Trending Upward May 18, 2018 By Larry Gilhuly, agronomist, West Region

New forward tees allow more golfers to play from a yardage that is appropriate for their swing speed and ability. They also help new players take up the game.

Course Consulting Service visits not only focus on agronomic topics for better turf health and playing conditions, they also present opportunities to discuss trends in the golf industry that are truly making the game better. Golf courses everywhere are doing different things that have positive impacts on their community. Here are a few trends that should be considered at your site:

1. Selective tree removal: The shout of "Timber!" has been heard frequently at many golf courses that are in the process of removing aging trees. Also, courses that have too many trees in competition with one another are making selective removals to enhance desired tree populations. However, the most common trend is the removal of trees that cast too much shade onto putting surfaces. If shade issues are negatively impacting turf health and playing conditions at your golf course, contact a regional USGA agronomist to help assess the situation.

2. Pollination stations: Many golf courses in the U.S. and Canada have established beehives to help increase pollinator populations. Beehives also can provide fresh honey to culinary operations. In some cases, working with local experts to improve pollinator habitat has produced exceptionally positive media coverage, which is a good thing for all golf facilities.

3. Moving forward with tees: Perhaps the best change in the past few years has been the widespread acceptance of forward tees. Spurred by the USGA and many other allied associations, golfers of both genders are moving forward to play tees that are better suited to their swing speed and ability. At the same time, new forward tees offer perfect starting points for new players that are needed to grow the game. In every case noted thus far, the addition of forward tees has improved pace of play, increased golfer enjoyment and helped attract more players to the game. Move forward at your golf course and never look back.


West Region Agronomists:

Patrick J. Gross, regional director –

Larry W. Gilhuly, agronomist –

Brian S. Whitlark, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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