Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland has recently celebrated the 100th birthday of its iconic King’s and Queen’s Courses, with a little help from local John Deere dealer Sandy Armit of Double A.
Designed by James Braid and created using nothing more than manual labour and horse and cart, both courses were officially opened on 1 May 1919 and have an illustrious history.
The King’s Course hosted a famous match between the ‘Big Three’ of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player in 1966, as well as the popular Bell’s Scottish Open on the European Tour from 1987 to 1994, the largest spectator event after The Open at the time. The Queen’s Course has also hosted great names from entertainment and sport, including Sean Connery and Alan Shepard, the only man to hit a golf shot on the moon!
In more recent times, and under Gleneagles’ new ownership by Ennismore, both courses have benefited from extensive renovation projects. These have seen them realigned to Braid’s original design vision with wider fairways, bringing strategically placed bunkers back in play, and the reintroduction of Scottish heather in key areas.
As part of the special centenary celebrations, Gleneagles staff recreated several historic archive photographs from the 1920s, including an image of a tractor pulling a set of gang mowers on a fairway. This was replicated with a 1941 John Deere Model B tractor, equipped with a set of trailed cylinder gang mowers. The tractor is owned by Sandy Armit and is usually on display at the dealership’s headquarters in Cupar, Fife.
Gleneagles signed an exclusive contract with John Deere in 2017 for the supply of golf course maintenance equipment and related technology to the three championship golf courses at the award winning hotel and golf resort.
John Deere also celebrated its own centenary last year, as March 14, 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the day Deere & Company bought the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company of Waterloo in Iowa and officially entered the tractor business for which it would become famous worldwide; tractors are still made at Waterloo to this day. The Model B tractor that was loaned to Gleneagles is still John Deere’s all-time bestselling model, with 300,000 sold from 1935 to 1953.