Golf course renovation projects can be messy and expensive; however, nothing lasts forever. This axiom is easily understood if you consider a car or golf course maintenance equipment, but it equally pertains to course features and infrastructure. Whether it is an irrigation system, bunker, cart path, practice tee or putting green; a time will come when infrastructure needs to be replaced or renovated. The American Society of Golf Course Architects–along with the USGA and other allied associations–developed estimates of the expected life cycle for several course features and infrastructure. These estimates are a good starting point, but it is important to recognize that the actual useful life of golf course features or infrastructure can vary widely depending on climate, grass types, the amount of play, golfer expectations and other factors. Nevertheless, deferring maintenance or investments in infrastructure eventually impacts playing conditions and increases maintenance costs.
Age should not be the only factor that determines the need for a renovation or new construction project. Changes in technology, management philosophy and higher expectations can also necessitate improvements. Repositioning bunkers, adding new tees, modifying putting green design, installing drainage or rebuilding and regrassing playing surfaces are common upgrades that may be necessary for some golf courses to improve playing conditions and enhance the golfer experience.