Our Experts Explain

Article Rating: starstarstarstarstar

Restricting Golf Carts To Paths

Posted: 10/16/2012

In recent years our superintendent has restricted carts to paths following heavy rainfall. This year we are in a drought and, again, we have been occasionally restricted to cart paths. Is there a reason why (or when) we are restricted to cart paths? (Nebraska)

One of the most difficult decisions superintendents must make throughout the golf season is whether to allow cart traffic or restrict them to paths. No golfer is happy with cart restrictions, but decisions on cart traffic are always made with the best long-term interest of the turf, golf facility and, ultimately, the golfer, in mind.

There are multiple reasons why cart traffic, even just a few carts, can cause damage to turf areas that could require considerable time and expense to fix. Some damage is immediately evident, e.g., soil rutting, whereas other traffic damage reveals itself after the fact, e.g., frost, while other effects are cumulative and lead to gradual turf decline, e.g., soil compaction. The following is a brief list of common instances when cart traffic restrictions are warranted: 

  • Following heavy rain or during prolonged periods of wet weather when soils are saturated, soft and most prone to compaction.
  • During extreme heat or drought stress when turf is easily damaged by traffic.
  • Whenever frost is present because ice crystals, under the pressure of traffic, can puncture live plant tissue that will result in, at the very least, temporary discoloration of leaves or, at worst, plant death.
  • Fungal disease pressure is high because some diseases can be spread quickly across the golf course through tire traffic.
  • Any other time when turf is under extreme stress or in the process of recovery, whether it is from environmental pressure, mechanical injury or pest damage.

These are just a few examples, all of which result in noticeable damage to the golf course. The road to recovery for damaged turf is rarely pretty so if it can be avoided by simply exercising a little caution to temporarily restrict cart traffic, it makes sense to do so. In fact, this is the reason for cart paths in the first place, so it is wise to use them whenever the turf or soil is most vulnerable to damage. Trust the professional expertise of your superintendent and knowledgeable course officials. They are responsible for providing the best quality turf and playing conditions possible, not just today but tomorrow as well.

For more information on cart traffic, see these related stories from the Green Section Record: Letting the Numbers Tell the Story on Cart Damage, Traffic…How Much Can You Bare? and Common Sense Cart Paths.

 

Rate this article:
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image