Curb Your Expectations!
April 8, 2009
The dawn of the new golf season is a great time to discuss golfer expectations. Televised golf events are a huge reason why the game of golf is as popular as it is today. However, watching the perfectly manicured courses often inspire golfers to demand the same type of conditions from their course. Televised golf events, particularly the major championships where conditions are the most extreme, often give golfers an unrealistic view of what golf course conditioning can and should be. Every telecast should include a disclaimer stating "these conditions are a result of years' worth of preparations and are maintained in that condition for just seven days. Trying to achieve these conditions on your course may be hazardous to the health of your turf and your budget." Unfortunately, few golfers know what it takes to produce the extreme conditions that are so commonplace on television, but never before has it been so important for golfers to hear that message.
Golf course maintenance budgets throughout the country are being examined closely, and many are being reduced significantly. Televised golf events are held on golf courses with maintenance operations geared to peak for one week during the year, and they frequently have a staff of 50-150 workers and volunteers during the event. What may be possible for a week at a few courses simply is not possible for most others, especially on a daily basis. Expectations of playability need to parallel available resources.
Communicating to demanding golfers can be tough when the operating budget has remained constant, let alone when it has been reduced. Nonetheless, communication between golfers, course officials, and course superintendents is needed now more than ever. If there are budget issues at your course, the golfers need to know what budget -driven changes are going to be made. For many courses, if resources are focused correctly, with the priority on greens, tees, and fairways, playability in these areas may not change much. There are innumerable cost saving strategies you may want to implement, and they are different for every golf course.
USGA agronomists can provide insightful and invaluable information involving all areas of golf course maintenance, which will help maximize turf health, playability, and efficiency. We can be especially helpful in these challenging economic times. Need help sorting through your cost cutting options? Give us a call.