Golfers are spoiled for choice in where to play these days. One of the things they are looking for is pristine golf conditions. To achieve that, mowers are not enough. Various golf course maintenance equipment, vehicles, and tools are needed.
With advances in technology, golf courses utilize electric, hybrid, and automated machines to do the job.
Mowing is often the most time-consuming part of a maintenance team’s day. Most mowers are meant for specific parts of the golf course, so multiple types must be used daily. An essential piece of golf course maintenance equipment, the greens mower is arguably more important than any other because it affects how people judge their experience with your golf course as well as putting green conditions.
Putting Greens Mowers
There are two types of Greens mowers: walk-behind and riding. Each has its pros and cons.
Unlike the common lawnmower we have at home, Greens mowers use a reel instead of rotary blades. This means they have more edges and are cut with a scissoring action on a fixed bedknife.
Greens Collar Mowers
The grass length is slightly higher around the collar. It would be best to mow using another machine called a collar mower, a walking-type mower.
There are instances where tee and greens collar mowers will do double duty. However, most tee mowers are riding or triplex mowers (not ideal to use around the collars). Some courses widen their collars to accommodate the tee mowers to solve this. This is one situation where superintendents must evaluate their golf course maintenance equipment needs. Alternatively, they reconsider the size of tee boxes to suit collar mowers better.
Factors such as approach size, staffing, and maintenance standards dictate which approach mowers are best for a facility. For tight areas often found on golf courses, many facilities have opted to use a walking mower to avoid damage caused by triplex mowers.
Fairway mowers are four-wheeled machines with multiple cutting units. Big names in the industry such as John Deere and Toro are advancing the prospects of autonomous mowers. Such golf course maintenance equipment is more common in Europe and Canada. It’s a promising idea, but not perfect. Staff still have to move them from one fairway area to another.
Intermediate Rough Mowers
Many courses do not lay down an intermediate layer of rough because it would require another mower and use up more person-hours. The superintendent has to make these decisions based on staff size, budget, and expected results. High-end facilities usually want contrast between fairway and rough but other clubs may find this unnecessary or simply too expensive.
Primary Rough Mowers
Although the latter is more common, primary rough mowers can be reel or rotary-based. The superintendent will often have this area done last because it’s seen as less important than other parts of a golf course like greens, collars, approaches, and fairways.
A golf course also needs equipment for turf cultivation. Routine aeration is vital because it reduces soil compaction, improves water infiltration, and limits thatch and organic matter accumulation.
This type of golf course maintenance equipment is primarily used for putting greens. Walk-behind aerators can also be used on collars, tee boxes, and approaches. Current models allow tines to be 1 to 2 inches apart, doing better than older models.
These aerators are used on fairways and rough. The tine-spacing options of tractor-mounted aerators make them better than their walking machine counterparts.
Many other aerators provide enough depth and offer options in rotating blades or knives to cut into the soil. Many of these can be used to supplement existing golf course maintenance equipment.
Vertical Mowing Units
Vertical mowing is a process that removes organic matter from the surface without disturbing the soil below. Depending on the desired outcome, the depth of cutting can be adjusted.
It is crucial to topdress golf courses after aeration because it makes the turfgrass look better and improves its firmness. Sand is evenly distributed across a surface, which means you can do more area with less time.
Fertilization and Pest-Management Equipment
When applying fertilizer, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides, you will need the appropriate equipment. Liquid applications require sprayers, and specialized machines should use granular substances.
Golf courses require vehicles to transport staff, tools, and materials. They are usually lightweight, 2-person vehicles that can tow equipment. Heavy-duty units work well when transporting heavier items because they do not break down as quickly.
Tractors and Other Large Equipment
This includes tractors and other large vehicles that are necessary because, without them, many tasks would be harder to complete. Dump trucks, backhoes, and pickup trucks help with maintenance and transportation.
Additional equipment required depends on the golf course’s condition, topography, and design. You may need to use rakes for bunkers or blowers near tee boxes. Side-to-side rollers are required as well.
Golf course superintendents are using new technology to make their jobs easier. A soil moisture meter is one of the latest tools they use, and it helps them measure how much water a specific area needs for golfers to be satisfied with playing on that part of the field.
Maintenance and Storage
The maintenance facility also has several equipment needs. Grinders are needed to keep blades sharp, and reels need constant upkeep for them to work correctly. Protecting your equipment from the elements is vital because it will lengthen its life span.
Paying for Your Equipment
When a golf course has a limited budget, golf course officials should prioritize equipment based on their business goals and economic forecasts. They should also weigh the advantages and disadvantages of buying versus leasing.
Buying equipment is an excellent way to help maintain and improve your golf course. Loans are outstanding because they let you pay off the expense over several years, but the interest will increase the cost.
Leasing equipment can be advantageous because it creates a realistic timeline for the machinery to be turned over.
Final Thoughts on Golf Course Maintenance Equipment
Golf course management is not easy. To choose the best possible golf course maintenance equipment for your facility, carefully analyze your needs and budget.