The silence symbolizes the changes that have occurred at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.
"I used to be able to stand in the middle of the front nine and could tell where everybody was at and figure out if we were on schedule or behind schedule because I could hear the mowers," Paul L. Carter, CGCS, tells GCM. "Now, I have to go find them."
Carter, a 21-year member of GCSAA, certainly isn't complaining now that the top-ranked golf course by Audubon International is even more environmentally sound. Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, a state-operated golf course in Chattanooga, Tenn., has gone to an all-electric fleet of golf course maintenance equipment.
Funds from the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant program were used to replace gasoline-powered equipment with battery-powered options, including greens mowers, bunker rakes, greens rollers and utility vehicles. State government officials estimate the new equipment will provide a 300 percent decrease in annual operation expenses and a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
"It was a godsend. We needed new stuff," says Carter, noting that adjusting to the new equipment hasn't been too difficult, except for learning how to handle the stick control on the greens roller instead of a steering wheel.
Carter mentioned how a member of his crew recently was using a greens mower on the putting green, and a golfer had no idea what was happening.
"He (golfer) walked right out in front of it. He had to stop. He couldn't hear it," Carter says. "All you hear out here now is the rubber on the asphalt going along the cart paths."