New research program tests alternative fuel turf equipment

Eight renowned U.S. golf courses are testing alternative fuel turf equipment through an inaugural research program with the Propane Education & Research Council. The 12-month demonstration program will lease propane-powered turf equipment to participating courses chosen for their commitment to environmental practices, including:

  • Stone Mountain Golf Club, Stone Mountain, Georgia
  • Fernandina Beach Golf Club, Fernandina Beach, Florida
  • Marriott Desert Springs, Palm Desert, California
  • Renaissance Vinoy, St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Columbus Municipal Golf Courses, Columbus, Ohio
  • Reston National Golf Course, Reston, Virginia
  • George W. Dunne National, Oak Forest, Illinois
  • Willows Run Golf Course, Redmond, Washington

Each course will receive four pieces of R&R Products’ propane-powered equipment, including the Reel Max 331LP finish cut reel mower, Reel Max 744LP 5-gang fairway mower, Versa Green 2200 riding greens mower, and Sand Max 521LP utility vehicle. R&R Products is the first to manufacture and commercialize propane-powered turf equipment for the golf industry.

“Propane is the leading alternative fuel in the commercial landscape industry,” said PERC President and CEO Roy Willis. “Contractors and equipment manufacturers have embraced the fuel because of its proven performance and environmental benefits. With R&R’s partnership and industry-leading equipment offerings, we have an opportunity to bring these same benefits to the golf course industry, where we know propane technology will enhance their existing sustainability efforts.”

Audubon International recommended six of the eight golf courses, selected from AI’s 1,700 golf industry members nationwide, to participate in the demonstration program based on their commitment to sustainability. Each of the courses is currently Audubon International-certified, or in the process of completing their certification.

“Audubon International has long worked with the golf industry to recognize courses committed to environmental stewardship,” said Joe Madeira, director of advancement with Audubon International. “Our partnership on this program represents a new chapter for us, as we help the golf industry explore new technologies and alternative energy sources, such as propane. This effort complements existing sustainability efforts while reducing the impact on the environment for future generations.”

The participating courses will record and report performance data, such as fuel savings, to PERC throughout the trial period. Data from the program will inform future R&D and commercialization efforts as the propane industry looks to expand the use of clean, cost-effective propane to new turf maintenance sectors.

The courses will receive equipment between October 2014 and March 2015. R&R Products will oversee the manufacturing, distribution, and periodic maintenance of the propane mowers. PERC will meanwhile serve as a resource in helping courses establish relationships with local propane providers, and Audubon International will assist in evaluating the program’s impact on overall sustainability efforts.

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