COURSE CARE
When Crew Size Dwindles, Priorities Change September 30, 2014 By Keith Happ

Maintenance must also consider Rule 23 (Loose Impediments) – if the ball lies in ahazard, the player must not touch or move any loose impediment lying in or touching the samehazard. Loose impediments are natural objects including twigs, branches, leaves and stones, although a Local Rule can be implemented that changes the status of a stone to a movableobstruction.

Students are back in school and for most superintendents that means a reduction in their workforce. Therefore, it is not realistic to expect the same course setup tasks performed during the summer with a full crew to be continued in the fall with fewer employees. Maintenance priorities need to be adjusted as do golfer expectations. Often the maintenance focus is shifted to the center lines of play with out-of-play areas receiving less attention. However, all courses are not created equal and neither are the maintenance budgets to prepare them for play.

One seasonal task during fall is removing leaf debris. When it comes to prioritizing this work, begin by removing leaves from bunkers. The rules of golf provide relief from leaves on putting greens but not in hazards. Once the bunkers are cleared the leaves on greens, fairways and finally rough can be addressed. Work with the pro shop to post priorities for daily preparation of the course during the fall when there are fewer employees to complete daily tasks. Communicate what can and will be done to prepare playing surfaces rather than discussing what cannot be accomplished.

Finally, the long-term weather forecasts are predicting drier conditions for most of the North-Central region. This means good golf weather, but it also means that leaf drop may be more rapid and require intensified debris removal efforts. As stated in our last update, fall is a great time to play golf. An enjoyable time can be realized by all even with a necessary shift in maintenance priorities.

Source: Keith Happ khapp@usga.org

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

Contact the Green Section Staff  

More from the USGA