Abundant flexibility
Guy Cipriano

Abundant flexibility

How equipment options helped Plainfield Country Club produce elite playing conditions during a stretch filled with labor challenges.

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June 15, 2021

Equipment flexibility helped Plainfield Country Club handle labor reductions caused by the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of walk mowing greens last spring, superintendent Travis Pauley examined the club’s equipment fleet and deployed Toro Greensmaster 3250-D mowers on the Donald Ross-designed greens from the beginning of the 2020 growing season until late June.
 
“We always sprayed with drive-on sprayers, so I always knew the greens could handle the weight,” Pauley says. “It was just a matter of turning the triplexes on the greens and whether that was going to create an issue. We were able to mitigate that with good operator usage and switching mowing patterns. We didn’t really see any harmful effects of it until later in the summer. It wasn’t so much on the greens, but the short grass around the greens.”
 
Plainfield Country Club has four acres of greens and walk mowing the spectacularly sloped surfaces consumes around 15 labor hours. Using the Greensmaster 3250-D trims the task to around five hours.
 
Pauley was in a fortuitous spot because the club invests in quality equipment. Pauley has continued a practice implemented by his predecessor of using triplex mowers on fairways. The fleet includes 11 3250-Ds: five for fairways, two for approaches and tees, two for greens, one for practice areas and one for greens on semi-private Plainfield West. Plainfield Country Club also has a pair of 82-inch Toro Reelmaster 3550 mowers, which reduced labor time on fairways last spring and summer. Using Greensmaser 3250-Ds to mow tees yielded additional labor savings.
 
“The quantity and options we have built into the system helps us a lot,” Pauley says. “Having bigger options on fairways rather than just the triplexes, you can mow with two instead of three employees. And the triplexes were huge last year. We never really triplexed tees in the past and we started doing that as well, so that was a huge time saver. We occasionally do that now. But we are walk mowing them. I don’t know if we’re at 50-50, but we’ll probably end up there at some point. We probably lean walk mow, but we’ll still triplex them on weekends and things like that.”