Longtime Grasshopper User Sees Immediate Benefits of Recent Switch to Diesel
You could say Cecil Griswold is a Grasshopper man, through and through. But after owning a series of Grasshopper mowers over the past 30 years, when he needed to purchase his latest machine, he faced a dilemma. The retirement community maintenance supervisor in Scott City, Kan., who oversees the grounds maintenance and mowing duties at the 68-resident Park Lane Nursing Home and 20-unit Park Place Independent Living Apartments, always had owned gasoline-powered Grasshopper models.
When the time came for Griswold to trade in his mower for a new Grasshopper in 2015, he had read about the diesel models and decided to look into and compare them. “The prior two models we’ve had have been with Kohler gas engines, and I never had a lick of trouble with them, so it was a hard decision that I was trying to justify,” Griswold says.
“I talked to a buddy of mine, who is a mechanic, and he said the Kubota diesel is about the best out there in terms of a smaller diesel engine and that you can’t go wrong with a Kubota,” Griswold says. So he made the switch to diesel, purchasing a Grasshopper 721DT MaxTorque™ Diesel FrontMount™. In addition to the positive recommendation, Griswold says another reason that made the decision easier to go with diesel is the fact that he also has a tractor that is a diesel. “I already have diesel fuel on hand and have to purchase it, so I thought, ‘why not?’”
Even in the early weeks since taking possession of his 721DT, the choice of diesel has made a positive impact on Griswold’s fuel consumption and budget. “We’ve only got about eight hours of mowing on it so far,” he explains, “but we’re still on the original tank of diesel that came with the machine when it was delivered. With gasoline, we’d have already gone through two tanks full. That right there tells me our fuel use is probably going to be cut down to half or a third of what we were using. In that respect, I’m really thrilled.”
The longevity and power of diesel are other factors that played a role in Griswold’s change from the gasoline engine. “The diesel really powers through the grass,” he says. “And I can’t wait to see what this diesel engine can do with the snow removal. From what I hear, it won’t bog down or miss a step.”
A Grasshopper Legacy
It was 1984 when a local equipment dealer began selling Grasshopper True ZeroTurn™ mowers in Scott City, and Griswold made his first purchase of the brand, a model 1822. He needed it for mowing at the nursing home, independent living apartments and an adjacent apartment complex the company operated at the time.
Before Griswold bought the Grasshopper, he and his crew mowed about four acres, and from the time he started at Park Lane in 1981 until 1984, that job was done on a small garden tractor, with a pull-behind pickup machine to collect grass clippings. It was a long, hard job. With his first Grasshopper mower with PowerVac™ Collection System, he experienced a noticeable step up in the clean, manicured look of the Park Lane lawns.
“When we got the Grasshopper, it picked up the grass, and I tell you what, it helped out on the mowing time dramatically,” Griswold says. “The ZeroTurn mowers are so much more maneuverable, and they’re less damaging to the grass. We try to keep our grass looking really nice, like a residential lawn, and our Grasshopper makes that easy.”
After years of great performance from his 1822, Griswold traded it in for a model 720K in 1995, and then traded that one in for another 720K in 2004. Griswold cites many reasons for his devotion to Grasshopper.
“They’re built like a Sherman tank,” Griswold says. “I don’t think there’s anything out there that can compete with them, being built as solid as they are.” He also cites lack of repairs needed and ease of maintenance, as he handles all of the basics. “Grasshoppers are really very easy to work on,” Griswold says, “but other than just regular oil changes and greasing it, there’s not much work needed on them.”
After Park Lane sold the apartment complex, there was less area to mow; now Griswold and his team are responsible for maintaining just more than an acre, which they mow once a week. And with the 48-inch DriftBuster™ snowthrower, the crew also uses their Grasshopper to clear the parking lots.
“It’s a heck of a lot better than a walk-behind machine, and we’ve had good success with it,” Griswold says. “We’ve used the Grasshopper snowthrower for snowfalls up to 12-inches. That’s a lot of snow, and it can definitely throw it.”
Because of the smaller acreage mowed and the fact that the nursing home and independent living apartment center has a lot of sidewalks, Griswold went from a 61-inch mowing deck to a 52-inch deck with his new diesel model. “It helps with maneuverability,” he says. And with all of his Grasshoppers, Griswold adds, operator comfort is a plus. “The seating position and adjustable hand controls are very nice and comfortable.”
Griswold has been a devout Grasshopper operator for more than three decades, and that is not likely to change. He says he’s never been compelled to try another brand of mower since he purchased his first Grasshopper.
“I know there are a lot of cheaper mowers out there, but you get what you pay for, and that’s what I go by,” Griswold says. “When you pay a little extra for Grasshopper, it’s well worth it.”