One of the most common questions asked of golf course maintenance in northern climates is, “What do you do in the winter?” An apt question to be sure as the snow and bitter cold make effective work outside difficult to perform. There is, however, an abundance of work to perform over the winter in the form of equipment maintenance.

Part of proper golf course equipment maintenance entails disassembly, inspection, bedknife replacing, sharpening, reassembly, and setup of reel cutting units on various mowers used to maintain the golf course. This has been a personal focus of mine over the past month as my experience has been that proper restoration work over the winter leads to less downtime and much improved mower performance in the growing season. There is simply no time to do this type of thorough work during the season as our efforts in the mechanic’s shop are focused on other areas once things get rolling outside.

Nemadji is interesting in that the sharpening equipment is, like much of the golf course infrastructure, of 1980’s/early 90’s vintage technology. I myself do not really have a problem with this as I graduated college in 1991 and my first job out of turf school as an assistant superintendent required me to spend a great deal of time with mechanics learning this part of the operation. Oddly enough using some of the same equipment that I am using at Nemadji over 30 years later. Using this old stuff is becoming a bit of a lost art. Funny how fast old skills come back to you once you are required to use them again and I must admit it feels pretty good knowing that these skills are still intact after years away using more modern, efficient, and easier to use technology.

Toro Tee Mower Bedknife Winter 2022

New, sharpened blade underneath. Worn out blade on top by hand

Over the course of a growing season, the bedknife on any cutting unit wears out and often requires replacement or re-grinding. In the case above, this bedknife is pretty much spent and will fail sometime in the middle of the season, resulting in a mediocre quality of cut which translates to substandard playing conditions. Instead of tolerating poor cutting quality until we find the time to fix properly during the season, doing this work thoroughly in the off season really does make a difference in presenting optimal conditions consistently throughout the season.

This sort of preventative maintenance-among many others-is something that all golf courses should do to ensure optimal conditions throughout the golfing season and is the reason most larger golf courses keep a mechanic on staff throughout the entire season.

On an unrelated note, we had an animal sighted on the golf course that I have never seen before.

Polar Bear-Nemadji Ice Golf Course

Polar Bear-Nemadji Ice Golf Course

Nothing surprises me on the golf course anymore.  The three stooges below look forward to seeing all of you this Spring and are resting up for a solid year of golf course work.

From left to right:  Boomer-11 years, Chopper-4 years, Bentley-3 months

Thank you all for your patronage and we look forward to the coming season.