Ventrac has launched two new attachments for their 4520 all-terrain compact tractor to help turf managers with the important task of seedbed preparation.
The first is the DC520 Soil Cultivator which prepares bare soil by cultivating a soft and uniform seedbed for the best possible direct-seeding results. This attachment reconditions hard, compacted soil into a fine surface for more successful and consistent germination rates.
The Soil Cultivator consists of four main components that work simultaneously to process high volumes of soil and provide the ultimate seedbed. Cultivator Tines pulverize the soil and separate the debris, then Separator Tines sift and bury rock and other large debris below the prep surface. The Distribution Blade carries the sifted soil and distributes it evenly across the working surface before the Perforated Roller creates a pocketed surface for seed and presses small debris below the graded soil.
Complementing the Soil Cultivator is the EG520 Primary Seeder, which plants grass seed directly into bare soil with a consistent and accurate drop rate for perfect seed placement. With precise application adjustment and a removable calibration tray, easy adjustment for different grass seed types is possible.
The Primary Seeder features five main components for improved direct-seeding capability. The Calibration Tray is a built-in tray that catches material during the calibration process. The Front Packer Roller crushes the material to provide a smooth surface for the seed to drop. The Rear Packer Roller is an offset roller that places a fine layer of dirt over the seed.
The Seed Box has a 142-litre capacity to accommodate a significant amount of seed and the Precision Seed Funnels allow an accurate flow for a variety of turf seeds. This ground-driven application is consistent at variable speeds, and the offset cultipacker discs are designed to create optimal seed-to-soil contact. Finally, the 142-litre hopper capacity provides the efficiency expected from Ventrac attachments.
Rupert Price, managing director of Price Turfcare, the UK and Ireland distributor for Ventrac said,
“We know that Ventrac is the most versatile groundscare maintenance system available to turf professionals in the UK. These latest attachments add to the extensive range of front-mounted implements, providing yet more versatility for the owners of a Ventrac compact tractor.“
Adam Smith, the Head of Grounds and Gardens at Bishop’s Stortford College, has been delighted with the higher level of presentation and the work-hour savings, following the purchase of a Ventrac 4500 all-terrain compact tractor. Supplied through local groundscare dealer, Upsons Mowers, the package initially included a 72-inch rotary mowing deck. Subsequently the College has added a Power Brush attachment.
Adam’s career in the industry has included numerous different roles – first as a mechanical technician with a European groundscare contractor, then as a product demonstrator followed by a sales role with a large regional UK dealer, and a further sales role for Toro in Brisbane. On returning to the UK, he gained more sales experience with a John Deere dealer before a career switch to groundsmanship at nearby Haileybury Imperial College, before joining the Bishop’s Stortford team two years ago.
“Without a doubt the Ventrac has enhanced the overall appearance of our large grassed areas and its ability to mow on 40-degree slopes has cut out hundreds of hours of brush-cutting for the team” he said. “There are only four of us, so every hour is vital. Strimming is such a time-consuming job, but we have now freed up hours that can spent on other important tasks around the facility. It has been a gamechanger.”
“We have some serious banks across the 130 acres and I was looking for a machine that would save us from the hours of brush-cutting. Upsons suggested the Ventrac and, at first, I wasn’t too sure; to be honest it looked a bit ‘Mickey Mouse’, but once we’d had it demo-ed we were immediately won over. Andy Richards came over from Haileybury for the demo and he has bought one as well. We have a good working relationship and, on occasions, lend each other attachments. It’s simple with the Ventrac linkage system, there’s no complicated set up, you just drive out of one and drive in to the next.
“Before the Ventrac we were using a 50hp tractor with a rear-mounted roller mower, but it was so cumbersome with limited maneuverability in tight spaces. We have several outdoor teaching spaces, such as the arboretum, and getting around the trees and outdoor furniture was a major problem. The Ventrac alleviated this immediately as it has a centre-pivot steering system and can turn tightly. Again, this saves many workhours and is much more efficient.
“This has become our front-line machine; its low ground pressure means we can go out at any time, even in some of the very wet areas and you feel really safe on the banks, it’s a machine you can trust. We have a natural spring that rises near our Pre-Prep School and we can’t usually get in there before late May, but with the Ventrac we cut it in February.
“The weight transfer system works well and by turning it down, the striping effect when using the roller deck is excellent. I particularly like the rear three-point linkage. We can hitch up our Sisis brush units and use the Ventrac as the tow vehicle on our synthetic surfaces. It has such a light footprint, much better than a utility vehicle and we can also brush in stripes on our natural surfaces, if required. We also have a ball hitch, so we can attach equipment such as our water bowser or trailers. Its versatility is endless.”
Over the past couple of years, the True Fit Golf Centre at Cuerdley near Warrington has purchased two Ventrac all-terrain compact tractors and a selection of attachments to maintain the 18-hole Fiddlers Ferry golf course and 22-bay driving range. All of the equipment was purchased through their local dealer, Cheshire Turf Machinery.
The True Fit Golf Centre was originally formed in 1985 as a golf club assembly business by engineer Mark Overton, before he added a 9-hole golf course, which quickly turned into 18-holes of golf when a local farmer sold him some adjoining land.
The small course maintenance team were using an eclectic mix of mowing equipment before the engineer in Mark Overton decided there must be a more cost-effect way to manage the 5,500-yard course.
“I followed Ventrac on YouTube long before I decided to have a demo, as it appealed to my engineering instincts”, he said. “I liked the fact that you have a single power unit and multiple attachments to do various jobs around the course. We purchased our first unit back in 2020 and it quickly became apparent that we needed another one. We were considering the purchase of a new fairway mower from a major brand, but for the £80,000 purchase price we can have a Ventrac with a selection of attachments that do more than just on task. It just made sound commercial sense.”
Greenkeeper Ian Millington using the Triple Reel mowing attachment. True Fit are one of the first organisations to adopt the reel attachment and says it cuts as well, if not better, than major competitor brands
Ian Millington is the principal operator of the machine and said,
“We have the two tractor units and added more attachments over time, so we now have a Contour deck, which we set at 35mm for the semi-rough and the triple Reel mower, which is set at 14mm for the fairways. This unit cuts as well, if not better, than some of the major brands. The Tough Cut deck is used on overgrown areas, and the Trencher is used for creating drainage bands, as we are situated very close to the river Mersey and it can be wet at times. Our final attachment is the Power Rake which we use for reinstating gravel pathways or preparing new areas when we need to break up the soil. It really has added to the overall presentation and playability of the course; even the golfers have made favourable comments!”
Mark Overton added, “We are a Pay-and-Play course with many regulars using our seasonal pass, creating a membership feel. All greens and tees have been built to USGA specifications and it has been designed to suit all levels of golfer from the beginner right through to the regular enthusiast. We’re not a long course by any calculation, but the Ventrac is the ideal solution for cost-effective course maintenance.
“Covering over 120 acres, the course has many water features and can be quite wet due to our proximity to the river as Ian alluded to earlier. Now, with the Trencher, we have the flexibility to install drainage when we want to and are not reliant on contractors. And we can get the machine out when it’s wet due to its incredibly low ground pressure. It’s robust, very well built and, as we have proved, it’s not just a machine for high-end clubs. Yes, we definitely like it.”
Price Turfcare, the UK and Ireland distributor of the Ventrac multi-implement, all-terrain compact tractor, returned from a successful BTME with an additional accolade after being named European Distributor of the Year and receiving Ventrac’s Platinum Award for Sales Achievement.
Commenting after presenting the award, Tyler Dickie, Ventrac’s International Sales Manager said,
“The effort that Rupert Price and his small team put into generating new business in the UK and Ireland is phenomenal. Since the formation of the business just 6 years ago, they have seen year-on-year increases in sales and they are our flagship European dealer. If I could clone their business model I would, but I also know that their success is down to the incredible drive and determination from the top downwards. They thoroughly deserve this recognition.”
Also visiting from Ventrac’s headquarters in Ohio, USA was Isaac Roth, the company’s Marketing Director.
“The Price Turfcare team did a fantastic job of producing an eye-catching stand at BTME and an innovative way of presenting our unique products,” he said. “They also organised a product review seminar with leading landscape and golf course professionals to help us understand the different environmental conditions and the requirement for specialist equipment here in Europe.
“Price Turfcare is a case study in how to launch a brand. Just six years ago our products were unknown in the UK, but with a defined marketing strategy, dedication and hard work Ventrac is now a recognised, established and respected brand over here. It has been a fantastic visit and I have learned so much in a short timespan.”
The Mere Golf Resort & Spa in Knutsford, Cheshire, has joined an ever-burgeoning list of sports and leisure organisations that have purchased a Ventrac all-terrain compact tractor and selection of attachments. Supplied by local dealer, Cheshire Turf Machinery, the attachments include a Contour deck, a Stump grinder and Turbine blower.
The 18-hole, 6,882 -yard, par-71 course at The Mere was designed by James Braid, and created out of 150 acres of Cheshire parkland in 1934. Today, the Championship course holds the reputation as one of the best maintained and highest quality golf courses in the North of England.
John Quinn, a native of Donegal in Ireland, has been the Course Manager for the past 4 years, after joining the prestigious resort’s greenkeeping team seven years ago. He leads a team of 10 comprising of 8 greenkeepers and two full-time gardeners.
Commenting on the Ventrac he said,
“We are a destination resort and we pride ourselves with the visual appearance of the property and the immaculate presentation of the golf course. This Ventrac is probably the best innovation in course maintenance in the past 20 years. It will go almost anywhere and its versatility is unparalleled. It’s great in wet areas and ticks all the boxes from a health and safety point of view.
“What other machine allows you to switch out a mowing deck and attach a stump grinder, then switch again to blowing leaves? It’s an adaptable piece of equipment with an ingenious coupling system that lets you change implements in just about a minute. The eight wheels gives it a low centre of gravity, which makes it very safe on slopes, especially around tee banks and bunker surrounds.
“It’s up there with the best machines I used. It’s just a case of getting to know its capability and getting the confidence to go where no other ride-on can go. It helps us to maintain difficult areas on a regular basis and has certainly enhanced the presentation of the course.”
John Quinn began his career at his local course in Portnoo, with an initial six-week placement that lasted four years. To further his career, he spent two years in full-time education at Elmwood college achieving an HNC and HND in golf course management as well as work placements in Sweden. He then joined Linden Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa in Northumberland and three years later migrated south to take up the position of deputy head greenkeeper at Caversham Heath near Reading. Five years on, he then moved to Davenport Golf Club in Cheshire, before taking up his latest position in 2015.