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The K Club: Our relationship and preparing for the Irish Open

The K Club: Our relationship and preparing for the Irish Open

The K Club: Our relationship and preparing for the Irish Open 2040 918 Natalia Pinto

The K Club: Our relationship and preparing for the Irish Open

Pat Freaney is the Club Mechanic at The K Club in County Kildare, Ireland.

Pat has been working at the club for more than 25 years, and in that time has played a pivotal role in preparing the course for a Ryder Cup and has also been involved in 13 European Open tournaments.

The K Club is known around the globe for hosting the Ryder Cup back in 2006 – during which, Europe famously cruised to its third consecutive Ryder Cup victory, registering a record-matching rout of the U.S. with clutch putting and inspirational leadership by Northern Ireland’s, Darren Clarke. More recently, The K Club has played host to the DP World Tour’s Irish Open.

Our relationship with The K Club started many years ago, back in 2005. Today, as the bond is a strong as ever, the team at The K Club liaise with our distribution office in Dublin, and are operating with an Express Dual and Anglemaster machine combination that has withstood the test of time, and proven to be an incredibly reliable resource.

Prior to the playing of the 2023 Irish Open in September, we chatted to Pat to understand what takes place in the build-up to hosting such a significant tour event with a great field, and how having our machinery in-place, just helps to ease the pressure.

Freaney said: “One of the most challenging parts of preparation is the maintenance on the older pieces of machinery. In the weeks leading up to the event, a lot of sand is spread across the golf course, so keeping the machinery sharp is a constant battle with the sand out there. Our Bernhard grinders hardly get cold; we will use them almost every day up to three weeks before the tournament. We try to complete the majority of maintenance in the winter, so that it doesn’t interfere with the event.

“We create a routine of constant mowing across the course leading up to the event, so our staff, and myself, get used to the timetable of mowing all day, then when the tournament arrives, we are prepared for the heavy schedule of maintenance and grinding.

“As I previously mentioned, with the amount of sand spread across our main championship course, and our other course which we always keep to a high standard, the grinders are essential. The sand impacts the blades of our machinery, so without the grinders on site, we wouldn’t be able to function. We are using the grinders at least once a week on various mowers. If we had contract grinders, they would be here all the time – they would never leave!

“It’s been a game-changer when the guys from Bernhard come over and help get everything ready and sharp before a big event. It’s only me in the workshop, so when we get a visit from Bernhard, the extra help and preparation helps us a lot.”

Aside from preparing for major tournaments, Pat and his team regularly prepare the two championship courses to the very highest standard at The K Club for member and guest play. With challenges such as reduced availability of fertilisers, and unforeseen equipment damage, we wanted to understand how having our grinding machines helps on a day-to-day basis.

He added: “We try and use the grinders as much as we can, especially on areas such as greens, fairways, and tee boxes, so we can reduce our fertiliser use as much as we can. We are always trying to get a good balance, as we have to spread sand to keep the courses even and firm, but we also need a good quality of cut. Without the grinders we wouldn’t have the versatility, which helps keep the course quality high and ultimately keeps the members happy.

“Only 18 months ago, we had the fairways re-laid and this meant the sprinklers were higher than usual. On multiple occasions, there were blades broken or bent, and they were brought to the workshop and fixed in under 20 minutes thanks to the Bernhard grinders being on-site. They have saved us time and a lot of hassle especially in those moments when something goes wrong.

“I find them very efficient and easy to use. The fact that you don’t have to strip whole units out of machinery and grinders can sit right on top of the blade, as well as the Anglemaster where we just put the blade between the mounting bar, and it goes to work. I can’t speak highly enough about the grinders and how easy they are to use.

“The grinders are the centre of the workshop, and if we didn’t have them, we would be in big trouble. The setup options and versatility you get are great, I personally set the grinders manually but there is an automatic option as well if needed. Being on such a big property and having a reputation as one of the highest quality courses in Ireland, the maintenance work on the courses is essential, and our grinders are an integral part of our work, we can’t fault them.”

Posted on: Nov 03, 2023