Royal Belfast goes remote control


Royal Belfast goes remote control
Sean Dudley

Ireland’s oldest golf club, Royal Belfast, is using some very modern equipment to maintain its course.

The club, founded in 1881, is using a remote controlled Spider II mower produced by Ransomes Jacobsen to cut steep banks and slopes. 

With the introduction of more rigorous health and safety standards, course manager Jim Eager, had to find alternatives for mowing the steep banks that frame the lawn in front of the clubhouse. Previously these were maintained with hover mowers, but this practice is now forbidden.

Eager said: “From the clubhouse members have an unspoilt view across the lawn to the Lough and the distant Antrim hills beyond. When we were unable to maintain the banks to the normal high standards we were under pressure to find an immediate solution.” he said.

Principal machine operator Paul Raphel said: “Since we bought the Spider we have found other tasks for it, so it is becoming more versatile, and not the specialist piece of equipment we originally purchased. It’s particularly good on wet ground, which is good considering the climate here. We have a steep bank around our seventeenth tee so we use it to maintain this awkward area, as well as trimming some bunker edges.”

The club has moved twice since 1881 and the current course was constructed in 1925 to a design by Harry Colt.