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Interview at Yeovil Golf Club, Somerset

Interview at Yeovil Golf Club, Somerset

Interview at Yeovil Golf Club, Somerset 2245 1587 Samena Parbin

GMS conduct interview with Course Manager Jason Connaughton from Yeovil Golf Club

“They are a part of the furniture. They are well engineered, sturdy bits of kit and form part of a long-term investment, which was something that our club management and board really bought into.”

Interview conducted by GMS
Name: Jason Connaughton
Role: Course Manager
Location: Yeovil Golf Club, Somerset

When Jason Connaughton took on the role of Course Manager, across the 27 holes at Yeovil Golf Club, he brought with him a wealth of knowledge on exactly what it takes to run and maintain a fleet of machinery, largely thanks to numerous years spent working as a mechanic greenkeeper. On initial inspection, he found that the club was well stocked with machinery, except for a couple of large pieces that had the potential to take its offering to the next level.

“Previously, the club would send their cutting units to a neighbouring golf club to be sharpened. This was enormously expensive because, in doing this, they also had to pay for the club’s time. I decided, based on my previous experience with Bernhard and Company, that the best route forward for us was to have our own, in-house grinding equipment.

“At the time, Bernhard and company were running a limited-offer, try-before-you-buy scheme with a one-year rental on certain machines, which seemed like a great option for us to test the waters. I took this to the club management, and we presented our development plans to the board, demonstrating how the investment would work for us and how much money we could save long-term. It made complete sense to them, so we started our relationship with Bernhard and Company right away, following it up with the purchase of both the Express Dual 3000MC and Anglemaster 3000MC machines.

“The most immediate improvement we saw was in our grass plants’ health. By cutting with perfectly sharp blades the overall health of the plant increased dramatically. Presentation is 80% of this job really, if not more, so quality is absolutely key. The uniformity and definition of our turf has improved, and we’ve been able to achieve a much tighter cut. Crucially, we have also seen an uplift in the efficiency of our machinery with no contact between the cylinder and bottom blade, as well as a reduction in fuel consumption and strain on hydraulic systems. We haven’t changed our nutrition plan very much, but we are getting a far better return on investment with it than previously.

“With our own equipment, we can grind more frequently, in a much less aggressive manner. The sharpness of our reels never really fluctuates which is crucial to a consistent setup. Also, the peace of mind that we have with our own grinders in the shed is so important to me; if we ever had an issue with a blade, we could take it in, fix it, grind it and have it back out on the course in half an hour.

“We would not be able to operate with our current maintenance programme without having our own set of Bernhard and Company grinders. We like to top-dress little and often to achieve maximum playability all year round. This means that a lot of sand passes through our mowers on a regular basis, which essentially damages the blades. So, without the ability to sharpen our cylinders and bottom blades, we simply wouldn’t be able to run this programme. The grinders give us total control over our maintenance programme and allow us to choose the optimal times for top-dressing.

“Any golf club or business wants to know how much any investment will cost them. Something that was important to our pitch was that two pieces of Bernhard and Company equipment would be a long-term fix for us. They are a part of the furniture. They are well engineered, sturdy bits of kit and form part of a long-term investment plan, which was something that our club management and board really bought into. Crucially, by making this investment we fixed our grinding costs, which protected the club’s investment in the mowing fleet too.

“The service we received from the guys at Bernhard and Company was second to none. Throughout a difficult period for us with the Covid pandemic, they supported us and helped us to make the right decisions that were absolutely tailored to our needs. They really wanted to work with us to find the best solution. We had numerous phone calls with Scott Purdy – Bernhard and Company’s Business Development Manager for the area – who went above and beyond, and that went a long way with us.”

Posted on: Oct 27, 2021