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Experts Explain: Common Sense Cart Paths

Posted: 9/22/2011

Between the rains in the East and the drought in the South, cart paths have never been more important to courses. Now is the time to plan for improving your path system.

As a Green Section agronomist who sees more than 100 golf courses each year, I believe that the vast majority of cart-path projects do not accomplish their most basic objectives, which are to minimize wear problems and improve aesthetics. This truly is one of the most overlooked areas in golf course maintenance.  

Although there are more than a few ugly cart paths in existence, I contend that all of these problem paths have one or more of these characteristics: poor design, poor construction or poor location. Traffic from golfers and their carts can make it impossible to grow healthy turf, and the resulting worn turf and rutted or bare soil is unattractive and provides a poor playing surface. Rules issues can also result. Under the Rules of Golf, relief cannot be granted unless the area is marked as ground under repair or is deemed to be a part of the road or path and is so marked. When these situations occur in high-play areas, definition and marking complications ensue.

Aside from the remedial cultural programs that can be employed to minimize the effects of traffic on turf, there are two basic ways of handling traffic successfully: channel the traffic toward hard, impervious surfaces or spread it out over as large an area as possible. Although these concepts may seem elementary, it is more complicated when the prospect of making a transition from one method to the other is considered. Somewhere along the line, concentrated wear usually occurs. If a continuous system of paths is not to be installed, or if golfers will be allowed to venture off the paths, provisions must be made for getting the carts on and off the paths without causing excessive wear at those locations. The paths themselves must be wide enough and durable enough to withstand traffic and retain definition without being a burden to the maintenance staff and the budget. They must also be designed in such a way as to be easily used by the golfers, but they must not be so obtrusive as to affect playability. The project is getting a bit more complicated now, isn't it?


For more information on this topic, read the full article: Common Sense Cart Paths 


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