Friday, July 12, 2013

Hydraulic leak

One of a superintendent’s worst fears is a hydraulic leak, especial one that occurs on a green.  As luck would have it on Sunday July 7 this is exactly what happened at Huntsville.  

#13 Green immediately after leak

The leak was caused by a failing oil seal on one of our greens rollers.  The leaking oil resulted in small spots and thin lines of damaged turf.  Unfortunately the operator did not notice the leak until several greens had been damaged.  The greens affected were #3, #5, #7, #10, #12, #13 and #17.

Many people have asked why the operator did not stop sooner.  Hydraulic leaks however can be very difficult to detect initially, particularly when the leak is small like the one we experienced.  Hydraulic oil is a clear liquid and it has no odor. Noticing hydraulic oil on wet grass in the early morning light can be almost impossible.  It is not until sometime later that the damage becomes very apparent.

Fortunately for us the leak was light resulting in mostly superficial damage.  The damaged turf should recover in a week or two.

#13 Green five days after leak

We are now carefully inspecting all of our rollers and replacing oil seals and hydraulic motors as needed to prevent this from happening again.