Arguably, one of the most beautiful settings for a championship golf course, The Manor House Hotel and Golf Club in deepest rural Wiltshire has a thriving private and corporate membership, with mainly ‘stay and play’ guests adding to the mix. It’s part of the ‘Exclusive’ group of luxury hotels and venues and sets very high standards for a year-round playing facility that exudes quality in everything it offers its clientele. It’s privately owned, situated on 365 acres of wooded terrain, close to the picturesque village of Castle Combe, and is a relatively young golf course as it was only established in 1994.
Course Manager, Robert Preston heads-up a team of two full-time gardeners who maintain all the garden facilities around the hotel grounds, plus a team of seven greenkeepers keeping the 18 hole course in tip-top condition. “I work with a great team of professional greenkeepers and groundsmen,” commented Robert Preston, “the dedication they give through the many challenging and busy schedules we experience, is the reason we have such well-kept facilities. In addition, we have the freedom to choose what we consider to be the best equipment for the task and when I first came here, we would have a mix of brands, but today, virtually everything we use is John Deere.”
Since Robert took on the Course Manager role in 2015, annual rounds have increased year-on-year and membership still has a waiting list in place for 7 Day categories. Recent investment in new machinery has included a new John Deere Progator 6x4, a John Deere 2500E Precision Mower, John Deere HPX815 Gator and a John Deere 3045R Compact Tractor - which all join the existing fleet of John Deere machines at the facility.
“When I first took on the course manager role,” added Robert, “I wanted everything to be as efficient and as cost-effective as possible, so we got three quotes for everything we were considering acquiring, plus we analysed the cost of replacement parts and servicing and cost of ownership. We had used John Deere before and they had given excellent after-sales service, so that was a major part of our decision-making process. Over the past three years, the package and the support we have received from TAG, has been exceptional. Bob Culverhouse and his team are almost like an extension of our own team and therefore everything just seems to work perfectly. We have our own on-site maintenance facilities that help us maintain a tight ship. Everything is kept in a clean, reliable and highly presentable condition, reflecting the pride we have in everything we do. If we do need an urgent part or call-out at any time, TAG are always there at the drop-of-a-hat and nothing is too much trouble. They are second-to-none!”
Probably one of the best measures of any commercial facility is the customer feedback. Said Robert, “If we don’t do our job properly, we expect to hear about it from our membership. But we have some great members here and they are just as quick to tell us that they think the course is the best it has ever been. It is music to our ears, but we are always looking at ways to improve what we have to offer. It’s somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle that when all the right pieces are placed in their right positions, the picture is perfect. That’s how we feel in working with TAG, John Deere and our entire team of groundsmen and greenkeepers. Perfect!” he concluded
The Manor House Hotel Golf Club team (L-R):
Tony Simmons - GreenKeeper
Robert Preston - Course Manager
Mark Bolton - Deputy Course Manager
Charlie Gaisford - Head Mechanic
Johnny Capp - GreenKeeper