Yamaha Golf Car Co. unveiled its new utility vehicle last month at a media event outside Atlanta.

It looked like the offspring of a heavy-duty pickup truck and a golf cart. It’s a merger of brawn with beauty, and infusion of panache with performance, equal amounts of vroom and versatility.

Last month, Yamaha Golf-Car Co. unveiled the newest generation of its hard-working golf utility vehicles with the technically advanced UMAX product line taking center stage during a special media preview at its production facility about 30 minutes outside Atlanta.

Yamaha engineers reached out to numerous golf superintendents, course operators and industry professionals to get their suggestions on how to enhance its utility vehicle. The final product incorporates a number of those recommendations, says Tom McDonald, president of Yamaha Golf-Car Co.

“We hope the new look gets the vehicle into a number of maintenance barns,” McDonald says.

Here are some of the other features most likely to impress turf managers:

Styling and Durability

The UMAX moves away from the look of a traditional golf car to more of an all-terrain vehicle, with rugged looks, increased durability and the substitution of aluminum for plastic panels.

UMAX also offers a larger 33-inch by 46-inch cargo bed that can manage a 1,000-pound load.

More Powerful Engine

The gas-powered version boasts a 12 percent larger, 402cc engine with noise suppression features derived from its new Drive2 gas golf car. Now a UMAX maintenance vehicle or beverage car approaching golfers is barely audible from 80 yards.

The electric vehicle features Yamaha’s new alternating current-powered (AC) engine, which reduces battery amp hour usage and dramatically increases torque to better climb hills and travel faster and farther.

Progressive Rear Coil Suspension System

Traditional UTV rear suspension systems the smoothest ride when there is a heavy load in the cargo bed, making the ride stiff under regular conditions. UMAX features a progressive rear suspension system derived from Yamaha’s off-road vehicles that features individual coil springs with dual compressions, or two distinct coil spacings on a single spring; a standard spacing on the top of the coil spring for lighter travel, and a tighter coil spacing on the bottom for transporting heavy loads.

Expanded Storage

UMAX features an under-hood storage compartment that opens like an auto hood and is sealed to keep water out. There are also two restyled in-dash storage pockets with anti-slip rubber mats, an added storage area near the cup holders, and new storage space between the seats, for a cell phone or tablet.

Yamaha dealers are taking orders now, with the first production vehicles available this fall.

Tartan Talks No. 19

Scot Sherman possesses entertaining stories about every scenic and soothing place he’s worked, and he shares plenty of them in a Tartan Talks episode.

In his current role with Love Golf Design, Sherman is working alongside the brother tandem of Davis Love III and Mark Love on a redesign of the Plantation Course at Sea Island, a Georgia resort that hosts the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic. The project follows a successful renovation of the Atlantic Dunes at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, S.C.

Sherman describes intricacies of both projects while introducing listeners to “Lowcountry” design features such as coquina and bulkheads. The Lowcountry is a seaside region along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina and Georgia. The PGA Tour makes two stops in the region – in the spring for the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town and in the fall for the RSM Classic at Sea Island’s Seaside and Plantation courses. Walking Harbour Town, a famed Pete Dye design, with his wife in 1989 sparked Sherman’s interest in golf course architecture. Sherman eventually worked under Dye, affording him opportunities to interact with numerous talented architects, including Alice Dye and Bobby Weed. “I have just been very luck,” Sherman says.

CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast.


Hooray for Hiers!

The Club at Mediterra director of agronomy Tim Hiers received the USGA Green Section Award during the organization’s annual meeting in Miami Beach.

The award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the game of golf through his or her work with turfgrass, including research, maintenance and other areas that positively impact the landscape upon which golf is played. Hiers, a golf course superintendent since 1976, stands at the forefront of golf’s environmental opportunities and challenges, while also driving advances in golf course management.

“I learned to play golf on a cow pasture and I’ve been hooked on the game ever since,” Hiers says. “In this business, you can never learn enough. There’s always a challenge, and that’s what I love about being a superintendent. It’s a privilege to be recognized for just doing what you love every day.”