Three tools to ease the rough life

An array of maintenance equipment and specialised tools is needed to meet expectations for course conditions and playability from today’s golfers. The rough – including intermediate, primary, secondary and transitional areas – is no exception. These areas comprise the largest span of turf to maintain. They are also typically the areas with the most obstructions such as trees and bunkers. Compared with greens, surrounds, fairways and tees, they are sometimes deemed the least important because of its lower effect on course aesthetics. And when sacrifices need to be made due to labour, time, weather, or budget, rough areas can be the first to be neglected.


These three machines from our Groundscare range are designed to maintain the rough and semi-rough areas with maximum ease and minimal maintenance.


Tri-Deck at Royal Tara Golf Course

“We’ve got a very mature, year-round course here,” said Jim McElroy, head green-keeper at The Royal Tara Golf Club in County Meath. “We have long, undulating drives, mostly lined by beautiful trees. And with my team of six green-keeper colleagues, we maintain the course to the highest and utmost standards. We kind of live the course and I believe it shows.”


Nestled in the Cluide Woods amongst the Tara Hills, the 27-hole complex features sand-based greens for year-round playing, tree-lined fairways and rolling hills.


“We used to use a ‘ride-on batwing mower’ but that was very slow, not so good at avoiding scalping and was quite expensive to maintain, both in terms of replacement parts and downtime,” commented Jim. “We needed a high performance mower, which was easy to operate and simple to maintain, with low running costs.


The Major Tri-Deck eliminates all the issues Jim and his team had before. The MAJOR TDR20000 is a three-deck winged mower that unfolds to 6.1m (20’) wide cutting width. The three-point pivot system combined with front and rear rollers allows the machine to glide over surfaces and leave a striped finish without scalping the grass. Its ten rotors have 40 contra-rotating blades that overlap by 75mm to ensure all material is finely chopped so nutrients can return quickly back to the soil.


“This is one of the best pieces of equipment that we have at The Royal Tara,” enthused Jim. “We set the cut-of height for the rough at about 60mm (2.3 inches) and if we wanted to we could set it as low as 10mm (0.4 inches) – and without scalping.  When you look at the finish it leaves, with the effects of the front and rear rollers, it’s just like we would get with a cylinder mower – if not better!”


Contoura at Roganstown and Swords Open Golf

“We keep to a very high standard and we’re very particular about keeping everything cut,” says Colm McGuinness, course superintendent of Roganstown Golf Course and Swords Open Golf Course in North County Dublin, Ireland. “We have 170 acres to cut. We’d be cutting maybe 120 acres of rough a week. Some of it is cut twice a week. So we have a lot of cutting to do and need the best machinery to keep on top of it.”


Swords Open Golf Course is an 18-hole parkland course with the Broadmeadow River flowing through as a natural water hazard and feature. Roganstown Golf Course is a challenging course – 12 holes feature water – designed by Ryder Cup star Christy O’Connor Junior.


Colm has known Major Equipment for a long time. So when he wanted something without a belt-drive, that is, gear-driven that would do a good quality of cut, he found it in the Contoura. The unique pivoting frame on the 3.6m mower has self-aligning spherical bearings that allow its three decks to follow ground contours smoothly. Full-width rollers follow the undulations to give a consistent cut in both hilly and less challenging terrain.


“Everything is just dead-level with this machine: you can cut 2 inches right across the board,” says Colm. “We have a lot of undulations here at which I didn’t think it would cut, and I kept one of my belt-driven machines for that but it actually cuts everything.”


Green Bee at Scotscraig Golf Course

Ever-increasing spotlight on environmental matters means golf courses worldwide need to assess what they can do to achieve environmental sustainability while maximising the enjoyment of golf.


Enter the case for native or naturalised rough. Native rough is pleasing to the eye, easier to maintain and good for wildlife. They also improve playing experiences for golfers.


Many superintendents and greenkeepers are converting intensely managed turf to naturalised landscapes to cut costs related to fuel, fertiliser, irrigation, pesticides and labour.


Scotscraig Golf Course is the 13th Oldest Golf Club in the World with its unique mix of heathland and links. The natural grass and heather requires careful mowing and removal of clippings to ensure it doesn’t spread and take over the greens.


Chris Barnard and the greenkeeping team at Scotscraig use the 1.6m Major Green Bee flail collector to keep native rough from going wild. “We use the Major Green Bee to cut and collect in the worst areas of the rough,” says Chris. “It keeps invasive shrubs, brambles and trees out while improving green sward without any chemical use. This method keeps the course natural and unique for our players.”


The MAJOR Green Bee is a versatile flail collector that mows, scarifies, collects, chops, and rolls all in one pass. Heavy duty flail blades are supplied as standard and an optional scarifying kit is available to aerate the ground.


The championship course was named a finalist in the recent 2020 Golf Environment Awards at BTME Harrogate. This recognition is a testament that he and his team must be doing something right.

If you need advice on a solution for your golf course, get in touch with one of our product specialists today.


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