Real Club de Golf Las Brisas at Marbella in Spain is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, as well as its first full golf course maintenance equipment fleet deal with John Deere and local dealer Agronimer.
Arranged through David Fernandez, the head of Agronimer’s golf division, the new fleet has been acquired in a five-year John Deere Financial agreement worth one million euros, and is supported by full PowerGard maintenance cover. Machinery includes tees, fairway, greens and rough mowers, both compact and larger utility tractors, Gator utility vehicles, sprayers and bunker rakes. The latest E-Cut hybrid electric models now make up 100 per cent of the club’s ride-on greens and fairway mower fleet.
Originally created by Robert Trent Jones Sr and more recently redesigned by Kyle Phillips, the 18-hole course is currently ranked #6 in Spain and #37 in continental Europe’s top 100 courses for 2018. It is notable for its raised greens, numerous bunkers and water hazards, as well as the botanical garden style landscaping that features many rare species of plants and trees from all over the world.
Las Brisas general manager Paul Muñoz and course manager Rafael González-Carrascosa head up a team of 24 greenkeeping and workshop staff. They have overseen an ambitious five-year multi-million euro project to redesign and renovate the course, which was necessary because the original design had begun to show its age.
“We felt that a complete remodelling of the golf course was required, but we needed to get the members to agree the necessary investment,” says Paul Muñoz. “A first phase was approved to renovate some aspects of the front nine back in 2012, and it was then that the project gained credibility and members felt that further investment was necessary.
“The final phase of works on the back nine holes was completed in 2015 but then had to be redone after severe flooding in 2016 caused widespread damage, and the course had to be closed for three months. However, once the membership saw what could be achieved they very quickly moved to have the whole course upgraded, and the final three holes were finished last summer.
“Everything has been addressed, from improving the grasses, bunkers, tees and greens to the drainage and irrigation system, as well as relocating several holes to create a better flow of play – even down to redesigning and rerouting the cart paths to make the initial visitor experience more pleasant.
“As a disciple of Robert Trent Jones Sr, Kyle Phillips fully understands his design philosophy, so he was the natural choice of architect for the new design, which is now cleaner, more open and natural. He has maintained the essence of the old course, but brought it more up to date, so it’s a better experience for the golfer. When you play the course now it feels like it’s been here for years, and you realise what a great job he’s done.”
Rafael González-Carrascosa adds: “This new agreement with John Deere and Agronimer includes not only the purchase of all the equipment necessary to keep our course in perfect condition, but also continuous training programmes for the operators and mechanics, customised parts management and tournament support when required.
“One of the key factors in choosing John Deere was that we only had to deal with one supplier, one brand and one dealer offering the right finance deal, so it made things easier all round. The John Deere range is comprehensive and offers good quality engineering as well as reliable dealer service and support.
“We’re very happy with the hybrid electric mowers, particularly the 8000E fairway machines, which were chosen for their quality of cut and light weight. The Gators and tractors are really good machines too, so we’re confident we’ve made an excellent choice. Most importantly, the members are really happy with the improvements we’ve made and the way the course now plays.”
Drone video footage of the new John Deere fleet line-up can be found on the Real Club de Golf Las Brisas website and on YouTube at the following links: http://elrincondelgreenkeeper.blogspot.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xE-zllldZQ&feature=youtu.be.