Turf Mowers


Well, i figured i would try something else so i made a new section of the Blog to post about what i do for a living  here at the golf course/forest preserve and what is involved in turf /equipment repair. i am starting with reel grinding, which is basically sharpening. What you see here to the left is what we call a reel unit. it is based off the same design like the old time push mowers from the turn of the century except it is driven by either a hydraulic or electric motor rather than ground speed. We use reel type cutting units like this for golf as you can better control the cut to a point where it is pretty much like machining grass. this simply cannot be done with a common rotary type blade you would use to cut the grass on the front lawn.

Basically you have a reel of 5, 7, or 11 blades the spins at a high rate of speed. at the bottom you have a bedknife which the reel cuts against. as it comes across the grass blades, the reel cuts the blades of grass more like a reaper. the velocity of the blade cuts it. the bedknife acts more like a holding member rather than having a scissor effect to cut the grass.

Now for those of you who know anything about golf or take it seriously, you may understand what i am talking about when i say we have 6 different heights of cut we maintain on the golf course. they are as follows with a brief description:

Greens- mowed at .120″ set using a dial indicator and has a .003″ of tolereance. this has to done daily. usually using an 11 blade reel and thin bedknife.

Tee’s and collars- this is the cut on the tee boxes, the grass surrounding the green, and the approach immediately infront of it. here at my course we mow this at .375″ using a 7 blade reel.

Fairways- this is the spot where if you are like me golfing, you never seem to hit the ball in. this height of cut is about .420 here at my course and we use 7 blade reels with a thick bedknife.

Surrounds- this is the grass that is around the sand traps, or rather bunkers, on the course. we go around 1 1/2″ on this height of cut using a 5 blade reel and set it with a tape measure to be honest. it is not as accurate so you usually end up trying to get an even cut my trial and error. there are also rotary mowers for this.

step cut- same height and machines that we use for surrounds. this is a step of grass that rings the fairway. you can also use rotary blades for this cut.

Rough- this is basically just like your front lawn. it is everything else and we mow at 2 1/2″ here. Except here we use a 50,000$ rotary blade mower about 12 feet wide with 7 hydraulic driven decks.

Now, you can see by the way i list it, the taller the grass cut is- the less blades you need on the reel and/or you can even go to a rotary blade. the most critical of all of these is the greens. it is about as close to trying to machine grass as you will ever get. the machines we use on greens are called a triplex mower and have 3 reel units on each machine. fairway mowers have 5 reel units. although they do not need to be sharpened daily, they must be adjusted for wear. As little as .005″ too much gap on one reel unit  will make the cut look like shit-translated means the superintendant becomes a pain in the mechanic’s ass til it’s fixed. it can leave an ugly stripe or drastically effect the way the ball rolls on the green. i tell ya what when you fork out 50 bucks for a round of golf and a car, you want the greens to be top notch not like golfing in a cow pasture. the overall goal is to have quick rolling greens and have all the turf looking excellent. Now my end of the job is basically to maintain the cut, getting the shit to grow right is the responsibility of the superintendant, and that’s a whole nother topic believe it or not.

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