Cause, Cause And Effect July 7, 2017 By Blake Meentemeyer, agronomist, West Region

The tree blocking the right side of the green caused players to use only the left side of the teeing ground, concentrating traffic and causing poor conditions.

USGA agronomists can bring a fresh set of eyes to golf courses that participate in the Course Consulting Service. Looking at the big picture and taking a holistic approach, they help many facilities improve playing conditions and the golf experience. While a visit from a USGA agronomist may yield short-term gains in turf health, the strategies that are shared to improve long-term course conditions are of most interest to facilities and managers.

A recent visit to a golf course in the Intermountain Region provided a perfect example of the need for a holistic approach on a par 3. The facility wanted to improve the condition of the teeing ground and ensure that it was uniformly level. The obvious, short-term solution was to strip the sod, laser-level the area and replace the sod to create a teeing ground suitable for regular use. Less obvious was the reason for the crowned slope on the left side of the teeing ground that rendered the right side of the tee unusable.

A tree blocking the view of the right side of the putting green was discouraging players from using the right side of the teeing ground. The tree effectively reduced 1,000 square feet of tee space to 500 square feet on the left side of the tee. This is an example of a cause, cause and effect situation – the tree caused more frequent use of the left side of the tee and the uneven use of the tee caused a crowning effect that further limited the usable space of the tee.

USGA agronomists bring a holistic approach to every visit, helping them to assist superintendents and facilities with long-range planning and solutions. A comment during a recent Course Consulting Service visit was, “If we had known the value of a Course Consulting Service visit, we would have signed up seven years ago.”


West Region Agronomists:

Patrick J. Gross, regional director –

Larry W. Gilhuly, agronomist –

Brian S. Whitlark, agronomist –

Blake Meentemeyer, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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