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What Golf Courses Are Doing To Increase Golfer Enjoyment

By Dave Oatis, regional director, Northeast Region

| Mar 15, 2019

Forward tees can help make golf more enjoyable for many players.

An informal survey was recently conducted among USGA Agronomists regarding the most common things golf courses are doing to increase golfer enjoyment. The query stirred up a considerable amount of discussion and a bit of humor as some folks suggested that giving away free beer would be a great idea. Making courses less penal and improving pace of play were strong general themes among the survey responses, which are arranged below from most to least popular:

1.    Install forward tees

2.    Maintain longer tee time intervals to speed play

3.    Widen fairways and approaches

4.    Eliminate features that adversely affect higher handicappers

5.    Maintain reasonable green speeds

6.    Maintain rough at a maximum height of 2-2.5 inches

7.    Eliminate unnecessary course accessories so more resources can be focused on programs and practices that improve playability and turf health

8.    Ensure naturalized roughs are not in play

9.    Lengthen reachable par 5s on busy days to reduce waiting

10.  Upgrade practice facilities

11.  Install indoor teaching facilities

12.  Maintain a robust junior golf program

13.  Allow music on the golf course

14.  Allow a relaxed dress code


Cost and ease of implementation unquestionably must be strong considerations when evaluating these options, and some courses may have difficulty accepting the less-traditional approaches. While it is unlikely that every idea above will fit your course, it is very likely that some will. Hopefully your facility can find a balance that will help maximize golfer satisfaction.  

If you would like to discuss how these and other programs might fit in at your facility, be sure to give your USGA Agronomist a call to sign up for a Course Consulting Service visit.


Northeast Region Agronomists:

David A. Oatis, regional director –

Adam Moeller, director, Green Section Education –

James E. Skorulski, agronomist –

Elliott Dowling, agronomist –

Paul Jacobs, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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