NEWS & EVENTS
While most of the machinery fleet at the famous links at Hoylake on the west coast of England is Toro, leading the charge on the greens, tees and surrounds are the Toro eFlex 1021 lithium-ion battery-powered pedestrian greensmowers and Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 all-electric ride-on greensmowers.
A dedicated team of greenkeepers under the watchful eye of links manager James Bledge are making the final preparations to the course and Toro has been there every step of the way. In fact, the last time the club hosted the world’s oldest and most popular golf event in 2013, it had just taken delivery of six eFlex 1021 greensmowers and while plenty has changed since then, what’s stayed the same is the machine still entrusted to look after the greens and tees.
James explains: “We have a new par 3 which will be the biggest change since The Open was last hosted here – it is a very short but challenging hole with stunning views of the estuary and Wales. What hasn’t changed is the club’s commitment to sustainable course management in that we’re always looking for the best carbon-neutral options. And when you find a pedestrian greensmower that provides this level of precision and quality, powered by a battery, you don’t look anywhere else.
“The weather will dictate the greens speed for the week and the work we have done in the last year will ensure we have more control over this. For us that’s six teams of two out doing single and double cuts with the Toro eFlex 1021 pedestrian mowers.”
Joining the pedestrian mowers on the frontline is Toro’s Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 all-electric ride-on greensmower. While this was the machine of choice for the greens at St Andrews at last year’s championship, at Royal Liverpool Golf Club it’s being used on the tees and surrounds.
James continues: “The eTriFlex 3370 is more than capable of achieving the standard required on the greens, as we saw so masterfully demonstrated at St Andrews last year. It is quite literally one of the best machines made and it’s a great greens choice, but with the acute run-offs on our course, hand cutting is the best bet.”
Despite the reliable machinery choices, that’s a lot of trust to put in the greens team to ensure a consistency of cut across the board for the eyes of the world surely. James agrees: “The greenkeepers are the heroes here. They’re the ones out there putting in the hours and miles; they are an extremely talented team.”
When James accepted the role of links manager in December 2021 the first thing on his to-do list was to prepare for The 151st Open and what could have been a baptism of fire for many was a dream role for James.
“I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this,” he says. “Creating the most diverse volunteer team handpicked from all the best places, bringing together someone from every championship venue, having mentors from across the world to turn to and having the best brands and businesses to work with has been rewarding and will be an incredible opportunity for everyone involved. It’s great to see everyone come together with the common goal to put on the best event possible.”
Machinery dealer Cheshire Turf Machinery who has worked with Royal Liverpool for over 20 years and Toro’s UK distributor Reesink Turfcare will be providing extensive championship support and a fleet of Toro machines for the duration of the historic event.
Steve Halley, managing director of Cheshire Turf Machinery, says: “It really has been striking how enthusiastic and excited James and his team are about staging The Open. We are delighted to support their efforts to make the event as successful as possible.”
Jon Cole, divisional business manager at Reesink Turfcare, comments: "It's a privilege to be a part of The 151st Open and supporting the team at Royal Liverpool throughout the Championship again. We have worked with at least 30 of the 40 host venues of The Open that have taken place in our 40 years as Toro distributor and to be involved is always an honour.”