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Reel Mowers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rbeca, Jul 18, 2002.

  1. rbeca

    rbeca LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 21

    I have a golf driving range and am wanting to use reel mowers to cut the range. I have looked at a couple of models from Pro-Mow.
    Do you have any expierence with these mowers and if so was it good or bad?
  2. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    The vast majority of lawncare pros use the conventional 3 blade rotary system. They have huge advantages over the reel type.

    However, golf courses use the reel type for most of the following reasons.

    Reel types offer the most even and uniform cut, bar none.

    They're usually assembled into a gang that allows for cutting a wide section in one pass while still enabling a cut that closely follows the contours of the ground.

    They stripe like no other mower can!

    They make very little noise which is desirable on a golf course.

    They can be driven by hydraulics which in turn are driven by electric motors which means, they are non polluting. They never drip oil onto expensive greens and they don't blow smoke into that foursome that wants to play through.

    They offer a cut that more resembles a scissors action rather than the slashing action that rotary mowers use. That's one of the reasons the cut is so gorgeous!

    But everything comes with a trade off. Here's the downside.

    Sharpening them is a pain. But you must keep them razor sharp. Otherwise they have a tendency to clog.

    You must never let the grass get more than 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of new growth before you'll need to cut again. Otherwise they have tendency to clog. That means that you may be cutting 3, 4 or maybe more times per week. Professional sports teams and golf courses are many times cutting everyday.

    Weeds such as dandelions, crabgrass, clover and others will never mow clean and give the machine a tendency to clog.

    Ok, did I mention that they have a tendency to clog?
  3. yardboyltd

    yardboyltd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 323

    And the blades are time consuming or expensive to sharpen...

    However, Toro offers some nice gang ryders...
  4. grasmo

    grasmo LawnSite Member
    from fl
    Posts: 34

    reel mowers are not for any stem type material just as rotarys are not for creeping stemless turf. i actually do more sharpening maintenance with our rotarys than the reels. i get about 8 weeks between grinds and we cut 3 times a week maintaining about 50 acres of turf. it is rather expensive to gring reels. i usually charge about $3-$4 per inch if i do them for somebody. if you are knowledgeable about reels you can invest in a lapper and get them to cut just fine. you will go through about twice as many bedknives but it will still be alot cheaper than grinding.
  5. sdwally

    sdwally LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 385

    Reel mowers are more expensive to maintain, however give a better cut. We use reel mowers on about 50% of the parks we mow. The other we use rotary mainly because of wire grass problems(tall fast growing stems).
    Maintenance cost is a big issue. Cost of seven rotary blades on a 12' rotary mower, about $110. Cost of repairing and sharpening of a 30" reel, between $130 to $500, average about $190. Our reels are backlapped in between sharpenings. And are sharpened about 3 to 4 times a year. Our mowers are use daily for about 5 to 6 hours a day. Before being sharpened are reels get a new bedknife, normally no bedknife left. $130 includes new bedknife, screws, labor, and $75 sharpening fee. $500 might include new reel, bearings, and other components of the reel. Most dealers in are area charge about $125 to sharpen for reels like ours.
    If all you are mowing is a driving range you can probable get away with sharpening once a year, if you backlap on occassion and keep the reels properly adjusted. I don't think a stray golf ball would damage a reel when mowing.
    For us Toro and John Deere reels are the cheapest to maintain, Jacobsen and Ransomes parts can be quite expensive. We buy mostly aftermarket parts for these from www.rrproducts.com.
    A good rotary unit might be the best thing to go with if all you have is a driving range.
  6. parkmaster

    parkmaster LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    used toro parkmaster 5 & 7 gang mower 15 years on park athletic
    fields good machines with someone who knows the machine and can operate it. (hence my handle parkmaster) :D

    they do a good job striping.

    mowed fields twice a week
  7. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    Surprised noone mentined Locke reel mowers. They cut well and have a good reutation.

    I'm still looking for the one Richard Prior's neighbor used in the movie "Moving" that has the retractable chain saw for trimming down those trees that are just in the way.


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