Plenty of new products and ideas were available for course superintendents and club managers to see and learn about when they gathered in San Diego for this year’s major industry shows.
In addition to its ideal climate and other attractions, San Diego is an airplane-watcher’s delight, with planes swooping so low over the city as they come in for landings at its bayside airport that you can hang out with binoculars at spots in Balboa Park and have a good chance of making out faces in the passenger windows.
Throughout February, many of those faces were associated with the club industry, as golf course superintendents and club managers from around the world descended on the Southern California city for two major industry events. The Golf Industry Show (GIS) was held in San Diego from February 8-11, followed two weeks later by the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) World Conference and Club Business Expo, which ran from February 21-25.
(A third set of club-related faces could then be seen coming into San Diego at the end of the month, for C&RB’s Eighth Annual Chef to Chef Conference—see “Bright Ideas.”)
At both the GIS and CMAA trade shows, a variety of innovative new products and systems were on display to help clubs and resorts maximize productivity and member/guest amenities and services throughout their properties. Here are some highlights of all that was on display:
Yamaha Golf Car rolled out its new YamaTrack fleet monitoring and management solution. Developed in partnership with iGolf, YamaTrack is a plug-and-play wireless solution that can transform any Yamaha vehicle into a “smart car” by providing real-time, 24/7 GPS tracking, live diagnostics and all of the commands needed for full control of each car in a fleet. YamaTrack’s Asset Tracker module directly integrates with Yamaha golf cars to provide tracking and maintenance alerts from any computer, tablet or smartphone. YamaTrack is designed to help course managers reduce the risk of theft and liability, minimize operating inefficiencies and maximize sales and revenue opportunities by providing the ability to continually monitor their fleets and make informed decisions through the historical reporting generated by the system.
E-Z-GO® and Cushman®, both Textron companies, showcased the redesigned E-Z-GO RXV® and the new Cushman Refresher Oasis™ food-and-beverage vehicle as part of the companies’ enhanced lineup of golf cars and utility and hospitality vehicles.
The next generation of the E-Z-GO RXV is equipped with an AC drivetrain that is up to 25% more efficient than a traditional DC drivetrain, allowing for superior energy efficiency, increased power and longer run times between charges. The electric RXV also features patented IntelliBrake technology that automatically slows the vehicle when traveling up or down steep grades and engages the parking brake when the vehicle stops, without the need for operator input. IntelliBrake also delivers full-time regenerative braking, recharging the vehicle’s batteries whenever brakes are applied, to further extend the efficiency and range.
The RXV is also available in a 13.5-hp gas-powered model. New design amenities in both models of the RXV include ergonomic seats, larger cup holders, abundant in-dash storage and the industry’s largest bagwell.
As the latest addition to the Cushman line of hospitality vehicles, the Cushman Refresher Oasis provides another opportunity to increase revenue through on-course beverage and merchandise sales. Featuring four beverage compartments with an industry-leading 500-can capacity, the Refresher Oasis features a 12.1-sq. ft. wrap-around counter and a 6.7-cu. ft. merchandising/dry goods cabinet. Optional airpots are available.
E-Z-GO also featured its exclusive presentation of the TKV system for its vehicles. TKV offers fleet management and GPS solutions in three unique versions that are customizable based on a facility’s needs. Feature packages range from text-based systems to custom course graphics with 3-D flyovers.
The Toro Company unveiled a variety of new product announcements for both its course equipment and irrigation divisions, including:
• The Greensmaster 3120 as the newest member of Toro’s Greensmaster® family of riding greens mowers. The 3120 is designed as an ideal riding greens mower for properties that want to achieve outstanding course conditions but whose budget may not align with more feature-rich alternatives. The 3120 is powered by a 16-hp Vanguard® V-Twin engine with a HydroGear® hydrostatic transmission, and features a robust transport speed of up to 7 mph.
• Release of new walk-greens mower models, the Greensmaster® Flex™ 1820 and 2120. The new models include a user-friendly Multi-Disk wet clutch for easy drive engagement and feathering that allows operators to engage at lower RPMs and make turnarounds in tight areas more easily. The mowers’ clippings basket is connected to the suspension cross-arm, to allow the baskets to follow the cutting units precisely, regardless of undulations of the terrain.
• Release of the new EPA Tier 4 Final Compliant Groundsmaster® 5900/5910 rotary mower, which integrates a fuel-efficient Tier 4 Final-compliant Yanmar® 3.3-liter turbocharged diesel engine. The upgraded Tier 4 Final models have demonstrated fuel savings of up to 30% when compared to the previous Groundsmaster 5900/5910 models. The redesigned large-area mower boasts a 16-ft.-wide (4.9-m) cutting width, allowing an operator to mow over 100 acres (40.5 hectares) per day.
• New EdgeSeries™ reels for all Toro® Greensmaster® walk and riding greensmowers, Reelmaster® fairway mowers, and as replacement parts that feature updated blade materials for a longer reel life. Additionally, the new reels provide an improved blade angle to promote the overall health of turfgrass by providing a cleaner and healthier cut, while at the same time reducing backlapping and grinding.
• Toro also unveiled the Toro Loyalty Credits (TLC™) parts rewards program. New for 2016, the program features a streamlined process for enrollment and provides access to an expanded list of qualifying Toro genuine parts. There is no need for a website log-in or membership card; eligible users simply enroll in the free program and automatically accumulate points for every qualifying parts purchase made throughout the year. The TLC program allows Toro golf and grounds customers to reinvest reward credits directly back into their business. Each October, program participants will receive an annual credit at their Toro distributor to use in purchasing necessary parts, training, or myTurf® subscriptions and hardware.
• Toro also announced the launch of the all-new Workman® GTX utility vehicle, with options for four- and two-seat configurations, a variety of front- and rear-attachments for garbage cans, hose reels or walk spreaders, and a number of flatbed options. In all, the Workman GTX offers over 300 configurations to fit almost any application.
Toro also reintroduced the Toro® Workman® MDX and MDX-D with increased horsepower compared to previous MDX vehicles, and now providing 1,250 lbs. (567 kg) of cargo capacity and 1,200 lbs. (544 kg) of towing capacity. The Workman MDX features a 480-cc gasoline engine and the MDX-D is powered by a 600-cc diesel engine.
• Product introductions from Toro Irrigation included the all-new STEALTH™ Series Kit as the newest addition to the INFINITY® Series golf sprinkler. The STEALTH Series Kit offers an innovative solution that improves playing conditions by enabling turfgrass to grow above the sprinkler head, creating a seamless and continuous area of turf that minimizes sprinkler interference during play on the golf course. The STEALTH Series Kit quickly attaches to any INFINITY Series sprinkler, enabling installation below grade while promoting turf growth directly atop the sprinkler. Additionally, the STEALTH Series Kit allows grass and root growth through technological innovations that include a turf-cup design that encourages water drainage to prevent root rot. With 1.5 inches of room to grow, roots are able to retain optimum turfgrass health.
Toro Irrigation also introduced the Lynx® Smart Hub as part of the Lynx GDC 2-wire control system.
Toro also announced the addition of the OSMAC® G3 to its line of field controllers for golf course irrigation. Available as a complete satellite or as an upgrade to existing E-OSMAC satellites, the OSMAC G3 offers a simple user interface that can carry out both scheduled irrigation and multi-manual activities. The unit also delivers diagnostics that provide superintendents with easy-to-interpret data, and is equipped with Received Signal Strength Indicators (RSSI) to measure signal strength and improve the overall performance of the unit. The OSMAC G3 is compatible with SitePro® and Lynx® Central Control systems, allowing superintendents to upgrade on an as-needed basis.
Jacobsen®, a Textron company, announced the launch of the all-new LF557/LF577™ seven-reel fairway mower, in addition to enhancements to its current LF550/LF570™ fairway mower series.
The LF557/LF577 is the industry’s only Tier 4 Final, seven-reel fairway mower. The LF557 is equipped with five-inch reels and the LF577 is equipped with seven-inch reels, with both mowers boasting a massive cutting width of 139 inches, allowing the ability to mow up to 11 acres per hour.
Jacobsen also launched the all-new HR700™ wide-area rotary mower. Featuring an industry-first 14-ft.-wide cutting width, the HR700 can cut up to 25% more grass than traditional 11-ft. rotary mowers. Built on an extremely nimble platform, the HR700 delivers a zero-uncut circle and easily maneuvers around obstacles. Later this year, Jacobsen will introduce the HR600 11-ft. and the HR800 16-ft. rotary mowers.
John Deere introduced the 9009A TerrainCut™ Rough Mower as the latest addition to its A Model family of fairway, rough and trim-and-surrounds mowers. The 9009A is a five-gang, 27-inch (68.58-cm) independent rotary deck mower with a 9-ft. (2.7-m) cutting width. The deck provides a quick, toolless height-of-cut adjustment, and an innovative rear-discharge chute provides greater dispersion and a cleaner cut.
John Deere also featured the TechControl display for its A Model mowers, which allows operators to input a wealth of commands, including mow speed, turn speed, engine speed and service times, and also provides on-board service diagnostics. TechControl also features LoadMatch™, which slows traction speed if reels come under heavy load while mowing. Technicians can also use TechControl to set service timers for hydraulic and engine oil changes, and Diagnostic Trouble Codes can be stored within the TechControl to aid technicians in the field.
Club Car featured its redesigned line of Carryall utility vehicles.
The two industry events will also share dates, as well as a location, next year. The 2017 Golf Industry Show will be held in Orlando, Fla., from February 4-9, 2017, and the CMAA will also hold its 2017 event in Orlando, from February 7-11.