Preparing the ground for a sensational golfing event

Head of LAPU’s Landscape Division, Kellie Wake, travelled to Gleneagles to hear how John Deere helped the greenkeeping team get ready for the Solheim Cup and watched some of the action as Team Europe beat the USA.

Gleneagles enjoyed a unique position in golfing history when the biggest event in women’s golf concluded last month – it became the first venue in Europe to have hosted both The Solheim Cup and The Ryder Cup (in 2014).

With Team Europe triumphant by a single point after three days of world class and tense golfing competition, golf courses manager Craig Haldane, director of agronomy and estates Scott Fenwick, their greenkeeping team and a small army of volunteers could reflect on a hugely successful event.

The Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary Course looked and, according to both teams, played magnificently. As the excitement built to fever pitch on the final day of competition, the team that prepared the course looked on with contended smiles.

That team included John Deere and local dealer Double A, who had been equally busy behind the scenes in the run up to the event and during the competition itself.

John Deere is the official golf course and turf maintenance machinery event partner to Gleneagles for this 16th biennial edition of The Solheim Cup. The company has a long association with professional golf, having been a title sponsor on the PGA Tour, official supplier to the PGA Tour for over 25 years, official supplier to the Ladies European Tour and a partner at numerous Solheim Cup events.

In addition, John Deere is partnering Gleneagles by exclusively providing golf course maintenance machinery and ancillary equipment for use across all three championship golf courses.

Craig Haldane explained: “Typically we aim to maintain all three courses at a very high level all year round, but we upped the ante for The Solheim Cup.

“Closing the course three weeks prior to the event allowed it to recover from any stress and provided additional time to prepare and introduce a higher frequency of cut. By fine tuning our existing practices we’ve been able go up another level in terms of a quality cut and finish for the tournament.

“We were also very fortunate to benefit from the extra resources and experience provided by the volunteer greenkeepers supporting our team this week. Eight of the 52 volunteers were women, who joined our own Laura Campbell and BIGGA’s head of membership services Tracey Maddison to help with the course preparations.”

A team of John Deere technicians were also available to help maintain the equipment and handle any issues during preparations and the tournament itself. In 2019 John Deere and its dealers are supporting more than 10 major tournaments in the UK and Ireland, every month from the Betfred British Masters at Hillside Golf Club in May to The Solheim Cup at Gleneagles and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in September. This involves providing specialist support staff and more than 150 machines including walk-behind and ride-on greens mowers, tees & surrounds, fairway and rough mowers, compact tractors and Gator utility vehicles.

“Traditionally we work closely with the individual club’s course managers and greenkeeping teams to help keep all the machines in the fl eet serviced and ready for work each day, and ensure all cutting units can achieve the highest possible quality of cut,” says John Deere Limited turf division manager Chris Meacock. “This partnership approach helps everyone to achieve the best possible results where they matter, out on the course, and keep things running as smoothly as possible throughout the event.”

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