Ladybank Golf Club purchases Ventrac equipment

By Alistair May 23, 2024 08:36

Ladybank Golf Club, situated in wooded heathland 10 miles west of St Andrews in Fife, is the latest Scottish golf club to purchase Ventrac equipment to assist in the maintenance of their challenging heathland championship course.

Designed by Old Tom Morris, Ladybank is a rare beast; although situated in Fife, it’s not one of the famous links courses that dot the coast. It measures almost 6,800 yards from the championship tees, making great use of its heathland terrain and has changed little over the years. It requires the golfer to display real precision to hit the small and contoured greens.

Grant Frogley is the course manager and is responsible for a team of eight full-time greenkeepers, who maintain this beautiful and challenging course. During the winter of 2021-22, the club purchased an ex-demo Ventrac 4500 all-terrain compact tractor and two attachments to help maintain the course.

“I’m one of the many converts to the Ventrac compact tractor and attachments,” he said. “We had two rough mowers when I came in, each one for different areas of the course. We’re a relatively flat site in terms of elevation, but we do have quite a lot of subtle movement with some extreme hollows and bumps. The rough mowers weren’t the best at following contours, so we found ourselves doing a lot more hand work.

“I’d seen the Ventrac at a demonstration at Gwest and knew it would be the perfect piece of kit here; a versatile machine that could do more than one task. We got it in on demo and sure enough it flew round, coped with every contour out there, without a problem.

“We’ve got the Contour deck and the Tough Cut deck. We use the Tough deck a lot during the winter to clean up the woodlands and remove the gorse and broom. We basically cut everything that’s not on the maintained grass areas.

“We cut every blade of grass during the winter, so it’s very versatile and mobile for getting in amongst the trees. As I said previously, it’s very good at removing brash, gorse and broom.

“It came with a rear three-point linkage kit, which is brilliant. We bought a small sprayer with hand lance that hooks up on the back of it and we also have a terra rake, which we use a lot during winter projects, especially if we’ve got soil that just needs a tilth-up before we re-turf. It’s brilliant and such a light footprint, it just glides over the surface.

“The options are endless; we’ve demoed the stump grinder and blower. We’ve got a rear-mounted blower on a tractor, and perhaps it’s just my age, but I find looking out the back for a period of time is very uncomfortable. The seating position on the Ventrac is very comfortable and the out-front blower makes it much more user-friendly. We’ve had nothing in the way of breakdowns, servicing has been fine, one little repair on the deck and it’s hardly missed a beat.”

Grant began his career at Gleneagles in 1999, working under Peter Pattenden, and six years later went to New Zealand for a year, before returning to Gleneagles at a time when the renovations for the Ryder Cup were taking place, remodelling the PGA Centenary course. This led to construction work at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club near Dublin followed by a spell in Sweden constructing the PGA of Sweden National Golf Course near Malmo.

Returning to the UK, he was appointed deputy course manager at Gwest, where a new championship course was being built next door to Gleneagles. Gwest never materialised into the great golf course and property that it could have been, so he took up his first course manager’s job at The Roxburghe in the Scottish Borders.

Three and half years later he returned to Gwest as course manager, with a commitment from the owners that it would be completed. Covid struck and, and unfortunately, progress with the development stalled, so in 2021 he applied for, and was successful in securing, the vacant course manager’s position at Ladybank.


By Alistair May 23, 2024 08:36

Follow us on social media

Join Our Mailing List

Advertise with Greenkeeping

For editorial enquiries in the magazine or online, contact:

For advertising enquiries in the magazine or online, contact: