Thanks for the input dieseltech. I went to a JD dealer today and drove a few mowers around. In some ways it helped a lot, in others it just added options. I pretty much decided if I get a JD it will be a 900 series. I drove a 930 first and liked it. Then I drove a Hustler Super Z and between the two, that one was by far my favorite. The salesman had tried to steer me away from the 997, but I went ahead and drove one of those anyway and it made me wish I didn't like diesels so much. I seriously want it, but it was more than I really want to spend. Although they have a new one with 1.8 hours on it that someone ordered and then decided it wouldn't work for their needs that I can get a heck of a deal on and I could finance for 0%. I think Monday I will stop by the Kubota dealer to test drive some of those. I have my eye on a Kubota that seems to be a pretty good deal, so if I like them as well as I liked the 997 I think I will go ahead and get that one. I will also probably stop by the Gravely dealer to see if I can drive any of those this week too. I was amazed at how much difference there was in control feel between the brands and models. I know as professionals most people on here are concerned with the decks, but as a homeowner I probably won't notice a difference anyway, and anything newer will be better than my old F935. In the end, I ruled out a few mowers today, added the Super Z to my list, and confirmed that if money were no object the decision would be a lot easier and I would be anxiously awaiting the delivery of a 997.
Does anyone have real world fuel consumption rates for a 930 or Super Z? The Kubota rate sounds about like I was expecting.
I also have one other question. One of the mowers I looked at today had a rear discharge deck. It seems to me that this would be a desirable configuration as the clippings would be more spread out and less likely to clump. Are there down sides to a rear discharge deck that I am not thinking of?