Our course manager Chris has recently returned from a few days in Germany visiting one of the John Deere factories.
Although the majority of the equipment we use on the golf course is manufactured in the USA the principles and processes are the same at this agricultural tractor factory.
The factory visit was nothing short of staggering, a real insight into how these machines are put together. From start to finish it takes just 12 hours to build one and, if required, the factory workers can produce 240 in a single day which gives some idea of the demand for tractors worldwide.
The scale of the operation is hard to describe but you can see the attention to detail at every step.
In addition to seeing the machines being built there was also a visit to the European parts distribution centre. Here we were introduced to the procedures involved in guaranteeing that we the golf course receive any spare part we require by 9am the day after ordering. The centre is vast and stocks almost every conceivable part, the level of organisation is beyond belief but then it has to be with literally tens of thousands of different items stacked on shelves up to 17m tall.
There were also short seminars on John Deere as a company detailing how it began and how it grew into one of the largest brands in the world today.
We were also shown some of the new turf equipment both golf related and some for more commercial purposes.
The stars of the show though were the enormous agricultural machines.
Here Chris is standing next to a 900hp forage harvester which could make a useful rough mower in the future at Scotscraig. At a cost of around €640,000 however it might prove tricky to justify to Council…