The House on the Rock Resort 27-hole championship golf course in Spring Green, Wisconsin, is a beautiful sight. It’s integrated into its surroundings of rolling hills and tremendous greenery, creating a one-of-a-kind golfing experience. The resort and golf course are also part of a larger, multidimensional Wisconsin attraction, which is located 7 miles away. The resort is complete with lodging, spa services, fine dining, and indoor and outdoor swimming areas. It’s truly a destination fit for the whole family.

The Mower That Never Quits

On the golf side of the property, course superintendent Matt Gibson and his crew maintain over 120 acres of grass using a diverse fleet of equipment. Their Toro Groundsmaster 580-D rough mower, specifically, has been in use for 29 years. Yes, you read that right — a whopping 29 years.

In that amount of time, Gibson estimates the 580-D has logged close to 36,000 hours. With that kind of experience, the machine has become part of the course’s history. It’s seen more than most, even the long-term superintendent, Gibson. 

The machine is 16 feet wide, which gives it the unique ability to cover a massive surface area and in turn, cut down on mowing time. It’s currently in the normal rotation being used three days a week but has been used in differing capacities over the years. “There’s a lot of grass, but it’s cooling off and the growth is slowing down, so where we were mowing every day at the peak, we’re now only mowing three days a week with the Groundsmaster 580-D,” said Gibson.

The Mower That Never Quits

Depending on which of the three courses the crew is working on, they encounter different challenges, but the north nine holes are the most difficult to maintain. “The original nine holes don’t have much of an elevation change, but the north nine is very narrow and hilly,” says Gibson. “The 580-D does a nice job of mowing on both, even on the tight knobs where a lot of units would scalp the grass. No matter the course, it’s the machine of choice when it comes to rough.”

Keeping up on maintenance is a top priority for The House on the Rock crew since they aim to keep their machines as long as possible. “We do in-house, routine maintenance every 100 hours and fair engine service and hydraulic maintenance every 500 hours,” says Gibson. “That’s a big reason for the mower being around as long as it has. Parts have been fixed, of course, but without maintenance, it wouldn’t be in the same impressive shape it’s in today.”

The GroundsMaster 580-D doesn’t always play such a large role in course maintenance, but when the majority of the crew’s fleet was involved in a fire, things changed. With only two usable machines, the 580-D was called back up to the big leagues for the remainder of the mowing season. It’s now in action on the course up to three days per week.

The Mower That Never Quits

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