Old Tom Morris is considered the father of modern greenkeeping and original greenkeeper of the Old Course at St. Andrews. He observed, “The golf course needs a day of rest even if the golfers don’t.” To this day, the Old Course at St Andrews is closed on Sundays as part of this tradition.
Closing the golf course on a regular schedule, such as one day per week, is a good way to improve course conditioning. Closing is critical when essential agronomic practices cannot otherwise be performed due to heavy play. These practices often include labor-intensive cultural programs like aeration, topdressing, and fertilizer and pesticide applications, but also drainage projects, tree maintenance and irrigation improvements to name a few. It is important that such work is accomplished in full, and the best way to do that is without interference with play. Closing the course one day per week also helps keep the maintenance budget in line because important preventative maintenance is done in a timely manner. For example, staff productivity has been known to decrease by as much as 40 percent when staff must repeatedly suspend maintenance activities due to approaching golfers.
In short, routinely closing the golf course to play has proven to be very successful for golf facilities that value a well-conditioned course. For more information, please see Closing For Maintenance.