Meet the head greenkeeper: Alex Lowes

Alistair
By Alistair May 10, 2022 10:19

The head greenkeeper at North Manchester Golf Club talks about his career and the machinery he uses on an undulating course with a vast amount of semi-rough.

What was your career path to becoming head greenkeeper at North Manchester?

I started at North Manchester Golf Club (NMGC) as an apprentice at the age of 17 under Martin Finney. I was very fortunate to have a great teacher who pushed me to reach my full potential. Out of a team of five, three of us went on to become head greenkeepers, so it’s safe to say I was lucky enough to learn from some of the best. When Martin left I took on his role and have been doing it for the last seven years.

What I enjoy most about my job is the challenge. We currently operate just shy of 200 acres with four fully trained greenkeepers and an apprentice. We can’t afford to get sloppy and we have to stay focused and on the ball every single day. The biggest challenge at NMGC is the poor climate during the winter period. The amount of rainfall we get is unbelievable, so trying to complete projects and improvements during the winter is really difficult. However, we are becoming experts at dealing with such poor conditions and we are managing to improve the course each year.

The club invested in a Lastec mower recently. Which model did you choose and why did you select this particular piece of equipment?

We have always used Lastec semi-rough mowers at NMGC. The course is very undulating with a vast amount of semi-rough. When it was time to renew our old Lastec mower I did look at all other options such as the ride on style mowers, but there was no better mower suited to our golf course than the Lastec XR700. The other factors we had to consider were the down time as this machine is used three days straight every week. It’s very simple to replace parts, which are also a lot cheaper to purchase than your typical ride on mower.

Is the Lastec easy to use, what areas are you using it on and what results are you seeing?

The mower is very easy to use as it’s a pull behind mower. We cut all our semi-rough with it. There are seven small decks that ride perfectly over the undulating landscape so every blade of grass is cut to the same height. The grass clippings are ejected from the rear and dispersed evenly leaving no mess.

What are your key priorities for the next few months?

The biggest priority over the next few months is to have a successful hollow coring operation on the greens. The temperature is still a little cool in the north of Manchester so we need to encourage a bit of growth in some areas. We are currently in a really good position so I’m not too worried about how the season will unfold.

What has been your proudest achievement in the job to date?

That’s a tough question. I think the proudest achievement is when members and visitors walk off the course raving about how well the course looks and plays. I mean that’s what we do this for right?

Alistair
By Alistair May 10, 2022 10:19

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