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View Full Version : Golf Course Superintendent looking for help with Skid Steers vs tractor loaders


virginiagcs
02-04-2005, 11:02 AM
Hi all,
I am looking to purchase a loader this year for the course. We currently have 4 tractors, one of which is a 1975 Ford dedicated loader. The ford runs fine, a few leaks here and there, but isn't as strong as it was. The other tractors are older, but still run fine and keep up with our current needs. Since we already have 4 tractors, I am thinking of adding a skid steer to the mix. Here are my thoughts on a skid steer vs another tractor loader:
1. We already have 4 tractors, why add another? I don't plan on trading any in because I won't get anything for them. In other words, they are worth more to me now than the small amount of trade in money.
2. In situations on the course where a skid steer may not work, we will still have our loader to help out.
3. A skid steer seems to be able to handle anything a tractor loader can handle and then some.
4. Attachments for the skid steer are easier to come by (rental wise) than tractor implements.
5. Skid steers can go into tighter places (ie. around club house, tennis courts, pool, etc..) that larger tractors can't.
6. Ability to get in an out of bunkers for renovation purposes
7. Overall manuverability and speed when projects are concerned

The only downsides I can think of as far as the skid steers are concerned are:
1. With a careless operator, the turf can be scuffed up pretty bad. I have a feeling that once people become accustomed to what a skid steer can and can't do, how sharply you can and can't turn on turf, we'll be fine.
2. innability to safely climb steep hills with loads (unless traveling backward). I may be wrong on this one.
3. ?????

I haven't made up my mind yet. I am leaning toward the skid steer, but not 100%. I am worried about going up and down hills with the skid steer. I am also worried about scuffing the turf, but also feel this can be overcome with proper training and use. For those with both, please chime in. Any info will aid with my decision. I have 2 skid steers coming next week to demo. I know that demoing them will make a huge difference in how I see them being used on the course. Before I get to use them, I am looking for opinions from those who know. Thanks for any help.
Joe

StoneStacker
02-04-2005, 12:36 PM
I think you should take a look at a rubber-tracked machine. It will do all of the things a skid steer will do in your application, and it will be more friendly to the turf. I would look at the ASV website. They even offer a track designed especially for turf. I've seen the video of one operating on a golf course and it was impressive. The machine did a complete 360 and didn't tear up anything. They are also much more stable than a skid steer on slopes and hills.

Tigerotor77W
02-04-2005, 01:59 PM
Hahaha, finally, an application where I can completely and unabashedly suggest the Bobcat A300. I strongly suggest you rent one as soon as possible and try one out. I'm confident it's one of the possible machines for your operation. (for application stories, see www.bobcat.com)

PS: I wouldn't quite suggest a CTL as it can still tear up the grass if you turn.

Grassmechanic
02-04-2005, 02:04 PM
There ain't no way I would allow a skidsteer near my golf course. The tires are too narrow and will cause ruts from sinking into the well irrigated turf. Even the best operator willl cause some damage to turf (and if they don't, they'll be manuevering the machine a speed which will render the skidsteer a time-waster). I'd prefer an all-wheel steering type of loader with wide floatation tires.

StoneStacker
02-04-2005, 02:37 PM
BobcatS250 and grassmechanic make excellent points. While any machine is capable of tearing up turf, the Bobcat A300 would work well, as would a rubber-tracked machine, assuming the operator didn't operate it like a skid steer. Gradual and 3pt turns minimize surface damage, for any machine. I still think that the turf track that ASV offers would work well too. It might also open up your uses to more applications, such as trap work/rebuilding, slope work, and extremely wet fairways. That video still amazes me.

virginiagcs
02-04-2005, 03:07 PM
I wish I could afford the A300 or a track machine, but I'm only working with $25,000ish. Right now I'm looking at the BobCat 185, Cat 226B, and Case 60xt. We'll see how the test drive goes next week. Maybe I can budget in the cost of add on rubber tracks next year?

TerraFirma Excavating
02-04-2005, 05:43 PM
I have a 773T (now the S185) with super float (wider than stock) tires. Even with the bigger contact area, my machine will leave indentations in a lawn. The machine weighs 6,200# empty. I think you will be definately be looking at turf damage (may not tear the grass, but will compact the soil) with any of those machine you stated.

The A300 weighs about 8,400# but the 15.5" wide turf tires may offer less ground pressure than what my machine has. No way you'll get an A300 for $25,000.

What size tractors are you currently using?

virginiagcs
02-04-2005, 06:23 PM
I have 2 1975 massy ferg 20Cs, one newer Mitsubishi, and the 1975ish Ford Loader. All are heavy duty large tractors (though not the same size as the large ones used on farms).
I don't mind the compaction on the bermudagrass, or even some damage. Minimal damage is acceptable as long as the task is accomplished. Even with my most experienced operators on our tractors with turf tires, we still have some damage result. Especially when turning.

Tigerotor77W
02-04-2005, 08:46 PM
Actually, if your budget is low, have you considered either of the ASV Turf Edition machines? (http://www.asvi.com/rc50_turf.cfm, for example) They should offer a lower price, Cat dealer service, and also the turf characteristics you need.

Secondly, you *might* be able to get a used A220 for roughly $25,000, maybe a bit more. (I saw one online for $29,500... which means there may be a few in the $25k or 26k range.)

YardPro
02-04-2005, 08:51 PM
i agree wih stonestacker.
a skid will leave some deep depressions, even driving straight.

the asv rc 60 has a 32oolb operating capacity, only exerts 2.3psi ground pressure, and you can get track sleves that eliminate any turf damage ( but reduce traction also)

the unit, forks, bucket and trailer will cost about $32K