The game is over, but the work isn’t finished for everyone. Pom-pom streamers, confetti, sunflower seeds and popcorn litter the battered field turf. Ant hills of crumb rubber sporadically rise above the flattened green fiber, and twigs, leaves and other debris swirl in the wind. Grounds managers are now faced with the task of renewing the synthetic field turf. It must be groomed and prepared before it is playable again.
While picking up trash piece-by-piece would work, it wouldn’t be time efficient or cost effective. And even after hours of labor, the turf would still be flat and dotted with uneven crumb rubber, posing a safety threat to players who use the field. Fortunately, the Gravely Estate Master® turf sweeper provides the all-around solution. Used by professionals throughout the country, the Estate Master is the optimal tool for grooming and cleaning synthetic turf, as well as for smoothing crumb rubber. Uneven crumb rubber not only compromises and athlete’s performance, but can also cause players to stumble and become badly injured.
The Estate Master system is formed by hitching three Gravely Suburbanite® turf sweepers together, creating a 100-inch sweeping path. It easily picks up debris like twigs, leaves, trash and items even as small as sunflower seeds. The result is a clean, groomed and safe field. Unlike other sweepers, the Gravely Estate Master’s mesh bottom allows any crumb rubber picked up to fall back down and be evenly redistributed onto the field. Evenly distributed crumb rubber is aesthetically pleasing and essential to providing a safe field for athletes of all ages.
Estate Masters are ideal for managing large spaces, especially synthetic turf in football and sports stadiums. Landscape contractors can also benefit from the sweeper, using it to pick up twigs and leaves on natural turf. On natural turf, the mesh bottom allows collected moisture to escape the basket returning water to the grass. The sweeper is easily towed by an ATV with a rear hitch, a front-engine garden tractor or a zero-turn riding mower. Adjustable height and frame options ensure exceptional performance for varying situations.
David Roundtree, a territory manager for Gardener Incorporated an outdoor power equipment dealer in Jacksonville, Fla., supplies Estate Masters to grounds managers and stadiums across the United States.
Roundtree compares turf maintenance to taking care of carpet in a home. Both must be cleaned and kept free of debris in order to look good and lengthen their life. “I haven’t seen anything else out there that does what the Gravely Sweeper does for the money,” Roundtree said. “It is almost like using a vacuum cleaner at home. Keeping the carpet vacuumed regularly keeps the carpet fluffed up; it’s really no different in this situation.”
So how does the Estate Master create the manicured look? Eight polypropylene, steel-backed brushes circulate through the turf, fluffing the rubber and standing up the blades on synthetic fields. The brushes are in four staggered rows and can be adjusted for different heights independent of the frame, ensuring the perfect sweep for every field. Because the Estate Master is comprised of three Suburbanite units, a total of 24 brushes are grooming the field at one time – maximizing performance and efficiency. Each of the three units includes a front face plate with a variable vertical adjustment, as well. Adjusting the height vertically controls how debris is deflected into the basket.
Each unit of the sweeper is constructed for durability. Heavy-duty rear casters, sintered pinion gears and sealed ball bearings on the brush axle help extend the life of the units.
“The construction of the Gravely unit is impressive compared to others,” Roundtree said. “The all-metal wheels and gears of the drive system are very durable and can last for many years. Another popular feature is the caster wheels that support the back of the basket. Many low-end machines don’t have any kind of support for the basket.”
The Estate Master’s design and reliability make it a popular sweeper in well-known stadiums throughout the country. Roundtree said several NFL teams use them, including the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. University athletic programs also utilize the Estate Master.
Chad Mixon, grounds manager at Troy University in Troy, Ala., said their program uses Estate Masters exclusively on their artificial athletic turf fields.
“It has been virtually maintenance free,” Mixon said. “We rarely need new parts, and it does what it’s supposed to do.”
The quality of the sweep and its ability to fluff everything up and give the field a manicured look are the best aspects of the Estate Master, Mixon said. “The field goes from a flat hairdo to a teased up hairdo,” he said. It even picks up streamers from pom-poms.
Whether the debris consists of sunflower seeds or leaves, the Gravely Estate Master will sweep away the evidence, leaving only a manicured field and evenly distributed crumb rubber behind.