Main Picture
Turf Line News October/November 1999
by Dave MacIntyre

One of the most important parts of any machine is the bearing. Without it, vital operating parts would not be supported properly. Bearings allow these parts to withstand wear and tear pressures put upon them, at the same time providing an environment with less friction for them to operate smoothly.

Unfortunately in the Turfgrass industry most mechanics will agree that many bearings, especially those found in cutting units, do not meet their life-expectancy because of water damage. Many of us mechanics have found that between the machine operator and ourselves, much can be done to control this frustrating problem.

First of all, it is important to use a good quality grease, preferably with rust inhibitors. It is also helpful to pack the bearing cavities with grease. This helps to displace any water that might migrate past the seals or gaskets. Some bearing housings have a grease nipple and a grease relief port built in to allow the old grease and any water to be flushed off the bearing.

Another area to be given attention are the seals and gaskets used to keep the grease in, and contaminants out. It is good practice to change them every year when doing winter inspections. Also check the shaft for grooves worn by the seal. They can be repaired by installing a wear sleeve over the worn area. The sleeves are expensive but they will ensure a positive seal surface and last several years before they need to be replaced.

As mentioned, the machine operator can help by regularly checking for debris, such as sand, long grass, string or rope packed or wrapped around the shaft of the reel near the seal area. If this happens, it doesn't take long for the seal to get damaged and possibly fail.

Just as a common sense note, make sure the operator shuts the machine off before putting his or her hand near the reel. Also, when washing the machine, don't direct high pressure water, such as from a pressure washer, directly in the area of the seal or gasket as this could force water in.

A bearing manufacturer is now marketing bearings that have a water-resistant coating applied. But as of now, their application is limited and they are only sold in kit form. Hopefully this will change.

These suggestions are not a cure-all. Sometimes it doesn't matter what we do, water still sneaks through and destroys a bearing. But they go a long way in preventing premature bearing failure and unscheduled down time.

Dave MacIntyre is the mechanic at Belmont GC, Fort Langley, B.C.


Courtesy of John Deere Turf

Accuracy of application is extremely important for any of the materials sprayed on a golf course. It's common practice to check the nozzles on a spray unit prior to application to make sure each one is functioning and calibrated properly. But problems can develop during the spraying process, such as a clogged or malfunctioning nozzle, that will decrease the efficiency of the application.

To prevent such on-the-course problems, I picked up a tip from Gant Austin, Superintendent of the Woodlands Palmer Course. Mount a mirror on each side of the front bumper of the spray vehicle. This allows the operator to see from the outside edge of the spray rig to a bit beyond the middle from each side. By checking the mirrors periodically, the spray vehicle operator can gauge the operation of all the spray nozzles along the rig without interrupting the application procedure.

Scott Hamilton, Golf Course Superintendent of TPC at the The Woodlands Conference Center Resort and Country Club, Woodlands, Texas


We've devised a quick and effective method for breaking up the cores left after aerification. This method works with any soil type, but is especially effective in areas with heavy soils and high clay content where cores are more difficult to break up.

We run our oldest lightweight mower over the area in the backlap mode. This puts the mower in a more aggressive position. As the mower comes in contact with the cores, it pulverizes them, breaking the soil portion of the core into small enough particles that it becomes much easier to work them back into the thatch level of the turf and back into the soil profile. This cuts down on the amount of additional topdressing material needed and allows us to maintain a much more consistent soil profile. The remaining tufts of turfcan be removed with a rake, sweeper or blower.

Lamont Anderson, Golf Course Superintendent Pointe West Golf Club, Amherstburg, Ontario


Trees, while being such a valuable asset to the golf course environment, can be costly to maintain, especially when dealing with the debris caused by storm damage and with the annual autumn leaf drop.

We don't pick up leaves in the fall. Instead, we mulch them using the recycler deck on our front-mounted rotary mower. The mower chops the leaves into small enough particles that we can leave them in place to break down naturally and add organic material to the soil.

We run the woody material dropped from our trees through our chipper and use it for mulch around the base of our trees. This way we eliminate the requirement for trimming turf up close to the tree trunks and the potential for damage by mower contact with the tree. This form of mulching is one of the best cultural practices you can use in your tree maintenance program. It keeps weeds to a minimum, helps retain soil moisture, and gives a pleasing, natural but finished look to the golf course.

Bob Reid CGCS, Director of Golf Course Superintendent of Sun Peaks Resort of Sun Peaks, British Columbia

The three Turf Tips above are courtesy of John Deere Turf and reproduced with permission of The GTI Advisor

The GTI Advisor is published by the Guelph Turfgrass Institute,
University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario Canada N1G 2W1
Telephone (519) 767-5009 Fax (519) 766-1704
Editor: Rob Witherspoon
© 1999, Guelph Turfgrass Institute

Season subscriptions available at a rate of $25 + GST by e-mail, $45 + GST by Regular mail or $85 + GST for delivery by fax.

Turf Line News October/November 1999

Back to Turf Line News Article Index click here