Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What does a "Clean" course cost?

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Some of the beauty of a golf course, especially BT@HB, is that you can get away from the hustle and bustle of metro areas and enjoy a peaceful day in nature.  Although the trees that frame shots and line fairways make golf courses beautiful and strategic, they also create a maintenance nightmare in the autumn months when the leaves begin to fall.  We, like most every other golf course I know, work very hard to keep up with blowing and mulching leaves as they fall so that golfers can find their golf balls and enjoy their round.  Personally I think our staff does an amazing job of keeping Harrison Bay clean, especially since every single hole is surrounded by old growth hardwoods and pines.

So what does it cost to keep a golf course "clean"?  One of my staff members ask me that question last week and it got me thinking, and the figures I came up with are striking.  Just looking at the month of November alone, we used 350 man-hours blowing leaves with our turbine blowers and/or tractor mounted blowers and 100 man-hours blowing leaves with backpack blowers.  If we average $8.00/hour for pay then we spent $3,600.00 on labor alone to blow leaves from the course.

The fuel needed to operate these blowers has to be calculated as well.  We used 117.2 gallons of gasoline in our turbine blowers during November.  At $1.85 per gallon that means we spent $216.82 on gas for the turbines.  Tractor blowers, front end blowers and mulching mowers that run on diesel consumed 45.9 gallons of diesel, which at $1.48 per gallon means we spent $67.93.  Mix gas for the backpack blowers consumed 40 gallons of mix gas during November.  Gasoline and two cycle mix oil combined cost $165.80.

Now I didn't bother to figure up costs for engine oil or batteries for the turbine remotes and I am extremely thankful that we have electric utility vehicles so we don't have the added fuel expense that they would use.

This also doesn't account for the cost of
equipment that is used to keep the course clean.  Turbine blowers like we have can run between $8,000-$9,000 each and tractor mounted blowers can run several thousands of dollars.  I consider myself lucky in that I have a forest surrounding my course and not homes because I always have somewhere to blow the leaves but some courses are not as fortunate and have to collect leaves and pile them in a selected location on the course.  Sweepers and vacuums can run between $20,000.00 to $40,000.00 depending on how big and what features you want out of your vacuum/sweeper.

So as you can see golf courses with beautiful, tree lined fairways that separate one hole from the others and give each hole its own look and feel, invest a ton of money and resources in keeping the playing surfaces clear of debris and playable.  We have, and will continue to, invest the time, manpower, and resources needed to keep the course clean and enjoyable for all.

What does a "Clean" course cost?  A LOT!!!



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