The GIS show floor sparkled with many shiny new models, and was filled with shoppers in a buying mood.
Club managers didn’t prove to be conspicuous by their absence at the 2011 Golf Industry Show (GIS), held February 9-10 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. While this was the first GIS since the mega-show concept was launched in 2007 that didn’t include the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) as a co-sponsoring organization, show organizers still reported a 4% increase in attendance over 2010 (after subtracting CMAA attendance from that year).
GIS organizers also reported an 11% increase in “qualified buyers”—those involved in purchasing decisions—who were walking the floor to view the 551 exhibits at this year’s show. And those who were in a buying mood saw plenty of shiny new equipment to tempt them to break out their wallets. Here are highlights from some of the leading exhibitors’ displays:
Toro unveiled its much-anticipated Greensmaster® Flex™ and eFlex™ Walk Greensmowers at GIS. Scheduled to be released this fall, the all-new models bring several performance and productivity innovations to the walking greensmower market:
• The eFlex is the industry’s first lithium-ion-powered, all-electric mower, with a single charge proving sufficient to mow up to nine greens. The battery can achieve a 96% charge in four hours, allowing for double-cutting during tournaments.
• Improved operator controls include an automated EZ-Turn™ feature. User-selectable and standard on all eFlex models, EZ-Turn automatically slows the mower down at the end of a pass and speeds it up again on the return pass, resulting in better control, less turf damage, and a better overall cut.
• A Variable Clip feature allows for 6 easily selectable clip options per reel type (8-, 11-, or 14-blade reel options), for 18 distinct clip rates in all.
The new Greensmaster Flex and eFlex models will be available in both 18- and 21-inch cutting widths.
Toro also introduced the all-new Greensmaster® TriFlex™ and TriFlex™ Hybrid riding greensmowers, billed as the first riding greensmowers to cut with the precision of a walker, and the new Multi Pro 5800 Turf Sprayer.
For more information on all Toro equipment and parts, visit www.toro.com
Toro Golf Irrigation debuted its R Series Golf Conversion Assemblies at GIS. Designed to replace sprinkler internals from other manufacturers, the new assemblies allow golf courses to “easily and cost-effectively upgrade their irrigation system by purchasing only the Toro sprinkler internals, keeping intact existing bodies and any previously-installed piping,” says David Angier, Senior Marketing Manager, Toro Golf Irrigation.
The upgrades can allow courses to take advantage of Toro’s patented TruJectory™ height of spray adjustment, full and part circle in the same sprinkler, and an extra one-and-a-half inch pop-up height. For more details, visit www.toro.com/irrigation/golf
Yamaha Golf-Car Company featured its golf car, The DRIVE®, which was designed based on extensive feedback from PGA professionals about what they and their customers want from a golf car. Tops on their wish lists: Comfort, versatility, style and performance. Yamaha Golf Car’s engineers approached each item with innovative thinking and an eye on the bottom line, knowing that golf cars are both a big expense and a revenue producer. The DRIVE features an internal wet-brake transaxle that eliminates the need for brake drums and shoes, an automotive-style dash, and an ATV-inspired clutch that provides better response and greater hill-climbing ability.
Yamaha also displayed its new Adventurer Range Picker. It has a durable and quality-built steel Range Cage, complete with an impact-resistant front windshield, to help protect occupants while out on the range. Connect one of the two available Magnum Harvester gang pickers from Standard Golf, and you have a vehicle prepared to handle your range on the busiest of days. (Available in 3- or 5-Gang configurations, the Standard Golf Magnum Harvester is the only gang picker that allows an operator to back up without getting tangled or damaged.)
For more information, visit www.yamahagolfcar.com
Rain Bird displayed its 751 Golf Rotors with Rapid-Adjust Technology featuring Memory Arc®, to offer full- or part-circle irrigation with the twist of a screw. Field and laboratory tests have found the 751 Rotors to be up to 23 percent more efficient than those offered by the next-closest competitor—with durability that helps the rotors last up to 10 times longer.
Rain Bird also showed its Integrated Control Technology Module (ICTM) system, which links a course’s central control directly to its rotors. The IC System eliminates the need for decoders or satellite controllers on the course, and requires up to 90% less wire.
For more information on Rain Bird products, visit www.rainbird.com/golf
John Deere Golf introduced several new 2011 product year updates at GIS, including:
• Improvements for the popular 2500E E-Cut™ Hybrid Riding Greens Mowers, including a new alternator that powers the electric drive-cutting units. In comparison with previous models, the alternator has increased to 100 amps, improving the overall efficiency of the machine. The new alternator increases the amperage available for the reel circuit while maintaining the exceptional fuel efficiency the E-Cut Hybrids have become known for. And, with improved radiator fan cooling-to-speed ratios on all 2011 model riding greens mowers, the overall noise levels have decreased even more for both operators and bystanders.
• New tire options (smooth or ultra trac) add even more versatility to the 7400 TerrainCut™ and the 7200 PrecisionCut™ Trim and Mowers. Already standard on the 8000 E-Cut™ Fairway Mower, these tires are ideal for customers operating in flat areas, and for those who want to minimize tire marking in newly seeded rye grasses or areas with heights of cut below a half-inch or 13 millimeters.
• Improvements for both the 1200A and 1200 Hydro bunker rakes which now feature updated fuel systems that meet new CARB and EPA requirements for 2011. The 1200A also features a new engine that increases displacement from 286 cc to 351 cc, and provides 9.5 hp.
Club Car introduced these enhancements to its popular Visage Mobile Golf Information System:
• The vehicle locator feature now utilizes Google Maps to identify the specific location of any golf car, whether it is on or off course property. The feature can help operators locate vehicles that have been taken off-site for maintenance or driven off course property by vandals. If a number of cars are in the same location—bunched at a tee box, for example—Visage will sort through all of the vehicle icons at that location and identify the car in question.
• The scorecard e-mail service makes a message appear on the Visage screen at the end of the round, to ask golfers if they want to e-mail a copy of their scorecard to themselves or to the clubhouse. They also can choose to print a copy of the scorecard and pick it up in the clubhouse. Operators can use this information to build their customer e-mail database.
Through real-time pin location updates, the Visage software now can always keep golfers apprised of exact pin locations, even if they have recently been changed. Previously, pin locations were not updated in the Visage system until cars re-entered a hot zone.
Using the F&B Order Control feature, operators can now choose the holes from which customers may view food-and-beverage menus and place orders, helping to ensure that their orders are ready when they make the turn.
Club Car reported that in less than nine months after it was introduced last year, 123 courses added the Visage system to more than 9,000 golf cars.
Club Car also introduced a premium 8-volt battery, featuring a deep-cycle design that provides cycle life and capacity comparable to a heavy-duty 8-volt battery. The new offer comes with a 4-year/25,000 energy unit warranty.
For more information on all Club Car products, go to www.clubcar.com
Jacobsen, a Textron Inc. company, unveiled the GP400 ride-on triplex greens mower. Replacing the popular G-Plex III, the GP400 retains many of the features of its predecessor, including a swing-out center reel for easy maintenance and adjustment and the cutting units with 7, 9 or 11-blade reels. There’s a choice of engines with either a Briggs or Stratton V twin, air-cooled gas engine, developing 17.7 hp at 3400 rpm, or a Kubota 3-cylinder diesel engine, developing 17.7 hp at a slightly lower 3200 rpm.
A new tank design incorporates the fuel and hydraulic reservoirs in a single molded unit, providing better weight distribution and improved stability, and the control layout and dash have been redesigned to improve ergonomics with more space for the electrical components and therefore easier maintenance. Operator access and visibility have also been improved with the introduction of a step behind the front wheel, and the angle of the curved steering arm has been adjusted to improve the view of the right-hand cutting unit.
Jacobsen also introduced two new light fairway mowers, designated the LF550 and the LF570. Designed to replace the LF-3400 and the LF-3800, the new mowers retain many of those models’ best features with numerous enhancements to improve functionality, including a restyled hood and a smooth uptake of power, using the ‘drive-by-wire’ operation of the electronically controlled traction pedal.
For more information on all Jacobsen products, visit www.jacobsen.com
The 2012 Golf Industry Show will be held Feb. 29 – March 1, in Las Vegas.