NEWS RELEASE   April 23, 2024

John Deere Advantage No Secret for WA Club

Set amongst the dunes by the Indian Ocean 60 kilometres south of Perth lies one of Australia's most alluring golf courses.

Teeing off with the waves crashing over their shoulder, players at Secret Harbour Golf Links weave around the tight fairways snaking in between connected residential streets, negotiating strategically-placed bunkers and thick scrub awaiting errant drives.

Reflecting the style of traditional Scottish courses like St Andrews, the volatile ocean breeze ensures this picturesque setting belies a serious challenge for even the most seasoned golfer.

That includes Hall of Famers Lee Trevino and Gary Player, who joined course designer Graham Marsh for an exhibition game in 1999 to mark the opening of the front nine, completing the full 18-hole course.

The unique layout of Secret Harbour also provides a challenge to the greenkeeping team, led by Superintendent Tom Tristram.

"It's not like other courses where you go up and down with each hole; here, you essentially play around one big circle," Tom said.

"There are no shortcuts through any of the residential streets, so it takes me about 10 minutes to drive from the shed to the furthest part of the course.

"The housing estate was built around the golf course. We've got nearly 900 houses adjacent to the course, so there's a lot to consider with that many residents around.

"The main thing is noise because we start mowing at 5am. Mitigating noise complaints was a big reason we made the switch to John Deere mowers."

New equipment a 'lifesaver'

The club began its conversion to John Deere in January 2022 with the arrival of two 2750 E-Cut™ Hybrid Greens Mowers from local dealership AFGRI Equipment.

"The electric reels are much quieter, meaning we can be out on the greens early without disrupting residents, which has been a lifesaver," Tom said.

"They're also saving us a lot on fuel, and no hydraulic oil in the cutting units means we don't have to worry about leakages anymore. The advanced technology in the John Deeres helps give you a better cut overall."

The club soon ordered more machines — two 7700A PrecisionCut™ Fairway Mowers and four John Deere Gator™ Utility Vehicles.

"We got quotes from a few brands, but we went with AFGRI because of price, stock availability, and confidence in the ongoing support we'd receive," Tom said.

"We've never had long wait times with them, and the communication is always direct and honest. If we ever need support, our Account Manager, Jack Latchford, is right on top of it and drops off whatever we need to the club. That ongoing relationship is invaluable.

"We don't have a full-time mechanic at the club — not that we need one with the reliability of the new fleet. We're not experiencing any downtime with the John Deere equipment. That's a huge pressure release for the greenkeeping team."

GPS slicing chemical waste

The crown jewel of Secret Harbour's new John Deere fleet arrived in August 2023 — the ProGator™ 2030A GPS PrecisionSprayer.

The club is now enjoying savings of up to 40 per cent on chemicals due to the precision of the GPS technology.

"I have to admit I was sceptical of the claims AFGRI made around how much it would reduce our chemical usage, but I'm fully sold now," Tom said.

"We're barely wasting a single drop. It's all going on the greens where we need it, without overlapping the edges.

"Instead of us only being able to shut off one of the booms if needed, the GPS automatically shuts off any of the 12 individual nozzles as soon as they're outside the boundary of the green. That really adds up on a big course like ours.

"With our old machine, we were spraying 1.5-hectares' worth of chemicals per use, and with the John Deere, we're only spraying 1.1-hectares and still covering the same area. It's almost like every third spray we do now is free compared to the previous machine.

"John Deere is known for its innovation in agriculture, but the technology they're implementing on the golf course is really game-changing."

Making a difference on and off course

It's not just the greenkeeping team noticing the difference the new fleet is making.

"It's part of the job hearing feedback from golfers, which isn't always positive," Tom said.

"But the members seem to agree that the course is now back to the pristine condition it used to be after a tough couple of years, and the playability of the surfaces is 10 times better than what it was.

"I love presenting a top-quality course to golfers, and when they show their appreciation, it makes all the hard work worth it."

Tom's hard work was recognised by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Western Australia (GCSAWA) in Perth earlier this year, taking out the top honour of Superintendent of the Year — an award sponsored by AFGRI.

"Being a superintendent is a very multifaceted and often stressful job — I go from doing plumbing to mowing to counselling," he said.

"Everyone in the team has different personalities and it's your job to motivate them to get the best results."

One of those team members at Secret Harbour is Brody Cooper, who volunteered in John Deere's inaugural Women in Turf event at the 2023 TPS Murray River tournament.

"Brody came back from that event with a renewed energy and confidence that this is a viable career path for her and other women," Tom said.

"It really opened her eyes to see how another course prepares for a big tournament, and to actually work alongside other females. She would never have been given that opportunity if not for John Deere.

"They really support our industry from apprentices up to superintendents, so we're happy to support them back.

"When the technology, value for money and service support all stacks up like it does, it's a bonus knowing we're working with a company which actually cares about the industry."

About John Deere:

Deere & Company is a global leader in the delivery of agricultural, golf & turf, construction, and forestry equipment. We help our customers push the boundaries of what's possible in ways that are more productive and sustainable to help life leap forward. Our technology-enabled products including the John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor and See & Spray™ are just two of the ways we help meet the world's increasing need for food, shelter, and infrastructure. Deere & Company also provides financial services through John Deere Financial. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at or in Australia at

Media Contacts:

Tim Vetter
0439 681 793