The steep slopes above the Atlantic Ocean at the Old Head course in Kinsale, Ireland, are now being maintained by a robot mower.
The course is using a Ransomes Spider remote controlled mower, designed specifically for steep banks and slopes, to deal with the sloping fairways, which in some cases abut the 90 metre cliffs.
Course superintendent Neil Deasy said: “Productivity, playability and health and safety were the prime drivers behind the purchase of the Spider. The second fairway is a typical example of what we have to contend with in terms of slopes. The semi-rough areas to the sides of the fairway are 40 degrees plus in some places with rescue areas below for wayward drives. This sloping semi-rough used to take two of the team a day and a half to trim with strimmers; with the Spider it takes just one and a half hours! By mowing regularly we can manage the grass, keeping it at 50mm, to ensure that any wayward balls can be found more easily and the speed of play kept to a sensible level. We’ve reduced the time devoted to maintaining these areas from a week to a single day of man hours.”
The Spider at Old Head has been fitted with the optional lower height of cut kit, which reduces the cut to 50mm. It also a features a winch as standard; the machine can be ground anchored and, with the winch assisting, can tackle slopes up to 55 degrees. It has four rotary blades which give a cutting width of 1.23 metres and has four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering as standard.