Fortwilliam course manager, Jason Podris, has hailed the Dakota 420 from Campey Turf Care Systems, supplied through local dealer Johnston Gilpin & Co.Ltd as the perfect spreader for the club as they begin their course development plan.
The course that measures at approximately 6,000 yards sits in an area of natural beauty within the suburbs of North Belfast it offers stunning views and a challenge to golfers, with narrow tree-lined fairways and fast-difficult to read greens.
Jason was born in upstate New York where he learnt his trade and began working at Fortwilliam Golf Club in 2012. He recently put a course development plan together for the progressive private members club. Bunker redevelopment and fairway drainage being the two main focus areas.
In order to implement the course development plan Jason looked for a versatile spreader. It needed to work quickly and effectively on both projects and help take the load off of his four full-time greenkeepers and three seasonal staff. The Dakota 420 operates at speed and with the side conveyor it can fill bunkers and drain lines quickly, making the Dakota 420 an easy choice for Jason.
The machine has worked on the drainage around three of the greens surrounds and on the remodelling of the bunker on the 10th hole as well. Previously, Jason would have needed three or four men who would be tired after half a day of shovelling stone or sand into a bunker or into drain lines. Now, they were able to do the job three or four times faster than if they were using manual labour.
He said: “It’s a tremendous piece of equipment and probably one of the most versatile machines that I’ve used in all of my 23 years green keeping. I needed a spreader that would allow us to complete our bunker and drainage project on time and on budget. The impact the Dakota 420 has had on reducing our labour costs has been fantastic. This allowed us to focus on the course maintenance and with such a small team that is really important.”
There are a number of features on the Dakota 420 that contributed to labour saving and a high-quality spread. The machine can handle both wet and dry material that allows both light and heavy dressing, with the vehicle-mounted control panel offering easy to operate calibration of the dual spinner discharge system.
The spreader is also easy to learn and operate. After some short instruction from Campey area manager for Ireland, Brian O’Shaughnessy, Jason was able to get familiar with the machine before training the rest of his team.