Clacton-on-Sea Golf Club, situated on the northeast Essex coast, is one of the first clubs in the region to take delivery of the very latest, highly innovative hybrid greens mower from Jacobsen, the Eclipse 322. Two diesel-electric hybrid machines were delivered recently by local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer, Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd.
A unique feature of these new mowers is that they are completely free of hydraulic oil; the traction motor and cutting cylinders are driven by electric power provided by a small 13hp diesel engine and 48-volt continuous generator. This makes them much quieter and less obtrusive to the golfers playing on the course.
Alan Smith is course manager and has worked on the course for 34 years, having joined the club as a 16 year old, straight from school. He has followed in his father's footsteps; Frank Smith was both head greenkeeper and golf professional at Maldon Golf Club, about 30 miles down the Essex coast.
"We've purchased two machines; one for the greens and the other for tees and green surrounds," he said. "I really like the concept of no hydraulics. For the past 40 years, mowers on golf courses have used big diesel engines and complicated hydraulic systems to drive the wheels and cutting cylinders and if a leak occurred it could do immense damage to the affected area.
"With the Eclipse mowers, this is impossible, because there is no hydraulic oil. Also, because they use a small engine, there's a significant reduction in noise, which is good for us as we have housing close to four greens. The other bonus is reduced fuel and service costs. There much less to go wrong and Jacobsen claims a 43% reduction in fuel costs. If this is correct, and I have no reason to doubt it, then we should see a considerable saving.
"We are delighted to be one of the first clubs in the region to take advantage of the new technology in the Eclipse 322. I first saw it at an Ernest Doe demo day, along with my chairman of greens and my greenkeeping team, at Stockbrook Manor. I realised immediately that this was the way forward. We've had to wait a little while to get them, but it's been worth it."
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