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March 7, 2008 - Grounds Management
In the fall of 2006, the Overland Park, Kan., Parks and Recreation Department began accepting bids for an extensive package of new turf equipment. The city needed enough machinery to maintain two public golf courses spanning 54 holes, along with hundreds of acres of athletic fields and parks and recreation facilities.
Between the municipal-operated Overland Park and St. Andrews golf courses, the city does not employ any full-time mechanics, so any equipment lease needed to involve a reliable service agreement. After spending the majority of the winter crunching numbers and reviewing proposals from several major equipment manufacturers and local distributors, Doug Melchior and the city’s parks and recreation department signed a four-year equipment and service lease through Kansas City-based Turf & Golf Technology for more than 40 mowers and turf-maintenance machines from Jacobsen.
“Without mechanics, we are the ones that get in there and do the maintenance when we absolutely have to, but it was essential that any deal provided an extensive service contract along with reliable equipment,” says Melchior, Overland Park’s superintendent. “Jacobsen came in with the best price on the package we were looking for, and after having the equipment for this first season, I can say that I am very, very satisfied. We have been able to maintain all of our facilities at a very high-level.”
The lease includes eight wide-area, rough rotary mowers, seven fairway mowers, 11 riding greens mowers, four utility vehicles, two riding groomers, and three core harvesters. The first machines were delivered in March 2007, making an immediate impression on the maintenance department and an impact on the turf.
“From what I have seen so far, I don’t think there is another mower on the market that can match the HR-9016 as a large-area mower,” Melchior says. “The four-wheel drive, a 16-foot cut, the power, the ease of operation, and the comfort – that mower can really do a lot of work, and nothing else out there is really even close to it.”
With two golf clubs and multiple sites to maintain year-round from the same budget, Melchior had to consider all aspects of performance and consult several economic evaluations before making such an important equipment decision.
“All of the new machines have plenty of power; that was something that we all liked and noticed off the bat,” he says. “As we got into the year and got comfortable with everything, we also noticed that we were getting a lot better fuel economy as well, particularly on the fairway and large-area mowers.”
As the price of oil and gasoline continues to rise, better fuel economy and maximum performance will be a premium for both public and private facilities trying to stay within their budgets, Melchior says.
“We are able to get out on the fairways and mow all day on one tank of gas with the LF-3800s,” he says. “With the 9016s, we are only using half of a tank, instead of the 20 some gallons we were burning every time out with our previous equipment. It’s really making a big difference.”
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