Sustainable Goodwood

. minute read

From solar panels and biomass boilers to rewilding and biodiversity projects, there are a number of projects underway at Goodwood in West Sussex to ensure it achieves its eventual goal of being a carbon neutral estate. Recently that involves a significant Toro machinery fleet order including five electric riding greensmowers and eight electric utility vehicles. 

Gary Beves, general manager, tells us about his involvement in choosing Toro and distributor Reesink Turfcare for a five-year fleet deal for the second time: “We’re focused on protecting the social and ecological value of the estate and every decision made is in accordance with our six key priorities, one of which is reducing our carbon footprint. 

“Toro is the only manufacturer to be able to offer a fully electric riding greensmower in the shape of the Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 and led the way with the electric technology seen in the Workman GTXe utility vehicle too. These revolutionary machines form the backbone of the order and will be powered by energy produced on site in the estate’s new biomass boiler which will create energy by burning waste strawbales and chestnut stakes following the Festival of Speed along with felled wood from our forestry plan to provide the electricity to charge the electric vehicles.

“There was never any question that the all-electric technology from Toro fit in with our ethos, it sealed the deal in terms of delivering what we needed for the two golf courses, estate gardens and parkland. But as I liaised with the head greenkeepers for both the Downs and Park courses and the Board, one thing that was abundantly clear was how keen everyone was to maintain the relationship with Toro and Reesink too, as it’s been so positive over the years.”

With the technology box firmly ticked, Simon Berry, head greenkeeper of the Park course, explains what it’s like to use the mowers: “The eTriFlex is a heavenly bit of kit to use. The Park course is very busy and is located next to The Goodwood Hotel. To be able to do our job from as early as 5am in the summer and throughout the day without disturbing anyone is priceless. Another huge factor for me is that these electric machines are lighter than their diesel counterparts. And on a course like the Park course which gets very wet that’s a big consideration.”

But it’s not just their green credentials that cinched the deal for Toro, as Rob Dyer, head greenkeeper of the Downs course, explains they are extremely productive too: “Productivity isn’t affected by being electric. We can cut 36 holes on the Park course with the eTriFlex on a single charge and 27 holes on the Downs course which is very hilly and a ten-minute drive from the shed.” 

Goodwood also chose four Reelmaster 5010-H hybrid mowers for the fairways, the Groundsmaster 4700 was chosen for its lighter touch on the slopes, the Groundsmaster 3500-D with SideWinder decks which are, according to Rob “so robust they’re practically bomb-proof yet provide the finest finish we need around the bunkers and tees”, as well as the ProCore 648 aerator and MultiPro sprayer among many in the extensive fleet to take care of the 12,000-acre estate. 

All machines are monitored by Toro’s fleet management programme MyTurf for maintenance and servicing and Rob cites the support from Reesink but especially Jon Cole as “exceptional”. 

Gary finishes by saying: “We have a timescale to transition to 100 percent renewable energy providers and this commitment to Toro is another step in the right direction to achieving that.”