The 648 has been designed with golf greens in mind but would be equally at home on tennis courts, bowling greens or other areas of fine turf.
It arrives with four heads and turf guards fitted as standard. The tyres are smooth, tread-less and tubeless. There is a choice of tines and it is a simple process, involving just three nuts and bolts, to swap tines or tine holders. We use solid tines for the test.
One tester masters the controls quickly. On the operator console is a traction lever for forward/backward travel of the machine. The further the lever is moved, the faster the aerator travels. Releasing the lever brings the machine to a halt. In the centre is the switch to raise and lower the coring head, which is automatically engaged when lowered, although there is a lock to override it if necessary. Also on the console are the parking brake and oil pressure warning light.
Spacing is set via a control box on the left side of the machine, near to the throttle and choke. The ignition switch and hour meter are also located there.
Spacing is governed by setting the forward speed to give 76mm, 63mm, 50mm or 38mm between the holes. The machine has a transport speed of 5.6km/h. Depth adjustment is via a lever. We test the machine at all the spacings and to a depth of about 15cm.
“That’s quick,” notes one tester, as the other tester sets off down the pitch. The ground shakes as the unit passes but he reports no vibration through the handlebar. With pens ready, the review panel begins the ritual inspection of the holes.
“It’s accurate and clean. There is no tearing or pulling of the hole at all,” observes one tester.
The other tester has no problems turning at the headland and it is easy to see where the machine has worked — it leaves the surface striped. Guides fitted to either side of the unit help the tester maintain a straight line with no overlapping.
The Kohler engine makes a distinctive pop as Blake stops the machine. That’s the job done. The whole operation took less than 20 minutes and there is no disruption to the surface.
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