5:26 PM, Wednesday, June 10th, 2015:
The amount of things I've done construction-wise is actually pretty intense. Things I actually can't even put in print because of the legality of it, but suffice to say - I'm very good at problem solving and making things work. In a sense GolfKon is a testament to that but really, it's all pretty simple - just the scope of attempting it that's crazy. This gopher however has become an absolute mind-fuck. How can something so simple be so difficult? Well, let me explain...
I figured I'd just take apart a whack a mole device and voila, a gopher will pop his head in and out of a hole by the tee at 6 and mess with your rhythm. Yay. Bought the legit Caddyshack Gopher on ebay and it was a bit bigger than I thought it would be. Spent a day taking it apart, wanted to try and keep some of the gopher's dance moves while he popped up, but alas, getting electricity to that would require too much and I'm not sure many people would notice it.
Now, not a lot of whack-a-mole options on ebay but tons of people trying to make one. In the end I figured just get a spinning motor and make a little piston system in a pipe and it'll go up and down. Found that what I needed was a "Servo" motor and OFF to a hobby shop I went! Got the little motor, went to Fry's to get the little power transformer and voila! Nothing!I could KIND of get it to work, but it wasn't smooth and sadly, the servo motor was just too tiny. I needed it to take SOME abuse from feet and toddlers, and this wasn't happening. Nor would it be able to lift the gopher with all the piston stuff I had to put around it, etc. A big thank you to Robin's Hobby Shop in Glendale for actually giving me my money back when Fry's transformers ruined their motor. $20 jobbies and they replaced it immediately. Good guy, that Robin.
So I went to an actual motor place. Found a strong enough motor, about $90... except? the lowest RPM was like 100 and it's just too fast. They were motors used for fans and there has to be a bit of a slow rhythm or it turns into a complete luck shot. I can't fuck with the par # on Hole 6, it's already ridiculous, it needs to be a slight wrinkle, but nothing that takes the skill away. So the motors with enough torque to lift the gopher were too fast, and the motors that went the right speed were just not powerful enough.
Next idea? Screw driver! I'd zip tie an electric screw driver and voila! But guess what, you can't really select a speed even if you take it apart. It changes with every weight. Basically, if I had it set up and someone touched it? It would STOP. Any tighter on the zip tie? Gopher went APESHIT. I mean SPAZZY fast. It was at this point Joel let me know he and Brian couldn't make the Memorial so I put it aside for this tournament focusing on the 4th of July. Which actually works better because that tournament always ends on Hole 6. Cool.
I started calling everyone. One guy had me convinced I needed a pneumatic operation under the course as that's how the "big boys" did it. And I'm like, mother-fucker I need something to simply SPIN at a slow rate. I don't need Disneyland. FUCK. Half the motor places in the city had no idea what to tell me. They kept passing me to managers that only understood the products they had, with no way of applying them to different things. Finally a guy said, tell me the weight you need to lift and the RPM you want. I told him, and he said he could give me someting close for only $800.
DUDES. THIS CAN'T BE. Come on. I'm hand-making the whole piston apparatus and housing, I just need a goddamn motor THAT SPINS.
I remembered a guy at a gig mentioning windshield wiper motors. I initially wrote it off because the back and forth motion would be kinda difficult to give a whole lot of movement without a REALLy big apparatus (all of which has to go under layers and layers of concrete already there). But I had no choice. I ordered a winsdhield wiper motor from a chevy truck on Amazon and the reviews showed people absolutely using it for strange things like halloween props that move, etc. Some dude even gave all the electric pin-hole layouts for everyone. Sweet.
So I get it, plug it in and wouldn't you know? IT JUST SPINS! OH MY FREAKING GOD. There are two speeds, fast and slow and the slow speed is perrrrrrrrrrrfect. I ran off to home depot for some pipes, rigged a little piston system together... screwed it to a piece of wood... ANNNNNNNNND:
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! There it is! And that motor cost $25! Ha! Granted I've spent close to $200 simply buying and rebuying shit after I ripped it up. But I now know what I need to pull this off and I even bought an extra motor!. There will be something else moving at some point, and now I don't have to do THIS shit again.
Of course comes water-proofing it and the hardest part, lowering that ENTIRE thing below the greens. The greens are actually concrete boxes ON TOP OF a concret driveway. So you get through a roughly 8 inch layer of concrete and then there's the driveway. That's another 4 inches but now? You can't swing a sledgehammer nor have room for a jackhammer because of the rest of the course. So you use a chisel and hammer.  Little, by little, by little. So really, the hole construction has just BEGUN, but the part that has had me stumped for 2 months is finally complete. A windshield wiper motor from a Chevy Truck. Of course.
I do dig problem-solving. ;-)