A few years ago I was in the audience for a panel discussion put on by one of the Golf Industry magazine. The panel consisted of seven Superintendents from different types of course (private, semi-private, resort, municipal and public) with varying budgets levels. It is important to note that this is pre-recession so the golf industry was a little healthier then. The subject of equipment and/or chemical cost came up and a Superintendent from one end said “For me, cheaper is always better”. On the other end a Superintendent spoke up and said “I really hate that statement because it just isn’t true.” An interesting debate followed and the merits of cost versus quality, long term gain versus short term pain etc. The “Cheaper” guy said that he can get more equipment for less but always going for the low price whereas the “Hate That Expression” guy stated that cheaper equipment costs more to maintain and needs replacing sooner which means more of his time spent looking for new equipment. I came away from that topic with the thought that there really is a balance somewhere in between both points. How much would the “Cheaper” guy save in the long run if he just upped his quality requirements? And would the “Hate That Expression” guy save any of his budget if he looked for a better bargain and downgraded his requirements just a bit?
That rather long lead in leads me to the state of walk-behind mowers and spreaders that you see on golf courses, and in the Pro Landscaper’s trailers these days. The general consensus seems to be just run to a big box store, buy something cheap and hope it lasts the season. Let’s get a mower for a few hundred bucks and once the guys beat it to death then we will go get a couple more. Seems to me to be the same way with spreaders – buy a low to mid-range unit, run it until it drops and get some more. Walk-behind mowers and spreaders have become a disposable commodity like plastic coat hangers that are 10 for a dollar. A blogger on a Superintendent website said a similar thing about tees the other day – since they are mostly free, no one looks for them anymore and they just stay in and around the tee box waiting to tear up a mower or waste employees time since they have to do so much policing of the turf before they mow.
So, does that mean I am in favor of buying top of the line all the time – absolutely NOT. I think every purchase should be made with the budget in mind. Every purchase should be made with the idea of MAXIMUM VALUE over the life of the machine and how it executes the job that needs doing. That brings me to Masport mowers and Spyker Spreaders. These are VALUE ORIENTATED machines. Are they pricier than big box equipment – certainly. Are they prohibitively expensive like many of the full-blown commercial series machines on the market – certainly NOT. Take a quick look at those two brands and see what you think – Check back for my next post! I will explain exactly how the value shines through with these two brands when comparing them to much wider known brands.