Globetrotting consulting agronomist Terry Buchen visits many golf courses annually with his digital camera in hand. He shares helpful ideas relating to maintenance equipment from the golf course superintendents he visits — as well as a few ideas of his own — with timely photos and captions that explore the changing world of golf course management.

Homemade vacuum

An existing trailer was transformed into a vacuum for leaf debris removal used in hard-to-get-to areas. The vacuum is mainly used in the fall on the golf course and grounds. A Billy Goat Model DL180V ($4,000 a few years ago) was placed on the trailer after 1½-inch angle iron supports were added underneath the 18 HP Vanguard engine and vacuum. A 10-foot long and 10-inch diameter urethane metallic hose is included, and 1-inch by 6-inch pressure treated wood sides with two tailgates and hinges were added. A 1-inch diameter PVC pipe framework was glued together and placed on top to support the fiber cloth, which is further held in place with a bungee cord. A jack stand and lockable ball hitch are also on the trailer. Total labor time was about eight hours. Island superintendent William V. Reil, assistant superintendent Chris Dow and equipment manager Phil Lewis comprise the great team at the Gibson Island (Maryland) Club. Lester George is the restoration architect.

Custom branding irons

The Stock Farm Club, in Hamilton, Montana, had been a famous cattle ranch for many years prior to building its 18-hole golf course more than 20 years ago. The club’s “horseshoe logo” is branded onto tee benches, trash cans and driving range accessories, using an 8-inch squared horseshoe. The 12-inch diameter stainless steel forge has an interior wall fire blanket; the horseshoe is welded to a 24-inch-long piece of rebar; the tip of the propane hose is a weed burner; and it takes about 30 seconds to heat up the horseshoe. They also have 1-inch squared horseshoes that the executive chef brands onto grilling steaks for larger events. It cost about $500 for the forge materials already on hand and $20 for each horseshoe and rebar. It takes about three hours to build and 15 minutes for each branding. Director of agronomy Ryan Knapp mentioned they might get a small cattle herd for the members to try their luck at branding. Equipment manager Warren Erickson and second assistant Jacob Wilson are the branding team. Tom Fazio and Ron Smith are the club’s architects.

Terry Buchen, CGCS, MG, is president of Golf Agronomy International. He’s a 51-year, life member of the GCSAA. He can be reached at 757-561-7777 or