Golfers playing Normanby Hall Golf Course in Lincolnshire have enjoyed significantly enhanced playing conditions this season following a major investment in the course and new course machinery by North Lincolnshire Council over the past year.
Located next to Normanby Hall Country Park, near Scunthorpe, the beautiful 18-hole course is set in 117 acres of mature woodland and parkland and is considered to be one of the best municipal courses in the country.
Improvements to the course have included new tees, pathways and drainage, the installation of a three-bay covered driving range with additional practice facilities, and refurbishment of the clubhouse – as well as a new John Deere course maintenance equipment fleet supplied by local dealer F G Adamson & Son at Langworth.
Normanby Hall Golf Course senior greenkeeper Michael Burgin attended the first John Deere sponsored TPC Sawgrass volunteer programme in 2015, as a member of the Florida course’s maintenance team preparing for the Players Championship. Michael has been back to TPC Sawgrass as a volunteer every year since, and he is a convert to the role that John Deere machinery can play in improving playing conditions at Normanby Hall. “Ever since my first trip there, I said this is the equipment that I want to be working with,” Michael said.
The course is now being maintained by a new John Deere fleet, which includes a 2550E hybrid electric triplex greens and surrounds mower; a 7700A PrecisionCut fairway mower; 9009A TerrainCut rotary rough mower; 2030A ProGator with Dakota top dresser attachment; HPX 815E and TE electric Gator utility vehicles, a 3046R compact tractor, plus a Tru-Turf R50-11 greens roller and Charterhouse Redexim Speed Brush.
“Having been promoted from assistant greenkeeper four years ago, I inherited a lot of equipment that was on its last legs and repair bills were mounting up,” says Michael. “The council’s new management team had committed to maintaining and improving the course and its facilities, and ultimately investment in a new machinery fleet became a key part of this commitment.
“We went through a formal tender process in the end before reaching a final decision, essentially looking at value for money. Adamsons and John Deere won it by a country mile, ticking all the boxes for lead times, value, service and parts backup – all the criteria were more than met.
“We already had some older John Deere machines, including compact tractors, and had established an excellent relationship with the dealership, so Adamson’s depot manager Simon Fountain and I looked at various options and we came up with a list of what we needed.
“I knew I had to have specialist equipment for the greens, including a brush, top dresser and greens iron, to bring them up to the next level. Having our own top dresser has been a godsend, as we used to hire one in from the dealer just twice a year. Now we aim to top dress little and often, every two weeks or so, and we’ve already put on 40 tonnes of sand this year. It causes minimal disruption to play, but it’s made a huge difference to the standard of the greens.
“I also wanted to run two fairway mowers to make the job quicker, plus we were spending a lot of money to keep our old rough mower going, so we definitely needed a replacement for that. The John Deere 9009A provides a great quality of cut, but the main thing for me is it’s so easy to maintain. You can grease the whole machine in five minutes, and it’s not a messy job at all any more. The after-sales service from Simon and the dealership has also been phenomenal, whenever I call they’re always available to sort out anything I need straight away.”
Like many other courses in the UK have experienced during the pandemic, golfer numbers have increased significantly over the last 18 months.
“We’ve picked up over 100 new members since we reopened in March after the last lockdown and are now up to 350 members. I believe this is primarily down to the course being in such good condition now, and word’s gone round. The course has come on phenomenally since we got the new machines, and they have enabled us to step things up to a higher level.”
Normanby Hall Golf Club senior greenkeeper Michael Burgin (centre right) with dealer F G Adamson & Son Langworth depot manager Simon Fountain and dog Ruby, plus (left to right) greenkeepers Paul Jarvis, Richard Parsons, Gareth Hallberg and Jordan Quibell.
Simon Fountain of John Deere dealer Adamsons and Michael Burgin of Normanby Hall Golf Club.