Thursday, 22 December 2011

Mower Efficiency Comparison

So here are some more numbers and graphs.  This week I have been analysing all of the data that I have collected this past year to try and make some meaningful sense out of it.  There are many ways to compare one course to another but by simply using a $ figure doesn't always work.  Some courses are simply more expensive to maintain, even with cost-cutting, sustainable practices.  Labour is usually the biggest part of any golf course maintenance budget so it makes sense to see how efficient you are for particular tasks.

I have put together some data that shows how efficient our course is to mow.  To measure how efficient a particular mower is you need to know how long it takes to mow a specific area and also how big that area is.  You could also add in the costs of maintaining the mower to get a real good set of statistics.  Sadly my records just aren't complete enough for that to happen this year. It is a real challenge keeping track of everything when the crew consists of 3 full time people including myself.

As can be seen the most efficient area to mow is our fairways at a little over 8000m2 per hour.  This is due to the large mower and relatively easy terrain that makes up the fairways.  Our fairways are clearly defined and for the most part are open and clear of trees and other obstacles.  This number changes widely and is actually quite inefficient when it comes to fairways.  Different mowing patterns and amount of golfers can quickly change this number.  At Pender Harbour we have narrow, bumpy fairways which limit our mowing speed to 6.5km/h.  Some courses can mow at double that speed effectively doubling the efficiency. I know for a fact that the course down the road can cut over 16000m2 per hour on their fairways and it all comes down to the shape, and smoothness at their course.
Steep slopes take longer to cut

Next in line is our rough at 5500m2/hr.  The rough mower is quite fast compared to our greens mower and cuts a lot of grass.  Cutting the rough requires less turns than the fairways but there are a lot of obstacles such as trees, benches, signs, steep slopes that must be avoided which takes up some time.  We cannot make use of the larger wider mowers as we don't have many areas that are open enough for those mowers to be efficient.

Really steep slopes are very expensive to mow, and are
often best left unmowed.
Next is our putting greens at 2200 m2/hr.  The greens mower is much slower, narrower and requires many turns.  By using a triplex mower we effectively double the efficiency of mowing our greens.  We can hand cut our greens in 3 hours or twice the time that it takes with the triplex.

The least efficient area of the course to mow is our tee boxes.  As can be seen on the above picture, our tees are surrounded with large walls and steep drop offs.  The tees require the mower operator to carefully turn and run at an even slower speed.  Cutting the tee boxes also requires the operator to get on and off the mower often to remove and set the tee markers.

Many tees at PHGC are surround by big rock walls.
By continually monitoring the time it takes to perform a particular task we can really see how changes we make effect our efficiency and bottom line.