With a team of just three greenkeepers plus a trainee, Wells Golf Club in rural Somerset relies on having the right grass cutting machinery to make the best of the available man hours and keep the course at its superb best. When the time came for a new ride-on greens mower Head Greenkeeper Mark Lewer invited three top brands to test for the job. The clear winner was the Baroness LM315.
“We tried two other big names but I very much favoured the Baroness as not just the best for performance but the best value by a distance,” says Mark. “We had it for four days and I made sure we all used it so that I could get feedback from the whole team. Everyone agreed that it had the best quality of cut and was the one we should go for.
“For me, it isn’t just that it achieves such a high quality of the cut but the fact that it holds onto it far better than any other greens mower on the market. The hardened bottom blades are a big selling point – you don’t have to re-grind as often. It’s also easier to set up and to maintain in general.”
Mark also scored the Baroness highly in terms of service and was particularly conscious of the proximity of Lister Wilder’s new depot at Keynsham on the outskirts of Bristol. He had also enjoyed a good relationship with the dealer during his 27 years at nearby Farrington Park Golf Club where he loved the Baroness rough mower.
“Lister Wilder and Baroness make an outstanding combination from advice through to service and repair,” he adds. “I know that if I need an engineer he will be here the same day if he humanly can and if not it will be tomorrow. They always manage to fit us in. With other dealerships that are further away you can sometimes wait two weeks for a part.”
Founded in 1893, Wells is very much a traditional golf club that is owned and loved by its 600 members and takes pride in its warm atmosphere. The views from the upper reaches of the undulating parkland course are rated as amongst the best in the West Country with a panorama that takes in Britain’s smallest city of Wells along with its ancient cathedral.
The course itself offers a varied skills test. It runs at two levels, with holes 2 to 11 circling the hills and in doing so offering the best of the views. Hole 12 takes you back down from its elevated tee to a double green by the clubhouse. The remaining holes play along the valley, where accurate drives are essential.
The undulating course represents a perfect test for the Baroness LM315, doing a double job of mowing and de-thatching the greens. Quite apart from its renown quality of cut, it offers many variations to set the height of cut and blade angle, allowing the operator to quickly achieve the best match for the turf conditions. The reel is powered by Baroness’ original wire cable system that eliminates the risk of hydraulic oil leaking from the cutting unit onto the grass.The LM315 will also automatically switch to three-wheel drive for excellent climbing and turning performance to give the best cut in any location.
With the Baroness in the shed, Mark says the course is looking as good has it has ever looked and draws regular compliments from members. “I am truly delighted with what it is doing for us,” he says.