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Tips and Tricks to Speed Up Your Golf Course Maintenance

Photo by Martin Magnemyr on Unsplash
Photo by Martin Magnemyr on Unsplash

The average golf course size is 74 acres. That’s a large space to maintain, and it’s not something you can just leave until later.

A huge part of golf is the feeling of being out in a beautiful, natural setting. Falling behind on maintenance means your course could begin to look and feel unattractive.

Even worse, trying to catch up on maintenance while golfers are in the middle of a round can be frustrating and annoying for your patrons.

If you want to provide the best playing experience, implement these tips and tricks to speed up your golf course maintenance and keep it up to date easily.

Focus On The Big 3

Experienced golfers tend to favor three things when playing a course: firm fairways that allow for some roll, fast greens that make putting easier, and gradients that allow for a bit of challenge.

Focusing on these three aspects of your golf course maintenance above others will save you plenty of time in the long run. Not only will your course be well-maintained, but your patrons will be happy, visit often, and refer others.

The US Golf Association recommends using a TruFirm firmness meter to get an accurate idea of the firmness of your fairways and bunkers, a Stimpmeter to work out the speed of your greens, and a digital level to measure slope across the greens.

Organize Efficiently

Maintenance is largely about being out on the course making things look and feel great, but management and organization are extremely important as well.

Investing in a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) can make a huge difference to the efficiency of maintenance across your course.

This easy-to-use task management system software helps you to get your preventative maintenance ducks in a row, and keep them there.

All the necessary information is kept in a centralized location, easy to access, and simple to keep track of. Things like work orders, assets and liabilities, and staff accountability are all managed here.

Although it may seem to be an unnecessary expense, you may be surprised at how much money using this simple software can save you in the long run.

Pest Control

Pests are a huge reason for turf loss, next to poor drainage and inadequate sunlight. The good news is that this issue can be fixed much more simply than the other two can—with a simple preventative pest control program.

Fungicides, surprisingly, are on the top of the budget list, surpassing $41,000 annually. Insecticides, however, came much lower down, at just over $7,000.

Implementing an effective pest control program can save your golf course grass in a big way. Too often, this is neglected until it’s too late. Focus on it now, and you’ll reap the rewards in terms of speeding up your golf course maintenance.

(Read Maintenance budgets: What NOT to cut)

Roll More Than You Mow

Both mowers and rollers have their place. You will definitely need to mow your grass in order to keep it at an appropriate height, but switching out some of your mowing sessions for rolling can save you some time.

Some golf course superintendents choose to focus their rolling on a 20 to 30-foot circle around the hole. This is known as target rolling, and it allows you to maintain excellent green conditions (where it’s most noticeable and makes the most difference) and still save time.

Make sure that you’re using a modern, lightweight roller rather than an old-school heavy one. The older heavy kind can do damage to soil quality and turf quality if used too often.

Minimize Accessories

Things like ball washers, spike cleaners, and even more commonplace items like signage may be costing you more than it’s worth it to keep. Removing or minimizing accessories like these can streamline your maintenance process.

It may be worth observing how often your players actually use these items. But in most cases, they’re there to play and won’t necessarily be affected by the removal of these kinds of accessories.

Encourage Players to Help

Your players are the lifeblood of the golf course, and your loyal members are most likely with you because they love the course and the game.

Encourage your members and your guests to take a proactive approach to the day-to-day maintenance of the course. Doing their part doesn’t need to be complicated either. Ask that they:

• Staying on golf cart paths
• Walk the course when they can
• Fixing divots
Raking bunkers

Take Steps Towards Sustainability

Maintaining a golf course’s natural beauty requires a lot of resources. Taking steps towards becoming a sustainable golf course not only conserves resources but also saves you money.

Take note that this isn’t an overnight thing. Turning a regular golf course into a sustainable one takes a long time, but it’s worth it in the end.

Some possible changes that can make a huge difference to both the speed and cost of your golf course maintenance include:

• An underground drainage system to collect rainwater for irrigation use
• Solar panels (works great in very sunny areas) for lighting and other functions
• Digitized irrigation schedules that only kick in when necessary
• Composting facilities using natural resources
• Using tee caddies to prevent lost tees (many of which are not biodegradable)

Conclusion

Taking care of golf course maintenance early and properly is the best way to ensure that you stay on top of it and always provide golfers with a premium experience.

Visiting a golf course is all about the experience, and if your maintenance isn’t up to scratch, your course conditions are shoddy, or your maintenance staff is interrupting golfers, you can expect to lose loyal members. (Read How A Minnesota Golf Course Superintendent Makes Maintenance Work Fun)

A golf course is an investment. As long as you put the time and effort into it, you’ll get excellent returns. Try some of these tips and tricks to speed up your golf course maintenance and let us know how it goes!

Jordan Fuller has been playing golf for decades. When he’s not on the course aiming for a PR or coaching others, he writes handy guides and useful reviews on his website, Golf Influence.

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