The struggling economy held traffic down, compared to previous years’ events, at the 2009 Golf Industry Show (GIS), held February 5 through 7 at New Orleans’ Morial Convention Center. Total attendance this year, according to show organizers, was just over 17,000, representing a double-digit percentage decrease from attendance at shows last year in Orlando and Anaheim in 2007, which was the first year for the collaborative GIS show among the industry associations (Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Club Managers Association of America, and National Golf Course Owners Association) that had previously held separate exhibitions.
There were 765 exhibitors at this year’s show in New Orleans, and in almost all cases, the emphasis was on displaying products and services that could help club and course managers improve efficiency and productivity while tackling current operational challenges with tightening budgets. Here’s a roundup of selected highlights of what was seen at this year’s GIS. View a photo gallery from GIS here.
John Deere Golf rolled out eight new products—its largest product launch to date—at the 2009 GIS. Gregg Breningmeyer, Director of Sales and Marketing, noted that operators’ needs, as relayed through customer input, played a large role in guiding the development of each new piece of equipment, along with new innovations in engineering that have led to enhancements of existing technology.
“All of the new products are designed to help keep superintendents moving, cutting and spraying with more speed, precision and power,” said Breningmeyer.
Specific product introductions in this year’s lineup included:
• The Quick Adjust 5 and Quick Adjust 7 cutting units, which adjust in just a few seconds from a single point.
• The 220 E-Cut Hybrid Walk Greens Mower, with a floating head that hugs contours.
• The 7500 and 8500 E-Cut Fairway Mowers, with electric cutting units that eliminate potential leak points to protect turf appearance and health.
• The 8000 E-Cut Fairway Mower which, thanks to a tighter stripe and excellent contour following, is designed to help make fairways look as good as greens.
• The 7200 PrecisionCut Trim and Surrounds Mower, featuring “width-on-demand” for cutting unit adjustments on the fly, with no stopping, tools or parts required.
• The 8800 TerrainCut Rotary Mower, boasting a highly durable deck designed for the tough demands of rough areas as well as ease of use, without sacrificing quick height changes.
• The HD200 and HD300 SelectSpray, designed for the operator’s convenience, providing an efficient valve bank design that simplifies operation and plumbing, while standard triple nozzle bodies make nozzle changes effortless.
John Deere Golf also displayed the new-look trucks for its “Stores on Wheels” fleet, the on-course products and parts delivery concept it has retained since its acquisition of LESCO Products.
For more information on John Deere Golf products and services, visit www.JohnDeere.com
Rain Bird Corporation featured economical golf course controller solutions at GIS designed to help operators tackle the challenges of continuing to improve playability and irrigation efficiency on a tighter budget.
Rain Bird displayed its PAR+ ES Retro Kit, an upgrade to older, end-of-life Rain Bird controllers in a plastic or stainless steel pedestal, and the ESC-1, an economical, easy-to-use golf controller for replacement to all types of control systems. These high-quality controllers can be mixed with older, existing Rain Bird controllers on a course—a great option, says Bruno Quanquin, Rain Bird Golf Product Manager, for improving overall irrigation efficiency while sticking to a budget.
“The flexibility of these products makes it possible to only replace or retrofit as many controllers as you need,” Quanquin notes. “An incremental change-out of older, end-of-life controllers will also help in reducing satellite clusters of older, low-station-count units and dramatically reduce satellite maintenance costs.”
The ESC-1 has capacity for 16, 24 or 40 stations and features heavy-duty surge protection and four automatic programs with eight start times each. The PAR+ES Retro Kit features up to 48-station capability, six automatic and two manual programs in standalone mode and an output station module with station indicator and switches. Both products are available in standalone, two-wire or wireless LINK communication models.
Rain Bird also displayed its new DB Series Wire Connector, introduced in November. The smaller, more durable, single-piece construction of the connector allows installers to make more reliable direct-bury wire connections in less time, and is particularly suited for the installation of below-ground decoder control systems. It is also useful when working with standard controllers, valve boxes and soil moisture sensors. The DB Series also features a simple, snap-tight Strain Relief mechanism designed to keep wires from pulling apart, and waterproof silicone grease to protect against corrosion.
For more information on Rain Bird products, visit www.rainbird.com/golf
Toro featured a full complement of new product and service introductions for both its Turf Equipment and Irrigation Systems divisions.
Highlights of Toro’s 2009 Turf Equipment lineup include:
• New Workman HD and MD Series utility vehicles designed to provide increased durability, performance, and versatility. The MD Series vehicles now feature Superior Ride Quality, a robust new suspension system.
• New models in the ProCore line of aerators and processors, including the new SR Series Deep-Tine aerators, varying in widths from 48” to 75” and in depth from 1” to 16”, that all feature a hydraulic remote depth adjustment that allows the operator to change tine depth from the seat of the tractor.
• The new ProForce Debris Blower, which couples a 27-hp electronically governed engine with a turbine-type fan assembly to generate maximum debris-clearing air power.
• The new Groundsmaster 4500-D and 4700-D mowers, featuring a SmartCool system that briefly reverses the fan to blow debris off the air intake screen, and 58-hp turbo-diesel engines.
• The Greensmaster 14-Blade Reel, designed to cut below 0.100 of an inch without damaging turf, and the Toro myTurf Wireless Hour Meter, which can be used with Toro’s myTurf Fleet Management software to track and record equipment use.
Highlights from the Toro Irrigation display included:
• Toro NSN Connect, a secure, easily established connection between a remote computer or Web-connected mobile device and a local computer with a Toro SitePro computerized control system. The remote control allows users to review and adjust irrigation system programming and schedules without requiring hands-on access to the central computer.
• Toro NSN Custom Database Management, which begins with on-site analysis of irrigation needs and data. The course’s irrigation system database is then customized with a course-specific action plan. The service provides superintendents with well-established irrigation installations with updated analyses of the system capabilities and tools, to optimize performance and efficiency.
• Toro Swing Joints, designed to complement Toro golf sprinklers and quick couplers by helping to minimize friction loss and ensure optimal operating pressure at each sprinkler.
For more information on Toro Turf Equipment and Irrigation Systems, visit www.toro.com
In addition to featuring its new RXV golf car that debuted at the 2008 GIS, E-Z GO, a Textron Inc. company, introduced the new MPT 2000 Refresher, billed as the largest refresher vehicle on the market.
With a total payload capacity of 2,000 lbs., 21.2 cubic feet of cold storage space and the capability of carrying up to 887 12-ounce cans or 400 20-ounce bottles, the new vehicle is designed to eliminate the need for “lengthy and laborious refills,” so it can stay on the job longer to drive revenues from on-course food and beverage sales.
The MPT 200 Refresher can be equipped with numerous options and accessories, including a food warmer, mini-bottle carrier, condiment tray, dry goods storage, sundries cabinet, cash drawer and humidor. It comes equipped with a 13-hp, 401cc low-emissions engine that features a hemispheric combustion chamber, for improved power and fuel mileage. The vehicle also features an automatic, continuously variable transmission, a four-wheel hydraulic braking system, and a leaf-spring suspension with hydraulic shock absorbers.
E-Z-GO also launched its new Online Battery Training Center—a free online resource, available through the E-Z-GO website at www.ezgo.com, that provides information for owners of E-Z-GO vehicles to learn about proper maintenance of batteries in their fleets.
Lessons are provided in both English and Spanish to help learn how to maximize battery lifespan, increase energy efficiency, and reduce a facility’s environmental impact. Specific topics include proper watering of batteries, regular battery inspection and testing procedures, battery storage procedures, proper wiring and mounting of battery chargers, and management of energy usage. Each lesson module includes a brief “exam” to test the user’s mastery of the material.
Club Car featured its new Guardian SVC (Satellite Vehicle Control) system, designed to bring an advanced level of protection to golf courses for their most valuable assets—their customers, the golf course itself, and their fleets of golf cars and other vehicles. Guardian incorporates the most desirable course management features of GPS technology—including limiting vehicle access, controlling vehicle speed, reviewing the history of where a golf car has been driven, and monitoring and diagnosing vehicle performance—into a system that can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection. The system is priced at only $500 per car, plus a nominal monthly servicing and licensing fee.
“Guardian takes the best of GPS technology and makes it affordable for any golf course,” says Michael R. Packer, Club Car’s Vice President of Sales for its Americas group. “It changes the way golf courses manage their business [by enabling] GPS technology to become a strategic course management tool with widespread application.”
For more on the specific features of Guardian SVC, see the Product Showcase description on pg. 62 of this issue, or visit www.clubcar.com
Jacobsen featured these items at its GIS display:
• The Eclipse 322 riding greens mower, which debuted as a prototype at the 2008 GIS and will be in full production this year
• Classic XP Reels, now featuring Advanced Relief Technology for improved sharpness and durability
• A new Turf Groomer, now available for all Eclipse-family greens mowers
• The new R-311 wide-area rotary mower
• New DuraTines for Jacobsen’s Greensaire aerator series
• Jacobsen’s new Web site (www.Jacobsen.com), which has been redesigned for easier customer interaction and navigation.
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