Help Minimize Maintenance Expenses

An analysis of walking greens mowers also reveals a similar pattern. A 22” Mower in 1991 was $2,500 and is over $4,000 today. The machine is heavier, causing more compaction, and is more physically demanding to operate and transport from green to green. Clearly, today’s superintendent is not getting much help in lowering expenses from the equipment manufacturers.

There are also some other issues relating to chemical usage. In our part of the country, snow mold protection has actually decreased in price, but the new formulations without mercury appear to be less effective. Warm Season courses are going to have a very interesting time addressing their insect issues in light of the banning of a major insecticide base.

We have also encountered some significant issues relating to USGA Specification Greens. While the laudable attempt to equalize drainage, simplify watering programs and create a uniform growing medium has been widely accepted; the costs associated with USGA Greens maintenance are higher. That also does not address the “black layer” problem that has appeared in many new greens. The USGA Specifications have proven to eliminate some issues, but the vagaries of design, sunlight exposure and air movement usually still present superintendents with 18 unique growing mediums.

Dr. Hurdzan also addressed the potential for GPS to help minimize maintenance expenses. GPS may have a lot of potential, but the days of turning over greens mowing and ticklish chemical application to a remote control are still quite a ways off. When that day comes, get ready to have an on-staff MIS professional at a salary comparable to your current superintendent/agronomist. At present GPS based maintenance is an expensive luxury with very little real potential for cost saving.