Self-Driving Mowers Shouldn’t Bother Thursday Night Mowing League Members

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I had someone send me a message the other day where he was worried that another site — Barstool — was encroaching on Thursday Night Mowing League territory by claiming Saturdays are for mowing. My response was that there’s no encroaching. If you feel like Saturdays are for mowing, then have at it. I like to spend my Saturdays at golf courses, in the pool, on the patio suckin’ down double Titos & lemonade, tinkering in the garage, and spending time with the kids doing whatever they have going on.

I prefer mowing on Thursdays to set the tone for the weekend, and thousands of people have joined the movement. The TNML shirts are on the streets. The movement has taken off over a very short period of time.

That brings me to the next mowing item someone is going to dump into my DMs: self-driving golf course mowers. I’m going to be asked about my response to this Toro in Holland laying down stripes on a fairway.

My stance on robot mowers is pretty much the same as my response to Barstool mowing on Saturdays: You do you. I’m not the least bit offended by a robot mowing a golf course. Will it mean the end to groundskeepers as we know them? Not unless someone can come up with a robot that knows how to edge, cut tree limbs, make sure sprinklers are working correctly, change pin positions, empty trash cans, change tee box markers, spray puke off the cart patch, etc.

A self driving GOLF COURSE MOWER! WHAT THE HELL 🤯Spotted by @amy_boulden at a golf course in Holland 🇳🇱 (thanks for…

Posted by Rick Shiels Golf on Monday, June 28, 2021

I was just at Treetops in Gaylord, MI for a guys golf trip, and I asked one of the starters about the maintenance team. He estimated there are 40-50 workers maintaining the grounds that include hundreds of acres. We’re talking four 18-hole courses and a 9-hole course that includes one hole with a 90-foot drop. And all of this in the middle of a forest and a dunes-type setting. We’re not talking some municipal course where Randy & Jeff get out there and bust out the mowing duties before hammering out 27 via their sweet all-you-can-golf perks.

Would 10 robot mowers result in mass layoffs? I’m no grounds expert, but I’d have to believe it wouldn’t be the end to employment as groundskeepers know it. In fact, golf courses are already short-staffed and there’s no end in sight for courses that can’t compete in an hourly pay world where Amazon workers are at $18 an hour.

Now, if you want to talk about job losses, you’d have a bigger argument with robots taking home construction jobs. That’s where you’ll want to channel your hatred for computers and robots. 3D printed houses are a thing, and they’re 100% going to change the industry.

“Depending on how you’re counting, we’re replacing five or six different trades and potentially 20 to 30 humans on an American project with one automating technology that can be operated with three people,” a 3D home builder CEO told Fast Company in March.

As for Roomba robots cutting hundreds of yards in the suburbs, those days are coming. Between technology getting cheaper — Husqvarna now sells a residential robot mower for $875 — and people getting lazier, the rise of the robotic mowers is upon us, but Thursday Night Mowing League members shouldn’t mind. At least the lazy people will have a dependable mower maintaining their yards instead of the places looking like crap.

You’ll still be out there getting exercise and clearing your mind on a Thursday night. Rick Ross will still be burning a joint, listening to music, and riding around in his John Deere tractor mowing a couple hundred acres as part of his meditation plan.

Don’t sweat these robots. Your local golf course might actually improve, thanks to mowers filling jobs that people refuse to do.

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.

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