Annual equipment maintenance is an important project for any golf course maintenance department during the winter months. Our goal is to have all the machines ready-for-action when the season starts. To do this, we perform maintenance according to the machines' service manual, and we try to minimize down-time during the season by anticipating any problems that might occur. In addition to completing annual service on all the traction units and engines, golf courses also have to maintain complicated cutting units.
Here's a look at the underside of one of our greens reel units:
The 4 bearings on each side need to be inspected, greased, and possibly replaced. For the unit to cut evenly down to greens height(about 1/8th of an inch), the distance between the bedknife and spinning reel is supposed to be, by the book, 2/1000ths of an inch. Contrary to popular belief, they aren't supposed to touch. If they are rubbing, friction will slow down the reel speed, use up horsepower, dull the blade, and build up heat. A burning hot blade is not the best thing to pass over fine turfgrass!
A new bedknife being attached to the holder:
With a bedknife to reel spacing of 2/1000ths of an inch, the unit will cut copy paper without the bedknife and reel touching. To make this sort of fine adjustment possible, the reels and bedknives need to be ground periodically. We accomplish this with two separate machines: a spin grinder for the reels and a bedknife grinder for the bedknife. In the following photo, you can see the reel set-up on the grinder. Several distances need to be measured within 1/1000ths of an inch or you may end up with a cone-shaped reel instead of a cylinder.
The two wheels on the right or left are used to gradually adjust the grinding reel by tiny increments until the reel is ground to a "perfect" cylinder. Once the bedknife is ground and re-attached, the unit is adjusted and lubricated. It should be ready to go!
The grinder hard at work:
Recently, we finished grinding and servicing our 14 cutting units. Now the mechanic can move on to servicing all the engines and repairing any problems that arise during a point-by-point inspection.