Saturday, July 15, 2017

Electric Equipment Initiative Rolls On

Several years ago we began a program utilizing fully electric equipment on our golf course that we called the Electric Equipment Initiative.  We needed a new mower for the clubhouse grounds recently, so sticking with our philosophy of reducing fuel use and carbon emissions, we purchased the EGO Lithium-ion battery powered mower from The Home Depot.

The EGO mower is a fully electric 21inch self propelled mower powered by a 56 volt lithium-ion rechargeable battery that will run for about one hour and will fully recharge in an hour.  The biggest question we had was, Would the mower have enough power to mow around the entire clubhouse on a single charge?  We are pleased to say that the mower has enough power to do the job and then some.

The EGO mower is great.  It is quiet so we are not disrupting golfers, guests, or clubhouse employees while we are mowing around the clubhouse.  It is lightweight so we really don't even have to use the self propel function if we don't want to.  It continues to help us save fuel, eliminate the possible environmental contamination with oils or fluids and eliminates the emission of harmful carbon emissions.  It looks really cool as has headlights so we can silently mow in the dark if we choose.

The EGO mower, since it doesn't have any fluids or gas in it to spill out, can be stored in almost any position.  The mower folds up easily to about the size of a 50 pound bag of seed and can be stored out of the way, up against a wall to save space.

The purchase of this fully electric push mower brings our electric equipment project "full circle".  After all. it was an electric lawnmower used by Ms. Lori Munkeboe's neighbor early on a weekend morning that got the conversation about utilizing fully electric equipment on our golf course started.  This mower is just another great addition to our fleet and we hope to add more electric elements to our toolbox in the future.

We are excited and honored to be able to detail the history and success of our Electric Equipment Initiative in this month's Golf Course Management magazine in an article "Can You Hear Me Now?" starting on page 46.  I have had the pleasure of telling our story to several organizations across the country over the past several years and I hope this article will be able to reach many more and get them thinking about the advantages of using fully electric equipment to maintain their golf course.  This was a fun article to write and I have to say thanks to everyone who helped me complete this article and get it in print.

If you have any questions about using electric equipment on your course, or possibly, at your home please let me know.  If I can be of any assistance I will gladly answer any questions that I can.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Golfers Determine Course Conditions

If you follow our Twitter feed (@BearTraceHB) you may enjoy the daily information about course rules and conditions, reminders and updates about upcoming tournaments and cultural practices, and sometimes you may have to deal with a "friendly reminder" or rant from me about improper care from golfers of the course.  These are not meant to be rude or disrespectful, just meant to remind you that you, the golfer, have a greater impact on the conditioning of your golf course than the golf course maintenance staff does.  If you want your golf course to be a championship caliber golf course then you have to treat it like a championship caliber golf course.

Golfers may think the course rules for the day, such as where carts can travel or if they are allowed off the paths, are done to punish them or impede on their round but this is far from the truth. Course rules are made to protect the golf course and sometimes the golfer.  Carts are sometimes restricted from some areas to ensure the course is protected from damage so that it is in good shape for all, not only today but in the future as well.  As one great golf course superintendent once commented "If everyone drove in the good grass, there would always be good grass."  This is absolutely accurate.  If carts will scatter and not play "follow the leader" there will be less stress on the turf and in turn better turf for everyone to play on.

Golfers respecting and taking care of the golf course extends from the tee box where they can place their broken tees in collection bins or fill sand divots (if these amenities are available) to the fairways where divots can be replaced or filled with sand, to the bunkers where they should be raked following play, to the greens where ball marks should be PROPERLY repaired.  All these little things add up to keeping the golf course in top condition and take just a little bit of effort from each golfer.

Taking care of the golf course also extends to the practice areas.  Proper care of the practice areas, such as using the divot pattern to the right, will allow these 25 divots to recover much quicker than the other 25 divots.  Practice green etiquette is also a big contributor to golf course condition for everyone.  Practicing putting is a vital part of honing ones game but please do not stand in one place for an extended amount of time as this will weaken the turf and could eventually kill it.

Each golf course maintenance department only has a certain amount of money to spend on labor, equipment, or products. Every action the golfer takes, either harmful or beneficial, greatly impacts the conditioning of the course.  Please remember this the next time you play and think about where you drive, how you leave the bunker after you play out of it, or whether or not you properly repair your ball mark on the green and how these will affect the course.  I'll make you this promise.  Our Agronomy Staff will be at the course every day working hard to make the golf course the best it can be but we will be able to accomplish so much more with your help.  Please help us out and help to make our course all that it can be.