St Andrews go electric


An all-electric mower fleet which replaced diesel-powered vehicles at St Andrews at last week’s Open Championship could have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 90%.

The first time an electric fleet has ever been deployed at an Open Championship, the machinery was put to use for three hours each day during the final men’s major of the season and is part of a wider sustainability drive by the home of golf.

Sandy Reid, Head of Greenkeeping at St Andrews, says they’ve used them for two years and there is no compromise in performance, particularly on the 2.5 hectares of putting surfaces on the layout famous for its double greens. 

Course Manager, Gordon McKie, added: “People watching on television would see a great golf course that looks fantastic, but how sustainable is that?

“We asked how we could prepare the greens in a more sustainable way, and the only option was to use triplex mowers. We can cut those 24 greenkeepers down to eight, and that’s an important message because we’re all under pressure in terms of staffing numbers," he told BIGGA.

It's not the first time electric mowers have been deployed at an elite tournament. Last year's AIG Women's Open saw host venue Carnoustie put them into operation.

Not only is the technology friendlier to the environment, it's capable of creating a product fit for the world's best players.

“I never thought we would get to this stage, but if it produces the same conditions and the same surface that a (walk-behind gas) mower would with fewer staff and no fuel emissions, it’s a great message,” said McKie.

Over the past eight years a number of sustainability-focused initiatives have been rolled out at St Andrews, including the introduction of solar panels and eliminating more than 150,000 single-use plastic water bottles last week.