WHAT THE PAPERS SAY 

 

A Customer Profile - Contour Golf Ltd
Caterpillar News 2000

Contour Golf of Daventry, Northants are unusual. First: they believe that investing in heavy plant is generally preferable to hiring it - (unlike most other course constructors). Second: Contour is headed up by a woman - (the only golf course construction company to be so).
Ingrid Eichler has been in the golf course construction industry almost all of her working life. Initially working as a drainage engineer and project manager on prestige golf developments such as Rees Jones design 'The Oxfordshire' and Robert Trent Jones II's creation at 'The Wisley Golf Club'. As she honed her skills during this time, Eichler made an important observation: "I realised that a niche existed for a professional company that was able to construct the highest quality golf course at an affordable cost." Thus, in the early '90's, Contour Golf was born and their first contract was to build a nine hole extension to the existing nine hole golf course at Chalfont Park. British architect Jonathan Gaunt explains his reason for recommending Contour: "They're affordable, quality constructors who work with the personal touch." This latter point is telling, the personal touch is only available because Contour do not allow themselves to become involved in too many projects at any one time as Eichler points out: "It's important to restrict ourselves to only two major projects a year or the whole thing could run away from us and we would be unable to keep adequate checks in place."
It is this demand for quality that lead to the decision in 1995 to buy Cat plant, starting with a D4HLGP 'dozer' from Levertons (as was). The decision to buy rather than to hire is the first indication of Eichler's business sense: "The sort of machinery we require is not readily available to hire, especially during, what is after all, a short working season within which all golf course constructors will have high demand for the same machinery. Then, even if you do manage to get hold of hire plant, it is pricey which does nothing to help our competitiveness. Buying plant outright reduces our overheads".
As Contour Golf grows and the contracts keep rolling in from the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, further plant purchases make sense and it is Cat plant from Finnings (since their takeover of Levertons) that meets the need. A second D4HLGP 'dozer' was acquired with a 312 excavator being added to the stable some three years ago. The latest fleet member is a D5MLGP which was delivered in September 1999 from Finnings in Glasgow and it is likely that the brand new 302.5 'baby excavator' will not be long in gaining the Contour livery.
For Contour Golf Ltd., Cat is the obvious choice and a recent hiccup explains why: "We had a major breakdown on a digger up at Wigan this week [a nine hole extension to a golf club that lists Prince Andrew as a member...] and the Cat engineer was there straight away. He identified the problem as a faulty part and the transmission was replaced. Free of charge. The same part on another machine was also replaced there and then, again free of charge. All in all this represents about 12,000 worth of maintenance and repair, I have never had such service from other suppliers."
The twenty or so members at Contour Golf Ltd. produce amazing results on their golf courses - Ring of Kerry and Fota Island, Cork testifying to this - the Cat machinery certainly aids them in this quest for perfection.