Machine lift in a golf course workshop? Not so many years ago a workshop housing a lift was unheard of, let alone big enough to hold a lift inside it.
The whole approach to machinery maintenance has improved tremendously in the last 10-12 years. The cost of replacing expensive machines prematurely worn out through lack of maintenance has played a big part, as has employer's awareness of Health & Safety legislation.
There are (in my opinion) other factors involved here such as equipment technician's awareness of improved machine maintenance standards and health & safety legislation, as well as their expectations regarding working conditions in general. I believe this is the result of better technical education. Colleges have played their part in raising standards, aspirations and expectations.
Whatever the reason, lifts are becoming more commonplace in the golf industry and are no longer confined to main dealerships.
A lift can, in many cases, be justified on the grounds of economy of time and Health & Safety. How many jobs do you do that would be much quicker if only you had a lift?
I find that Rapid Facing is a prime example A greens triple that requires a quick rapid face to maintain cutting quality needs all units removing, a 5 minute rapid face and then the units refitted.
In itself not a long job, but it could be so much quicker on a lift where there is no need to remove the units at all. Fairway mowers are a little more time consuming and a great deal more work without a lift, but once on the lift they can be faced easily and quickly.
Apart from making servicing easier and quicker, inspections can also be more effective. That hydraulic hose, hidden from view with the machine on the ground, can be looked at thoroughly when on a lift - possibly saving a future oil leak.
With a lift there follows a rising of standards as time is saved on routine work and reinvested in work that usually does not get done, or does but does not get done often enough, i.e. servicing, grinding and other such tasks, tasks, which can contribute to higher standards of presentation on the golf course. By this, I am primarily talking about grinding both reels and bedknives. These will give fast results, most noticeable on greens although all grass blade tips will benefit from a sharper cut. I won't go into those benefits here as I touched on them in an earlier article, but you can find out more by visiting www.bernhard.co.uk
There are many lifts on the market, especially in the motor trade, and they can be purchased for around £2000.00. Most of these types of lifts are used for cars and vans, rather than for the diverse machines found in the golf course maintenance facility. All sorts of brackets and trays need to be made and modifications carried out to "convert" a machine of this type to suit golf course machinery.
If you want a lift designed for golf course equipment (or equipment similar to golf course machinery) then expect to pay £4000.00 or more.
It's a sad fact, but whenever golf is mentioned in the same sentence as machinery the price goes up! The reason/excuse from salesmen is that machines are not "mass produced", although how many do they have to produce to constitute "mass production"? I don't know the answer to that, but the Big Three manufacturers churn out fairway mowers like the Russians churned out T34 tanks during World War 2.
We in the UK are not spoilt for choice when selecting a machine lift either, unlike our American counterparts who have many to choose from. Although I have heard there is a UK machinery manufacturer who is currently developing a lift for both the home market and for export, we will have to wait and see.