Golf is a very popular pastime for many Americans, and one of the best ways of improving their game is to practice at local driving ranges. As golfers practice, more and more golf balls accumulate out on the practice fairways and target greens, so one of the best ways to retrieve all the balls is to use a specialized device that attaches to a caged utility vehicle. Once it is attached, it is pushed into motion where rotating discs act as brooms that swoop the balls off the ground and displaces them into collecting baskets. With that said, the following material will show you how to properly operate a standard golf ball picker.
Using this technology and learning how to properly operate it will save you time, and from having to retrieve the balls by hand.
Note: Before any operation begins you must have proper driving experience such as having a valid driver’s license because the job requires the use of a golf cart.
Initially, attaching the picker shouldn’t take no more than a few minutes, and the actual time of driving the picker will vary between .5 to 2 hours, depending on how busy the range is. Once you have obtained the skills and understand the safety precautions, you can properly and competently operate this equipment with minimal problems.
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Step 1: Recommended Materials
- vice grips
Step 2: Align Vehicle
Overall objective: getting the vehicle in the proper position to manually attach to picker.
Assuming your vehicle already has an attachment adapter (image 1), drive the cart and align it so that the connector beams are best aligned with the attachment adapter on the cart (images 2 and 3). It doesn’t need to be 100 percent perfect, but generally well aligned to make the connection easier.
Once you think it is aligned well enough, stop the cart and exit the vehicle.
Step 3: Attach Picker
1. Lift connector bridge, while holding one the connector pins (image 1).Warning: While trying to get the connection pins to slide through, this could result in accidential slippage, therefore causing the connector bridge to collapse. This can result in foot injury, thus it is essential the wear appropriate shoes.
2. Align connector bridge holes with adapter holes (image 2).
3. Slide the connection pins through both holes of connector bridge and the cart adapter (image 3).
Tip: If you’re still struggling to get the pins to slide through, this is where you can use the hammer to get the job done. In addition, this task can be stressful on your hands, therefore a nice pair of working gloves will come in handy.
4. Attach hinge pins (image 4).
a. Unhinge the pins.
b. Insert it into one of the holes on the connection pin. Do this twice for each connecting pin, so you will do this task a total of four times.
c. Re-hinge the pins so they're locked in place.
Step 4: Drive Picker
Caution: Things to Avoid!
If the following actions are taken, this can severely damage both the picker and cart.
- driving over bumps and holes
- backing-up (image 1)
- Note: give yourself plenty of turning radius, the greater the picker load (the more balls in the baskets) the more difficult it is to turn (image 2)
- driving up steep slopes for long distances (greater than 6% slope, with varying horizontal distances)
- driving over standing water and mud because you will get stuck
Step 5: Detach Picker
1. Find a nice, level terrain and proceed to follow the same procedures as in Step 3, except in reverse order.
Tip: Sometimes the stress of driving over hills and sharp turns can cause the connecting pins to rotate into awkward positions (image 1) that will hinder you from removing the hinge pins. If this happens, you can use the vice grips to help rotate the pins back into the standard position that will make it easier to remove the hinge pins (image 2).
Step 6: Empty Baskets
1. Grab and lift the ball baskets (image 1 and 2).
Warning: a fully filled basket can be heavy, so lift with your legs instead of your back.
2. Empty into proper receptacle to be returned to the clubhouse.
Step 7: Conclusion
By taking the time to understand the proper procedures and safety precautions, you're future job of operating a golf ball picker will easily become a routine task to the point where you can do it almost subconsciously. It is important to understand the potential hazards to both yourself and the machinery while attaching/detaching and driving. It is important note that like any other type of machinery, proper maintenance should be executed such as making sure all the joints, pins, and bolts that hold the picker together are properly lubricated. In addition, it’s always good for the baskets to be set at a proper elevation from the ground, meaning that they shouldn't be dragging on the ground while in motion. Finally, if there's any part that breaks or goes missing, the best solution is to contact the manufacturer in order to receive the proper materials.