Profihopper cleans out Pollok Golf Club

ProfiHopper

Founded in 1892, Pollok Golf Club which is situated on the outskirts of Glasgow, has earned an International reputation of being one of the best manicured and maintained inland courses in Scotland. However, after a few difficult autumns, where wet weather and the onset of an early winter had hampered scarifying operations, head greenkeeper Duncan MacLeod had to look at solutions other than a conventional major ‘rake out’ once a year. ‘We decided that we would adopt a policy of little and often throughout the summer and do three or four passes with a scarifyer/collector instead’.

Looking around at the market, the machine selected was the Amazone Profihopper which gave them the ability to simultaneously scarify and collect. The machine arrived in September 2012 and was put straight to work on the fairways ‘What we have found is that the multiple passes we have made this summer with the Profihopper has reduced the amount of lateral growth on the fairways resulting in a much smoother playing surface’ comments Mr. Macleod. The 1.25m width deck is narrow enough to ensure that the contour following is still good as the rear roller, which is located tight behind the horizontal Exact cutting rotor, supports the scarifying knives over the humps and hollows. ‘We have been running the 2mm thick scarifying knives which leave an excellent clean cut, raking out any thatch as well as fetching up those side shoots and flower stalks. Although on a mound we see a more intensive scarification, we haven’t noticed any scalping’ explains Mr. MacLeod. The Profihopper, with its high-lift emptying system, works as a team with a lightweight 4 tonne tipping trailer. When full, the Profihopper tips the hopper contents over the side wall of the trailer, with the trailer taking around 4 or 5 fills before going off to the composting area to be emptied. The trailer is then back on site before the next hopper full is reached. ‘We use the composted material to feed back to the soil at the turf nursery but, and as with every business, we have a winter project, which in our case is a desire to extend and improve the composting area to make better use of what should be a valuable commodity for top dressing as well’.

Having started on the fairways and seen the excellent quality of the job done there, the use of the Profihopper has now been extended for use on both the green’s approaches and the tees; with the long term aim this autumn being also to scarify the greens. ‘We have seen an improvement in the playing surface wherever we have taken the Profihopper with a more consistent growth being promoted by the cutting and scarifying system as well as the easy removal of the cut material’ Mr. MacLeod goes on to clarify.

Rough management is an added bonus
As with any new toy, after the initial reason for the purchase has been satisfied, one starts to look at other applications for the machine. Rough management is an increasingly discussed topic as constant topping of the rough without collection results in more and more mulch being added back to the soil - increasing the nutrient value - which, in turn, creates more and more regrowth. This cycle is then difficult to break. ‘We have been looking at tackling the first 5 metres or so of our deep rough to reduce the bulk of grass there. By using the Profihopper we have opened up the bottom of the sward so that members can find their ball yet we have created the ideal conditions to promote those tall wispy varieties, such as the fescues, which ensure that a visit to the rough is still a potential shot dropped, but removing the thicker unwanted grasses such as the Ryes and the Yorkshire fogs. We have still been using the scarifying knives in the rough as well to pull out the dead growth right in the bottom’ comments Mr. Macleod.

However, with a view to taking the top growth off at the same time as scarifying, Pollok Golf Club are just looking into equipping the rotor with a combination of short wing blades and the scarifying knives. This will leave a longer cut length without compromising the scarifying quality. The changeover from scarifying to mowing and vice versa takes just a couple of minutes with the blades being changed without any tools via the unique Amazone blade hanger system.

The other beauty of the Profihopper is the PowerCompactor cutting deck with its horizontal flail rotor and associated auger collection system. The rotating flails chop up the cuttings into shorter lengths making sure that nothing can wrap around the rotor and then throws them into the cross auger behind. The cross auger transports the cut material into the centre where another vertical auger conveys them up into the hopper. This constant augering action means that the clippings are compacted by the time they are deposited in the hopper so that they take up less space.

Leaf collection built in
The Profihopper is the perfect all-rounder as it just as happy on leaf collection duties and, as autumn draws near, Pollok’s 04 series Profihopper will be out collecting leaves, both around the course, in the car park and on the drive.

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