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Michael Morandi

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Course maintenance technology
« on: June 17, 2024, 12:42:12 PM »
My club is now using technology on the back of its fairway mowers that reads moisture content.  This allows us to maintain fast and firm (and brownish) fairways without the risk of widespread burnout. This is a game changer that will lead to more extended periods of our desired playing conditions. And it takes a lot of stress off  the crew by taking guessing/hoping  out of the equation.

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2024, 11:53:44 AM »
My club is now using technology on the back of its fairway mowers that reads moisture content.  This allows us to maintain fast and firm (and brownish) fairways without the risk of widespread burnout. This is a game changer that will lead to more extended periods of our desired playing conditions. And it takes a lot of stress off  the crew by taking guessing/hoping  out of the equation.


Golf maintenance equipment is going to go though a phase of massive disruption. Robots. GPS directed robots. No longer will a club need to invest hundreds of man-hours cutting fairways and light rough.


The benefits are multiple:


Does not require manpower to operate.
Can mow 24-hours per day.
Fairways are always freshly mown.
No diesel required. None. Zero. Nada.
No more hydraulics, no more hydraulic leaks.
No more reels to sharpen.
Accurate mowing, as their mowing boundaries are GPS controlled.
Lighter footprint means they can cut grass when larger, traditional machines cannot.
Less compaction, and less compaction in areas where mowers tend to turn (in front of greens).
Quieter.
Perhaps with solar panels, you can charge your mowers on your own!
This has a major impact on golf course presentation. Fairways can be mown as wide as one pleases.


All those man-hours can be focused on other elements; stuff that is often neglected because of time.
In countries with high labor costs, and where it's difficult to find labor, like much of Europe, robots are going to put a serious dent in the traditional mowing equipment market.
In Iceland I watched a fleet of robotic mowers maintain the larger playing areas. There was no stripping. Loved the look.


Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2024, 01:31:31 PM »
It will be interesting to see how the use of this kind of equipment (technology) trickles down through different echelons of clubs over the coming years and how long before its being used likely as secondhand equipment by lessor clubs operating on small budgets.
Atb


PS - the best fairway mower will still be grazing sheep! :)

Rob Marshall

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2024, 12:24:46 PM »
My club is now using technology on the back of its fairway mowers that reads moisture content.  This allows us to maintain fast and firm (and brownish) fairways without the risk of widespread burnout. This is a game changer that will lead to more extended periods of our desired playing conditions. And it takes a lot of stress off  the crew by taking guessing/hoping  out of the equation.


Michael,
Do you know the name of that technology? We just got new fairway mowers a couple of weeks ago. Too two years to get from the time we ordered from Toro.
If life gives you limes, make margaritas. Jimmy Buffett

Michael Morandi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2024, 01:52:23 PM »
Turfrad

Rob Marshall

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2024, 03:09:53 PM »
If life gives you limes, make margaritas. Jimmy Buffett

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2024, 04:57:46 PM »
Before we started working on Pinehurst #10, one of the big companies was out on a couple of old fairways from The Pit working on its self-driving fairway mower technology.


The goal seems to be to cut costs [from the owner standpoint] and eliminate jobs [from the laborers' standpoint].  Tony's suggestion that this is going to free up the crew to do other tasks that often get neglected is naive, or wishful thinking.


Maintenance crews -- often immigrants, sometimes naturalized and sometimes not -- have been the backbone of the golf business for 125 years.  Personally, I will be sad to see them displaced.  Their hard work was always impressive.

Michael Morandi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2024, 05:03:35 PM »
Im happy to report that my club has not reduced maintenance staff with the addition of new tech, but I believe Tom is right when it comes to many if not most courses across the country.  Not sure how unionized labor is affected.

Chris Hughes

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2024, 02:01:33 AM »
My club is now using technology on the back of its fairway mowers that reads moisture content.  This allows us to maintain fast and firm (and brownish) fairways without the risk of widespread burnout. This is a game changer that will lead to more extended periods of our desired playing conditions. And it takes a lot of stress off  the crew by taking guessing/hoping  out of the equation.


Golf maintenance equipment is going to go though a phase of massive disruption. Robots. GPS directed robots. No longer will a club need to invest hundreds of man-hours cutting fairways and light rough.


The benefits are multiple:


Does not require manpower to operate.
Can mow 24-hours per day.
Fairways are always freshly mown.
No diesel required. None. Zero. Nada.
No more hydraulics, no more hydraulic leaks.
No more reels to sharpen.
Accurate mowing, as their mowing boundaries are GPS controlled.
Lighter footprint means they can cut grass when larger, traditional machines cannot.
Less compaction, and less compaction in areas where mowers tend to turn (in front of greens).
Quieter.
Perhaps with solar panels, you can charge your mowers on your own!
This has a major impact on golf course presentation. Fairways can be mown as wide as one pleases.


All those man-hours can be focused on other elements; stuff that is often neglected because of time.
In countries with high labor costs, and where it's difficult to find labor, like much of Europe, robots are going to put a serious dent in the traditional mowing equipment market.
In Iceland I watched a fleet of robotic mowers maintain the larger playing areas. There was no stripping. Loved the look.

Sounds nice -- how much does it cost?

Chris Hughes

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2024, 02:02:42 AM »



The goal seems to be to cut costs [from the owner standpoint] and eliminate jobs [from the laborers' standpoint].  Tony's suggestion that this is going to free up the crew to do other tasks that often get neglected is naive, or wishful thinking.


Exactly what I was thinking...

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2024, 03:15:02 AM »
Before we started working on Pinehurst #10, one of the big companies was out on a couple of old fairways from The Pit working on its self-driving fairway mower technology.


The goal seems to be to cut costs [from the owner standpoint] and eliminate jobs [from the laborers' standpoint].  Tony's suggestion that this is going to free up the crew to do other tasks that often get neglected is naive, or wishful thinking.


Maintenance crews -- often immigrants, sometimes naturalized and sometimes not -- have been the backbone of the golf business for 125 years.  Personally, I will be sad to see them displaced.  Their hard work was always impressive.


We're talking two different markets; apples and oranges.


In the US, labor is much cheaper and courses have staff in double digits.


In Europe, labor is expensive and courses are being maintained by 4 to 6 people. I don't see them shrinking below that level.

Kyle Harris

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2024, 05:30:07 AM »
A daily morning walk with a few clubs, including a putter, is still cheaper.
http://kylewharris.com

Constantly blamed by 8-handicaps for their 7 missed 12-footers each round.

Thank you for changing the font of your posts. It makes them easier to scroll past.

Stephen Britton

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2024, 05:56:05 AM »
Before we started working on Pinehurst #10, one of the big companies was out on a couple of old fairways from The Pit working on its self-driving fairway mower technology.


The goal seems to be to cut costs [from the owner standpoint] and eliminate jobs [from the laborers' standpoint].  Tony's suggestion that this is going to free up the crew to do other tasks that often get neglected is naive, or wishful thinking.


Maintenance crews -- often immigrants, sometimes naturalized and sometimes not -- have been the backbone of the golf business for 125 years.  Personally, I will be sad to see them displaced.  Their hard work was always impressive.


There is rarely a cost savings for the owner, often these new fancy pieces of equipment cost a fortune. If it does reduce one worker from the crew, typically that payroll savings will be moved to the cost of the new piece of tech.
"The chief object of every golf architect or greenkeeper worth his salt is to imitate the beauties of nature so closely as to make his work indistinguishable from nature itself" Alister MacKenzie...

Anthony_Nysse

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2024, 07:23:51 AM »
Before we started working on Pinehurst #10, one of the big companies was out on a couple of old fairways from The Pit working on its self-driving fairway mower technology.


The goal seems to be to cut costs [from the owner standpoint] and eliminate jobs [from the laborers' standpoint].  Tony's suggestion that this is going to free up the crew to do other tasks that often get neglected is naive, or wishful thinking.


Maintenance crews -- often immigrants, sometimes naturalized and sometimes not -- have been the backbone of the golf business for 125 years.  Personally, I will be sad to see them displaced.  Their hard work was always impressive.


There is rarely a cost savings for the owner, often these new fancy pieces of equipment cost a fortune. If it does reduce one worker from the crew, typically that payroll savings will be moved to the cost of the new piece of tech.


This....


GPS equipment, including sprayer require monthly data plans, upfront costs are even higher than current employee driven units (if you can believe that) & most equipment techs have not has any time to learn or service these units.


I think that we are a long way off from seeing these in a fashion that we have been pitched by the manufactures.
Anthony J. Nysse
Director of Golf Courses & Grounds
Apogee Club
Hobe Sound, FL

Rob Marshall

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Course maintenance technology
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2024, 08:06:02 AM »
Before we started working on Pinehurst #10, one of the big companies was out on a couple of old fairways from The Pit working on its self-driving fairway mower technology.


The goal seems to be to cut costs [from the owner standpoint] and eliminate jobs [from the laborers' standpoint].  Tony's suggestion that this is going to free up the crew to do other tasks that often get neglected is naive, or wishful thinking.


Maintenance crews -- often immigrants, sometimes naturalized and sometimes not -- have been the backbone of the golf business for 125 years.  Personally, I will be sad to see them displaced.  Their hard work was always impressive.


In the northeast a club like Oakhill hires immigrants from a labor broker. At least I know they did at one time. At a small private club like mine we struggle to fill our crew. We rely heavily on a few retired guys and college kids.
If life gives you limes, make margaritas. Jimmy Buffett

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