How To Keep Your Hazard And Out-Of-Bounds Stakes Looking Fresh December 15, 2017 By John Daniels, agronomist, Central Region

A planer is an ideal tool for quickly refurbishing old, faded stakes.

A properly marked golf course is imperative to play the game by the rules and avoid confusion among golfers. Depending on the golf course, a combination of yellow, red and white stakes may be required to clearly define the margins of water hazards, lateral water hazards and boundaries. Stake dimensions and materials vary, but they are routinely 1 to 2 feet long, made of wood or plastic and have a metal spike at the base.   

There is nothing like a set of new, vibrant stakes which can be readily seen from afar. Such a clean and professional appearance is only temporary though. Eventually, weather-beaten stakes begin to fade. The reds turn pink and the yellows often resemble a cream color.

When stakes become worn and faded, golf course superintendents are faced with two options: replace or refurbish. At $10 or more per stake, replacing them can be quite costly, considering courses that require extensive marking could easily need more than 100 stakes. Consequently, many superintendents decide to refurbish weathered stakes during the winter months using combinations of sanding and painting.  

For those looking to make quick work of this task, consider purchasing a benchtop planer. Course marking stakes can be easily trimmed by the rotating cutter head of a planer, and in a matter of seconds a smooth surface is created. A single pass through a planer restores plastic stakes to their original condition. The process takes less time to complete than sanding and the shavings produced by the planer are easier to clean up than the fine dust associated with sanding. Similar time savings can be achieved with wooden stakes that require a new coat of paint. 

Basic benchtop planers can be purchased at any hardware store or through a variety of online retailers for a few hundred dollars. This small investment will pay dividends when you consider the cost of new stakes or the hours that could be spent sanding.


Central Region Agronomists:

Bob Vavrek, regional director –

John Daniels, agronomist –

Zach Nicoludis, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff