For my solo owned lawn service ( I cut on the side because this is the one thing we dont do at my regular job ), I bought an Exmark 27 Kohler 52" deck. Absolutely love the machine. My opinion is that this thing can cut anything, and still do it well. Only problem I have had so far, is that it gets a little squirrly in wet grass especially when there is a slight hill involved. My full time job is a landscaping outfit. I have been with this company for 14 years now. We offer a full line of install services including landscaping, pond, waterfalls, patios, retaining walls, and irrigation systems. But we are a little different. We are a 90 acre tree farm growing shrubs, christmas trees and shade trees. We have 2 hot greenhouses, and 2 cold houses. We also have a complete retail store and wholesale to other contractors. So believe me when I tell you that I know a little about mowing. At the farm we have always used tractors with belly or 3 point mowers, and small garden tractors to fit in between the tree rows. Well, our single biggest problem is toget the tree rows mowed and its not as easy as you may think to find appropriate equipment ti fit and still do a good job. With that being said,.... When I bought my Xmark, the owner was convinced that a smaller version of my machine would be perfect for tree rows. So I picked up our new Toro 44" z master. Its got a Kowasaki 17hp which feels like a very good engine. Seems to have plents of power for the size of machine considering its turning the blades as well as keeping the hydraulic pumps fed. I have noticed thqt it will bog in high grass though, requiring a second pass. Operates nicely, but seems like it wont stick to any kind of slope at all. What I was most dissapointed in was the deck. It is 44" and appears to be stamped with some reinforcing welded along the edges. However, they did something interesting with this deck. There is a large angled v shape welded across the nose. so id you run into anything, you cant kink the deck, good idea for the farm, dont know if its neccessary for lawn use. I think they did this to help the otherwise thin and lacking deck. Also, when I cleaned the deck the first time, I noticed that the deck is shaped very differently from my xmark, not as smooth or discharge freindly. Also there are a bunch of boltheads and fabrications for the grass to start collecting on. The deck spindles also have grease fittings whereas my xmark areall sealed. This equally more maint. for the toro. I know I am comparing a 44" vs. 52" model, but for $2000 difference, I think the xmark is he better of the two. I like the Toro, but will have something to say now when someone says to me, Oh they ae the same, come from the same manufacturing line. Just my 2 cents, thought someone may benifit.