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Putting Green Mowers FAQ

A vintage greensmower!

(almost) but not suitable for greens!

A push mower for putting greens
"Do I need special equipment to maintain a real Bentgrass (or Bermuda) putting green?"
This is one of the most often asked questions that we get at putting-greens.com. The answer to that question is yes ... you need a professional reel type mower to cut the green. Reel mowers cut with a spinning cylinder of blades which "pinches" the grass against a bedknife. This bedknife ride low in the front of the mower. Cutting with a scissor type action, the height of cut can be lowered to extreme tight tolerances. A regular rotary mower cannot accomplish this type of cut. For greens construction you do not need any specialized equipment. Most modest sized greens can be built in a weekend with hand tools, although some assistance from plows, backhoes, etc. will make things easier for you to move earth where required.

"Can I use the old fashioned reel mower I found in my grandfather's tool shed/garage?"
Although the old-fashioned push reel mowers (and new ones .. which you can still find at home centers today) offer the same cutting action and will give you a finer cut, they are not sufficient for cutting a putting green. These reel mowers are still coveted today for their ability to cut lawns sharply with 8-12 blades per reel, but they lack the weight, rollers, groomers, height adjustability, balance and clippings baskets of modern day professional greensmowers. Note: You may be able to retrofit one of these as a second mower for cutting collars around your putting green.

"I don't want to spend a lot of money for a mower ... what are my options?"
You will need to purchase a greensmower .. but you don't have to spend a fortune. If money is no obstacle, you can plunk down $5K-$6K for a brand walk-behind unit from one of the big three companies: Toro, John Deere and Jacobsen. These three companies sell the majority of greensmowers to the golf course industry. You can also find good brand new equipment from alternative manufacturers such as Hudson Star, McClane, Locke, Cal Trimmer and Qualcast starting in the $1,000 range. All offer quality equipment in a lower price range. We at putting-greens.com are an authorized distributor for Hudson Star mowers. Please contact us if you would like more information about these fine quality mowers.

Used gear is readily available in most areas and all over the internet. In the category of "used walk behind greensmowers", there are several options:

  • Contact local golf courses to see if there are any older walk-behinds that they will sell you cheaply (this is worth the effort if you find a deal ... maybe even FREE!)
  • Contact local Equipment Dealers who specialize in used golf course equipment resale. Many sell traded in gear to lower level golf courses.
  • We occassionaly have used mowers available. Check our current list of used mowers for sale (see below).
  • Check out the used equipment posted on our free classified web board: web board
  • Contact us for a list of used equipment from trusted used equipment dealers. We are building a network of regional distributors and may have one in your area.
  • Search Ebay (always risky but full of bargains)

Golf courses routinely turn over equipment every few years, replacing older units with newer models. A well-maintained greensmower can last for decades and can be updated/maintained with parts from aftermarket suppliers such as Precision (800 345-1960) and R&R Products (800 528-3446).

"What is the difference between a push mower and a powered unit?"
Most professional greensmowers are powered with gas engines. (Note: The Hudson Star Signature Cut mower is powered by battery for quiet power-assisted mowing). Powered mowers spin the reel for cutting and in most cases ... drive the mower forward. This is controlled by the operator and requires a little skill/experience to get the technique for properly cutting a golf green with a walk-behind mower. Push mowers (McClane, Hudson Star Classic Cut, Qualcast), on the other hand, do not provide any power to either the reel or to the forward motion of the mower. You must "push" the mower forward, which turns the roller drum and then transfers some energy to the spin the reel. The harder you push .. the faster the roll and the faster the reel spin. For small greens (under 2K SF, beginners, and for those who are unsure about this type of project and do not want to invest a lot of money up front .. push mowers represent a good option. For larger greens ... or for those who want to cut the green less frequently .. they will appreciate the assistance provided by power mowers which will easily cut through a weeks worth of growth. Note: Push units can always be resold if you want to upgrade later.

"Do greensmowers require any special maintenance?"
Pro mowers do require special maintenance (mostly sharpening and adjusting). If you plan on purchasing a used mower, find out where you can get it serviced. Making friends with the local golf course mechanic is a GREAT IDEA! You can learn a lot about the business from them and their experience and you might be able to get them to adjust your mower for a few bucks. There are several techniques that require special knowledge and equipment. Most importantly .. you have to sharpen the mower. A razor sharp mower, properly adjusted, will give you the best chance of achieving golf-course like qualities in maintaining your putting green. You can do some home-sharpening (backlapping) but will require professional help at least once or twice a year if you want to see great results.

"Is there anywhere that I can learn about these mowers and read reviews?"
We don't have reviews of all mowers, but here are some links to past reviews of various mowers. You can also look on our webboard and find lots of reviews/discussions about various makes/models of greensmowers. There you can ask a question and usually get good advice from experienced users.

McClane Power Mower Review - Jacobsen PGM Mower Review - Hudson Star Powermate Mower Review - Locke - Cal Trimmer, - Qualcast (UK)

John Deere Toro Jacobsen McClane Hudson-Star

(Used) Putting Green Mowers For Sale

Wilfred McDonald Company www.wilfredmacdonald.com has a supply of used professional greensmowers available for sale. These are used mowers from golf courses .. from $250 - $750 that are for sale and can be shipped anywhere in the US. Here is a list. Please contact them directly for availability and tell them that putting-greens.com sent ya!

  • 1. 1pc 62206 older 2 cycle Jacobsen w/catcher (SOLD)

  • 2. 2pc 62239 2 cycle Jacobsen w/catcher $450.00 (on ebay)

  • 3. (only 2 left) Jacobsen 518 18" mowers with Honda engine & catchers.
    Nice shape $750.00

  • 4. 1pc Jacobsen 526 Runs good, brake removed,
    clutch cover missing, w/catcher $450.00

  • 5. 1pc GM1000 Toro, runs OK but has knock in engine, no catcher $400.00

  • 6. 1pc Jacobsen 522 nice shape w/catcher $750.00

  • 7. 1pc Jacobsen GV IV riding greens mower. Older machine, diesel engine,
    everything works, front light with catchers. (SOLD)

All of the machines run, have been cleaned and backlapped and are ready to cut after the height is adjusted for each buyer's needs. Our web site is www.wilfredmacdonald.com and our ebay site is www.wilmacauctions.com . Also we are probably going to sell some of our older demo mowers. The all have very low hours and are in excellent condition but will cost a bit more. You can contact me here at 888-831-0891.
Qualcast Short-Cut Jacobsen PGM External Vendor Listing

sample photo
Short cut greensmower from English manufacturer Atco-Qualcast, in almost brand new condition. Easily adjustable and sharpened. A perfect starter mower for beginners/smaller greens. Call (978) 465-9345 Note: photo is of an older unit Classic 22" Jac PGM. This one came from a golf course and has been my greensmower for 4 years. Not pretty, but runs perfectly with a healthy Honda motor. Call (978) 465-9345 (local pickup only) We have a network of equipment dealers throughout the US. Please contact us for a list of vendors, mowers available in your area. Mowers can be shipped anywhere in the US and sell from $300 to $1200 for a mower that is in good condition. This means that the mower is in running condition. All mowers must be adjusted and sharpened before use.
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