This year’s Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas, and Club Managers Association of America conference in New Orleans, drew larger numbers of attendees and exhibitors—and a much bigger display of smiles.
It wasn’t the easiest of travel itineraries for those who attended both shows, but making the rounds for this year’s club and golf industry conferences was full of pleasant experiences once on the trade-show floor, if not when grabbing cabs to airports or going through security lines.
Over a five-day span that included a 1,500-mile, one-time zone shift, club managers, golf professionals and course superintendents had the opportunity to see a full complement of the latest equipment, products and services available for their properties and operations, first at the Club Managers of America Association (CMAA) World Conference in New Orleans on February 26-27, followed immediately by the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in Las Vegas, Feb. 29-March 1.
The prevailing mood on both show floors, among both buyers and sellers, was decidedly more upbeat than for any conference in the past four years. Show organizers also reported the best numbers for exhibitors, registrants and attendees of concurrent seminars since the pre-recession events of 2008.
Here are highlights of what some of the leading exhibitors featured in their displays at this year’s shows:
In a Golf Industry Show booth shared by Textron companies Cushman® and E-Z-GO®, visitors saw Cushman’s new Hauler™ line of rugged, versatile utility vehicles designed for turf maintenance and facilities management applications at golf courses and resorts. The Hauler line features five different models, offering a variety of payload capacities and powertrain options. Cushman Haulers can be customized with a wide variety of options and accessories, ranging from towing implements, locking glove boxes and powered dump beds to enclosed cabs and ball-picker cages on some models.
E-Z-GO introduced its PowerFilm Solar Panel technology, designed to improve the battery life and performance of electric golf cars while providing a simple, cost-effective path to “going green.” The innovative technology is available on the E-Z-GO RXV® and TXT® electric fleet golf cars, and Freedom® RXV and Freedom TXT electric personal golf cars.
The PowerFilm Solar Panel is lightweight, thin and flexible. Its snap-top system, designed exclusively for E-Z-GO, allows for easy installation without requiring canopy replacement or structural reinforcement. Users can reduce energy costs required to charge and maintain their E-Z-GO electric vehicles by as much as 20 percent annually, depending on local weather conditions and other factors, compared to the cost of charging vehicles without the PowerFilm solution.
E-Z-GO also featured the TAG-150, a fleet management and tracking system designed to help golf course operators be more efficient in managing their vehicles and equipment, as well as labor resources. E-Z-GO has signed a strategic agreement with DSG Tag Systems Inc. for the sale and co-marketing of its TAG-150 product line and accessories through worldwide E-Z-GO sales channels.
The system uses wireless technologies to track and report the exact location and status of all tagged assets, issue alerts to facility managers and send notifications to vehicle operators. The TAG-150 is compatible with any E-Z-GO or Cushman vehicle, gas or electric.
At John Deere Golf, visitors saw the latest improvements to the popular ProGator utility vehicle. The brand has been redesigned to offer performance enhancements, including 4-wheel hydraulic disk brakes, increased payload capacity and tighter shifting patterns. The updated 2020A ProGator now comes with the industry’s only 4-cylinder HDUV (heavy-duty utility vehicle) with an electronic fuel-injected gas engine, which offers a powerful package of horsepower and torque at quiet operating sound levels. The automotive-grade engine features drive-by-wire technology, meaning no mechanical linkage between the pedal and the engine for quick response and excellent acceleration.
The 2020A also offers an optional multi-mode electronic throttle control that regulates maximum engine rpm, which is ideal for spraying, topdressing and spreading applications. The throttle control features a stationary operating mode for providing consistent product flow to walking spray booms.
John Deere Golf also displayed its 180 E-Cut Hybrid Walk Greens Mower. Designed after the popular 220 E-Cut, the new 180E meets needs for a walk mower that offers a precise, clean cut with a tight, 18-in. cutting swath.
Deere also announced the launch of the John Deere Golf Rewards progran, an exclusive program for members of the CMAA that rewards partners who use John Deere equipment for their club operations with tangible benefits that club managers will be able to pass on to their clubs, members and community.
Benefits of the new offering include discounts on John Deere equipment, customized training opportunities and complimentary annual fleet service. Club managers will also have access to John Deere Golf’s expansive resource network, including special John Deere Landscapes pricing and finance rates through John Deere Financial. Additionally, club managers, superintendents and club members can receive discounts on popular John Deere homeowner equipment like the X300 Series lawn tractors and Gator™ Utility Vehicles.
Jacobsen a Textron Inc. company, unveiled the ECLIPSE2 series of walking greens mowers at GIS in Las Vegas. Building on the legendary quality-of-cut and control of the original Eclipse, the new model allows course managers to customize and control mower settings to varying course conditions.
Retaining the electric motors for traction and cutting reel drive, the new models are available in three cutting widths—18”, 22” and 26” (45.7, 55.9 and 66 cm)—all with an optional gas engine or drop-in battery pack. The 18” and 22” models can be specified with fixed or floating-head cutting reels with 11 or 15 blades. The wider 26” version has a 7-blade fixed cutting reel, giving a total of 18 models to choose from.
The patented true floating head allows the lowest heights of cut without scalping, even on the most undulating greens, and a wide array of frequencyof-cut settings combine to produce a smooth and consistent playing surface. The ECLIPSE2 delivers productivity with a maximum mow speed up to 3.8 mph (6.1 km/h) while maintaining the tightest frequency of clip.
On the hybrid version, with a Honda gas engine powering a 48-volt generator, the engine’s mounting has been rotated 180 degrees, giving a better balance to the machine and also making starting easier, with the pull cord directly in front of the operator. The mounting slots for the generator and battery pack have been extended, giving greater flexibility to increase or decrease the weight on the front roller. This allows the course manager to determine the aggressiveness of the cutting unit on the fixed head version, and helps with ease of turning on the floating-head model.
Club Car, a brand of Ingersoll Rand, displayed the latest enhancements to its Visage mobile information system. Visage’s enhanced reporting capabilities now transfer the menu choices golfers make from their golf cars to the Visage control center in the golf shop. Operators can download the information to gather insights into their food-and-beverage operations, including which items are selling best and are generating the highest profits. The information helps operators make informed decisions regarding their menus, inventory and staffing.
Another enhancement for 2012, the “Touch for Distance” feature, allows golfers to touch any spot on the display to see the distance from the golf car to that spot and from that spot to the pin.
Club Car also introduced the Carryall 295 with two-wheel drive. The newest member of Club Car’s utility vehicle lineup, the Carryall 2-WD is a medium-duty vehicle with heavy-duty capabilities. Specially designed tires, a rear-wheel drive train and a top speed of 19 mph help the new 295 minimize effects on turf and improved surfaces.
The gas-powered (23 hp/17.2 kw) vehicle has a standard 800-lb. payload with a 1,050-lb. payload option. Features include headlights, aluminum cargo box, rustproof aircraft-grade aluminum frame, a two-year limited warranty and a choice of bucket or bench seats.
Toro unveiled the GreensPro™ 1200 greens roller, which is ideal for use on golf courses and any fine turf area that requires a smooth, high-performance surface for optimum playing conditions. Key features include an offset roller design that delivers a consistent rolling pattern without leaving a roll line. A floating junction point allows the rollers to move independently, following undulations in the terrain. In addition, a wide turning radius minimizes scuffing and turf damage when the operator makes a turn at the end of each rolling pass.
Simple foot pedals and an adjustable seat make the GreensPro 1200 easy to operate. It’s powered by a Honda engine and provides a rolling width of 47.2” with a maximum ground speed of 6 mph. A single person can quickly convert the machine from operation to transport mode without tools.
Toro also showed its new HoverPro™ series of mowers that have a light footprint and are designed to mow in any direction — forward, backward or side-to-side. This flexibility makes them ideal for tackling tough areas, such as steep slopes, sharp undulations, areas near water and bunker lips.
Three HoverPro models are available to fit a range of applications: the compact 16” HoverPro 400 for hard-to-reach slopes; the 18” HoverPro 450 for all-around versatility, and the powerful 21” HoverPro 550, which quickly covers larger areas faster. The HoverPro 400 has a nylon wire cutting system, while the HoverPro 450 and 550 utilize a metal-edge swing-tip blade.
All models include a powerful, durable Honda engine and can be fitted with a variety of optional accessories, including anti-vibration handlebars, detachable transport wheels, extension handles and a hi-rise kit.