The Bridgewater Case Study: How Toro Improved Their Business
“We went with Toro. I am happy. The crew is ecstatic to have new equipment, and our membership is thrilled over the quality of cut.”
Bridgewater Golf Club boasts their 27 holes of high quality golf at an affordable price. With two different but distinct golf courses, customers are guaranteed at an enjoyable day playing while admiring the beautiful scenery.
A Partial View
Jim Loupee realized that he wasn’t just facing the normal challenges of starting a new job when he accepted the job as superintendent of Bridgewater Golf Club in 2012. Prior to accepting the position, Jim had assessed the 10 year progression of Bridgewater this way: “They built the course, got it up and running and then were ready to see some return on their investment. So from an equipment standpoint, things were pretty stagnant for 10 years. Now they want to start putting money back into it.”
Originally the owners of Bridgewater asked their superintendent to provide them with an equipment needs analysis with a three year budget of $200,000.00 per year. Jim’s analysis came back with needs exceeding their three year budget.
The owners asked Jim to go back to the drawing board and produce a five year needs analysis. Now, Jim had to come up with a five year plan for a golf course that he had yet to even cut a single blade of grass. Jim, his assistant superintendent, and his chief mechanic collectively tackled the task.
The first step for Jim and his staff was to not only evaluate the condition of the current equipment, but also its performance and application. “Essentially, I wanted to determine if we were using the right equipment for the job.” There were two major findings from the equipment analysis:
- Bridgewater has an aging fleet. The majority of the equipment was original equipment, meaning it was 10+ years old.
- They didn’t necessarily have the right equipment for the application. This was especially evident around trees, sand traps and tees where tire tracks (and even ruts) were common.
After the extensive analysis, Jim put together a list of the equipment he felt he needed for his golf course. Next he called on vendors for pricing. He solicited pricing from John Deere (Bridgewater’s current vendor) and Kenney Machinery for pricing and specifications on Toro equipment.
Both vendors presented proposals for equipment that they felt best matched with Bridgewater’s needs. This resulted in both bid packages in excess of $600,000.00. Jim met with his owners and the owners gave approval to move forward with the purchase of equipment. But which new equipment – John Deere or Toro?
It was decision time.
From a Kenney Machinery/Toro perspective, Jim Loupee knew what the Toro equipment was capable of. He knew it would be a major improvement to the golf course. But again, if you were Bridgewater, why would you switch to the unknown at an even higher price? And if you were Jim Loupee (the new guy in town), why would you put your neck on the line for the Toro equipment? Jim replied, “I knew the Toro equipment, and I knew Mike Grimm (Kenney Machinery’s Account Manager.)”
Seeing the Bigger Picture
From day one, Bridgewater Golf Club was a “John Deere” course. Even their head mechanic had previous work experience with John Deere and knew the best places to get parts that might be needed for repair, like John Deere Industrial Solenoids. They weren’t accustomed to anything else. Add to it the fact that the “Toro” quote was approximately $40k higher than the John Deere quote, and it would seem to make this a “no-brainer.”
So why even consider Toro?
Jim said, “Well, while at my previous course (Morris Park – South Bend), we had predominately Jacobson equipment. Over time, I developed a relationship with Mike Grimm from Kenney Machinery. Eventually I started buying Toro equipment. Gradually we converted Morris Park over to Toro” Jim Explained.
Both vendors presented their proposals to the decision makers at Bridgewater. The owners felt that they were in an ideal situation. John Deere wanted to keep Bridgewater’s business, and Kenney Machinery wanted to “get its foot in the door.”
Today, Bridgewater Golf Club is now using Toro with its unmatched Toro fairway mowers and Toro sprayer. Despite the seemingly outrageous cost for the equipment, Bridgewater Golf Club believes that they made the right decision in choosing Toro for their equipment needs in maintaining a quality, yet affordable golf course for their customers.