Hitachi hits the fairway


Hitachi mini excavator on golf course

The National Golf Club, located at Cape Schanck on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, is home to three championship golf courses—the Old, the Moonah and the Ocean—all of which are ranked in the Australian top 30 best courses list.

According to Australian Golf Digest 2014, the Moonah, designed by Greg Norman, achieved #8 spot in the rankings, followed by the Old (#10), designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr and the Ocean, designed by Thomson, Wolveridge & Perrett (#30).

A Hitachi ZX65USB-5 mini excavator is The National’s newest piece of course machinery which will be the ultimate “caddie” for Golf Course Manager Leigh Yanner.

“There is an expectation to maintain high-quality playing conditions on all of the courses at The National,” said Leigh.

“That’s where our new Hitachi will greatly assist. It’s helping out in so many areas of course maintenance from general excavation and landscaping to shaping sand bunkers and fairways.

“Whatever the job, we’re confident we have the most versatile machine.”

In search of a new excavator, the decision to purchase a Hitachi proved an obvious choice for the Club’s maintenance team.

“Recently when the greens were resurfaced on the Old course, one of the contractors had a Hitachi excavator, fitted with a tilt bucket, and had 4,000 hours on the clock without any issues,” said Leigh.

“We primarily wanted a larger, safer and durable machine with an extended reach. The Hitachi 6.5 tonner offered all these things and more. Not only does it have a larger cab and excellent visibility, but the added reach gives us the ability to do work outside of the bunkers.”

The Hitachi ZX65USB-5 is customised so that it can be equipped with either a tilt bucket or an Embrey Hydraulic HDR40 Rake Grapple, adding to the machine’s versatility.

“The tilt bucket is used predominately in shaping sand bunkers, greens, tees and material loading, delivering increased levels of efficiency and productivity. The grapple attachment is playing a fundamental role in the removal of noxious weeds, specifically the boxthorn weed—one of Australia’s most widespread weeds. These are ripped out of the ground by the grapple and loaded into the trailer.”

“I’ve got quite a few qualified operators—some simply use the excavator in a material loading capacity, whereas the more accomplished operators are very skilful in shaping sand bunkers, stripping turf and constructing drains.”

The excavator is predominately based on the link courses—the Moonah and the Ocean. When it comes to transportation between the three courses, either a local towing contractor is used, or the excavator is driven via the ‘rough’ and paved pathways, or tracking it over plyboard across fairways.

According to Leigh, the team at Hitachi Construction Machinery demonstrated a high-level of professionalism during all stages of the purchase process.

“The team were very professional and it was a nice surprise to have both our sales representative and the spare parts manager come to our site during machine delivery. The inductions were very thorough and we were impressed by the comprehensive information provided to us.”

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