golf courses...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by woodycrest, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. woodycrest

    woodycrest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    Does anyone do any golf
    course work?

    THe two courses i look after have not been given the tender loving care a golf course deserves over the years, sure the grass was cut, but inconsistently with no concern for appearance.

    Last season i cut both courses with a JD LT133...thats about 8 acres in total. In retrospect, that is a daunting task for a 38''deck, but that machine held up surprisingly well. And i got too many comments like ''the course has never looked this good.." ... ''Great job'' head was starting to swell. :)....anyway my point is that if the LT133 can make the course look good , wait until i get my newly acquired JD 430 out can only get better.

    So, a question...Do commercial walk behinds scalp at low cutting height ? The best fairway depth on these courses is 1.5". Do walk behinds cut at that depth without scalping ? I am looking at purchasing another machine for the courses, for grooming the fairways, proffessional golf course mowers are not an option financially at the moment, any suggestions on a suitable mower ?


  2. Husker1982

    Husker1982 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Dave if you are going to be doing golf courses I highly suggest you look into a reel mower. Real nice cut and cant cut at 1.5 with no problem. Also would save you alot of time.
  3. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501


    Are you saying each golf course is only 4 acres in size? Or did I miss something.

    And yes, at 1 1/2" cutting height, most WBs will scalp. As mentioned, you're better off with a reel mower.
  4. woodycrest

    woodycrest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 435


    You got it right each is 4 acres.

    These courses are very unique...both require only one club(usually a 7 iron) and a putter.

    One was built in 1925 as part of our Cottagers association property, for use by members(residents) only. WE have had tournaments every Labour DAy weekend since the late 1940s. 9 holes par3...and suprisingly challenging. I learned to play golf on it as did the rest of my family going back many years, and it is literally across the street from my house.

    THe other course is about half a mile away and is on private land. It has been around since 1978. IT has ponds , elevated tees, proper golf greens and plenty of hills and challenging areas to cut. THis course is a challenge to the most avid golfer. There are also plans for some expansion in the future.

    I just started looking after them last season, after years of them just being cut like a feild. I work by myself on all aspects of the courses. Basically i have full control over the maintenance.

    The second course requires more detailed care. I use a lawmaster 660 reel mower on the greens, which i basically rebuilt from scratch last year. They were in really rough shape but are almost fully grown in.

    As mentioned above i used an Lt 133 38'' deck last season. Now with my JD 430 60'' deck my mowing time will be drastically reduced, but it will only cut down to 2''. I am looking at trading in the 133 and some other equipment for another mower suitable for cutting the fairways short. THe 133 does a fine job but i am looking for a machine with a 48''(approx) deck as i also have some other properties (about an acre) to look after.

    Ultimatley a reel mower is the best option,but there are many rocks and things that would be hurtful to a reel mower, so for the present rotary mowers are my best bet until i can clear up some of those nasty obstacles. So, for the present i am needing a conventional lawn/garden tractor for use on other properties as well.


    i attached some pics(i think)
    to give you an idea of what im working with
  5. woodycrest

    woodycrest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 435

  6. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,075

    A set of gang reel mowers is definitely in your future if you want to take maintenance to the next level.

  7. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Now I get in the States we call them a "Pitch & Putt". They're a lot of fun cause like you said, you only need a short iron and a putter. Heck, I've even seen them on less than 4 acres.

    Good Luck in what you purchase.
  8. mklawnman

    mklawnman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Hey woodycrest
    I worked at a 36hole golf course a few years back for about 2yrs. Now granted this was a professionally look course with a full grounds crew staff that i was on, but I would look into buying a reel mower for the fairways, you will be surprised on how well these things will cut and go over rocks, depending if they are sticking up or not. The other thing is, you will get a much nicer cut than a rotary for the fairways and stripping. For the rough look into either a diesel tractor and a gang mower to cut the rough which will be higher than the fairway grass. Otherwise you could use your JD 430 with a 61inch deck to cut the rough. But it's still going to take alot of time, so maybe a 72inch three wheeler by Scag easily can go around trees and such nicely.
    So do you actually maintain just these two golf courses?? Cause if you dont man its gotta be a pain to keep up with all the mowing at the courses each day, cause we mowed greens everyday and once a week mowed tee boxes and tee banks and approaches. You could almost go into being a grounds manager for both these places and hire a few guys to mow and make the courses look nice.
    Reel mowers are the best for fairways, tee boxes and greens. They are also used around the green a bit too. Build up small and grow bigger and good luck, but look into golf course mowers.
  9. woodycrest

    woodycrest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    I worked at a local 18hole golf course in 1998...i was the 'new guy' . The first three weeks i worked there (i started in july) i was weed whacker boy....6 hours a day. THe course had not been trimmed at all since the spring...(that should have been my first clue about the incompetent boss...he was all talk.) I guess i was too enthusiasitic and asking too many questions, but i realized that i was in my bosses mind a threat to his job...geez talk ABOUT INSECURE!!. Thru the early season he had fired every long time employee, guys that had been cutting grass there for 10 years or more. He told the owners stories of all the bad things these guys had done...all lies. Anyway...i could go on about this guy. After i had finished the trimming on the whole course by myself(!) he decided to put me on the Ferris(60'' hydro) and i cut exactly what he told me to, i looked after all the routine maintenance on the machine(the boss didnt even know the basics of the machine)...any way...after about a month and a half at the end of the day he fired me on the spot. WHA??? He said i didnt do what i was told, i took too long on my breaks, and i had a bad attitude. That guy deserved a kick in the teeth!! Anyway, i hightailed it to the owners office at the clubhouse. I told him that that guy was full of **** and various other choice words...then i smiled, shook his hand and thanked him very much for giving me the opportunity to work at the golf course, and left. A month later after this guy had fired every worker and basically had a completely 'green' crew..the owners finally figured out that he was an ***hole and fired him.
    I was in the restaurant business for 16 years from dishwasher to manager before that, golf course work was like a dream job, thats what got me interested the grass cutting.

    I dropped in at the course last fall for a quick round of golf and ran into the owner ...he offered me a job on the spot, and apologized for all the BS in the past. So that is still an option for this spring.

    Please excuse my babbling, i got way off topic..


    Yup i look after them by myself along with a few other properties, most within a five mile radius of home...and three others on my street. So it is easy to do golf course work for a while, then cut a lawn here or there...then back to the golf course.

    Last year i was basically just cutting the grass at the Private course and not spending too much time on details, but now that i have got a good system worked out for cutting , i will be spending a lot more time on the details specifically greens and tees. THe course hasnt had many golfers except the owner and his family, but He wants to get it up and running for the public . So i think im the guy to do it. The first step is to get the course lookin like a golf course...and it is well on the way. There is a clubhouse and plenty of parking, and he has plans for expanding it...adding some new holes and maybe a driving range, and he has plenty of property to do it. So , until i am certain that i'm the man, i dont want to invest in golf course equipment. He is a reasonable guy and is open to suggestions on equipment and stuff, and i have no doubt he will purchase some as needed. In
    the meantime, getting the course 'up to par' is my main focus.

    The other course will never be open to the public so it will never be a money maker, and the cash i get for it is really low...i make a little, our cottagers association is strapped for cash, and i would much rather only make a little than have the land sold and houses put in. It is right next to my property so it is almost an extension of my backyard.

    Do reel mowers require more maintenance than rotary mowers?

    Anyway , thanks for all your input, guys, it is much appreciated!!

  10. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I quick answer to your question about if reel mowers require more maintenance then a rotary mower the answer is yes especially in the beginning! Getting the reels sharpened is expensive (hopefully you will get a set that can be back lapped) adjusting the bed knife takes practice and must be done after each sharpening or each time you hit something. Once you learn the maintenance routine you will not think reel mowers are very difficult to keep up and running.


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