20 Feb 2016

Toro brings magnificence back to golf course, grounds and gardens at Mount Juliet

The prestigious Mount Juliet Golf Course in Kilkenny, Ireland, has welcomed a fleet of new Toro machines in a move that’s brought magnificence back to its course, grounds and gardens. Designed by the greatest golfer to have ever played, Jack Nicklaus, Mount Juliet is widely regarded as being home to the leading championship parkland layout in Ireland. Set across the 492 acres of the Mount Juliet Estate, the ‘Nicklaus Signature’ course has hosted three Irish Opens and two American Express World Golf Championships.

Purchased by Tetrarch Capital in 2015 as part of wider plans to invest in their golf courses and hotels across Ireland, the firm were keen to raise standards in order to continue attracting major tournaments and return the course to a playing condition that reflects its status as the number one parkland course in Ireland.

Every aspect of the Estate was reviewed for improvements, and Tetrarch identified an immediate need to replace the fleet of equipment maintaining the course and grounds.

Following a competitive tendering process, Tetrarch chose Lely to provide a new Toro fleet valued at over €800,000.

The latest advances in golf equipment, including hybrid greens mowers, are now being used to present the course. Dedicated rolling has been reintroduced to increase green speeds, providing constant tournament standard presentation. Every aspect of course presentation was looked at, with the fleet comprising over 20 individual pieces of equipment, including the latest fairway, trim and rough mowers, sprayer, sand dressers, tractors and utility vehicles.

As well as the new equipment, improvement plans also included setting up a new Estate Management Department, which sees Pat O’Reilly, estate manager and Martin Lehane, deputy estate manager, take care of a 30-strong team tending the golf course, gardens and abundance of natural landscape.

Pat comments on the changes he’s seen since the new fleet has been in action: “Like with any aging fleet, the time, energy and expense involved in their upkeep had become excessive. With the newer and more modern equipment, it’s not only efficient and reliable, but the overall presentation of the course has been greatly enhanced.”

Continuing, he says his favourite machines of the new fleet are the Pro Core 648 and the Pro Force blower.  “The speed, precision and quality of finish that the Pro Core delivers is phenomenal, and it has added greatly to our ability to aerate greens and fairways on a more regular basis and in an efficient manner.  

“Equally impressive, the Pro Force blower has been a revelation for us in terms of dealing with large expanses of leaf strewn fairways and rough areas. This machine is extremely powerful, and because it can be towed behind your standard all-terrain vehicle, accessibility to otherwise hard to reach areas has now become possible.”

For Martin, his favourite has to be the Toro Pro-Pass 200 top dresser: “In my option it is the best of all the machinery. It spreads the sand evenly, and is manoeuvrable and fast, which means it has little or no effect on golfers and can be done more often.”

Primarily bought for the golf course, the equipment is also being used across the Estate, which as well the grounds, gardens and residential area, also includes seven hectares of horse paddocks, tennis courts, trail and walkways.

With the new fleet now firmly established in the Estate team’s daily routine, the golf course retains its status as the No 1 Parkland course in Ireland and continues to receive many accolades as it celebrates its 25-year anniversary this year.

Picture: Pat O’Reilly, right with Martin Lehane at Ireland’s beautiful Mount Juliet, where Toro equipment has “greatly enhanced presentation”