Golf Course Management

JUL 2017

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

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Page 50 of 137

07.17 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 47 the course, and lessen the carbon footprint of our operation. Through TCEG funding, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay purchased 18 pieces of fully electric, battery-powered maintenance equip - ment to replace our existing gasoline-pow- ered units: three Jacobsen Eclipse 322 greens mowers, four Jacobsen Eclipse 322 3WD tee and approach mowers, two Tru-Turf R52 green rollers, two Smithco Super Star 48 bun - ker rakes, five Toro Workman MDE utility vehicles, and two Club Car Carryall 2 util - ity vehicles. Money talk Converting from an entirely gasoline- powered fleet to an electric one reduced our fuel consumption by more than 9,000 gallons in the first year of implementation. In 2013, with oil supply limited by the spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the refinement of gasoline slowed, Chattanooga gasoline prices reached more than $3 per gallon, so this cut in our consumption saved the golf course more than $27,000 that year. (See the chart on Page 50 for a detailed breakdown of the course's gaso - line vs. electric costs.) Another perk of fully electric equipment is the lack of on-board fluids, such as engine oil, hydraulic fluid and brake fluid, along with all the filters needed to properly maintain the equipment. Eliminating the cost of these items plus the labor to maintain, replace and recycle the fluids saved our operation an ad - ditional $30,000. Yes, electric equipment has its own main - tenance expenses. Batteries must be recharged after each use, and the water levels in the batteries themselves have to be checked and topped off weekly (during times of heavy use, we check them at least twice per week). The electricity bill for our maintenance building, where the equipment is stored and charged, increased a little over $1,200 in the first year following purchasing the equipment, and that cost has remained consistent in subsequent years. On average, we use 31 gallons of dis - tilled water per year to maintain the batteries, at a cost of $29.76. Healthy planet, healthy people The relationship between an agronomy staff and the tract of earth under their care is a unique one. It is, in many ways, a partner - ship. If the land is not healthy and prosperous, the golf course itself is unlikely to be healthy and prosperous. Superintendents are becom - ing more aware of this, and of how the mainte- nance of their golf course directly impacts the environment on and around their property. By shifting to fully electric equipment, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay has strengthened our side of the partnership, protecting the land and water by eliminating the possibility of contamination through accidental leakage or spillage of petroleum-based products. We have also lessened our carbon footprint by reduc - ing the transportation of fuel to the course via delivery trucks, limiting the need to store or recycle oils, and reducing exhaust emissions released into the atmosphere. Tests have found that operating a small in - ternal-combustion gasoline-powered engine, such as the ones typically used in greens mow - ers, bunker rakes and green rollers, to name a few, can produce 26 different harmful hydro - carbons. According to the EPA, air pollution from one hour of operation of one of these en - At an unveiling event for the course's new electric equipment in May 2013, attendees — which included several Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation staff members and state Sen. Bo Watson — had the opportunity to hop on some of the machines to experience their quiet performance firsthand. gines is equivalent to that of 11 new cars each being driven for an hour. These pollutants are not only toxic to the environment, but also to the operator, who comes in close contact with the concentrated exhaust fumes on many models of equipment. Such exposure is particularly evident with equipment that requires the operator to either walk through the exhaust plume or sit in di - rect relation to the engine and exhaust mani- fold. The hazards of hydrocarbons and other emissions from small combustion engines be - come amplified during summer. Ozone, one of the primary pollutants that causes poor air quality during the summer months, is formed when nitrogen oxides in exhaust undergo a chemical reaction in the presence of sunlight. Ozone has been linked to several lung and re -

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