Here in the golf course maintenance division we are always trying to figure out ways to measure our progress or put a number on what we do. Most pieces of golf course equipment do not have odometers on them, they have hour meters only. So when you are using a piece of equipment you only have 1 measurement on the piece, time. Many times I have wondered how many miles we travel here on this 475 acre property to full fill a task.
This past winter at the Golf Industry Show I listened to Jim Moore from the USGA do a presentation on water use. Jim was working with some golf clubs using data loggers on the golfers. They asked a golfer to put the data logger in his pocket while playing their round of golf. They then compiled all of that information and they were working with the clubs to decide where they could add areas of rough instead of fairway turf. By adding the rough they could cut back on water usage in those areas. He also mentioned that the superintendents were using them to see how and where their mowers were going. My first thought was we needed a couple of these to try and see if they could help our operation be more efficient in what we do.
This morning I asked the 2 fairway operators on the North course to put a data logger in their pockets and go mow, then return them to me when they had finished. I was shocked by the results that we found out today. Using the data loggers you soon learn how fast your operators are, where they are driving and how efficient a certain mowing direction might be. Here at the club we still stripe mow our fairways. We try to go long angles or mow straight up and down the fairway to be more efficient. First amazing stat that came back was the number of miles that 1 operator went in 1 mowing. One mower went 29.5 miles and the other went 28.6 miles! Wow we had no idea. This mileage also included a trip back to the shop in a golf cart, they had the data loggers in their pockets. Before we knew they put on 6 hours each to mow, but now we know they also mow almost 50 miles on a given day for the 2 mowers.
We have not put the data loggers in the pockets of the South mowers yet but there is just a little bit more turf area on the South. So making the assumption each mower is doing 25+ miles per mowing, we put on 100 miles each day mowing our fairways. We do this 3 days a week so that means we are doing 1,200 miles a month. We mow on average 8 months a year, so we have almost 9,600 miles of travel on our fairway mowers per year. Now we purchased all 4 of them in 2008. So at the end of their 7th year they will have mowed almost 67,200 miles of turf! To me that is truly an amazing statistic.
Often I wonder how we go through so many tires, how we go through so much fuel and why does it sometimes take our guys so long to do certain tasks. When you have a way to measure something it really opens your eyes as to how much travel time and miles are put on each and every day by our staff. This example is just 4 mowers out of our many mowers,tractors, golf carts and utility vehicles that we operate each and every day.
Here is a photo of the 2 North Course mowers running today. The "red" mower was also busted because we noticed that when he went from one fairway to another he was not staying on cart paths. This will be a great tool to put on golf carts for the red stake violators.
Here is an up close look at 2 fairways that have been mowed. I see this being a great measuring tool for us to use.
For you superintendents that have an interest in this work I purchased the Canmore GPS Sports Data Logger off of Amazon for around $60 per data logger. Pretty cheap investment to have a tool for measuring what you do.