Golf Course Management

JUN 2013

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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THE INSIDER: shop Scott R. Nesbitt Replacing a tractor seat with a seat designed for boats improves comfort and it's a quick installation job. Photo by Scott Nesbitt Superior seating Boat seats can be a comfortable, quick solution to the ongoing problem of tattered, torn and generally disgusting operator seats on older turf equipment. NEWS & notes A fight over increasing the amount of ethanol in gasoline has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The Engine Products Council, a trade group representing automobile manufacturers, small-engine makers and marineengine companies, has filed a petition with the court challenging the EPA's decision to allow the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol for newer cars and trucks. In March, a U.S. Court of Appeals blocked a lawsuit that had been filed to stop the implementation of the higher blend, which critics say can damage older vehicles and small engines in outdoor power equipment. "It's a very big deal because we know that if E15 is in the marketplace, there will be engine failures," Kris Kiser, the president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), told the Milwaukee (Wis.) Journal Sentinel. "It's not in the interest of consumers to discover, after the fact, that engine performance problems are occurring because a new fuel was rushed into the marketplace." A decision on whether the Supreme Court will review the Court of Appeals ruling could come this summer. 34 GCM June 2013 The photo shows a boat seat that's been mounted on a small utility tractor. The original seat is sitting atop the toolbox on the fender. The cover is split in several places and is starting to come off the steel shell, which itself is developing some serious rust. The boat seat looks pretty much as it did when new, other than three small permanent rust stains on the seat back. The seat was tilted up and rested on a short piece of rusty chain for a few weeks. Believe it or not, those two seats are just about the same age. They sat outside for about eight years on vehicles that were parked side-by-side and had about the same hours of use over the years. I prefer the boat seat because it has a softer, thicker cushion, a higher back, it hinges and tilts to keep off the rain, and the seat cover is more fexible in cold weather. The seat cover has stayed intact, so I've never had to sit on wet foam rubber. Boat seat shells are made of tough plastic, so they don't rust. Rainwater runs off the boat seat, but pools up on the original seat, which has no drain holes. Replacement boat seats typically cost the same or less than original-style power equipment seats. Hunt for the best deals at online sites like eBay, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Sears/Kmart, sporting goods stores and the like. Check prices at local brick-and-mortar stores. Boat seats are not equipped with the internal operator-presence switches found on some older turf equipment. You may have to remove the staples holding the lower seat fabric to insert the leaf-type switch. Most newer equipment uses a push-button type of seat-safety switch, eliminating this issue. You'll probably have to drill some mounting holes. Boat seats typically use four bolts mounted in a square ranging from 4.5 to 5.25 inches per side. The undersides of universal power equipment seats look like Swiss cheese to match up with the diverse patterns found in the turf industry. The boating industry also provided the toolbox mounted on the tractor's left fender. It came from the tackle-box department and has a handle that's riveted to the lid so it keeps rainwater out of the box. On the right fender is a water-bottle holder that came from the bicycle department at a bigbox store. Having fddled with turf equipment for more than 30 years, I've long wondered why outdoor equipment is fnally coming from the factory with drink holders, but still generally lacks decently sized rain-tight storage as well as seats that shed water and last more than a few years under the summer sun and winter cold. Somehow, the boating and fshing people fgured these things out, and offer solutions for us landlubbers. GCM Scott R. Nesbitt ( is a freelance writer and former GCSAA staff member. He lives in Cleveland, Ga.

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