• Shaun Bateman

New fleet from Smith Power keeps standards high at Glendower


Glendower has taken delivery of a range of turf maintenance equipment from its preferred supplier, SPE

As part of its 10-year plan to annually renew its fleet, Glendower has taken delivery of a range of turf maintenance equipment from its preferred supplier, Smith Power Equipment. The new fleet will help keep standards high at one of South Africa’s premier golf club.

With a proud history dating back to 1937, Glendower today remains one of the premier golf courses in South Africa. The exquisitely designed parkland golf course has been ranked by Golf Digest among the top 10 courses in South Africa. Despite it being one of the most challenging golf courses, Glendower remains every professional’s dream course to play on.

Testimony to its world-class standards, the golf club has played host to several major tournaments throughout its history. In 1939, only two years after its establishment, the club hosted its first major tournament, the Transvaal Open Championship. The club went on to host eight South African Open Championships – most recently for five years running from 2013 to 2018.


Central to the top conditions at the club is the Head Greenkeeper Mike Burnard and his team of twenty-three. Burnard – a doyen in the greenkeeping industry with 30 years’ experience – has been with Glendower for the past 10 years. He has brought in a wealth of experience, and results are there for all to see. When he joined some 10 years ago, the club moved from being rated number 12 to number 2 in the 2018/19 Golf Digest SA rankings.


Greenkeeping at Glendower is, however, not an easy feat. The parkland course – which boasts kikuyu fairways with 64 bunkers, 27 on the front nine and 37 on the back nine with water hazards on 11 of the 18 holes – is built on a 72ha area. A very small portion of that is covered by a plantation of trees and the rest of the area is manicured.


“Housekeeping is very important for us. A lot of golf courses have gone away with that approach and only mow their fairways and rough while allowing everything else to grow naturally. We believe in the ‘old school’ approach in keeping the whole area manicured” says Burnard.


Keeping a 72ha golf course manicured and mowed all the time is no easy task. To get the required precision and efficiency, Burnard does not leave anything to chance when it comes to the selection of his fleet of equipment and its good maintenance. For this reason, he has put his faith in the capabilities of the Toro brand and trusts the local supplier, Smith Power Equipment.

New fleet

As part of a stringent 10-year fleet replacement programme – which sees Glendower selectively replace its turf maintenance equipment every year – the golf club has taken delivery of a 10-unit fleet of equipment from Smith Power.

The fleet comprises of three Toro Greenmaster GR1000 walk-behind greensmowers; a Greenmaster 3250 Triplex diesel greensmower; a Toro Reelmaster 5510 5-Plex diesel fairway mower; a Toro Multipro 1750 spray vehicle with 662-litre tank, boom and foam marker; a Redexim Vertidrain model 1513 deep aerator; as well as three Toro Workman MDX transport vehicles.


“Within the capex plan we replace the required equipment based on hours on the clock on an annual basis,” explains Burnard. He adds that the whole fleet is Toro, with the exception of three utility vehicles on site.

Why Toro and Smith Power

Explaining the reasons behind his preference for Smith Power Equipment as a supplier of choice, Burnard says there isn’t much difference in terms of the spec of premium turf maintenance equipment brands available in the market, but a major influencer in the buying decision is the difference in after sales support.


“We find that there is a big gap between services offered by Smith Power Equipment and other suppliers in the market,” he says. “Greenkeeping is all about equipment availability. Therefore, backup support is very crucial for us. We do find that Smith Power is a cut above the rest when it comes to backup service, and that explains why they are largely the preferred supplier for many of the golf clubs in the country.”


Having previously dealt with some of the competitor suppliers in his previous roles, Burnard found Smith Power’s spare parts availability and supply to be a key differentiator. “They keep a large stock of parts and are always able to supply us with the necessary parts in time as uptime is critically important for every greenkeeper. Many clubs do not have spare machines allowing us to wait for a part to arrive from abroad,” he says.


Burnard also believes that it is important to have a good working relationship between customer and supplier and is proud to say he has been dealing with Stephen Mangold, National Sales Manager – Toro at Smith Power Equipment, throughout his 30-year career. “In my view, Stephen has set the pace, way ahead of anyone else and it’s all due to his experience in this industry. Stephen understands what greenkeepers value most from their equipment supplier. For these reasons, we remain a loyal Toro user,” concludes Burnard.

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