As each of our riding reel mowers (greens, tees and collars, fairway, and rough) finish mowing for the last time, I bring them through the shop and take the reels off. The loose parts get put in a soup can that rides on the floor boards. That way the parts I will need six months later to put the reels back on stay with the mower they fit.
The reels get put into neat rows to be picked up during the winter by the service company that will spin grind them, replace the bedknives, and replace all the bearings and seals. The bearings seem to last about a season-and-a-half, so changing them each winter eliminates them failing during the season.
Each time I work on a machine I record the engine hours and compare it to the sticker that says when the next oil and filter change is due. Any at or past the mark get an oil and filter change. This reduces the number of seasonal oil changes I need to do at the end of the season.
Every fuel tank gets a shot of fuel treatment in the last few days. The machines get moved a few times before the final dense packing parking for the winter, which allows the fuel treatment to be drawn into the complete fuel system making the machine easier to start in the spring.
Utility vehicles get used a bit more into the fall season. They too are on engine hour meter oil change program so they do not need to have their oil changed unless they are due.
Other machinery that has been out for the last time, like the aerifier, topdresser and sod cutter, get their shot of fuel treatment and final battery charge.
This year I don’t have to do anything to the two beverage carts. The maintenance of them has been removed from my department and is now handled by the leasing company and the drivers. In the past, a lot of my time had gone into keeping the old beverage carts running. That is what makes leasing new equipment with a service plan economical.
The tractors live outside behind the building so I must not forget them when distributing the fuel treatment. The fuel treatment I use is good for both gasoline and diesel fuel so only one type is required to do all the fuel tanks I own. The assorted collection of fuel cans need to be filled in the fall in case they are needed during the winter, and fuel treatment is added to preserve the fuel until spring in case they are not used before green-up activities.
The plow truck, the rough mower (#12 with a cab), the Cushman dump truck, two tractors and a Ditch Witch live outdoors and need their fuel treated. Running it for a short while after adding the fuel treatment will also make sure that it ends the season with a fully charged battery.
Batteries are charged so they don’t freeze and left in their respective piece of equipment, ensuring the equipment can be started during the winter if it needs to be moved for any reason. I have extra cans of starting fluid stocked in the shop to help start any engine that is reluctant because of the cold.
As soon as the mowing is ended, the #12 rough mower needs the mowing deck swapped out for the street sweeper brush for winter snow management. It is great for clearing light snow and will be needed in the spring to get the road sand and gravel out of the grass and back into the shoulder of the road.
The seven-deck rotary rough mower gets a set of freshly sharpened blades.
The tree spade is parked in the weeds and receives a shot of fuel treatment. Mothballs need to be put in the cab and under the hood because rats like to make it a home in the winter and they gnaw on the ignition wires like it is red vine licorice.
If you’re running out of time for repairs, any that can wait until spring need a note taped to them as a reminder of what needs to be done to it.
When dealing with anything that has a battery in it, the batteries need to be in a charged state to keep from freezing. Because the machinery in cold storage might need to be moved in the winter, it is best to keep it in running condition and not take the battery out.
Paul F. Grayson is the equipment manager for the Crown Golf Club in Traverse City, Mich., a position he’s held for the past decade.