Friday, March 21, 2014

EMPLOYEE PROFILE - Rex Schad - Equipment Manager


        Over the next few months, I will be doing a series of blog posts that I am calling EMPLOYEE PROFILE. In these blog posts, I will be introducing some of the employees of the Jimmie Austin Golf Club Turf Care Facility and what their job function and responsibilities are within the club.

      In this inaugural blog entry, I will introduce Rex Schad - Equipment Manager. Rex Schad has over 20+ years working as an Equipment Technician and Equipment Manager in the Golf Course Maintenance Industry. He is a member of the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association (IGCEMA) and is working on becoming a Certified Golf Course Equipment Manager thru the IGCEMA. 

      The Equipment Manager is responsible for the entire fleet of turf maintenance equipment. Jimmie Austin Golf Club Turf Care Facility has 75 individual pieces of equipment that the Equipment Manager is responsible for the maintenance and repair of. He oversees a comprehensive preventive maintenance program. This program includes the repair of failing equipment, keeping records of parts and labor needed to maintain each piece of equipment, and placing orders for parts and supplies needed for equipment or service. He is responsible for properly communicating any needs or problems relating to the maintenance or repair of equipment to the superintendent and/or the assistant superintendent, and schedule and direct the work assignments of the assistant equipment manager. He is to place safety as a top priority and is responsible for maintaining a clean service area and maintenance building. 

      One of the most important aspects of the Equipment Manager's responsibilities is referred to as "Reel Science". "Reel Science" is the proper maintenance, adjustments and set-up of reel mowing equipment to provide an exceptional quality of cut. Over time and after repetitive use, the reels on our mowing equipment will dull and they will need to be sharpened. A method called back-lapping can be utilized in between reel-grinding to keep the mowers sharp. Back-lapping is done by applying a gritty compound called lapping compound to the blade while it is running in reverse. This gritty compound will sharpen the reel against the bed-knife. However, back-lapping can only be done so many times to sharpen the blade. To keep the reel and bedknife sharp and adjusted  correctly, it is necessary to grind them periodically. To correctly grind the reel and/or bedknife, it is placed on the respective grinder, set-up and adjusted accordingly to the manufacturers recommended settings and then Spun and Relief Ground. Rex has 50 reels and bedknives that he is responsible for keeping in exceptional cutting condition at all times. Reel mowing equipment is used to maintain the greens, tees, collars, approaches, fairways, intermediate rough and courtesy paths, while, rotary mowing equipment is utilized on all of the lawn areas, rough and native areas. 

      Rex has done a wonderful job of maintaining our fleet of turf maintenance equipment. Many times the Golf Course Superintendent, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent or Turf Care Facility employees are stopped by golfers and told "how great the golf course is" or "how great of a job they are doing". While these compliments are always nice to hear, I have never had anyone stop and tell me "how great the quality of cut is today" or "how well the equipment is running". Most of our patrons have never seen or met Rex, and, have no idea just how important his job duties are to the overall maintenance of the golf course. That is why this series of blog entries is so important. I want our patrons to know who these thank-less individuals are, that they may or may not have seen on a daily basis. I want people to know what these individual's job functions are, and, what important role they play in the operation and maintenance of this great facility. 

As always any questions, comments or concerns are always welcome.

We'll see you out there!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Turf Care Facility Construction Update 3/5/2014


      Jimmie Austin Golf Club at the University of Oklahoma broke ground on the construction of a state -of-the-art golf course Turf Care Facility in September 2013. This facility, when completed, will be an approximate 2-Acre facility with (4) building structures, (2) of which are completely enclosed. We will have an ESD Waste-2-Water recycled wash system, fuel tracking software, chemical mix/load stations with spill containment, 50 ton capacity sand storage silo, bulk material storage bins, recessed slab with a parking curb for roll-away dumpsters, recycling station, greenhouse and much more. 

      Building (A) will be the main core building. It will house offices, meeting/safe room, utility vehicles, irrigation, tool & parts storage, equipment maintenance operations, employee lounge, locker rooms, laundry room, etc.

       Building (B) will be a three-sided storage building. It will be the main storage for our large mowers, tractors, topdressors, sweepers, etc.

       Building (C) will be the storage for chemical and fertilizer storage. It will also have (3) separate bays for our chemical application equipment. These bays will have a spill containment system in the floor and will have an overhead water supply to fill up the spray tanks. These bays will serve as our mix/load stations when conducting applications to the golf course. 

      Building (D) will be an open-sided structure. It will provide overhead cover for the ESD Waste-2-Water recycle wash system, as well as, fuel tanks and fuel pumping control system. The fuel pump system will come with software that will allow me to give each piece of equipment its own unique ID. By doing this, it will allow me to track our fuel consumption precisely for each piece of equipment, as well as, eliminate accidental fill-ups with the incorrect fuel type. 

      We will also will be breaking ground soon on a new turf nursery that will serve as a training center. This Turf Training Nursery will be constructed similar to a Short Game Practice area with (2) greens (A1-A4 Bentgrass & G2 Bentgrass), (2) bunkers and approximately 0.25 acres of closely mowed turfgrass area (Zoysiagrass, Bermudagrass). We will have the ability to train new employees on daily golf assignments, fine-tune equipment or conducting field trials for local educational institutions, chemical and/or equipment vendors.

      We are very excited about this new facility and the impact it will make from an environmental stewardship aspect. Are goal with this facility is for it to be as environmentally sensitive and responsible while still being a fully functioning Turf Care Facility. 

As always any questions, comments or concerns are always welcome.

We'll see you out there!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Time is BUSY TIME!

      Winter time is upon us and in full force. Temperatures have been extremely cold and working days on the golf course have been far and few between. Many people ask "What do you all do during this seasonal downtime to stay busy and productive?" All though there aren't a lot of outside jobs to do during this time of the year, there are a number of things that can be accomplished that are important to the golf course and that contribute to the aesthetics of the golf course. Many of these small projects include: re-staining the wood on the benches and water cooler stands, re-painting the trash cans and ball washers, fixing and/or touching up aged or broken bunker rakes, etc.

      Another important project that can be done during the down-time of winter, is equipment maintenance and repairs. This is a time for our Equipment Manager to tune-up all of our maintenance equipment, grind reels and bed-knives on mowers, and go over our fleet of maintenance equipment and vehicles with a fine-tooth comb and report what equipment is in fine, working order and what equipment is on it's last leg and in desperate need of repair or replacement.

      We have initiated an Equipment Purchase Plan and have been fortunate to buy and trade-in equipment as needed over the past 5 years. We hope to maintain this type of plan and continue to purchase equipment as individual pieces "life-span" expire. This way equipment expenditures will be less as years go on because of the "older" equipment still having a decent trade-in value.

      One particular piece of equipment we had that was older and had no real trade-in value was a Buffalo Turbine Blower. It was a Model KB2 Turbine Blower. This type of blower was a hard-wired remote control system and a 23 HP motor. The motor had seized up, and,  therefore that blower had no trade-in value. A new Buffalo Turbine Blower Model KB4 with a wireless remote control system and a 27 HP motor is about $7,500. I read a blog entry, written by Stephen Tucker, where he had a Model KB2 that he stripped down to the frame and replaced all of the old parts and old motor with new parts and a new, larger motor and turned it into a KB4 model. All of this was done for about $3,100 (a savings of $4,400!!!)

      This is just an example of some of the types of projects that we have been working on during this winter, and we have many more like this to continue working on. We have started counting down the days until the 2014 growing season begins, and, all of our focus returns to maintaining the golf course to exceptional standards that our patrons deserve and have come to expect.

As always any questions, comments or feedback is always appreciated.

We'll see you out there!