Toro® equipment is being put to the ultimate test as preparations for The 147th Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Carnoustie, Scotland, are in the final stages. The Open Championship takes place July 15-22, 2018, marking the eighth time Carnoustie has hosted the tournament.

It’s the culmination of a months-long process, with long hours making sure every detail is just right for the players — along with the 185,000-plus spectators, officials, media representatives and support staff that are expected.

Performing Under Pressure
“Preparation for The Open starts after the last one finishes,” notes Craig Boath, Head Greenkeeper at Carnoustie’s Championship Course. “There’s a lot of pressure in the lead-up to The Open and the tournament week itself. But with the help of Toro, we can get the quality of cut and the course looking amazing.”

For Sandy Reid, Links Superintendent at Carnoustie, it’s a matter of refining the course conditions compared to everyday play. “We want to present the best players in the world with a true links test, we want the turf to be firm and consistent, [and] we want the greens to be rolling true,” he explains. “From a playability standpoint, that’s the main thing that we want to concentrate on.”

Carnoustie’s Toro Lineup
According to Reid, Carnoustie is using Toro’s Greensmaster® Flex™ 21 walk-behind (pedestrian) mowers on the greens, Greensmaster TriFlex™ Series 3420 Hybrid greens mowers on greens, tees and surrounds, and Reelmaster® 5410 mowers on fairways — as well as Groundsmaster® 3500-D and Reelmaster 3100 with the Sidewinder® system on semi-roughs and surrounds. In addition, the Carnoustie team uses the ProCore® 648 for aeration throughout the course, along with Workman® utility vehicles.

Sandy McCubbin, Head Maintenance Engineer at Carnoustie credits Toro equipment for delivering reliability, ease of use and quality of finish in the end. “The most important part of my job has got to be the quality of cut on the cutting units — to make sure the cutting sharpness is spot on,” he affirms. “Even more so with The Open coming because all eyes of the world are on our greens.”

A 30+ Year Relationship
“We’ve used Toro equipment for over 30 years at Carnoustie,” Reid adds. “Over the years we’ve had a fantastic relationship with the Toro people, from their sales team [to] their after-sales team and the support that they’ve provided over the years — whether it be tournament support [or] just generally looking after all our needs here. The engineers, they really listen to the greenkeeper in order to keep their machinery moving forward.”

“We always go back to Toro year after year because it’s user friendly, it’s reliable and it’s something we always count on,” echoes Boath.

Tough Reputation
Carnoustie Golf Links has earned a reputation as one of the toughest golf destinations in the world, with a history in the game that dates back to the early 16th century. That’s because the course poses several unique challenges. It’s located on an exposed stretch of Scotland’s east coast, making it susceptible to strong winds. It has challenging bunkering. And it’s not only narrow; at over 7,400 yards, it’s the longest course to host The Open.

Carnoustie Golf Links is made up of three courses: the Burnside Course, the Buddon Links Course and the Championship Course, which has hosted seven previous Open Championships. In 2016, the Championship Course was ranked as the No. 1 course in Scotland by the general public.

“As a greenkeeper, it’s the peak of our career”
Although it has taken a tremendous amount of teamwork and coordination, the preparations leading up to the week of The Open have been well worth it. In Reid’s words: “The Open Championship is the biggest tournament in the world, with the best players and a worldwide audience. As a greenkeeper, it’s the peak of our career — and we thoroughly look forward to hosting it.”

Click the links to see Toro equipment in action at Carnoustie, hear more from the staff and learn about Carnoustie’s longtime relationship with Toro.

more information, visit