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With the wealth of knowledge on this forum, I hope to get a lot of feedback on this question.

I know many of you have, had or still own many different reel mowers, and I know many people have their brands that they like. But knowing what you know now, what mower would you go with? And many factors could go into this decision. Dependability, how well it cuts, HOC, maintenance...etc.

From what I have seen, most (not all) start out with a Tru-cut, McLane and move into a greens mower of some kind. I'm just trying to get an idea for a future purchase.
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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I think it has a lot to do with what your HOC is going to be. If you are planning on cutting anywhere around .500" I would go with a greens mower and you can't go wrong with any of the big 3(Toro, JD or Jacobsen) or Baroness 😀 If you plan on maintaining at or below .500" a groomer is a good option to have. Several of us here have them and the verdict is still out on how useful they really are but I think we will know for sure by the end of the season. We are still figuring out how to use them as to how low to set them and how often to use them. If I think of anything else I will be sure to add it here.
 

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I'd advise to skip the Tru-Cut/McLane and go straight to the good stuff. Less hassle, less money than buying in a sequence, easier to work with, heavier, more solid, etc.

Anecdotally, the shop that works on and sold me my GM1000 told me to stay away from older Jacobsens as they had lots of issues in the strength of steel, cracks, and other problems. He made a lot of money working on them. He said the newer ones (read: expensive) are much better. On that account, I'd stick with Toro/JD, but you really can't go wrong on a homeowner level with any of the big names.

Also, finding a unit that at least has the option to add a groomer is a nice plus.
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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nagol said:
I have read that the greens mowers are easier to work with. Why is that? Easier to find parts...
Yes, they are fairly easy to find parts for and they are designed to be worked on so they can be fixed fast and easy since at a golf course down time on equipment is not a good thing. All the adjustments are really easy to do also. Granted the HOC is not as fast and easy as on a TruCut but you don't usually adjust your HOC that often and it only take about 5 minutes to do it on a greens mower. You will need to buy an Accugage or make one yourself like in this thread HERE
 

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I third that, I bought a new 27" Tru-cut was around $2k new a couple years ago because what I had would not mow some tight areas between my fence and trees and a big dog kennel my back yard. I don't plan on selling it and upgrading because it does the intended job I need it for and does ok but not like a greens mower would do.

Thing is you can find a used heavy duty commercial golf course mower of your brand choice built with much higher tolerances and heavy duty parts and optional accessories for less than new homeowner units like the tru-cuts.

My dad always told me if you buy something buy the best, you may be out a little extra money but wont be sorry in the long run when a cheaper unit fails. Not for mowers per se but This is so true these days on all the cheap stuff coming out of China, they just don't build stuff worth buying that last very long. I always research everything I buy and always try and get the best product for the intended use that i can find.. I just feel it should last longer and I will always be happy with the purchase.
 

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This was a similar question I was asking myself about two weeks ago. I kept seeing some of the regulars touting the advantages of the greens mower compared to a reel mower.

I ended up going straight from a rotary to a Toro Greensmaster 1000 greens mower. This one allows me to go up to 1 inch HOC so I thought that would be perfect and would give me the flexibility later on to lower the height if I want to. I've only used it once but am really impressed with the way it operates and the way it cuts.

If you look for a used greens mower there are some deals out there. Sure they'll be old units but as long as they're mechanically maintained then they're quite a bargain. Consider I got mine for about 7% of original list price, I'm pretty satisfied with the purchase.
 

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I agree with all the posts above when comparing a new TC/Mclane to a used Greens mower.

I would, however, add that finding a used Mclane under $200 to use for a season is still a good idea! Some people don't realize how much work is required to keep a healthy lawn of any size @ or below 0.50 inches.

Spending $300-$2k on a greens mower can be a major investment based on your income level.

We have multiple members on this site with amazing lawns only using a simple McLane reel.

Just my $0.02
 

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wardconnor said:
MrMeaner said:
My dad always told me if you buy something buy the best, you may be out a little extra money but wont be sorry in the long run when a cheaper unit fails.
"The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the cheap price is forgotten."
Yes that it Wardconner!!
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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I agree with everyone above. I started with a rotary, bought a new Tru-Cut C27-H, took some time off from the lawn, and came back with a 2009 Toro Greensmaster 1000. I also have a John Deere 220E now.

The greens mowers are built better than the homeowner units (deisgned for more frequent use), I think things like reel to bedknife adjustments and backlapping are easier, and HOC settings are more infinitely adjustable (versus setting notches).

Greens mowers theoretically probably have a better cut, but like Redtenchu said, I had some of the best looking grass I've ever had when I was mowing at 3/4" with my Tru-Cut. There are just a lot of other variables that can influence turf appearance.

The biggest downside I see to a greens mower is you're buying a used piece of equipment, and there are reasons golf courses depreciate these things out and replace them. You may get one with no problems at all that was just part of a fleet that was due for replacement, or you may get one that needs some work. Most things can be fixed, but working on a mower or waiting on a part to arrive can be stressful when the grass is due for a cut.

Finally, I would give the "maneuverability" edge to the Tru-Cut. With some practice you can get really good with a greens mower, but tight spaces are probably easier with a homeowner model. The greens mowers just weren't designed for mowing close to obstructions or making tight turns inside fences, etc. But again, some practice helps here.
 

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Mightyquinn said:
I think it has a lot to do with what your HOC is going to be. If you are planning on cutting anywhere around .500" I would go with a greens mower and you can't go wrong with any of the big 3(Toro, JD or Jacobsen) or Baroness 😀 If you plan on maintaining at or below .500" a groomer is a good option to have. Several of us here have them and the verdict is still out on how useful they really are but I think we will know for sure by the end of the season. We are still figuring out how to use them as to how low to set them and how often to use them. If I think of anything else I will be sure to add it here.
@Mightyquinn
I resurrected this due to the fact that I just got a groomer and don't know how to use it. I am currently @ .46 and didn't know how often to use it, when to use it, or anything about it. It's a bladed groomer, TIA.
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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DR_GREENTHUMB said:
Mightyquinn said:
I think it has a lot to do with what your HOC is going to be. If you are planning on cutting anywhere around .500" I would go with a greens mower and you can't go wrong with any of the big 3(Toro, JD or Jacobsen) or Baroness 😀 If you plan on maintaining at or below .500" a groomer is a good option to have. Several of us here have them and the verdict is still out on how useful they really are but I think we will know for sure by the end of the season. We are still figuring out how to use them as to how low to set them and how often to use them. If I think of anything else I will be sure to add it here.
@Mightyquinn
I resurrected this due to the fact that I just got a groomer and don't know how to use it. I am currently @ .46 and didn't know how often to use it, when to use it, or anything about it. It's a bladed groomer, TIA.
Why not start a new thread about it and we can discuss it there? I'm sure you are not the only one with questions :thumbup:
 

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Ware said:
I agree with everyone above. I started with a rotary, bought a new Tru-Cut C27-H, took some time off from the lawn, and came back with a 2009 Toro Greensmaster 1000. I also have a John Deere 220E now.

The greens mowers are built better than the homeowner units (deisgned for more frequent use), I think things like reel to bedknife adjustments and backlapping are easier, and HOC settings are more infinitely adjustable (versus setting notches).

Greens mowers theoretically probably have a better cut, but like Redtenchu said, I had some of the best looking grass I've ever had when I was mowing at 3/4" with my Tru-Cut. There are just a lot of other variables that can influence turf appearance.

The biggest downside I see to a greens mower is you're buying a used piece of equipment, and there are reasons golf courses depreciate these things out and replace them. You may get one with no problems at all that was just part of a fleet that was due for replacement, or you may get one that needs some work. Most things can be fixed, but working on a mower or waiting on a part to arrive can be stressful when the grass is due for a cut.

Finally, I would give the "maneuverability" edge to the Tru-Cut. With some practice you can get really good with a greens mower, but tight spaces are probably easier with a homeowner model. The greens mowers just weren't designed for mowing close to obstructions or making tight turns inside fences, etc. But again, some practice helps here.
Sorry to quote a 3 year old post but I noticed you have a 220E. What's your overall opinion of it? I'm looking at getting one myself. It would be my first greens mower.
 

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Philly_Gunner said:
Sorry to quote a 3 year old post but I noticed you have a 220E. What's your overall opinion of it? I'm looking at getting one myself. It would be my first greens mower.
I no longer have it. I'm mowing with a Toro GM1600. I think @Thor865 has it now. @g-man also has one. They are nice mowers.
 

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Ware said:
Philly_Gunner said:
Sorry to quote a 3 year old post but I noticed you have a 220E. What's your overall opinion of it? I'm looking at getting one myself. It would be my first greens mower.
I no longer have it. I'm mowing with a Toro GM1600. I think @Thor865 has it now. @g-man also has one. They are nice mowers.
Thanks for the tags, I'll reach out to them. Any reason you went with the 1600 instead?
 

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Jimefam said:
Would you consider the swardman a comparable choice to those greensmowers for cut quality etc? Have a small front yard with lots of turns and short runs and considering selling the jake and getting an electra.
To me the Swardman mowers do not feel as durable as a greens mower, but with everything there are tradeoffs.
 
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