Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm in LOVE with a mower!

Here she is.  Our new TORO GROUNDSMASTER 4300.  Let me just say I am in love with this machine and this blog post is intended to tell you why.  In this picture she is getting the once over by our mechanic to make sure she was delivered "ready to go".  Joe will check all the fluid levels and make sure every fitting and bolt is tight before it goes out on its maiden voyage.  This machine is brand new and came with a price tag of $53,000.  Yes, that is a ridiculous amount of money and hard to swallow but this is a very specialized piece of equipment and should serve the club well for over 5 years.  She is replacing our Jacobsen AR5 which is in the picture below.  The AR5 was purchased 5 years ago and cost $45,000.
That was a lot of money back then and I guess it still is but the worst thing about it was the AR5 came with many problems.  All of the rollers and caster wheels on the cutting deck required costly maintenance.  She blew hoses almost every month from a poorly designed steering system which meant hydraulic oil leaks in our roughs was a common occurrence.  The frame cracked and which Jacobsen repaired free of charge, but it had to be off site for that repair so we were without a mower for over a week.  In reality though the AR5 was not a complete waste of money.  It simply was a case of early release.  The AR5 was the first of its kind as the industry was shifting from mowing rough with reels, to mowing roughs with rotarys.  It takes a lot of horsepower to mow with rotary blades and up until recently, that kind of horsepower was not achievable from a small lightweight power plant which is essential on golf course equipment.  We were one of the first owners of the AR5 and since it was really the first fine turf rotary mower on the market, it had some issues that have since been improved on.  Anyway, let me introduce the TORO 4300 to you and show you why I love it.  First and foremost, it cuts rough like no other using a proven cutting deck design that TORO has been using for several years now on its smaller machine, the sidewinder which you see below.  We have two of these and they handle all the roughs around the greens and tees.  Below you see the sidewinder.
Now below is a picture of the cutting deck on the 4300.  Notice the similarities.  I love the way this deck cuts and it recycles clippings very well leaving behind very few clipping clumps.
Also the rollers both front and back have not given us any problems.  The same rollers are on the sidewinder machines and to date we have not had to rebuild one after several thousand hours of operation.  Below you see the turbo charged power plant on this beauty.
The 4300 has plenty of power to mow even tall wet grass which of course we see all the time here in the great Pacific Northwest.  Below you see underneath this machine and how they used steel lines wherever they could instead of hoses.  Steel lines hold up much better than hoses over time so we should see much less oil leaks on the course.
Oh yeah, the picture above also shows the business end of the cutting deck and you can clearly see the aggressive blade we use that pulverizes grass, leaves, pines cones, and everything else that gets in its path.  Our mechanic Joe loves the accessibility of the filters for easy maintenance and little design features like good clearance around fittings for repairing or replacing lines and hoses.  Check out this pic.

Of course the crew loves operating this baby.  It is the most comfortable machine to operate in the fleet with a control center that has everything at your fingertips.  Below you can see the helm of the 4300.

So in closing, you'll have to trust me that the 53K was worth it on the new 4300.  I mean the last thing we need is "out of control" rough.  With this machine, we can keep the rough under control because the only time it will be in the shop is too change the blades.  We won't be wasting time and money keeping the decks in working order and we won't be repairing dead turf areas from oil leaks.  This is no experiment on my part because I know from experience as this new 4300 is actually our second one.  Our first 4300 has been out on the course for over a year with no issues.  I just love it.  Just don't tell my wife I have a new love at the golf course, she'll be jealous.  Click here to go to the TORO website and see all the features and specs on the 4300.

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