Top international golfers Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin will be watching their teams tee-off on a world-class course thanks in part to a Kubota M8540 tractor.
Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales acquired the 85 hp tractor to help prepare its three world-class golf courses for the 2010 Ryder Cup, which will take place in October.
This is the first time that the Ryder Cup will be held in Wales and a central component of Wales’ successful bid was the Celtic Manor Resort’s commitment to build a brand new golf course to host the event.
To achieve this aim, the Resort’s 40 dedicated full time ground staff needed to undertake a considerable amount of heavy duty drainage and dressing work to develop an 18 hole course that would challenge the world’s leading golfers in match play conditions. With this in mind Jim McKenzie, Celtic Manor’s Director of Golf Courses, consulted his local Kubota dealer Ted Hopkins Ltd about what would be the right machine for the job.
"With high expectations of the course from top international players it was vitally important we had the right machinery for the job to be done," explained Jim. "We asked Chris Hopkins at Ted Hopkins Ltd to review our requirements and he recommended the M8540."
The M8540 is part of the Kubota M40 Series tractors range, which scooped a silver medal in the 2009 RASE machinery awards. The awards are given to those machines that have incorporated innovative new features and are found to be effective and reliable following rigorous examination of their performance assessed by commercial users. The M40 Series was deemed to deliver high productivity and low running costs.
The M8540 itself has been designed to offer unparalleled productivity and maneuverability. It is a powerful machine that features Kubota’s latest Tier III compliant, 4 cylinder C-CDIS (centre direct injection system) turbo charged engine, together with hydraulic shuttle. As a result, it offers a maximum speed of 40km/h. However, this power is also perfect for pulling at creep speed; with Autohitch and hydraulic trailer braking also fitted as standard.
Construction on the £16 million course began in 2004 and was completed in July 2007. During this time, Celtic Manor Resort used the M8540 to tow a Blec Sandmaster during the construction of all major drainage works and dress over 20 hectares.
The machine was also used to prepare, drain and top-dress the ground for the site of the hospitality village and move sand for the bunkers.
"Using the low six crawl gear when pulling and operating the Blec Sandmaster was no problem at all. What’s more, the M8540 was good for the course, because it has never left a mark on the ground, even when pulling as much as four tonnes of sand."
Whilst the Kubota M8540 is designed to be a workhorse, operator comfort has not been forgotten and it features a spacious operating platform, as well as air conditioning and heating as standard.
"The tractor has been used through the worst of the winter months, so it’s important that my operators have a degree of comfort for long working days and the Kubota has always provided this."
Since opening, the new par 71 course, which measures 7,493 yards in length, has won a reputation as one of the world’s must-play layouts and hosted the Celtic Manor Wales Open last year, which attracted big-name competitors like Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke.
"We are delighted that the course was completed on time and has received acclaim from world class players. There was a lot of heavy landscaping and drainage work needed to create it and the Kubota M8540 certainly made light work of it!" added Jim McKenzie.
Kubota provides a market-leading range of compact tractors and ride-on mowers, together with its class-leading RTV900 all-terrain utility vehicle, and is the global leader in the sub 50hp tractor sector.
Their machines have a legendary reputation for quality, performance, reliability, ease of operation and outstanding value-for-money and a national network of Kubota tractor and groundcare dealers, such as Ted Hopkins Ltd, provides the highest standards of advice and aftersales service.