Green means go: Erb Turf Equipment on call for PGA Championship

By |  August 10, 2018 0 Comments
Photo: Golfdom staff

Should a problem arise, Bruce Kapp and his team and ready to pitch in and help, whether that means sending a part or sending a whole new machine. (Photo: Golfdom staff)

Bruce Kapp is on call.

Should any equipment break down at Bellerive CC or if there is a part needed that’s not already on-hand, it’ll be his phone that rings.

“From 3 a.m. to 11 a.m., I’m prepared if I get that call,” Kapp says. “I don’t foresee any major repairs, but we are equipped to do anything, even if it means replacing an entire machine.”

Kapp is the longtime service manager for Erb Turf Equipment, the region’s John Deere turf products distributor, located in Belleville, Ill. As the official equipment provider for Bellerive CC, and therefore the official equipment provider for the 100th PGA Championship, he and his team have the green light to drop everything if a need arises for Carlos Arraya and his crew.

“Everyone here has been involved (in servicing the PGA Championship),” Kapp says. “I have six full-time mechanics, every one of these mechanics have at some point or another touched a piece that went to Bellerive. So have all our parts people. We understand the magnitude.”

Photo: Golfdom staff

Photo: Golfdom staff

Erb Turf Equipment services some 450 golf courses 250 miles in any direction. Missouri and Illinois comprise most of their region, along with a dozen counties in Kentucky. About 60 percent of their business is golf, with company owner Stan Erb founding one of the original John Deere Golf distributors back in the early 1980s.

All the Pro Gators, Utility Gators, walk-behind greens mowers, triplex mowers, rough mowers, intermediate mowers and sprayers at Bellerive have the Erb Equipment seal of approval. The distributor has also assigned one of its mechanics to work at Bellerive full-time the week of the PGA Championship, rather than reporting to Erb Equipment, which is about 40 miles east of the course.

Photo: Golfdom staff

Photo: Golfdom staff

“I’ve been with John Deere for many years and I’ll tell everybody, whether it’s a golf client or a regular customer, the reason they should use us is service,” Kapp says. “Everything is going to break down, I don’t care whether it’s red, blue, green or yellow. You have to find somewhere to get it serviced. People know who we are, and that we’re not going anywhere. John Deere has everything in place and we’re always pushing to do better — whether it’s service, parts support or sales support, all the bases are covered.”

To celebrate the hard work of Erb Equipment on behalf of the PGA Championship, representatives from John Deere visited the facility this week and presented the crew of 35 people with a banner commemorating the 100th PGA Championship, along with a catered lunch.

Kapp is happy to have success at Bellerive, and he’s also delighted that the golf business in the area has been on the upswing for the past several years.

“We’ve got 9-hole, 18-hole, 27-hole courses, public, private, semi-private,” Kapp says. “I do just as much interacting with the principals at smaller courses as the big courses. And rightly so, we know it’s their money they’re spending and we don’t take it for granted. I know I communicate more, I do more estimates today than I did 10, 15 years ago, because that’s the nature of the business today.”

Logo provided by John Deere

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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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