour service and stock a large selection of parts. The service includes an imprest stock system and they can also deliver parts overnight from the US or Europe if they are not held at Langar or the dealership.”During the championship the 7500AEs all cut in one direction so there were no visible stripes. “We didn't want to detract from the Marquess' inherent attributes,” John explains. “The course is the club's 'Jewel in the Crown' – without striping the undulations on the fairways and the greens stand out, and players and spectators can better appreciate its natural features. We didn't alter the cutting height of 10mm for the championship, but we did increase the frequency from three to four times a week to three to four times a day on the run in.”Tees and approaches were cut with a total of four John Deere 2500E hybrid electric mowers, which also provide a high quality finish. “We've been using the 2500E since it was introduced, and the 7500AEs for the past two years,” adds John. “Hybrid electric drive, which John Deere was the first company to develop, removes the risk of hydraulic leaks and provides consistent reel speed.“In addition, as the mowers run at three-quarter revs compared to a hydraulic unit, there is a big saving in fuel and a significant reduction in noise, two factors that have helped us to achieve the Golf Environment Organisation's environmental certification.”John also maintains that the support provided by the manufacturer and dealer is as much a reason for using equipment as the quality of the machines. “John Deere and Woburn Golf Club's relationship has grown and Deere now provides 70 to 75 per cent of our machinery fleet,” he says. “Plus John Deere and Tuckwell are two great companies to work with.”
John Deere is to launch its new 2R Series compact tractors to the UK and Irish markets at SALTEX 2016 in November.The company’s joint display with regional dealers Farol, Henton & Chattell and Tallis Amos Group (TAG) will feature, for the first time at a UK show, a 2036R compact model alongside a new XUV 590i Gator utility vehicle and new walk-behind rotary mowers.The 26hp 2026R and 36hp 2036R compact tractors feature new ground-up designs and a host of innovative features. The 2026R is ideal for operating in more confined spaces, while the 2036R has a wider footprint and longer wheelbase, combined with increased tractor weight for better stability.Both models are designed for comfort and reduced operator fatigue during long working days, with ergonomic controls, a tiltable steering wheel and cruise control. The 2036R also offers a premium air suspension seat and the industry exclusive CommandCut mower deck lift system. Both tractors are also available with a choice of open operator station or cab, offering good all-round visibility.“Our customers are looking for efficient, durable and easy-to-use solutions that allow them to do more work in less time with less effort,” says Jared Lowe, John Deere’s product marketing manager for compact utility tractors. “When designing the new 2R Series models, we focused on improving machine stability, comfort and implement attachability to meet those needs.”The 2R Series tractors improve productivity through several easy-to-use features. The all-new CommandCut system for the mid-mounted rotary mower deck on the 2036R provides quick and accurate cutting height adjustment with the turn of a dial and the nudge of a lever.Both models also have Twin Touch foot controls, which simplify the selection of speed and direction of travel. An eThrottle feature allows the machine to automatically increase or decrease engine speed as required, while standard cruise control keeps ground speed consistent.Fully independent ptos allow front, mid and rear-mounted implements to be attached at the same time and combined in different ways, to increase the equipment’s versatility. AutoConnect mid-mounted mower decks are easy to attach and remove for higher productivity, while new QuikAttach 120R and 220R front loaders are designed specifically for the 2R Series, for maximum performance.Additional benefits are provided by the new John Deere designed and manufactured front hitch options. The 2036R also features an electric lock-out valve so that the operator can easily lock the hitch in the transport position with the flick of a switch from the tractor seat.Intuitive maintenance features include extended fluid service intervals and improved access to the engine compartment. Standard service indicators alert the operator when maintenance is required, such as when the air filter needs to be cleaned or replaced.In addition, the engine oil dipstick has been moved to a more convenient location, making it easier for operators to check oil levels. Onboard diagnostics and Service Advisor connectivity also allow service technicians to quickly and easily monitor the health of the machines.The new 2036R Series compact tractor will be shown at SALTEX alongside one of the latest models from John Deere’s ever growing range of Gator crossover 4x4 utility vehicles. These include the petrol engined XUV 590i and XUV 590i S4 four-passenger machines, and the mid-size XUV 560. This model is aimed at those looking for a more affordable 4x4 UTV, but with the same levels of comfort and versatility expected of the popular and well-established Gator range.