TDEC adds all-electric greens mowers to five Tennessee Golf Trail courses

Monday, April 13, 2015 | 12:50pm

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has announced it will begin using all-electric mowers to care for its greens at Warriors’ Path, Pickwick Landing, Montgomery Bell, Tims Ford and Cumberland Mountain state park golf courses this year.

The remaining three courses – Paris Landing, Henry Horton and Fall Creek Falls – will receive the new equipment in February, 2016. After total implementation of the program, the Tennessee State Park golf courses will save an additional 8,000 gallons of gasoline, 300 gallons of waste oil and reduce the carbon dioxide output by approximately 160,000 pounds.

“This is simply a win-win-win,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “It is a win for the environment because the equipment reduces carbon emissions, a win for the golfers because the equipment makes considerably less noise on the course, and it’s a win for Tennessee taxpayers because of the potential cost savings.”

Coupled with the overall economic and environmental benefits, the electric equipment is virtually silent when it operates, minimizing noise that could disturb both golfers and wildlife. Additionally, there are no fluids to manage, such as hydraulic or other automotive fluids, reducing potential impacts to vegetation and ground water, while also reducing staff resources.

Bear Trace at Harrison Bay was the first of the nine golf courses of the Tennessee Golf Trail to use all-electric mowing equipment. The course has proven to be a testing ground for implementing environmentally friendly and cost-effective maintenance practices, which TDEC plans to replicate at the other courses of the Tennessee Golf Trail.

“We’ve learned a lot from Harrison Bay in the last few years,” said Mike Nixon, TDEC director of golf operations. “The course cuts less grass, uses less water and fertilizer, reduces emissions, is wildlife-friendly and saves money in the process.”

The methods implemented at Harrison Bay have not only improved the course’s bottom line, but have produced several notable accolades. Most recently, Paul Carter, director of agronomy and course superintendent, was recently awarded the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship. In 2014, he received the Environmental Leaders in Golf Award, which included the Public and the Overall Award from the GCSAA and Golf Digest. In 2013, Harrison Bay took home the coveted Green Star Award for Outstanding Environmental Practices from Golf Digest, joining the ranks of other high-budget, reputable courses like Pebble Beach, Bandon Dunes and Kiawah Island – all previous winners of the prestigious award.