Review of electric golf course machinery

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick February 26, 2021 10:33

It’s been just over a year since Toro’s revolutionary all-electric Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 debuted at BTME and what a launch year it’s had.

Clubs such as St Andrews Links Trust and Newcastle-Under-Lyme quickly proved that customers were interested in more sustainable mowing options and were keen to support and showcase the newest technology available on the market.

And what they found is that the eTriFlex is far exceeding expectations when it comes to productivity and performance, as well as bringing invaluable, game-changing benefits.

Oh, so quiet

As the quietest ride-on greensmower on the market, it’s now possible to hear the wildlife while working for the first time. St Andrews Links director of greenkeeping Sandy Reid, who has two of the mowers, confirms there is “virtually no noise disturbance whatsoever”.

Newcastle-Under-Lyme Golf Club course manager Ian Beech, who ordered the first machine in the UK, says: “Without ear defenders and no machine noise we can hear the birds sing while we mow, and often see and work alongside the deer. One of the reasons so many of us get into this business is because we like being outdoors and close to nature, this machine makes the experience of being a greenkeeper better and put simply, improves the day.”

Meanwhile Ian’s colleague, Richard Beech, club manager, puts forward the invaluable business benefit the peace and quiet this machine brings: “We don’t have to choose between being responsible neighbours and preparing the course for our members. It is unbelievable just how quiet this machine is, it means we can cut the greens in the very early hours without disturbing the houses next to the course.”

Toro’s eTriFlex 3370, the more sustainable option for a cleaner, greener future.

Productivity exceeding expectations

One of the main selling points of the lithium-ion battery greensmower is that it could mow up to 20 average sized greens on a single charge, but surprisingly that is literally only half the story as Ian says he’s experienced over double that performance: “Incredibly we’ve been getting up to 56 greens done! Even with accessories such as the grooming brushes on the cutting units we’re still getting 38-40 greens done!”

Double A-Arm cutting

Sandy at St Andrews Links Trust tells us there is no compromise on the electric cut either: “The quality of cut is as to be expected from Toro, outstanding, whilst their ability to follow the contours and intricate shapes with consummate ease is breathtaking.”

This is thanks to the Double A-Arm suspension system with industry-leading Flex technology which sees the cutting units float freely and closely over any terrain and deliver superior contour-following. The ‘radius dependent speed system’ delivers an optimal perimeter cut by monitoring each individual cylinder and traction wheel speed during turns and that, in conjunction with the ‘lift-in-turn’ cutting unit levelling feature, standardises the clip rate of each individual cylinder and virtually eliminates the effect know as ‘Triplex-Ring’.

Sandy concludes by saying they are “a dream to use” and cites another reason for choosing electric to the “advancement in how the computer controls cut quality and machine manoeuvrability”.

When Toro’s eTriFlex 3370 arrived at Newcastle-Under-Lyme Golf Club it brought with it the technological advances and a peace and quiet course manager Ian Beech had been dreaming of for years

No more messy maintenance

The eTriFlex was recently put through its paces in a product test by the team at Goodwood and one of the main things noticed was the difference the tool-free QuickChange cutting units made. The eTriFlex 3370 was at Goodwood for two weeks on trial across the two Championship courses and it was reported back that these were much easier than the petrol/diesel equivalent machines; preferred because there were no spanners needed to change them over and they’re fitted with quick release clips for easy access. Also winning favour were the new sealed bearings on the cutting units. With all the old grease points eliminated maintenance was found to be a lot easier, saving time and mess.

This leads us nicely on to the most enjoyed and valued feature of all and for the whole team at Goodwood that is, not having the smelly and grimy fuel process that comes with a petrol / diesel machine. Everything being cleaner really made a pleasant difference.

Total cost of ownership

The benefits on the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) that comes with being fuel-free were noticed almost instantly by Ian at Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

When fuel can comprise up to 15 percent of the TCO, not having to factor that in makes a big difference: “It’s much cheaper to run so far, fuel is such a big expense and the cost of diesel can fluctuate, so it’s good not having to factor that in and there’s a guarantee on the battery so no worries there,” Ian says.

And relaying fears that the cost may well be seen on the electricity bill, Ian says: “We racked up 90 hours in the first five weeks, we charge it overnight and as yet haven’t noticed a difference on our electric bill”.

In 2021, why not charge your greens mowing to the Toro eTriFlex 3370, the more sustainable option for a cleaner, greener future.

Toro’s eTriFlex 3370 is being used on the iconic, world-famous Old Course at St Andrews Links.

Tech spec

Power source: Eight, lithium-ion Samsung SDI batteries

Energy capacity: 10.77 kWh; 48V nominal

Electrical systems: 48V system for traction, steering motor and cutting unit lift. 12V system for primary controls and brake actuator

RDS system: Radius dependent speed system for optimal perimeter cut

Ground speed: Mowing 0-5 mph (0-8 km/h); Transport 0-10 mph (0-16 km/h)

Cutting unit drive: Three 48V (1.1 KW) air-cooled brushless permanent magnet motors

Cutting unit lift system: 48V electric linear actuators with fully integrated brushless permanent magnet motor and controller

Infocentre: Onboard LCD display shows gauges, alerts/faults, service reminders, electrical system diagnostics, alternator, engine hours, engine rpm, voltage, functional control status, parking brake applied, cylinder speed setting, backlap control, clip control, calibration of 48V components

Noise level (DBA): sound power: 82 db(A); Operator ear: 66 db(A).

Reesink Turfcare is the sole Toro distributor in the UK for golf and sports fields equipment and irrigation products and exclusive distributor for Toro groundscare machinery. To talk to someone about electric power and how the Toro range would suit your club, plus the finance options available, call 01480 226800 or visit reesinkturfcare.co.uk

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick February 26, 2021 10:33
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