Whether a golf course superintendent is looking for golf cart accessories, mowers and turf equipment, or even turf irrigation solutions, doing a little advanced research can help you find a reliable provider. Particularly if you’re looking for used golf course equipment, you’ll want to find a company with integrity, as well as expertise. A good starting point is to research and compare providers in Golf Course Trades’ “Supplier Directory,” a comprehensive list of both advertisers and non-advertisers.
Used or New?
Joseph Hubbard, CGCS/CEMP, Certified Golf Course Superintendent at the Boca Delray Golf & Country Club, says he steers clear of used equipment as a rule. “When I compute the age of a machine, my formula is that one hour of use is equal to 90 miles. With this high usage, it’s tough to come out on the winning side when buying previously owned items.
”I understand that Capital is not available for everyone and Boards have their agenda of expenditures. For my part in several different golf courses from private to public to municipal, we did not have very good luck with the longevity of the purchased used equipment. You will have to beef up your budget for the parts of those used pieces. Every course is different in their wants and needs, so the companies that provide the refurbished turf equipment definitely have a niche in the golf individual story today.”
Greg Moore, Cutter Equipment Company co-owner, along with his brother Glenn, operates a company that does just that. Cutter has built a solid reputation for more than 20 years as a reliable provider of used equipment.
Moore explains when Cutter acquires a new unit, it goes into the service department for assessment. “Once you get a piece, you might find it’s in need of service. We have eight top-level technicians on staff that are part of the vital infrastructure for our business. That’s a huge difference. We don’t operate out of a shed. It’s like buying a car. If there’s a problem, you want a dealership that can fix the product before it becomes your problem.”
Pricing & Quality
Hubbard observes that while a private club ordinarily relies on its Board of Directors to make buying decisions, municipal courses are often managed by individuals without experience in nurturing turf, in which case superintendents might need to provide supporting documentation to support additional expenditures. “I start with a spreadsheet that is a master list of what we have and what we need,” he says. “I find that if I approach the Board with statistics to back up my requests, it’s a lot easier to justify a purchase. And sometimes you just need to approach the situation like a politician: Talk to the general manager, head of the greens committee, or the city manager.”
Companies like Cutter believe themselves to have the best answer. “New equipment is expensive,” says Moore. “You might spend $70-to-80 thousand for a new mower, for example, or $20-to-30K for a fairway mower. Buying the same unit – used — might be 30 to 40 percent less; it can save you substantially.”
Chad Wiertzema of Foley Company, leading the market as producers of grinders and air injectors, mentions the company’s broad range of choices. “Our portfolio from high-end to more affordable,” says Wiertzema. “Big or small, Foley has solutions competitors can’t match. Another highlight of our company is our customer service. We are always available by phone or video call and have the expertise available to address any issues or questions a customer might have. Whether buying a brand new 653 Accu-Master Reel Grinder or a 20-year-old refitted item, we have the best solution to fit your budget and your requirements. Plus, we have full capabilities to fix, upgrade, and help train a new operator. “
“Foley is committed to investing in our grinding and air injection facilities,” he adds. “We have 42 employees and are fully invested in innovating the product of the future.”
A good reputation
Look for a well-established company. “At Cutter, we have a well-established 30-thousand square-foot campus, along with a secondary 5-acre property for our parts division. You don’t want to buy from someone who’s operating out of a garage in the backyard,” Moore advises.
Greg Austin with Revels Turf & Tractor Company remarks on the company’s lengthy track record of reliability. “When looking for a provider of golf course equipment, there are a number of things to look for. Revels has been in business for over 50 years, chiefly because we are reliable.
Hubbard advises it is wise to not mix and match equipment as you will eventually need to interchange parts. While Revels sells equipment from a number of manufacturers, it specializes in John Deere. “John Deere has earned a reputation for excellence,” says Austin. “The John Deere brand is an assurance of quality; they make excellence a standard. We’re confident enough in the quality of John Deere products that we’ve increased our warranty over last year. John Deere supports a three-, and sometimes four-year warranty, rather than the previous two-year warranties.”
An excellent resource for checking out providers is the Better Business Bureau. In addition to seeing whether or not a company is listed in Golf Course Trades’ directory, look for a supplier with an A or A+ rating. According to the Delaware BBB, “In most cases, complaint history drives a business’s letter-grade rating. Nearly 85 percent of the scoring is determined by consumer-reported complaints that have been verified and evaluated by BBB, such as the number of complaints, the severity of complaints, and how a business resolves complaints.”
“We started this company [Cutter] in 1998 and have grown steadily since by investing in the future of the company,” says Moore. “If you’re looking for a reliable vendor, look for an established company with a good track record. Follow up and find testimonials. Also, take a good look at their facility and personnel. We’re the largest independent dealer of used golf course equipment. It’s a big investment; so make sure the company will stand behind the product.”
Says Austin from Revels, “The lowest price isn’t necessarily the best when you’re buying equipment. Can you get parts? Will the provider back up their products with service? An important question is, ‘Will they get me up and running again if we have issues?’”
Before Wiertzema assumed his marketing responsibilities for Foley, he didn’t understand how much work goes into readying the course for play. “We take pride in giving golf course superintendents superior product; choices, methodology within grinding industry. Whatever solution we have an option for you. Customer service. If question or issue, the team is ready to help.”
Sharon Scott Wilson is the Publisher of Golf Course Trades magazine. Stay current with people and events in the industry: visit YouTube.com/GolfCourseTrades and subscribe to the ePublication, Golf Course Trades Weekly, on our website: https://golfcoursetrades.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube and Instagram.