Fairways are being circle cut today, which allows us to mow the turf in multiple directions giving us a very good quality cut. However, they are somewhat messy today because we removed a lot of grass. All staff are currently tied up with mowing leaving no one able to take the blower across fairways. I appreciate your patience with the excess clippings and certainly appreciate your understanding of our goals today. We will be back to normal in no time!
Above is a very simple photo of an old time reel mower. This is the same technology used today although it has come a long way and materials are much better. Rotary mowers aren't used because it is nearly impossible to mow under 3/4" without scalping with a rotary mower. Throw in some contour and it is impossible. A reel mower can achieve heights well under 1/8" without scalping. Keeping a reel mower sharp is a time consuming commitment and that's why we have two great mechanics. Everything is mowed using reel mowers apart from rough (rotary). This means there is a lot of reels to keep sharp. The cut occurs when the grass is pinched between the reel and the bedknife. The shearing action, exactly like scissors, it what cuts the grass. If the reel isn't sharp, the grass won't cut or will have a rough edge like the tiny diagram below. When you have many ragged cuts, the green even looks yellow-brown from afar. This turf is also prone to fungal diseases and other stresses because there is more surface area for pest invasion. It is no different than a person; during surgery you would hope the surgeon uses a sharp surgical knife, not a serrated blade (Ok, maybe a little morbid but I can't think of another example right now). You can see know how valuable a good equipment tech is! We check mowers daily (7 days a week) for quality of cut and then make adjustments as needed. Our mowers can go about 3 weeks to a month and then they will be put on the grinder to sharpen. This is dictated by weather and cultural practices. Sand topdressing damages mower reels and dulls them even though it is a mandatory process for healthy greens. It is a balance that many mechanics and superintendents fail to understand each other's perspective.