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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48 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.17 ates The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay. "With the electric equipment, our staff are able to provide excellent turf conditions while players and wildlife alike can enjoy the solitude." Pros and cons of plugging in The use of electric maintenance equipment comes with more benefits than disadvantages, but nothing is perfect, and drawbacks can always be identified in most any operation. Fully electric equipment can cost a bit more initially, but it doesn't have to. An all-electric green roller, based on MSRP, can set you back about $2,500 more than its gasoline-powered counterpart. An all-electric triplex greens mower, however, will save you close to $2,000 upfront compared with a similarly equipped gasoline-powered model, according to Mitch Parker, vice president of Ladd's, a golf course maintenance equipment supplier in Memphis, Tenn. Additionally, the return on investment for an all-electric mower is greater than that for a gasoline-powered mower, as the savings in fuel, parts and mechanical service expenses will, over time, begin to offset any initial in - crease in purchase price. Another downside to battery-powered equipment is that users have a finite amount of power to complete their tasks. It's not as simple as adding more fuel to the machine and getting right back to work. Scheduling of daily maintenance must take into account the equipment's battery life. Some necessary cul - spiratory issues — long-term exposure can ag- gravate asthma, and it's likely one of the many causes of asthma. The risk intensifies during summer, when ground levels of ozone are al - ready elevated. Noise pollution The operation of gasoline- or diesel-pow - ered equipment is often loud, and it's not only disruptive to golfers and the wildlife that call the course home, but has possible legal rami - fications too. At many courses, maintenance must get underway before the break of dawn in preparation for daily, tournament or out - ing play. Beyond putting the course on un- favorable terms with nearby homeowners or resort guests, running gasoline- or diesel-pow - ered equipment in these early hours puts an agronomy team in potential violation of local noise ordinances. The Noise Control Act of 1972, which is the basis of many municipal noise ordinances, states that powered equipment generating in excess of 85 decibels cannot be operated before Special delivery: Three Jacobsen Eclipse 322 electric greens mowers arrive at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in March 2013. 7 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Monday through Sat- urday, and not before 9 a.m. on Sundays and holidays. For the majority of golf courses, wait - ing until 9 on a Sunday morning to begin work on the course simply isn't feasible. The virtually silent operation of fully elec - tric equipment allows a maintenance staff to perform many of its day-beginning tasks with - out disturbing the early-morning tranquility. Decibel meter readings I took 100 feet away from a gasoline-powered and a fully electric- powered greens mower under full operation re - vealed a drastic variance in the noise levels each generates, with the gasoline model hitting 83 decibels while the electric reaches 53 decibels. If your local noise ordinances are in line with the Noise Control Act, gasoline-powered equip - ment could put your facility at risk of legal ac- tion. What's more, repeated exposure to loud noises or long-term exposure to decibel levels over 80 can lead to hearing loss, hypertension, anxiety, irritability, and loss of concentration or motor skills. With the operator at a heightened risk of harm, the likelihood of lawsuits and workers' compensation claims also goes up. The value of eliminating noise pollution wasn't lost on the sponsors of the Electric Equipment Initiative. "Hands down, my fa - vorite benefit of the project is the absolutely silent operation of the equipment," says Lori Munkeboe, director of the Office of Sustain - able Practices for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, which oper -

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