In the year 2002 I was employed as the Risk and Training Manager for Desert Mountain Club. After four years in this role I had a good relationship with the supervisors and managers on the property. Employees would frequently stop me to point out issues they felt were hazardous. We worked well together.
I especially enjoyed crossing the six golf courses and visiting any of the 30+ facilities to monitor the safety hazards that should be corrected and keep my eye out for any new safety issues. During such a trip I decided to stop for lunch at the Cochise driving range.
The main wash provided a way for me to reach the 15th hole, where I turned up the hill toward the 10th hole. All I had to do was drive to the 10th hole and I would be right next to the driving range.
As I drove behind the 11th tee onto the 10th hole’s cart path I noticed Lupe standing by the edge of a huge bunker complex, and three carts in the wash.
Something’s not right. There’s way to many carts there if they‘re raking bunkers.
Immediately I drove off the cart path and crossed the fairway to talk with Lupe. It didn’t take me any time at all to understand his sheepish grin. What I saw at the bottom of a twenty foot grass slope was a heavy duty Toro 20 horsepower workman, with 300 gallon spray tank belly up in the bunker sand.
I wasn’t surprised. A gallon of water weights 8.3 lbs, which means that spray tank, is slinging almost 2500 pounds of water from side to side when the sprayer moves up and down or side to side. Ten years earlier while driving a cart up a steep cart path with a 100 gallon spray tank, the weight of the water flipped my cart backwards onto it’s back bumper. It’s not quite like bull riding, but the water has more power than we do, that’s for sure.
When I looked at Lupe and shook my head he just shrugged his shoulders. He knew I should write up the incident, issue warnings, and file a formal report. But I remembered the day I rolled a Daihatsu mini truckster into a bunker, and Lupe helped me get the mechanics to remove my truckster with a tractor. Accidents like these never leave our memory, and make us much more careful. The sprayer operator has just become one of us, and Lupe has one helluva job figuring out how to get that sprayer back on its wheels, then out of the bunker.
I decided the lessons learned from this accident would prove more valuable, to Lupe and the operator, than any report I would write, I simply gave Lupe a weak smile saying, “Good Luck my friend,” and drove off for the lunch I planned.