The highly competitive golf course turf equipment game has two new players, bravely jumping into the fray after many years of skirting the industry's fringes.
Announcing their intentions Thursday at the GIS were Hustler Turf Equipment and Stens Power Equipment Parts. Both are bolstered by recent strategic alliances and both are anxious to expand their time-tested relationships with golf course superintendents.
Hustler, featuring specialty rotary mowers manufactured by Excel Industries Inc. for nearly 50 years in the Kansas small town of Hesston, struck up a partnership with IHI Shibaura Machinery Corp., which has been doing business for even longer in one of the world's largest cities, Tokyo, Japan, making diesel engines, tractors, drive systems and reel mowers.
Excel CEO Paul Mullet (in the photo with this post) notes that ever since the company came out with the first zero-turn mower in 1964, there has been a tie with superintendents, but the new alliance of innovation and manufacturing expertise has resulted in Hustler's full-fledged entrance in the golf course equipment marketplace with an emerging product line of fairway and fine turf mowers.
"Shibaura has a tremendous knowledge base in diesel engines, four-wheel drive systems and reel mowers, while our strengths are in zero-turn rotary mowers and hydraulic-drive systems. Without question, the collective strengths of Shibaura and Hustler Turf Equipment makes us a powerful team and we are moving forward together."
Hustler has lauched a marketing and development strategy and is lining up a distributor network as several new products are introduced in the U.S. and global markets.
Meanwhile, Stens, a longtime supplier of equipment parts that has counted the golf course industry among its valued customers and is also a former distributor for R&R bedknives and reels, revealed that it is lauching a new Golf Division.
The move comes on the heels of Stens' new partnership with Locke Turf, which allows the Jasper, Ind., company to now offer a variety of golf course-related parts such as reels, rollers and bedknives and even its own brand of lapping compound, True Grit. Also, the new division has spawned a new Stens Golf Catalog. In all, Stens CEO Peter Ariens (pictured here) says Stens will offer around 100 new items specific to the golf course industry.
A subsidiary of Ariens Co., Stens has 50,000 customers worldwide and an international distribution network.