We have 12 pieces ranging from high ticket items such as Fairways and Semi Rough mowers down to small hand mowers and all within an age range of 4 to 17 years.
Yet this figure is meaningless when the life of each item is measured in running hours via a gauge on each machine. In general terms 1000 machine hours is equivalent to 100,000 car miles and apart from our recently acquired greens mower every piece of our fleet is way above the maximum running hours recommended by the manufacturer Toro.
As a direct consequence of this the annual maintenance costs have been rising to the point that in the current year 2017/8 30% of the overall greens budget has been spent in this way – when we would all have preferred to see that money spent on course improvement programmes.
Toro would charge £2500 per annum per machine (for labour only) to handle all our maintenance requirements so your greens team have attended Toro’s own training courses becoming proficient with general maintenance procedures to actively keep external costs down.
Thus we have reached a critical point with our fleet management; continue to spend significant amounts of money on very old machines or invest to reduce maintenance costs and further improve our course? To put it more simply there is a limit as to how much you can tighten the elastic band before it breaks and that is where we find ourselves now.
As a club we are all aware of the financial restraints we live with but it is now imperative for us to address the real issues surrounding our fleet. We must maintain the overall quality of our fantastic golf course and on this your greens committee are able to share some exciting news with you.
Head Greenkeeper Chris recently presented to the Directors a proposal for a fleet rolling replacement programme. Whilst not yet able to fully commit the club to this it has been agreed that within the next 6/8 weeks there will be three new additions to the fleet namely a Semi Rough mower, Tees & Approaches mower and Small Utility Vehicle (SUV). We are able to do this, now, as a current machinery finance arrangement is coming to an end and the money from that existing outlay will be transferred/utilised to part fund up to 80% of the monthly outlay for these additions.
There will be little or no resale value for the old machines to enable them to be thrown in as a deposit so for the remainder of this calendar year there will be a small monthly shortfall to be covered from club funds. Thereafter the exercise will at the very least become cost neutral thanks to the expected reduction in maintenance costs associated with new machinery plus the aforementioned expertise within the greens team.
Greens Committee: Carolyn Hartopp, Malc Carter, Paul Fairbrother, Paul Booler, Chris Weir (Head Greenkeeper), Ken Bonser (Chair). Please feel free to contact us with any enquiries.