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Minimum Golf course Machinery

The list below is not a conclusive list but is an opinion based on 18 years of experience. For more info, get in touch with your Superintendent.  Each and every golf course will be different.

Uses / Remarks / Excuses
Motorbikes or buggies For internal transport of the superintendent, assistants, supervisors and irrigation staff (for those clubs with manual irrigation) some clubs use buggies and some, due to budget constraints or size of the golf course, use motorbikes. You could buy your staff the bikes OR let your staff use their own bike and give them (limited) petrol a day.
2 to 4 mini-tractors (25 – 40 hp) To fix up with trailer for transport. 1 tractor- trailer unit on each 9 holes.   1 for the landscape section and one for irrigation/drainage. Can also be fixed with implements (blower, sprayer, aerator or even mower) for other uses.
4 to 2 turf transporter (no mistake here, the more mini-tractors you have ; the  less transportersyou need) Can mean from an expensive truckster to a cheaper bike with sidecar. You wouldn’t want a RM60K tractor transporting 2 workers and equipment to hole 6, when a RM6K bike can do. Heck, an old buggy can do as well. How many tractors and/or transporter you need depend A LOT on the size of your course.
1  pick-up truck, van or small lorry This is a medium sized transport used in some clubs. Also useful to purchase  stuff from outside the course.
1 tractor with front-end loader and backhoe or trencher attachment This could be the same mini-tractor fitted with a loader.  As for backhoe; VERY useful to have. A skid-steer with backhoe attachment, a mini-excavator or even a tractor fitted with excavator attachment.
2 units of tipping 1-tonne trailer Goes with your tractors.  Don’t bother with a 3-tonne trailer: it messes up the edges of your buggy path, difficult to drive and your  staff will overload the trailer anyway.
Mowing Equipment
6 walk-behind greens mowers or 2  ride-on greens mower A walk-behind greensmower will give better finish with less compaction BUT is much less productive than a ride-on. You should use 1 walk-behind for 3 greens or 1 ride-on for 9 if you need to finish mowing your greens by 9.00am.  Refer to ‘The Superintendent’ of your course.
2 or 3 ride-on tee mowers One for each Nine. Or 1 for 6 holes. Your call. My advice is to get one that can function as back-up for your greensmowing machines.
1 to 3 fairway mowers 1 fairway mower for 18 holes or for 6 holes? A 7-gang tractor-pulled, traction-driven unit, or a lightweight 5-gang ride-on? The answer lies in how you want your course to look like and how often you want to mow. I strongly recommend 2 units of light or medium sized dedicated mowers. And if your golf course is in Malaysia or any other country with high rainfall, I highly recommend 4-wheel drive units.
1 to 3 units of 3-gang or 5-gang; light rough mower This for the rough around the fairways.  Differ from 1 course to the other. Depend on fairway size, height of cut, quality expected etc. Hard to recommend. These should be able to handle the rough around the tees and greens too.
1 to 3 units of rotary or flail type; heavy rough mower. The rough under the trees; the heavy stuff.  I would not recommend using reel-mowers, but that depends, ask The Boss. Rotaries and Flails will withstand the roots, the golf balls, condoms or whatever else are under your trees. The grass are usually cut high too.  Tough on reels.
1-2 units of trim mowers Some golf courses practice having a semi-rough around their fairways; which may include around greens/tees and/or bunkers.
1 to 2 vertical mowers It is to control your thatch. It can be mounted on your ride-on greens mowers. More often called the ‘dethatching’ units.
2 to 6 units of brush cutters and/or floating hover mowers For the areas that machines can’t mow; around trees/furniture, bunker slopes, etc. How many you need depends on how big an area you have.  Aim to cut at least once a month.
1 to 2 rotary lawn mowers For your landscaping needs around the clubhouse. Depending  on size your landscaping, may be as big as a ride-on machine.
1 to 2 units of edger and trimmer For edging of buggy paths, or around greens and collars.
Maintenance Equipment
1-2 units sprayer with 200-gal tank,  and spray boom attachment and spray handgun For spraying of herbicides, fungicides etc on turf and trees. Use a lot of growth regulator?  Get 2 units.
1-2 units bunker sand raker You may need 2 units if you have many bunkers and want to finish raking before 9am.  Some big models can be used for other uses like pulling topdressing mat or brush.
1-2 units aerification machine Either you get 2 small pull behind aerator or get one of those new tractor mounted aerators.
1-or 2 deep thatch-control machines More commonly known by the brand name of “Mataway”. For deep dethatching of greens and tees or for collection of stolon/rhizome as planting material. There are other brands in the market too.
1 unit of powered sod cutter To get sod for replanting.  Or to remove grass that has been damaged.  In case you’re wondering; yes there are ‘unpowered’ sod cutters, they’re tough to use and won’t last long. Neither will your staff.
1-or 2 air blowers Especially useful if you have a lot of trees that shed a lot of leaves.  A sweeper/vacuum helps but most of the time, a blower is indispensable.
1 unit of  fairway spiker or slicer The very important but cheap machine most golf courses don’t have or don’t use.  To aerate fairway (or tees, or rough)
1 portable centrifugal pump with suction hose For the rainy season when you’re bunkers are in deep water and you are in deep $**t
1-rotovator Just like what farmers use to till their land before planting.
1  hedge trimmer For your hedge/bushes.  Optional if you have cheap labour.
Maintenance Equipment
1-2 powered topdressing machine I have done hand topdressing before therefore I strongly advise golf courses to use a powered topdresser either self-propelled or attached to a multipurpose transporter.  You won’t get an even spread with mere humans after the 6th green.
2 topdressing mats or brush for greens 1 for fairways. After you topdressed, you would have to rub the sand in.
1-2 units of greens fertilizer spreader I strongly suggest you get two good ones.  I’ve seen cheap units spraying out uneven globs of fertilizer. Calibrate them!
1 rotor-type fairway fertilizer spreader Again, get good proven ones. The price you pay for a mistake done with fertilizer is more than what savings you got buying a cheap spreader.
1 greens’ roller Essential for when you want the speeds during tournaments.
1-2 units of self-propelled sweeper You can’t keep blowing your leaves forever. You’ll have to collect them sooner or later. You may want to look into a smaller walk-behind unit for your car-parks, clubhouse etc.
1-2 power chainsaw Ideally, one big one and one small enough the staff can use with one hand (the other hand holding the ladder).
Golf Course Equipment and Tools
1-2 hole cutters For cutting holes. Duh.
18-36 hole cups (this is for an 18-hole course) It’s worth it to have a spare set.
1-2 cup extractors To pull the cup out of the green.
1-2 cup setters To put it back into the green as per regulation
18 poles and flags One set of a pole and a flag for each hole
18 practice green markers If you have a practice green. Or two.
3-4 sets tee markers Red, white and blue are must-haves.  Back (black, gold etc) is optional.
6 – 18 golf ball washers Essentially, at the starting holes and par 3s (you want to give golfers something to do while they wait) or at every tee.
6 – 18 waste baskets At the same holes as the ballwashers
6 – 18 tee benches Optional.
1 or 2 ball mark repairers. Not all golfers repair their ball mark (and that is a diplomatic statement).
1 soil-sampling tool (soil probe or profiler or both) To take samples or to see profiles of soil.
1 – 4l wheelbarrows Depending how much work will need to carry out.
1 8-ft stepladder For landscaping work or the occasional photographer (take my word for it)
1 20- or 30-ft extension ladder Ditto as above but this photographer got more balls.
1 measuring wheel It’s a wheeled device which when the wheel is turned, will show distance travelled.  Good for taking simple measurement without need of surveyor equipment. Or you could borrow your pro’s laser device.


6 Responses to “Minimum Golf course Machinery”

  1. mynormas said

    This is not an article written for a local Malaysian golf magazine. But I did wrote it many years ago and decided to post it here for other golfers/whatever to read. I am not endorsing anything or anyone and it is not meant as a technical reference or as instruction.


  2. S F Kong said

    I m Kong n urgently in need of a used push behind green mower. Your anticipation will be highly appreciated.
    012 382 1379


  3. Nirwant said

    Brilliant. Informative and yet with a peppering of good humor.


  4. Nirwant said

    Briluant piece. Informative yet peppered with good humor. Thanks.
    If you spare sime time, could you offer some insights on:
    1) Recommended frequency for use of fertilizers and pesticides on greens and fairways.
    2) Most preferred types of above and quantity required for say a 300 meter fairway
    Thanks a mil


    • mynormas said

      Thank you!
      1. I recommend greens fertiliser once every two weeks of 70% slow release fertiliser.
      Fairways I usually do once every two months (alternate with tees and primary rough).
      2. I prefer methylene urea type slow release (though most coated are okay too) and I usually advise 300g N / 100sq.m with N:K 1:1 or 1:>1.


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