Scotland's newest golf course, Dumbarnie Links on the south coast of Fife, officially opened for play at the end of May. This was just a couple of weeks later than originally planned due to government imposed restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic. The vision was to provide a first class, true links style golf experience of international quality for all to enjoy, so the course is being operated as a pay-and-play facility, with no members being contemplated.
Designed by former Walker Cup and Ryder Cup player Clive Clark, Dumbarnie Links has a mile and a half of sea frontage with panoramic views over the Firth of Forth. The design features a number of elevated tees where holes play directly towards panoramic views of the sea, and a number of the tees and greens are also close to the water.
US-based OB Sports Golf Management (Dumbarnie’s operating/management company) and John Deere dealer Sandy Armit of Double A first signed a partnership deal in 2018 for the supply of grow-in and maintenance equipment for the golf course construction project and beyond. The new machines have been bought using a mix of John Deere Financial operating and finance lease options, including three-year PowerGard cover with full maintenance.
Sandy Armit of Double A says: “We were very excited to be involved with this project from the very beginning, and since the initial supply of John Deere equipment on loan we have been phasing in a full fleet of course maintenance equipment over the past two years.”
(Front left to right) John Deere territory manager Joanne Gregory, dealer Double A golf specialist John Bateson, Dumbarnie Links mechanic Jamie Christie, deputy course manager Era van Zyl and course manager Grahame Taylor, John Deere turf strategic account manager Richard Charleton, Double A dealer principal Sandy Armit and (rear) greenkeeping staff with a selection of the new John Deere machines on the links overlooking the Firth of Forth.
Dumbarnie Links course manager Grahame Taylor grew up in Leven and came to Dumbarnie from the Old Course at nearby St Andrews. “The golf course construction work took just six months to complete, which was very quick for a project of this size and importance,” he says.
“We originally had several John Deere 220E walk-behind greens mowers on loan for a couple of weeks after sowing the greens in summer 2018, when we were lucky enough to have perfect growing conditions. Double A’s golf specialist John Bateson then supplied two 8000 Series fairway mowers and half a dozen Gator utility vehicles, plus a bunker rake and a 2653A utility triplex mower.
“We kept most of the loan equipment until the new machines started arriving this year. This gave us a good opportunity to carry out quite a few trials with different machines to see exactly what we needed and what worked best for our conditions. For example, with a 345-acre property and the need to stay in front of play, we had to decide how many fairway mowers would be required because of the travelling times around the course, and we ended up with three 7500A E-Cut hybrid electric machines .
“The dealership was very accommodating and helpful all the way through this process – nothing has been too much trouble for John Bateson. He’s always answered all our questions promptly and found solutions to any problems, it’s truly been service with a smile and a great partnership.
“We’ve also had three new 2750E hybrid electric triplex mowers this year, and we’re very happy with them. Our team really love using this machine – they’re comfortable to operate, follow the course contours really well and the grass collection is much improved. I also like the functionality of the mowers’ TechControl system, which allows you to set the required speeds and clip frequency to achieve consistent and repeatable results across the course, regardless of who’s operating the machine.
“We’re now in the process of completing the clubhouse, road access and car parking, but despite these disruptions we’ve been incredibly busy since we first opened for play. The course is looking fantastic, and we’re all absolutely delighted with the way things have gone. Thank you to everyone who has played and supported us during our opening season.”