Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter Work: Equipment Maintenance

Superintendents often refer to their mechanics as the unsung heroes of the operation.  Each golf course has at least 30 pieces of specialized equipment that are used to maintain our properties, and these technicians ensure not only the machines are safe and functional, but also play a key role in turf health and playability, for example, by assuring that cutting units are sharp and precisely adjusted (within a thousandth of an inch on height of cut) to the specifications of the superintendent.

Pictured above is a fairway mower getting its winter service (cutting units removed for sharpening and to access hydraulic and electrical systems)
Utility carts, mowers, tractors, sprayers, aerators, seeders, and small equipment like blowers and string trimmers are repaired and maintained throughout the season as needed, but the winter offers our equipment managers some much needed time to thoroughly go through each unit and perform more intensive preventive maintenance that keeps these machines running smoothly throughout the year.

Engine replacements or rebuilds are a piece of cake for our talented mechanics
Cutting units for green, tee, and fairway mowers are checked and adjusted after every use during the season, but in the winter, these complex machines get a thorough check-up of the hydraulic system, engine, and electrical components as well.

The "guts" of a greens mower hydraulic system.  This machine is 14 years old and running great because of the expertise of our equipment manager.
The cutting units themselves will be ground and prepped to original factory specs and tolerances.  Bearings throughout the machines will be inspected and replaced as needed, and hydraulic hoses and fittings will be checked for wear and replaced to help ensure there are no damaging leaks next year that could kill grass.
The underbelly of a greens mower all set, clean, and ready to go!

Even big jobs like splitting a tractor to replace the clutch are performed in-house
 This is really the tip of the iceberg, but we are lucky to have such a talented group of mechanics who can quickly perform the full gamut of repairs necessary to the equipment!  Next time you see all that equipment on the course, just know that a hard-working technician is an integral part of keeping the course in good shape!

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