Repowering utility carts makes Green Sense, But does it make financial sense?

Golfers at the Hindman Park Golf Course in Little Rock, Arkansa have something to brag about � they have the greenest greens in the state. Not the color green � green as in environmentally friendly. Environmentally friendly golf courses came to national attention about ten years ago, when the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), the United States Golf Association (USGA), Audubon International and the National Wildlife Federation came together and created a set of guidelines for developing greener golf courses.

According to the Audubon Society, golf courses are a natural place (no pun intended) to turn for wildlife shelters and habitats. The guidelines, published in 1997, offer tips and suggestions for golf course owners and municipalities that keep the greens even greener environmentally. Hindman Park�s Supervisor took their suggestions to heart. He and his crew have put up over 40 nesting boxes around the course, and planted 100 fruit trees to encourage and attract wildlife. The intent is to add another 100 trees each of the next four years � all of which will grow without the aid of pesticides or fertilizers.

The relationship between golf courses and environmentalists is a new one � but it shouldn�t be a surprising one. After all, part of the pleasure of golfing is in being a part of the natural outdoor world. Preserving that world so that golfers can continue to enjoy it should be part of taking care of the golf course. Across the country, municipal and private golf courses are taking their stewardship of the land seriously by instilling new methods of irrigation and greens keeping.

While most of the attention has been focused on designing environmentally friendly golf courses, the decisions that the grounds service makes every day can also affect how green a golf course is � and not by picking a new fertilizer. The engines that power grounds keeping and grooming equipment are one of the targets of environmentalist concern. The NOx emissions of diesel and gas powered equipment � particularly older equipment � are often well above the new emissions standards. Replacing older engines on machines like lawnmowers, sand groomers, utility carts and tractors can go a long way toward cutting down on the noxious fumes that tend to pollute the atmosphere.

New equipment must meet the new EPA standards for emissions control � but the price is often out of reach, especially for a small private course or a municipal course struggling to stay within the Parks & Rec budget. The solution is easy � don�t replace. Repower the equipment with new, cleaner engines. For the cost of a new Toro'>">Toro Sand Pro, you can repower your old Toro Sand Pro with a new Kohler Engine, and have enough left to repower four Toro Greensmaster lawnmowers. If you choose to repower a Rake-o-Vac instead of replacing it with a new one for $31,000, you can practically repower your entire fleet!

Choosing to repower doesn�t only make financial sense. It makes green sense. By replacing old engines with new kohler repower engines, you reduce the NOx emissions of your fleet by as much as 70%. In addition, since you�re not scrapping your old machine, it won�t be sitting in a landfill challenging the Earth to break it down and deal with it.

Green is a label that golf courses have always worn with pride, and now it�s more of a badge than ever before. Make your golf course a greener place to be � choose to repower your old machines with more efficient, more powerful and more environmentally friendly Kohler engines.

� Ben Anton, 2006

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