Christmas “Gifts” For Your Course And The Course Maintenance Staff

By Larry Gilhuly and Derf Soller, agronomists, Northwest Region
December 12, 2012

Christmas is coming soon with the always difficult task of getting the right gift for all of those on your list. We would like to make a few gift suggestions for your course and the course maintenance staff. Nothing fancy or expensive, these “gifts” can be given more than once annually.

Understand the importance of sand for greens and playing conditions. While sand can be a problem with ball roll when moisture is present it is critical for quality greens, approaches, tees and, in many cases, fairways.

Fix all your ball marks and others if you see them. Fix them properly by pushing the displaced area back, rather than lifting the ball mark.

Fix all your divots and fill them properly. The “3-foot drop” technique not only does not work, it can also damage mowers.

Remember your bunker etiquette. Bunker maintenance is labor intensive and therefore expensive. Good bunker etiquette helps everyone and frees up resources for other areas of the course.

Follow directional signs to minimize damage to turf. Paying attention to course signage reduces damage and greatly increases the likelihood of a good lie for your next shot.

Pick up your shells and peels. The shells of most nuts and the peels of most fruit are not rapidly biodegradable. Not only are they unsightly, if you don’t put them in the trash someone else has to do it for you.

Keep all four tires on the paths. You are not on a public road so don’t feel like you need to always move aside for oncoming or following traffic.

Understand that ultra-fast greens equal longer rounds of golf. Four putts and five hour rounds of golf are not fun for anyone.

A simple “Thank you” can be a wonderful gift. Take the time to thank the staff that worked all year to produce a course that you enjoy playing.

Larry Gilhuly and Derf Soller both wish everyone a happy holiday season. Another gift to your course that they highly recommend is using the USGA Green Section Turf Advisory Service in 2013. For more information they can be contacted at and

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