Last month, Tennessee government officials unveiled an entire fleet of all-electric golf course maintenance equipment at the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, a state-operated golf course in Chattanooga. The equipment includes seven Jacobsen ECLIPSE 322 all-electric riding greens mowers.
Using funds provided by the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant program, the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay replaced gasoline-powered golf course equipment with battery powered options including greens mowers, bunker rakes, greens rollers and utility vehicles.
According to Tennessee government officials, the new equipment will provide an estimated 300 percent decrease in annual operation expenses and a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Coupled with the overall economic and environmental benefits, the electric equipment is virtually silent when it operates, minimizing noise that could disturb both golfers and wildlife. Additionally, the machines have no hydraulic fluid or engine oil to maintain, reducing potential impacts to vegetation and ground water, while also reducing labor costs.
For the Bear Trace, the new fleet of electric equipment is the latest in a long history of environmental initiatives including water quality and conservation, wildlife and habitat management, and reduction in chemical usage. The course was recognized with the Environmental Leaders in Golf Award from the GCSAA for the past four consecutive years and is the nation’s top-ranked golf course of 756 by Audubon International.
A driving force behind the Bear Trace’s environmental leadership is Superintendent Paul L. Carter, CGCS, winner of TurfNet’s 2011 Superintendent of the Year award. Carter and his team have made a number of environmental improvements on the course, including the installation of 45 nesting houses, creating a large plant bed of over 218 native plants, and the renovation of the course’s chemical storage facility.
“In addition to the many environmental benefits, the Jacobsen ECLIPSE mowers have also allowed us to provide a quality-of-cut that we haven’t been able to produce before,” said Carter. “The machines’ programmable frequency-of-clip gives us the flexibility to change the amount of grass removed from the green quickly without having to change gears, sprockets or fittings. Saving the additional time and wear and tear on the greens and surrounds is another added benefit that is very important to our operation.”
Carter and his team are using three of the ECLIPSE mowers to maintain greens and four to mow tees and surrounds.
Jacobsen President David Withers was on-hand for the equipment unveiling and met with Tennessee officials about their environmental initiatives.“The environmental initiatives the State of Tennessee is executing at the Bear Trace have benefits that reach far beyond the golf course,” said Withers. “Not only will all-electric equipment like our ECLIPSE mowers save natural resources and provide a better experience for golfers, the resources saved will allow the course to invest in new and innovative projects.”