Friday, January 24, 2014

Cushman Truckster Overhaul

With well over 1.3 million dollars worth of equipment at HFCC, it is imperative that we have a good maintenance program.  In anticipation of a successful season, we go through every piece of equipment and service it.  Most pieces need only oil and filter changes along with a part here and there.  However, some pieces need to be refurbished and completely overhauled.   Such is the case with several of our heavy duty utility vehicles.
HFCC staff inspecting the rear end of a Cushman Truckster
A new Cushman utility vehicle costs around $22,000.  The cost to refurbish one of these vehicles is about $4000, including labor.  We currently have 4 in need of refurbishment.  Each vehicle will be completely stripped down and every bushing, hose, and worn part will be replaced.  Additionally, each will receive a new paint job.  When each Cushman is finished, it will be in like new condition and will provide the club with many more years of dependable service. Because of this project, I am happy to report that we will save the club approximately $70,000 in new equipment costs!
Steve rebuilding the front end of a Cushman Truckser
This type of maintenance helps our equipment last longer than at most other clubs.  With the cost of golf course maintenance equipment getting higher each year (and I mean higher), it is prudent of us to take care of our equipment and make it last as long as possible.  I will post updated photos when we finish the first Cushman.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Winter Projects Update 1/17/14

Even with some unbelievably cold weather (-6 degrees last week), we have been able to make progress with our winter projects.  Because of the cold weather we have had time to work inside and do some much needed maintenance to the inside of the shop.  With a leaky ceiling, the roof and walls had become stained and were in much need of painting.  The crew spent a day washing the walls and then the next few days painting the walls.  Following the walls, they painted the ceiling and the beams.  While this will not fix the leaks (that will be addressed at another time), it has made the shop brighter and cleaner.
Dirt and stains can be seen on the walls of the maintenance facility.
The HFCC staff painting the inside of the maintenance facility.
Newly painted ceiling.

In addition to painting the inside of the maintenance building, the staff has been busy refurbishing some of our older equipment. 
Cushman trickster being taken apart and inspected.
With the cold temperatures easing somewhat this week, we have been able to get back to work with some of the course improvement projects.  We are back at dredging the lakes and are now working on #17.  This area had more silt than any other lake on the course and has taken the better part of a week to clean.  Following #17, we will go to #10 to do a small area in front of the green.
Dredging #17 lake.
Dredging the lake on #17
In addition to the dredging, we are adding a small boulder wall to the back of #2 tee along the cart path.  This will help us maintain the landscape bed behind the tee but more importantly, it will improve the aesthetics of the tee complex.
Excavating for the boulder wall on #2 tee.
Boulder wall on #2 tee.
Lastly, we have been busy taking down dead trees throughout the course.  All of the trees will be cut and split into firewood and used to heat the maintenance facility during the winter.
Rotted trees taken out at #1 tee.

Splitting firewood to heat the maintenance building.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Black Bears and Golf Maintenance at HFCC

The American Black Bear is the only bear species found in North Carolina or anywhere in the eastern United States and is commonly seen here at Highlands Falls.  An adult male bear can weigh anywhere from 200 to over 700 pounds, while females weigh between 100 and 300 pounds. The current world record black bear even came from North Carolina and weighed in at 880 lbs.
Black bear digging through the trash at HFCC.
The black bear is an omnivore with a diet of both plants and animals. Their sense of smell is seven times better than a bloodhounds and 100 times better than a human’s.  It is those characteristics that have created some problems for us.  Their sense of smell has lead them to our trash dumpster and as a result, trash has been scattered everywhere.  In addition to being an eyesore and costly to continually clean up, it is also a potential health hazard for the bear.  With that in mind, we have made some changes at the maintenance department to minimize our impact with the bears.
Black bear breaking the lid of a trash dumpster.
First, we have purchased a bear "resistant" trash dumpster.  This dumpster is made completely of steel with no plastic lids.  The bears commonly broke the lids to the old dumpster simply by jumping on them until they broke.  The new dumpster also has a locking mechanism that keeps the bears from opening the lids.   Another change we have made is in moving all trash receptacles inside the building and then taking the trash to the dumpster on the days that the trash is picked up.
New bear "resistant" trash dumpster at the HFCC maintenance department.
By changing a few maintenance practices and purchasing a new dumpster, we are having a positive impact with the bears.
Locking lids.