Golf course mower efficiency: An overview of leading products

By Alistair May 11, 2020 15:16 Updated

Three of the industry’s main suppliers of course machinery to golf clubs have been adapting their products so they are more efficient for greenkeepers.

Developments in greens’ mowers are making course managers’ jobs easier, more efficient, and some are meeting the growing trend in the industry to move towards more sustainable mowing options.


Toro’s new Greensmaster eTriFlex series is the perfect response to customers’ demands for cleaner, greener mowing options.

The two new mowers in the series, the Greensmaster eTriFlex 3360, launched last year, and the new eTriFlex 3370, take innovation to the next level by using both hybrid and all-electric power.

The Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370 is the industry’s first lithium-ion battery powered ride-on greensmower, making it Toro’s quietest ride-on machine yet.

The ‘radius dependent speed system’ delivers an optimal perimeter cut by monitoring each individual cylinder and traction wheel speed during turns and that, in conjunction with the ‘lift-in-turn’ cutting unit levelling feature, standardises the clip rate of each individual cylinder and virtually eliminates the effect know as ‘Triplex-Ring’. The double a-arm suspension system, also with the industry-leading Flex technology of the eTriFlex 3360, means the cutting units float freely and closely over any terrain and deliver superior contour-following, while the ‘lift-gate footrest’ and ‘tool-free quick change’ cutting units simplify service and maintenance.

But the cherry on the cake is its all-electric benefits. Lower emissions and fuel savings, yet ample power to get the job done, the 3370 improves upon the 3360’s environmental credentials while also responding to business demands for increased revenue. With the all-electric technology reducing noise, work can start earlier while complying with noise regulations, allowing greens to be ready earlier and therefore allowing for earlier tee times. No more damaging hydraulic leaks, no more emissions, no more pollution, the eTriFlex 3370 delivers the future to the fine turf sector.

Meanwhile, its hybrid counterpart, the 3360 has been developed specifically with customer needs and environmental concerns in mind. Reducing noise, minimising impact on the environment and with no hydraulics – it says goodbye to leaks while never compromising on quality of cut.

This clever ride-on utilises all-electric components for traction, steering, lifting and cutting, alongside a proven Kawasaki twin cylinder 14hp air-cooled engine with battery assist technology and a reduced speed of 2400rpm, shrouded in venting. This design is what ensures perceived bystander noise level is reduced significantly, making it the perfect greensmower for courses with nearby residents.

In addition, the cutting capabilities have been significantly improved upon compared to previous models. The eTriFlex 3360 suspension system maintains a full flotation range to prevent gouging or scalping when going over undulations and the proven Flex technology allows the cutting units to pivot around the centre of the front roller to prevent side-to-side scrubbing. Add to this DPA cutting units, the most advanced cutting units in the industry, and you have a mower which floats freely over any terrain with superior contour-following, which substantially improves both the aesthetics and playability of the greens.

John Deere

John Deere’s 220E walk-behind greens mower combines hybrid electric drive with a contour hugging Quick Adjust (QA) cutting unit, and is designed to provide a top quality finish on golf greens and other fine turf areas.

This features a standard 11-blade, 127mm diameter reel with a cutting width of 56cm and simple bedknife-to-reel adjustment. Cutting height is quickly and easily adjustable across a wider range down to 2mm using the patented Speed Link system.

The 220E employs the same type of innovative hybrid drive technology introduced on the John Deere 2500E triplex greens mower. Utilising the 2500’s ball-joint yoke design and an electric drive motor eliminates the need for a mechanical drive link to the cutting unit. The independent contouring head therefore hugs the slightest undulations of the green, making it easier to achieve the perfect cut in any conditions.

These features give the 220E mower a very wide range of movement, with the cutting head capable of up to 133mm of travel fore and aft and 32mm side to side. The electric reel makes adjustment of the clip frequency particularly straightforward, by simply turning a dial to set the desired clip rate. On-board backlapping is another standard feature that makes servicing the cutting unit simple and convenient.

The hybrid design also reduces weight on the cutting head and allows the mower to be run at lower engine revs, making it even quieter as well as more manoeuvrable. A weight transfer system linked to the drive roller means that as the standard grass box fills, minimal weight is added to cutting head, which produces a more consistent height of cut across the green.

The mower is equipped as standard with an operator presence system, which features a quick release mechanism to disengage traction. An optional gear-driven greens tender conditioner (GTC) counter-rotates to stand the grass up before cutting, for an even better finish. Alternatively, a 60mm rotary nylon brush attachment can be specified.

Additional options include detachable transport wheels, a pull-back clutch that allows the mower to be reversed while the reels are engaged and a choice of grooved, smooth or spiral rollers.


Meanwhile Dennis’s continual advances in design technology has seen a fine tuning of the popular Razor Ultra 560, a machine which produces the consistently high finish for which the company is renowned.

It incorporates many key features including an 11 bladed cutting cylinder, ultra short wheelbase for undulating surfaces, tungsten tipped groomer, compact handle design for extra manoeuvrability, click height adjusters and stub free transport wheels for easy transport from site to site.

For increased durability the mower has high impact resistant acrylic guards, and offering extra user protection, the stub shafts have been designed within the side guards as the mower features a quick release powered transport wheel kit with kick stand.

As ever the operator is high on Dennis’s list of priorities, with easy adjustment of cut height using the ‘click adjust’ system, while the proven easy start Honda Q9 engine offers low noise, low vibration technology. The Razor Ultra 560 is an extremely versatile mower and will provide a top quality finish on a variety of surfaces and will be of particular interest to greenkeepers maintaining golf greens and tees to a high standard.

“We had the Razor on demo and were instantly impressed,” said deputy head greenkeeper and mechanic Michael Dickson from Mapperley Golf Club. “The members loved it and they could instantly tell which green it had been demonstrated on. Even when the treasurer came out, he saw the quality of cut and said ‘right, we’re having them now.’

“The other mowers we tried just felt very heavy and more difficult to manoeuvre in comparison to the Razor. It was the best option by far.

“In my opinion the best features on the Razor are that they are reliable, incredibly well built and easy to use. They keep the weight off the greens in winter and the cut that it offers in terms of presentation is fantastic. Since we’ve been using the Razor the greens have been a different quality.”

By Alistair May 11, 2020 15:16 Updated

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