Meet the Course Manager - Gary McCandless

Grillo FD 2200TS

Meet the Course Manager - Gary McCandless

Can you give a brief description of your background and how you came to work at the club?

I started as an apprentice at Linlithgow Golf Club, then moving to Aberfoyle as first assistant, then to Balfron as the head greenkeeper where I built ten new holes. I then moved to work for Scottish Grass in sales for around 18 years. After my sales job, I then worked 18 months for a contractor, before landing at my job at Falkirk Tryst as head greenkeeper, where I have been for the past seven years.

 

What is the biggest challenge you and your team face when maintaining the course?

The biggest challenge over the past few years has been staff. I’m sure many will agree with me that it is an industry-wide problem. Trying to retain staff and recruit new staff has been an issue for a while now. In an ideal world we would all like to train up young guys and see their careers grow, but the reality is that there aren’t enough new people coming into the industry. As for the course itself, we have an issue with drought. The course isn’t a links course but sometimes feels like it, as if you dig down its just pure sand. This is ideal in winter as it stays nice and dry, but during summer we tend to get drought and burnt areas, hence why we are now upgrading our irrigation system.

 

What projects have you got going on at the moment?

We have a three-year plan in place for upgrading our irrigation system, as it is over 30 years old and in need of an upgrade to help us during times of drought. We are also keeping on top of our bunker maintenance, we have close to 50 bunkers and each year we go around renovating a few at a time, making sure that they always look healthy.

 

Any projects or goals for the future?

I have recently taken the decision to leave Falkirk Tryst Golf Club, to work at Allgrass, where I will help develop their golf contracting business. Leaving Falkirk Tryst was not an easy decision to make, I’ve had a great few years as head greenkeeper here with many fond memories. I feel I’m at the right point in my life for a career change, so I’m excited to get back into a sales role at Allgrass.

 

When looking for a machine, what made you want to purchase the Grillo FD 2200TS?

I received a demo and straight away within 10 minutes I could see it was a great machine. The quality of the collection unit, the cleanness of the cut, it was an instant hit for me to be honest. We looked at other machines and nothing compared to the Grillo.

 

How have you found the use of the Grillo, what sort of jobs would it be used for?

We purchased the Grillo for the purpose of our long grass policy along with the collection of leaves. The man hours that the Grillo has saved us from blowing leaves and collecting them as a team has been massive. It’s quick and leaves a clean finish, meaning one man can operate the Grillo and the rest of my team can go and get on with other jobs. Just for comparison we had an area that would take six hours with five men. One man on the tractor with five men blowing leaves, whereas now we have one man doing the same job in an hour and a half. This means less machines in operation, less noise, fuel saving, less time out of my teams day. So many benefits.

 

Would you recommend the purchase of the Grillo FD 2200TS to others?

Absolutely, I’ve recommended the Grillo to a few fellow greenkeepers and they have all thanked me for it. As I said, I’ve seen others on the market but the Grillo is just fantastic.

 

Grillo FD 2200TS

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