There are few people who can claim they’ve seen the hour meter flip over on a mower more than once, and even fewer who can say they’ve seen it at least three times. Over the past 15 years, Foden has logged tens of thousands of hours on his affectionately nicknamed “Big Red” Toro Groundsmaster® 4500 Contour Mower at Pheasant Run Golf Club in Sharon, Ontario.

“I drive from 5:30 in the morning to whenever I feel like I’m done, usually around one in the afternoon, five days a week,” says Foden. Originally a truck driver, Foden is no stranger to putting in long hours driving. But he much prefers logging his hours on “Big Red” compared to when he was on the road. “I live on that mower,” he says.

The Pheasant Run course is fortunate to have rolling hills in an area of Ontario that’s known to be fairly flat. “We’re lucky, we have lots of hills and beautiful vistas for our players to enjoy,” says Leasha Schwab, superintendent at Pheasant Run. The course also boasts plenty of rough to cut, which is why Big Red is out all day, every day. “That’s the benefit of having someone like Dave riding the same mower every day, he just knows what he’s doing. The efficiency of cutting roughs day to day is much higher when you have a person who’s an expert at it,” she says.

With so many hours spent riding Big Red, Foden has customized it over the years to make it his own. For example, awhile back, someone on the course rolled a golf cart. The cart was totaled but the roof was in good shape. “I saved the roof and rigged it up to the mower, which keeps me out of the sun,” says Foden. A new seat was also recently added, and Foden devised a clever way of extending the shifter to accommodate his height — a draft beer tap handle. “We painted the handle to match the mower, and now that’s what drops and picks up the [cutting units],” he says. “It fits me better, and you’d never know it was a beer tap handle.”

When asked how Big Red has been kept in such good shape after all those hours, Schwab had a simple answer. “Dave knows his mower. It goes through regular service, but if anything seems even a little bit off or sounds a little bit strange, he brings it right in to our mechanic and gets it back in perfect condition.” Plus, Schwab adds, it’s “the best rough mower on the market.”

Want to share your “Million Mile Mower” story? Send us an email with your story and we might feature it in an upcoming article. Email with the subject line “Million Mile Mower” to get in touch.