From its signature church pews to its tight fairways and fast greens, there is perhaps no private golf course in the United States more challenging or more legendary than Oakmont. As a nine-time host to the US Open, the course has been the site of five U.S. Amateurs, three PGA Championships, and two U.S. Women’s Opens. In fact, U.S. Golf Association Executive Director and CEO, Mike Davis has said, “In the USGA’s eyes, Oakmont is the gold standard for championship golf.”
To help guard this treasured turf, the maintenance equipment at Oakmont includes nearly two dozen ground protection mats. These 4 by 8-foot mats are put to work all over the course, whether the crew is involved in trenching, tree work or bunker and tee maintenance and repair.
The Oakmont maintenance staff uses AlturnaMATS, a durable polyethylene product that is one-half inch thick, yet is designed to withstand a weight load of up to sixty tons. The mats can be placed over sensitive turf, thereby protecting it from heavy use or heavy equipment in the same way maintenance crews sometimes use plywood sheets. AlturnaMATS, however, do not splinter, warp or become water logged in the way plywood sheeting can, and when the work project is complete, these polyethylene mats can easily be hosed clean and stored until they are used again.
The mats can be hooked together to form pathways, are flexible to conform to ground contour and have been field tested in both extreme heat and cold. They have a smooth side and a diamond-plate treaded side, are available in sizes that support up to 120-ton vehicles and have a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
One-hundred percent reusable and one-hundred percent recyclable, AlturnaMATS are produced in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Since 1995, these high quality mats have provided ground protection solutions and today are in use on golf courses, in other aspects of tree or turf care, on constructions sites and by the manufactured housing industry.
AlturnaMATS in Partnership with Checkers Safety Group
In March 2015, Checkers Industrial Safety Products, LLC announced it was partnering with AlturnaMATS, Inc. Jack Rosner, president and owner of AlturnaMATS, said at the time, “The partnership with Checkers … brings together two companies with the same goals in mind, safety and asset protection, and will help grow both brands. In addition, it provides AlturnaMATS with additional resources to help accelerate our growth.”
The President of Checkers, Ray Torres, was equally as enthusiastic about the growth potential the partnership would inspire, “This investment allows us to enter the ground protection industry with a recognized market leader, something we have wanted to do for some time, and gives us the opportunity to exponentially grow our ground protection division.”
However, the partnership between AlturnaMATS and Checkers is only a part of the aggressive growth initiative of Checkers, a company that manufactures and distributes a variety of branded safety products.
For Almost Thirty Years
In 2017, Checkers Industrial Safety Products, now under the name Checkers Safety Group, will celebrate thirty years of delivering innovative products and serving the targeted needs of its clients. Headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, the company has manufacturing and support facilities in Mesa, AZ; Chicago, IL; Titusville, PA; Moselle, MS; Kilgore, TX; Lasalle, Quebec; Barendrecht in the Netherlands; Derby and Stansted in the UK; and Naucalpan de Juarez and Estado de Mexico in Mexico. Today, Checkers has a recognized global presence and an international market, which all began with the development of a single product, a wheel chock for use in the mining industry.
In 1984, Checker’s founder, Steve Henry, recognized that the mining industry would benefit if lightweight, strong wheel chocks were available. He developed a urethane wheel chock that was light enough to be easily lifted and carried, yet strong enough to hold large haul trucks.
Only three years later, Checkers Industrial Safety Products was operational in its first location, a 700-square-foot manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colorado. The following year, Checkers exhibited at its first trade show, MINExpo, presenting the Monster® Wheel Chock, which was designed for use with haul trucks and has since become one of the company’s signature product lines.
By 1990, Checkers had become widely recognized as the leading wheel chock manufacturer in the U.S. and began including reaction injection molding (RIM) in its manufacturing process. In the decades that followed, the company’s product line expanded to include Linebacker® Cable/Hose Management Systems, Diamondback® Hose Bridges, All-Purpose™ Warning Whips, Guard Dog® Cable/Hose Management Systems and Fastlane® Lightweight Cable Protectors
As a result of its continued growth, in 2009, Checkers moved less than fifteen miles from its original facility into its current home in Broomfield, which is a state-of-the-art, 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Not only was the company growing its product line and client base, Checkers was also expanding through acquisitions and seeking out top providers in distinctive industry niches.
In 2011, Checkers acquired Peterson Systems International, the manufacturer of Yellow Jacket® Cable Protectors. The following year, it added HBM Canada Manufacturing, Inc., manufacturer of industrial warning whips, vehicle identification lights and other safety products and later that same year, Checkers acquired C & C Signal, LLC, an industry leader in the engineering of barricade lights, solar barricade lights, strobes and other LED lighting modules related to traffic safety.
In October 2015, the same year the company partnered with AlturnaMATS, Checkers Industrial Safety Products announced the acquisition of Terraplas. For nearly a quarter of a century, the Terraplas brand has been recognized as a pioneering leader in turf protection and event flooring. Founded by Robert Else, the Terraplas company and its proprietary product of the same name are so well known, the word “terraplas” is often used generically in reference to all products in the category.
The original Terraplas products were developed in cooperation with Wembley Stadium in London, United Kingdom. The first system of mats produced by Terraplas in 1991 are still in use today. Robert Else, chairman of Terraplas, said, “The purchase of Terraplas by Checkers is another milestone in the company’s history. I started the business some twenty-five years ago and since then have sold the highest-quality turf protection systems to iconic stadiums worldwide.”
Checkers Delivers: Both Indoors and Out
A spokesperson for Checkers Safety Group, Carson Stoolmiller, pointed out that the use of Checkers products, including ground protection AlturnaMATS, is the primary use sought by the golf course and turf maintenance industries. Carson explained, “While our Terraplas turf protection systems are typically used to protect stadium turf, we certainly see applications in protecting the sensitive grass of a golf course during all types of events.”
Carson also called out another category of Checkers product that might not initially come to mind for a golf course superintendent, that of NoTrax interior mats, manufactured by Superior Manufacturing Group, and now part of the Checkers family of brands. In addition to products that are used on the course, the Checkers company provides entryway mats suitable for clubhouses, cart barns and restrooms and anti-fatigue matting for work stations. While ground protection mats are remarkable for shielding turf, anti-stress mats that make it easier for workers to be on their feet for long periods of time can easily become as dear to their hearts as the industrial mats that protect their fairways and rough.
Linda Parker has been writing professionally since the 1980s. With clients in finance, sports, technology, change enablement, resorts and nonprofit global initiatives, Linda helps organizations communicate their stories in meaningful ways to the people they most want to reach. She has authored, ghostwritten or contributed to more than a dozen nonfiction books. Linda is a member of the Authors Guild and the Golf Writers Association of America. You can connect with her on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/GlindaCreative