Golf Course Management

DEC 2012

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 75 of 125

gcm extra • On gas engines, remove spark plugs and put 30 milliliters (1 ounce) of clean engine oil in cylin- ders. Install spark plugs, but do not connect spark plug wires. Crank the engine five or six times to allow the oil to be distributed. • Clean the battery and battery posts. Check the electrolyte level if your battery is not mainte- nance free. • Close fuel shut-off valve if your machine is equipped. • Store the battery in a cool, dry place where it will not freeze (a stored battery should also be re- charged every 90 days). • Charge the battery. "We always check on our stored equipment throughout the winter," says Westbrook. "And as the weather changes, we'll move sprayers and the like inside on colder days, just to ensure there's no freezing or cracking." Once equipment has been stored, regularly check the floor underneath the machine throughout the season for any small puddles indicating leaks. This precautionary step will ensure you are aware of any damages that occur during the storage period and not on the first day of spring. Even if you do not expect severe weather or plan to use a utility vehicle over the colder months, it still needs maintenance checks to prepare for longer periods of storage. Combating winter weather Beyond equipment storage, courses in some regions need to take necessary precautions to man- age severe weather and ensure the facility is in the best possible shape. As a best practice, managers in cold climates should prepare any machinery that may be needed for facility maintenance. Trac- tors are often employed for snow removal or spreading salt. When the forecast calls for snow or ice, it's important that the tractor be ready and waiting. "In the winter when we are expecting severe weather, we bring our John Deere 310G backhoe inside to ensure it is warm and ready for use," Westbrook says. Specifically, be sure to check the tractors' implements. For example, hydraulic cylinder rods should be coated with beeswax-based preservatives to prevent pitting or corrosion. In addition, cover quick-connect hydraulic couplings, as well as the electrical connectors, with a rubber dust cover or wrap in plastic to prevent intrusion of rain or dirt. It's always a good idea to inspect tire chains that may be used occasionally for traction on snow and ice. Utility vehicles may also be required for limited use. Make sure the vehicle is winter ready by servicing the engine, changing the oil and replacing the spark plugs, air cleaner and the fuel filter. If the machine is only occasionally used, leave a trickle charger connected to the battery while it remains in the vehicle. If the vehicle has a cab, inspect and test the heater, wipers and windshield defroster. Even if you do not expect severe weather or plan to use a utility vehicle over the colder months, it still needs maintenance checks to prepare for longer periods of storage. When this is the case, start by lubricating the chassis and suspension, and storing the battery. As you would for any other piece of equipment, clean the bed of dirt or debris, and wash any fertilizer or chemical residues from the vehicle. Water-cooled vehicles should have the cooling system inspected and the anti- freeze tested. In addition, spray preservatives on tires, belts and hoses. Talk to your dealer Your local equipment dealer can be a valuable resource for tips and best practices related to stor- age, maintenance and course care during the winter. Not only is the dealer your primary source for specific manufacturer information and recommendations, but as a representative in your region, he or she will be able to provide further details on what works for other facilities in your area, as well as what to avoid. As the snow melts and spring slowly arrives, players will be eager to get on the greens and enjoy the warmer weather. Thorough equipment maintenance at the start of each winter will ensure your equipment is ready to produce the pristine results golfers will enjoy. GCM Tracy Lanier is product manager for John Deere Golf. 72 GCM December 2012

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