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Major 7.3m Swift delivering impeccable results for Cirencester Park Polo Club

The MAJOR Swift rollermower is the thoroughbred of mowers for the historic Cirencester Park Polo Club. The new 7.3m trailed model delivers an impeccable finish for groundkeeper Phil Cole and polo players alike.

Within the 15,000-acre Bathurst Estate in Gloucestershire is the historic Ivy Lodge grounds, home to the oldest polo club in England. Opened in 1894 with just two grounds, Cirencester Park Polo Club has hosted Kings, members of royal families from around the world, and celebrities to the park. Today, ten match grounds are spread over two sites with matches played most days between May and October. Contract ground-keeper Phil Cole and his team from Cotswold Turf Care Ltd require durable and reliable machinery to ensure the grounds always look their best and provide an excellent playing surface for polo.

“We normally start the season’s maintenance programme in March through till November carrying out aeration and grass harrowing across the grounds,” explains Phil. “Mowing usually starts around late March to early April, depending on the weather.”

Reliable and cost-effective units

“Previously we used cylinder mowers, but they are unreliable and inherently expensive to maintain,” continues Phil. “So we changed over to rotary mowers, which have proven to be much more reliable and cost effective. The latest Swift rollermower from Major Equipment offers us a wide cut of 7.3 meters (24-feet) as a trailed unit, which folds for road transport making it great for multiple sites. It’s about the largest make available that can be safely transported on the road.”

Cotswold Turf Care Ltd manage not only polo grounds, but commercial properties that include schools, football and rugby pitches and the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials totalling around 500 acres. The team cuts a minimum of 6000 acres throughout the year.

High capacity mower at fast-forward speeds

“We have a small team, so time pressure, cost and quality along with a reliable mower is essential,” added Phil. “With the wide cut of the 7.3m Swift, we can easily cover a hundred-plus acres a day. Because we can also travel at a fast-forward speed, even over undulating ground, we can cover ten to thirteen acres an hour!”

Phil has been maintaining the same grounds for nearly 30 years so is particular that the turf provides a safe yet fast playing surface. He and his team can easily set the working height between 10mm-100mm on the MAJOR Swift before and after each polo match.

Lightweight and manoeuvrable

“The Major is a great performer and always leaves an excellent finish,” commented Phil. “The front and rear rollers ensure we leave a level and striped finish at precisely the right height of cut, every time. It levels the ground back down to its original condition after we’ve had eight or ten horses running over it.”

Made with Strenx MC high-strength streel, the overall weight of the machine is lighter so it avoids soil compaction. “A big benefit in maintaining the best ground condition,” added Phil. “For such a wide machine, it is far more manoeuvrable than I expected – it can turn on a sixpence. It is also a very low consumer of power – and therefore more economical with fuel.”

No belts, no windrows, no headaches

The trailed versions feature the MAJOR qualities of durability and low maintenance. “The maintenance is simple with just a few grease points,” added Phil. “There are no belts – just a strong and simple, heavy-duty driveline with a shear-bolt in the PTO drive. There’s really nothing to go wrong and it never complains even if we are cutting heavy crops of wet grass. The blades do a great job of chopping the clippings and spreading them through the swarth – they don’t take long to disappear and never leave a windrow.”

Pristine finish for world’s elite

Ultimately, appearance is what counts for the most historic polo club in the UK. “Both the players and the spectators have commented on how good the grounds look,” added Phil. “At a recent board meeting, even the committee members commented very favourably about our grass cutting and the playing surface. We made a clear decision from the beginning to use only the very best machinery for our customers, so getting this kind of feedback is very important.”

“Over the years I have been very impressed with MAJOR products,” concludes Phil. “The company has great technical knowledge, offers good back-up and welcomes customer feedback to continually improve the service they provide. That kind of support reflects the kind the quality of service I expect from the very best.”