Managing Debris on Golf Courses

Managing Debris on Golf Courses
Managing debris on golf courses can feel like a never-ending task – because, unfortunately, it is! This doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make it quick, efficient, and easy though. If you use the right equipment, you can efficiently keep on top of cleaning up grass clippings, leaves, aeration cores, and other debris. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at two of the most important golf course equipment pieces when it comes to cleaning up debris; blowers and sweepers. Superintendents worldwide rely on both of these types of equipment to keep their courses in peak condition all year round. Here is a look at how blowers and sweepers work, the benefits they offer, and how they help keep golf courses clear of debris:

Blowers (Smaller Area Cleanups)

Blowers come in various shapes, sizes, and powers. From small handheld leaf blowers to large turbine and PTO driven machinery. When choosing the best type of leaf blower for your course, you need to consider the size of the area you’re covering, how much debris you’re dealing with, available workforce, and of course, cost. To give you a better idea of what’s on the market and their uses, here are the main types of leaf blowers:

Handheld Leaf Blowers

Handheld leaf blowers are one of the best pieces of equipment for clearing small areas of dried leaves and other debris. You simply pick one up, walk around blowing the leaves into a pile, then scoop them up and remove them. The main drawback is that you can only clear a small area, and you’re operating on foot. Many golf course staff use them where they have a cluster of trees or tight spots where debris collects. They’re not ideal for clearing long cart paths or large open areas. Blowers are also hard to use in windy conditions for obvious reasons.

Backpack Leaf Blowers

Backpack blowers are heavier duty than handheld blowers and capable of clearing larger areas at the same time. You’re still limited to walking around holding it, however. Meaning they still take a good deal of time and manpower to clear a large area.

Turbine and PTO-Driven Blowers

Blowers If you have a large area to clear of leaves and other debris, a small blower will not get the job done. At least not in any sensible amount of time. This is where large ride-a-long and tow-behind leaf blowers are life-savers. You can drive a small vehicle with a blower attached and simply round up huge amounts of leaves with ease. Two of the most popular types are the turbine and PTO-driven models. PTO (Power Take-Off) is a type of machinery that takes power from a source, like an engine, and transmits that energy to another machine, which in this case of a blower is the actual blower. Turbine models generate power through a different mechanical process, but the result is very similar. These types of blowers are powerful enough to move large amounts of grass clippings, leaves, aeration cores, and other miscellaneous debris.

Sweepers (Larger Area Cleanups)

Sweepers, which are also referred to as leaf sweepers, are also pieces of golf course maintenance equipment used to remove debris. They work very differently from leaf blowers and serve a different purpose but are equally as valuable. Most sweepers work by having a rotatable brush mounted on a frame as the sweeper is pushed or pulled along, the brush spins and combs through the grass, picking up any loose debris. The obvious advantage of using a sweeper over a blower is that it collects debris as you go along, and it’s not as noisy or disruptive. Instead of creating a pile of debris to be collected, sweepers collect debris in a hopper. The only real downside is that sweepers aren’t able to get into tight spots. They can only pick up debris you’re able to literally guide them over the top of. As with blowers, they also come in various shapes and sizes. Here is a closer look at what sweepers do and which type is best for you:

Push Lawn Sweepers

As the name suggests, push lawn sweepers are operated by simply pushing them along. Doing so enables the rotating brush to pick up any debris it comes in contact with. It’s handy to have one of these in your equipment shed. For large courses, however, you’re not often going to use a push sweeper. It takes too long to get to the area you’re clearing and walk it back and forth.

Ride-a-Long and Tow-Behind Sweepers

Sweepers and VacuumsFor larger areas, a ride-a-long or tow-behind sweeper is going to be much quicker and more effective than a push or pull one. Tow-behind sweepers are one of the most commonly used items of golf course equipment. Whether you need to sweep up leaves, grass clippings, or aeration plugs, sweepers are quick and effective tools for picking up debris.  

Which Is Best for Debris Management – Blowers or Sweepers?

This is a question that comes up a lot, and there is no one-answer-fits-all. Both blowers and sweepers serve different purposes, especially when you look at the difference between the smaller and most powerful options. You can’t beat a small blower for getting in amongst dense trees and tight spots on a course. In fact, a sweeper simply can’t reach certain areas like that. Likewise, there’s no comparison when you put a tow-behind sweeper up against a tow-behind blower – a sweeper is going to get the job done quicker. This information should be enough to help you make an informed decision based on your needs. If you want to check out what we have available, please visit our used equipment page.

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