Thursday, August 20, 2009

Water Waste on Golf Turf

By Michael Vogt, CGCS, CGIA
Mr. Superintendent, how do you arrive at the amount of water needed to apply to the golf course each night?

While I have made this decision on countless occasions I have tried to answer this one myself. The best answer I could come up with was, “I was on the course all day, by experience I programmed for what I though would be the correct amount of water”. Based on what? Temperature, humidity, cloud cover, wind speed, weather forecast and of course moon phase, no, ET. The weather station gives us a fancy number that relates to Evapotranspiration. This seven syllable wonder was to be the savior of the golf world, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.

While measuring ET is good what about the water left in the soil from other irrigation events, the soil moisture bank? Distribution uniformity tells us that the only part of the irrigation pattern will perform as specified; chances are most superintendents’ water based on the bottom of distribution efficiency, thus wet and dry spots. Soil texture is another factor as well as slope, angle of incidence and the list goes on. Is a small amount of wilted or dormant turf a deal breaker in turf management?

Waste is a very powerful word, based on what I know now I have wasted vast amounts of money, money that wasn’t mine and water that probably contributed to the infestation of the dreaded Poa annua and poor, sometimes soggy playing conditions. All in the name of member’s suggestions, pride, color, lack of knowledge and ease of just pushing a few buttons and just letting the water fly.

When I took my first job as golf course superintendent I would travel down the fairways with my handy soil probe, take a sample and roll the soil between my thumb and index finger. If the Illinois clay held together in a thin two or three inch ribbon, no water tonight. In the early 80s I inherited a golf course with quick – coupler valves and a night waterman that was more like Caddy Shack assistant Carl. We were more inclined to water fairways for 45 minutes each valve with the Rain Bird 808 or the featherweight Buckner all brass model 900.

The 12 pound, all brass, Buckner fairway sprinkler

The old fashion water systems and techniques didn’t have the flexibility of modern-day computer operated systems but on the other hand it seemed that we rarely had problems with overwatering, turf was mostly on the dry-side. The flexibility mentioned with computer controlled systems may be one of the causes of over watering, you think? With percent adjust, weather stations, repeat cycles, condition inputs, oversized pipe sizes, triple-row fence to fence sprinklers and pump stations that produce 3500 GPM at 120 PSI. The irrigation systems today may have advanced faster than the ability and or knowledge to operate them. Now, soil sensors to tell the superintendent the moisture, salinity, and temperature below the soil surface, what might be the unintended consequences here? The sensor is only reporting on the exact spot at which it is located.

An informal survey I read indicated only a small fraction of superintendents recently conducted an irrigation audit. Irrigation audits are very telling, reveling weak portions of the irrigation system. Furthermore, why must the irrigation system be broken to be maintained? Irrigation techs are often assigned to repair rather than maintain. If an irrigation system was maintained from installation it would be far less expensive to operate. Waste, this is golf course waste at its worst; electricity, water, fertilizer, sod, life span, chemical inputs. All of the aforementioned because poor irrigation efficiency. Golf course superintendents like the words “stewards of the environment”; it rolls off the tongue very nicely. Check your water delivery system, if it’s not delivering at least 70% distribution uniformity your not treating the environment to your stewardship.

I was reading and article from 1981 in the USGA Green Section Record by Mel Lucas, Past President of the GCSAA ( Twenty eight years later that article could be as topical today as then. These are some excerpts:

“When you are about to waste anything, stop for a moment and consider the energy needed to produce it. It has been said that half the world could exist on what the other half wastes. No commodity illustrates this statement more than the most taken for granted commodity on earth - water. It is the most wasted, overused, and the most precious natural resource in many areas of the world.”


“With the improper management and wasteful consumption of water by so many people, it is no surprise that there is a severe water shortage in many areas of our nation. We all must share the burden of conservation; if we do not, we will have only ourselves to blame if and when the well runs dry!”

Shinnecock Hills, #15 Green

Want good greens; keep them DRY, hand water, this we know. What about tees, fairways and roughs; heavy water, let them dry, then heavy water, repeat as needed, kind of like shampoo directions. The dry, firm and fast conditions have always been vogue only on the highest maintained turf of elite courses such as the National Golf Links of America, Maidstone and Garden City Golf Club. The architecture lends these courses to the wind-blown look of links style golf but why can’t park style courses emulate this management style. Is it the Augusta Syndrome?

I guess it’s harder to let the tiger go than to catch him by the tail! In an effort to trick, bamboozle, fool and outsmart Mother Nature we have created a golf monster that expects lush swamps that bred algae, grow fungus, promote weed encroachment and limit bad lies and good ball roll in the ultimate effort to provide perfect on the tee, on the green, in the sand bunker and Through-the-Green conditions.

It all about the water. How do you use water, I’ll bet things haven’t changed much in 28 years.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Improving Golf Course Irrigation Uniformity: A California Case Study

If you’re looking for great information on golf course irrigation this publication from the Center for Irrigation Technology has several case studies, basic information on sprinkler distribution uniformity and the impact of matching sprinklers nozzles to required precipitation rates.

Golf Irrigation Study

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Golf Course Operational Study

The following is an operation study to investigate specific issues a private club experienced prior to member conversion from a developer owned club.

By Michael Vogt, CGCS, CGIA

August 13, 2009

Executive Summary

For the sake of organization I will address the individual components of the golf maintenance operation in agronomic and administrative sections.

Agronomic areas will address the health, management and inputs into the turfgrass areas that comprise the East Golf Course and West Golf Course, practice facility and related club grounds. The number one limiting factor for turfgrass excellence is poor soil and water at Sample Fairways. It is a problem that can be overcome, but an understanding of the issues is critical if these challenges are to be mitigated. With proper treatment water use on the golf courses will decline if soils can be drained and sodium levels can be reduced. The turfgrass plant requires up to 25 percent less water if sodium levels are lowered and soils can be properly leached. Established aggressive aerification schedules must be followed if these expectations are to be realized.

Administrative, will address the management of labor, equipment and resources such as budget and fiscal management of the golf maintenance department.

It should be understood that Jack Nicklaus Signature designed golf courses are well known for higher than average maintenance costs. It should also be noted that Mexico’s soil, water and climatic conditions pose a difficult challenge for Sample Fairways. The high level of golf course maintenance which is expected from the membership adds costs to overall maintenance budget.

McMahon recommends the following suggestions for enhancing the golf experience and for managing the golf maintenance operation in the most fiscally responsible
1. Remain on the program of aggressive aerification on all turfgrass surfaces.
2. Install an upgraded injection system to acidify irrigation water.
3. Apply high quality mined gypsum to irrigation water and slice / surface apply to turf to mitigate sodium and bicarbonates.
4. Adjust labor to relate to tasks needed to be accomplished on golf courses.
5. Investigate purchasing programs for golf course supplies; there is a John Deere Landscapes branch in close proximity.
6. Investigate a re-leasing option for the current equipment fleet; a three
year re-lease normally can be accomplished at a great savings. The maintenance equipment fleet at Sample Fairways is in very good condition as of this writing.
7. Consider putting one of the golf courses at idle. Substantial savings in labor and an improvement in conditioning would be realized if one course could be idled.
8. Consider a satellite maintenance facility on the eastside of the property to reduce maintenance staff travel time.

Agronomic Conditions

Salt Affected Soil and Water
The number one problem limiting excellent turf condition in Southwest America is salt accumulation in the soils. This problem becomes severe when soils become out of balance and the relationships between several elements begin to favor original desert-type soil chemistry.

The soil and water pH at Sample Fairways is slightly elevated. The relationship of sodium, carbonates, bicarbonates and pH in the irrigation water is critical to understanding what remediation should occur. The challenge is to amend the irrigation water’s pH to help release added calcium and calcium that exists in the soil. According to soil tests reported in October of 2008, current soil calcium levels are within acceptable ranges.

Sample Fairways has high levels of sodium and bicarbonates in the soil and water which will ultimately deteriorate aggregated soil structure, shifting from blocks of soil to more of a powder texture. A good example of poorly aggregated soil is a fine talcum powder. Water applied tends to bead-up on the surface. The same thing happens to soils that are excessive in sodium and

Acid injection into irrigation water has become a common practice on golf courses to help correct pH, sodium, carbonate and bicarbonate problems. Without acidification Sample Fairways irrigation water will continue to destroy soil structure, thus, disrupting the favorable ratio of sodium ions (Na+) to magnesium ions (Mg++) and calcium ions (Ca++) in the soil.

Negatively charged soil particles that are subjected to an increase in sodium (which are positively charged) will displace calcium and magnesium at nearly a two to one ratio on the soil surface. The net effect of the sodium buildup is a dispersion of soil aggregates resulting in a soil that has the structure of talcum powder. Poorly drained and poorly oxygenated soils lead to root dysfunction, poor plant health and an over-irrigation scenario to supply the plant water requirements in excess of needs. Irrigation water applied to these imbalanced soils tends to remain on the surface and infiltration is very slow. This cycle begins to compound itself as the dry season goes on without proper leaching or flushing of sodium and bicarbonates. Problems with the soil are evident on several fairways on the East Golf Course. Ideally, fine particles of soil aggregate randomly leaving pathways of space for air and water to move through, helping plant roots to grow and thrive.

Correcting the pH of the soil and water is an interrelated remedy and will begin to enhance conditions in the foreseeable future. Injection of acid to lower the water pH, applying gypsum (CaSO4 · 2H2O) or high quality soluble calcium to the soil and continuing on a soil aerification program should have dramatic effects on improving turfgrass health. It is critical that water pH be adjusted to neutral or slightly acid to react with gypsum and other soil calcium to make sodium more mobile in the soil. When sodium becomes more mobile, flushing or leaching out of the soil can occur.

These recommended processes will help make nutrients more available to turfgrass plants by lowering pH levels. Moreover, these programs will also increase the efficacy of chemical spray application of fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. The savings in water, chemicals and fertilizers could be substantial in years to come.

Based on our study of the soil tests supplied by Bill Consultant and Soil Test Labs, it would be beneficial to have soil tests performed showing different testing procedure for southwestern calcareous soils that exhibit high values of bicarbonates along with salts in calcareous soils. These soil tests that were preformed by Soil Test Labs using laboratory procedure Mehlich III, an acid extract are not accurate on high pH (alkaline) soils, like at Sample Fairways. Acid extracts are limited in their ability to extract meaningful test results; high alkaline soils react unfavorably with acid based extracts. Western Regional Methods Manual for Soil Testing recommends the Olson Method for soil testing based on these high pH conditions being experienced at Sample Fairways.

Whether gypsum or soluble calcium is applied as a soil or irrigation water amendment, the mode of action is the same. The calcium becomes soluble as these amendments dissolve and calcium replaces sodium from the soil exchange sites. The sodium can then be leached out of the root zone with extra water.

Bill Consultant of Desert Turf recommendations are correct in that a soluble form of calcium, treatment of the irrigation water and deep tine aerification are the basic remedy to the soil remediation program at Sample Fairways. With aggressive deep soil aerification and applications of gypsum or very soluble calcium, a three year time table will be a victory in improved soil drainage and mitigating the salt affected soils, especially on the East course. As with any soil remediation program soil and water tests must be made several times per year to adjust the management practices to guard against other chemical imbalances in the soil chemistry.

University and independent laboratory research has shown significantly lower water requirements on soils that are managed to increase drainage, and to mitigate high sodium levels. The turfgrass plant will require up to an additional 25 percent more water to maintain vigor in highly compacted and sodium effected soils.

Gypsum (calcium sulfate) is considered a salt and its proper management is critical. A specialist in sodium effected soils with an excellent understanding of the interrelationships of salts, sulfates, and their uses should be consulted on a regular basis.

Sand Bunkers
The sand in the bunkers at Sample Fairways is of a good variety. Upon inspection the sand appeared to be slightly angular, of good color and distributed well in the bunker floor and slopes. The sand appeared to be slightly compacted and for the lower handicap golfer this is ideal. With firm bunker sand the ball tends to rest on the sand rather than into the sand. Average players would rather sweep the ball out of the sand hazard making contact well under the ball without much effort. Lower handicap players tend to make club contact with the sand well behind and under the ball requiring much more strength and proficiency.

The bunkers at Sample Fairways are hand raked, which maintains the firm compacted texture of the sand. Moreover, the water applied to the turf areas also impacts the condition of the sand bunkers often creating a crusting effect and keeping the lower profile of sand continually moist.

A more aggressive raking several times per month will maintain these bunkers for better playability. When the water problems are remedied, the sand in the bunkers should be drier, less crusty and receive a ball much better. Sands can be made more playable with an application of a wetting agent. Experiment with several challenging sand bunkers by making multiple applications at least ten days apart to encourage drainage and dispersal of fine soil particles and organic matter. It is important to note that after a rain, native soils can be mixed with sand. All efforts should be made to remove the soil contamination from the sand before moving the sand back to its original location within the bunker. Soil contaminates in sand is the primary reason sand bunkers become crusty, drain poorly and suffer playability issues.

The tees at Sample Fairways are generally in very good condition. Several of the rear tees seemed to have excessive thatch build-up; footing can be improved with aerification and sand topdressing.

The greens at East Golf Course and the practice area are beginning to show signs of Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua) invasion. This troublesome annual grass is light green in color and is adapted to grow in all climates in the United States. Poa annua is a prolific seed producer and has a clumpy growth habit. When this annual becomes established, it can produce an inconstant putting surface. While the problem is not at a severe stage on East Golf Course greens, a chemical program should be instituted before Poa annua populations increase and affect other greens, tees and fairways.

Thatch accumulation on greens on East and West is at a borderline stage. A certain amount of thatch on greens is beneficial to the surfaces resiliency and its ability to receive a well struck ball. Vigorous topdressing and aerification should be initiated to keep the thatch layer in check to guard against layering in the sand root zone. Again, water quality can contribute to excess thatch accumulation. Correcting the water quality should be priority number one. Excess thatch will also add organic compounds to the sand root zone, literally clogging the pores of the sand and thus inhibiting drainage and air movement. Aerification will keep this organic root zone fraction in check.

Aerification Chart
Chart shows percentage of aerification displacement by tine size. For more information on sand based greens and organic matter displacement go to

Aerification of Greens
The goal at Sample Fairways should be to aerify greens thus displacing between 15% - 20% of the upper 3 inches of root zone each year. The chart above will guide in the selection of spacing and size of tine that is most appropriate for the club’s situation. After aerification, cores should be removed and sand should be applied and worked into aerification holes to dilute thatch and organic layers with sand appropriate and similar to the original greens mix. Aerification is disruptive to the putting surface but several of these techniques can ease the negative effects:

· Use ¼ inch Quadtines, at close spacing, the small holes heal faster.
· Make every effort to fill larger holes (> 3/8”) completely with sand, turf will cover holes faster.
· Apply (1/10# N / 1,000 ft²) fast release nitrogen fertilizer one week prior to aerification; accelerated turf growth will fill over holes faster.
· Aerify early in the day or late in the day to minimize turf injury from hot and dry weather conditions.
· Two days after aerification apply (1/10# N / 1,000 ft²) fast release nitrogen fertilizer to accelerate growth.

Under normal circumstances the greens should be substantially healed in two to three weeks.

Of all cultural practices performed on greens, aerification is the most important and is the foundation of high quality putting surfaces. Aerification aids in root zone gas exchange, water movement though the sand profile, thatch reduction, improved turfgrass root mass and turf density. All of these turfgrass health characteristics equate to a smoother, firmer and finer putting surface.

Bentgrass (Agrostis palustris) fairway turf appeared to be in good condition related to density, root mass and color. I observed the results of the Blec Sandmaster machine and the sand filled slices on fairways surfaces, these will certainly aide in the movement of air and water throughout the root zone.

The slicing of and filling the slices with sand is the perfect opportunity to incorporate gypsum or a soluble calcium into the soil, these amendments can be mixed with the sand injection process and would act to improve soil conditions into the root zone more rapidly. This operation should be continued annually to support the good health of the fairway turf for the foreseeable future.

The rough turf at Sample Fairways is Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), this turf thrives at a pH of 5.5 – 7.5, the current pH of the soil ranges between 7.8 – 8.1. My discussion with several members and Roger Superintendent lead me to discover that the roughs exhibited a yellow off color last season partially due to the elevated pH and other soil and water conditions stated in the above section (Salt Effected Soil and Water Conditions). Correcting these soil and water conditions will yield a much improved turf stand in the future.

Aerification and the addition of gypsum and / or soluble calcium will help to balance soil conditions in the roughs. I would further recommend the addition of a premium all organic fertilizer for the roughs to aide in soil aggregation and addition of an additional organic / carbon fraction.

Water Features
Ponds are generally in good condition. It is imperative that the ponds be kept at a full level to protect the banks and keep them sealed from leaking. I noticed no algae growth or undesirable odors even though effluent water normally contributes to these signs of water problems. The pond air diffusers, located in each pump station, were working well to help elevate O2 levels.

Sample Fairways contracts with a company to treat ponds for chemical balance and algae control. This important operation is budgeted for $48,000.00 for 2009. Although water treatment is critical and should not be eliminated from the program, perhaps a more economical treatment regiment can be discovered. Over 68% of golf course superintendents treat water hazards in-house with supplemental recommendation from laboratories, according to the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America 2007 survey.


As with any golf course, labor is the engine that drives conditioning. Highly conditioned golf courses generally have large staff numbers and proportionate labor expenditures. So it comes as no surprise that Sample Fairways has a large team to manage and maintain its 36-holes of golf along with the surrounding grounds and practice facility.

There are many ways to manage a golf operation to capitalize on efficiencies. The labor expense required to move staff from one area to another is the most wasteful expenditure of hours in the day.

Combining jobs is the first area of labor savings that should be addressed. Some examples of jobs that can be combined are:

· Mowing greens and raking greenside bunkers.
· Changing cups, setting tee markers, put out drinking water and removing trash.
· Mowing Rough and moving traffic control signs and barriers.
· Greens collars mowing and tee mowing (same height of cut).

Today the maintenance staff members move though the courses on a hole-by-hole grooming march each morning. Combining jobs would reduce the number or staff moving through the golf courses.

Another approach to labor management is section maintenance. Within sections of the golf course staff members are assigned several holes to maintain. For instance, one staff member would be assigned to maintain 1, 9 and 10 of East golf course. That staff member would be responsible to maintain all aspects of these holes with the exception of mowing large areas such as rough and fairway turf and chemical and fertilizer applications.

Managing by the section is a more difficult endeavor initially; but in the long term, the results have proven to be excellent especially at large properties such as Sample Fairways. An increase in training and closer labor management would be required.

Labor involved in raking sand bunkers, changing hole-cups, setting tee markers, mowing tees and collars, repairing divots, edging bunkers, string trimming, edging sprinkler heads, hand mowing bunker faces are all labor intensive jobs. Additionally, in the case of Sample Fairways, these tasks entail labor movement across large areas of property. In a section scenario these movements can be reduced by training the morning the crew members to gather all tools necessary to accomplish that day’s work on their section. Travel time back and forth to the maintenance shop is reduced, pride of ownership is increased and employees can be cross-trained on many different tasks. Three to four holes seems to work out best depending on the size of the golf-hole and difficulty of maintenance. Superintendents that have put this process in place have witnessed an increase in labor efficiencies and job satisfaction on the part of the section staff. A swing-man or group leader should look-over (supervise) several section staff to help on large projects and train as needed.

Additional ways to improve labor usage is to stagger crews thus having the rough mowers begin mowing later in the morning and continuing on later in the day. By mowing later in the day the mowers can be moving in reverse-hole order with minimal interruptions during the busiest time of day. Other cultural tasks could be performed later in the day to be less disruptive and move productive, sand topdressing, aerification, divot repair, fairway mowing, tee mowing, trimming banks on bunkers can all be completed in the late day.

Part time labor is a trend gaining popularity on golf courses throughout the U.S. The highest need for labor hours is at first light, to set-up the course for that day’s play. Superintendents are supplementing labor in the morning hours with part time employees. These employees often have other jobs during the evening or late day but have their morning available. Four to five hours, several days per week, can positively impact total labor expenditures and often reduce or eliminate overtime pay.

Equipment Leases
The condition of the current golf course equipment fleet is very good and should perform well for years to come. A re-lease option would be beneficial without sacrificing important capital. Often equipment can be re-leased for approximately one third the amount of the original lease for a three year term. These re-lease terms are generally highly negotiable. The repair and maintenance expense for the fleet might increase slightly, but the lease savings will easily offset any increased expenditures.

Turf Care Center
The turf care center is in very good condition. Appropriate areas for storage and maintenance of equipment fleet are in place. Comfortable areas to support maintenance staff are available with lunchroom, locker room, meeting rooms and offices. The one disadvantage of the turf care center is its location on the far west side of the property. This location will always be a detriment to labor efficiencies because of time spent in transit to the east side of the golf courses.

Budgeting / Cost Analysis
We have completed a budget / cost analysis for the East and West Golf Courses in keeping with current levels of maintenance. The projected expenditures are based on a level of quality standards currently being observed. It is our opinion that the golf course maintenance can be accomplished with an annual savings of over $100,000.00 compared to a proposed 2009 budget of $3,500,000.00. Last years (2008) golf course maintenance expenditures totaled an actual $2,944,925.00 due to across-the-board labor and supplies cost cutting.

In the addendum of this study we have supplied a suggested Zero-Based golf course budget for consideration based on the following maintenance assumptions:

· Both golf courses will operate on the current daily and seasonal schedule.
· Labor hours are based on standards supplied to me by Roger Superintendent.
· 14 full time equivalents (FTE) low season and 39 FTE in high season for both courses.
· Minimum overtime is scheduled totaling $29,000.00 for the year compared to the $71,000 expenditures in 2008.
· Fertilizers and chemicals are utilized at historical levels with all prices and rates confirmed.
· Lease payments are at current levels with the addition of Blec Sandmaster ($45,000.00) and Verti-Drain deep tine aerifer ($35,000.00); we estimated these lease expenditures at $2,640.00 per month.
· (3) Irrigation injection systems added to lease line ($70,000.00 total); we estimate this lease expenditure at $2,310.00 per month.
· No special golf course projects are included for 2010.
· Budgeted information gathered from Roger Superintendent is shown below.
o Hourly labor rates same as 2008.
o Employee meals are a direct charge back from F&B to GCM, we calculated at $2.50 per day per employee, total annual expense $20,270.00 (2008 actual cost was more than $50,000).
o Elimination of the employee meal program would save an additional $20,270.00 per year.
o Fertilizer cost adjusted for increase use of soil amendments for sodium and bicarbonate remediation.
o Aerification schedule from Roger Superintendent.
o Topdressing sand from local supplier with a slight increase in tonnage.
o Gas, diesel and oil products slightly higher cost than in 2008.
o Water usage assumed same as in 2009 projections with additional
mid-year increases in cost for raw water of 8.2% and effluent water 4.1%.

It’s apparent that the bulk of the savings in golf course maintenance comes by way of reduced labor dollars. We assume that additional landscape maintenance duties were requested by other departments or the developer from the golf course maintenance staff.

To accomplish these additional tasks an over staffing situation was likely encountered to meet these ongoing requests. We have eliminated these additional costs by evaluating hours needed to maintain golf courses and associated wages to accomplish these tasks.

A blurry line seems to be evident between landscape department and golf course maintenance department. We have observed these two departments beginning each day at the golf course maintenance building and using the equipment fleet, tools, and other items that seem to be expensed as golf related items. A system should be devised to segregate these two departments requiring work orders and charge-back entries for actual cost.

Golf Course Rotation Scenarios
With the light player load at Sample Fairways it is possible to take one golf course out of service during less active shoulder months. The labor savings from this could be significant. By idling one course labor efficiencies are much improved because mowing can take place without player interruption. Course set-up can be eliminated for the days of closure. Likewise, daytime watering and irrigation checks can be preformed without inconveniencing members. The average weekly golf course set-up costs are approximately $2,000.00. If a rotating course closure system was implemented during the less popular shoulder season (April - May and September - October), labor savings could easily be $30,000.00 per year (based on one course being closed 4 days per week for 16 weeks).

Additionally, a higher level of maintenance can be achieved with less player disruptions by scheduling the most labor intensive operations on the idled course. These operations would include tasks like; topdressing, string trimming, irrigation maintenance, hand watering and chemical / fertilizer applications. With less than 25,000 rounds per season idling one course occasionally should not be an inconvenience, I certainly believe it’s worthy of consideration.

We have submitted for the club’s consideration a course closure scenario to illustrate labor savings in the maintenance department while one course is idle in the spring and fall.

· To manage and maintain just West at Sample Fairways, 21 full time equivalents (848 hours per week). West idled will require 17 full time equivalents.
· Idling one course would eliminate overtime.
· Tasks that could be better accomplished that are especially disruptive are hand watering, trimming of bunker banks, topdressing, deep rake sand bunkers, etc.
· By alternating the idling procedure a higher level of conditioning can take place on both courses with maximum efficiency.
· By shifting employees to the idle golf course after set-up of in-play course, all of the job tasks that interrupt normal play can be accomplished with increased staff numbers.
· During any high use days, communication can take place to open both courses without major complications or “Catch-Up” maintenance.
· Large turf areas are maintained as normal (greens are triplex mowed 3 time per week, fairways and rough are mowed as usual).
· Total estimated savings is $32,000.00 per year (16 weeks X $2,000.00 = $32,000.00).

For further information see HOURLY TASK SCHEDULER in the addendum section.

The negative aspects to closing one course in the spring and fall are:

· High demand times of day could produce slow play “pockets”.
· Certain members may prefer one course over another.
· Course workers would still have to travel through West to work at East.
· Although less maintenance will be performed on the idle course, it would still need a certain “degree” of maintenance.

The option of having more outside play and tournaments for producing more income might be considered. There is not any competition locally for the caliber of golf that Sample Fairways offers in the metropolitan area. An additional 5,000 rounds per year would more than pay for the additional maintenance required keeping both courses open for play on specific days in spring and fall.

If it’s the consensus to keep both courses open for the current 7 month season, a staggered starting time could be used for each course. Considering that the high labor demand is at first light, if one course were to open later in the morning, essentially the same staff members preparing the first course for play could remain “ahead” of play setting-up that later opening course. We estimate total year savings for this staggered at approximately $18,000.00 ($800.00 per week X 23 weeks = $18,400.00)

There remain many options to reduce expenses in golf course maintenance. Idling course usage and moving opening times are an example of some tried and true techniques. The above options will not omit or defer good sound maintenance practices.

It is our opinion that the golf courses at Sample Fairways are in good condition overall. With the addition of an aggressive salt remediation program and simple management changes, the East and West Golf Courses should continued to be viewed as two well managed and great examples of golf in the Southwest North America.

If we can be of any further assistance please feel free to call on us as needed.

Respectfully Submitted,

Michael D. Vogt, CGCS, CGIA

Friday, August 7, 2009


By Michael Vogt, CGCS
For golf and country clubs the golf course is the number one revenue generator, the club’s primary asset, the centerpiece, crowning jewel and Holy Grail. No other club asset can be more emotionally charged than the club’s golf course. The National Golf Foundation’s recent survey stated the number one reason why a member joins a particular club, based on individual club amenities is the golf course. That is why, when the course or its support facilities decline in quality, they become the clubs highest priority for renovation, improvement or replacement.

A club’s ability to develop a successful Golf Course Improvement Program is based on:
1. Understanding the existing course conditions,
2. Clearly identifying the vision for the course (are improvements required for just improving conditions or is a major design change needed to enhance the course playability/prestige?),
3. Having the best golf course architect,
4. Being sure the members support the proposed changes,
5. Properly communicating the Course Improvement Program to the members and finally,
6. Properly financing the project.

The financing step for a successful Golf Course Program has an impact on all aspects of planning, presentation and approval. Often times it is the controlling factor on what gets done and if approval is achieved. When deciding how to finance a project, there are three basic aspects to consider. One is identifying the necessary costs for doing the “right” project as wanted by the members. Another aspect is to identify what is actually needed to correct problems or to achieve specific goals. This is the technical and design aspects that the superintendent, consulting agronomist, irrigation consultant, and the golf course architect help decide. The last basic consideration is how to raise the necessary funds to pay for the Course Improvement Program. The financing for major golf course projects that we are talking about here are not small maintenance or single-hole Improvement Programs. They are entire course projects with costs in the multi - million dollar range.

Now for private clubs the ways to fund major projects seem to have several sources. Cash-on-hand is a fantastic financing source, but the reality is most clubs do not have huge cash reserves for major golf course expenditures. Thus clubs normally have to raise funds directly or indirectly from the members. The big question most often asked is, “How much will the individual member pay to fund a program at his or her club?”

Members in private clubs are normally in the top 5% income bracket for the region they live in. They usually have the financial resources to pay for “wanted and necessary” projects. Thus it is essential to have good membership input by way of focus groups and a club-wide survey so a club’s leadership is in-tune with member wishes. It is infinitely easier to raise money from members if the proposed Golf Course Program is what they want in the first place. Also, a good Membership Survey should also have tested funding option preferences and what is the maximum dollar amounts members would pay for each basic payment option.

Experience in funding golf course projects has shown that projects which give members what they want along with a good value-received perception can raise up to twice as much money for the course versus projects that ignore member wishes and preferences. The members’ perceived value received for the cost of a project is the critical deciding factor affecting approval of a major course project.

Sometimes a golf project must include improvements that are necessary, but not understood nor supported by members. This could include new greens projects, irrigation system replacement, upgrades or replacement to the golf maintenance facility, etc. If such projects are not done, the course is seriously threatened. In these instances the club’s leadership needs to make a special effort to educate members so they become well informed on the issues. Oftentimes, the most challenging issue, politically, is the perceived course enhancements that make the course more challenging. If such projects do not require member assessments, the controversy is obviously lessened. But if a large assessment is necessary to pay for unpopular improvements, the controversy can be great and approval is almost certain to fail. The political aspects affecting financing on course projects must be well understood before a specific project is brought to the members.

As mentioned earlier cash-on-hand is a funding source for some clubs. Very seldom is cash-on-hand sufficient for an entire project’s cost, but often times there is some money available in reserve accounts.

Many clubs in the upper tier of the private club world generate annual operating and initiation fee surpluses that are not needed for normal capital projects. When this is the case, such clubs can allocate a portion of their surpluses for funding course improvements. Again this is seldom utilized as the sole source of a project’s funding, but it can dedicate five to ten years of such surpluses for golf course financing.

While somewhat risky, clubs do occasionally project a membership gain based on improved club facilities as a way to fund a Golf Course Program. These new initiation fee and dues revenues can fund expenditures and support loans by providing annual debt service funds. A word of caution here is to be conservative on the expectations for membership growth.

The ability to sell unused or little-used club land has been a source of capital improvement funding for some clubs. This is almost always a controversial, fund-raising approach that while possible, is not recommended. The old cliché is that God is not making any more land. Also it is almost universally true that most clubs, who sell land, always regret it later.

This is by far the most frequently used way of financing golf and clubhouse projects. Most clubs have a set number of existing members who belong and use the club. For a golf improvement project usually the members with golf usage privileges will pay some additional monthly or upfront capital payment for projects they support. The payment amounts are usually weighted with Junior and Retired members paying reduced amounts. The Regular, Active members pay a higher amount, and this amount is usually determined by the initial Membership Survey that tested funding options at the beginning of the planning process.
A typical example for member financing of a Golf Course Improvement Program for an assumed 500 member club with a $5 million project cost is as follows:

1. The cost per member for the project would be $10,000 ($5 million ÷ 500 members).

Members would have the option of paying $10,000 upfront in the form of a refundable or non-refundable assessment,
2. $100 per month assessment in order to fund, say a 7% project loan amortized over 15 years inclusive of principal and interest costs. Usually no part of this monthly payment plan is refundable to members.

Local banks are usually the best source for raising funds to finance club projects. A club should always start its financing inquires with its existing banking connections. Then to verify rates, other banks should be contacted.

It would not be unusual for a club to utilize various ways to raise funds for its golf course project. These could include:
1. Utilizing any surplus cash-on-hand.
2. Utilizing surplus initiation fee funds and/or operating surpluses over a set number of years for funding some part of a loan’s debt service cost.
3. Utilizing member assessment options to raise the major portion of the Course Improvement cost.

Although an asset reserve strategy is an ultimate funding avenue, a reserve account system to fund needed renovations is rarely applied in the club environment. Simply put, an account for asset replacements is funded throughout the useful life of the asset and at the retirement of that asset an amount of money is available for the needed replacement. Ideally the funding begins for replacement on day one of the assets life. For example, a driving range tee has an estimated useful life of 15 years, the cost to rebuild the tee is $20,000, if the new tee is to be fully funded at the end of its life cycle, $1,333.33 should be funded each year, plus a factor for inflation.
A reserve specialist would take a physical inventory of all capital assets; assign an estimated useful life and a funding program to fulfill the appropriate dollars per year to replace these assets before the end of their useful life. An asset reserve system can be applied for irrigation systems, cart paths, greens, tees, etc.

Raising the necessary funds for golf improvement projects is both a political and business process. A good understanding of the membership, the course conditions, the costs, and the willingness of banks to lend money are the essential ingredients for successful project financing.

Michael Vogt, CGCS is a consultant for McMahon Group. He can be contacted at 800-365-2498 or .

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Importance of Golf Maintenance Standards

By Michael D. Vogt, CGCS, CGIA

The following is a sample list of golf course maintenance standards that can be modified for any individual club. It is not intended to be all-inclusive but may be a good starting point for clubs that have no set of standards in place. The superintendent’s job is difficult enough without knowing exactly what’s expected. These standards can be helpful to communicate to memberships, committees and boards what needs to occur to maintain a quality golf course.

A comprehensive set of standards also sets into motion a process that makes resource allocation much more pragmatic. The superintendent and committee can ascertain a value of each standard and evaluate the need based on membership desires and funds needed to accomplish. If superintendents are to reduce expenditures it may be simpler to list the standards, the value of each goal and let the committee or board of directors to make the cuts based on the superintendents recommendation.

The standards also justify expenditures based on a quantified level of maintenance. For instance, if a superintendent exceeds the standards and remains within budget a case can be made for additional compensation for the superintendent based on management expertise. A prearrange agreement might be considered by the board of directors to share in savings to the club based on achievement of standards and reduction of expenditures.

Your set of standards could include all aspects of your golf maintenance business, from sustainability to golf course etiquette. If it’s important to you as the golf course superintendent it should be stated in your golf course maintenance standards. I hope this information is helpful.

SAMPLE Golf and Country Club
Golf Course Conditions and Maintenance Standards

Mission Statement:
To prepare, preserve and maintain the golf course as the major club asset and to afford the opportunity to provide enjoyment to the clubs members and guests.
To protect, understand and fulfill the golf course architect's and membership’s vision and goals for a fair golf challenge for all levels of player abilities.
To plan and execute programs and procedures that maintains a superior golf experience as well as enhances and protects the environment, property, community, athletics, and aesthetics of the club.

The course will be maintained that excellent playing conditions exist for both high and low handicap golfer. The golf course should play and be prepared daily and identically to the prescribed standards, within weather limitations, on a continued basis and at above standards for certain events. These events will be determined annually by the Golf and Green Committees. Special preparations will be prescribed as needed to conform to the events being conducted. The golf course superintendent will prepare a report outlining all needed exceptions to normal and will include a cost estimate for achieving these exceptional standards.

The goal of maintenance is the least amount of player interference and golf course inconsistencies as possible. Environmental stewardship and resource management will impact the selection and application of products to the golf course.

These objectives will be met within an overall annual capital and maintenance budget prepared by the Green Committee, General Manger, and Golf Course Superintendent, approved by the Board of Directors. Any variance to the annual maintenance budget will be approved prior to the expenditures. The approval process will include green committee chair and general manager.

“In our future, we will enrich the heritage and prestige of The Sample Golf and Country Club. We will maintain and manage our financial resources, club assets and equipment to provide an exceptional golf experience to all members. We will offer state-of-the-art golf facilities and continually strive to effectively communicate with the membership. We will protect the original golf course design and make changes in carefully measured increments with approvals based on membership consensus and keeping mindful of original golf course architects design philosophies.”

SPRING……………………………………………………..MARCH 15TH THROUGH MAY 15TH

Green surfaces are the ultimate measure of all great golf courses. Every effort will be made to protect and preserve the finest greens surfaces available. The objective is putting surfaces with evenly comparable pace, smoothness, firmness and overall uniformity. The greens will be closely mowed each day the club is open for membership play within the regular golfing season. Green speed and/or pace will be determined by the golf course superintendent and the green committee prior to the golf season.


1) Greens will be mowed daily during the regular golf season. Spring and fall heights of cut will be .140 of an inch with grooved rollers. The heights will be lowered based on weather and growing conditions in preparation for the regular golf season (generally .125 of an inch). Health conditions and weather permitting, the height will be lowered to .110 of an inch with solid / smooth rollers and will remain throughout the regular golf season with a separate outer ring cut at .125 of an inch.
2) During the regular golf season greens will only be hand mowed with Toro Flex 21 walking greens mower. They will be double mowed and rolled on weekends to maintain exceptional conditioning and speed / pace objectives. Grooming and / or verticutting will be used periodically to maintain upright growth habits and overall turf health.
3) Greens speed will be measured Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with a USGA approved Stimpmeter in order to maintain consistency and minimum speed objectives. These readings will be included into the Superintendent's monthly quality report. A reprehensive sample will be obtained from the same three greens on the front nine and the practice green and three greens on the back nine throughout the regular golf season. Care will be taken to obtain these readings from the approximate same positions on each designated green.
4) Growth regulators may be applied as an aid to increase green speed, reduce excessive growth, stress condition turf and increase turf density.
5) Relative Green Speed Minimums (weather permitting):
· Regular Play: 120 inches of roll as measured by USGA Stimpmeter.
· Weekend Play: 132 inches of roll as measured by USGA Stimpmeter.
· Tournament Play: 138 inches of roll as measured by USGA Stimpmeter.
6) Greens will be topdressed bi-weekly for smoothness, firmness and thatch management. Additional topdressing may be required for preparation of tournament conditions.
7) Greens will be aerated using Toro 648 walking aerifier, as follows: All eighteen greens and practice chipping green and practice putting green will be aerated in the spring using .25 of an inch / hollow tines. This operation will be completed within a three day period (weather permitting). Late fall aeration will consist of .5 x 10 inch deep drill tines covering all eighteen greens and practice chipping green and practice putting green over a three day period (weather permitting). Topdressing sand will be fully and carefully incorporated into the aerification holes.
8) Greens will be irrigated sparingly to promote turf rooting, drought tolerance, and minimal disease problems. Greens will be firm and the soil dry whenever possible.
9) Greens will be checked daily with hole-cups being changed each day throughout the regular golf season.
10) Greens will be monitored throughout the winter months (November to March) to determine if they can remain open for play. All efforts will be taken to ensure a minimum of nine holes will be open for play during the winter months (weather permitting). The general rule is that the greens will remain open whenever possible. Alternate greens will be required when weather conditions dictate that severe damage will occur if greens are played on.
11) Greens apron and collars will be maintained with adequate and consistent cushion of rough from collar to bunker. Collars will be mowed at .437 of an inch during the spring and will be lowered to .375 of an inch on or about May 15th. The collars will generally be 30 inches wide.
12) Greens will receive a spiking or venting as needed throughout the regular golf season to facilitate soil water penetration and gas exchange.

The objective is a teeing surface that is smooth, firm, level and without weeds. Tees will be closely mowed and consist of predominately bentgrass. A seed and soil divot repair program will take place continually during the regular golf season to promote a level consistent teeing surface. A diligent effort will be taken to maintain tees smooth and firm surface with excellent turf density.


1) Tees will be mowed at .437 of an inch during the spring and lowered to .375 of an inch on or about during the regular golf season. Tees will generally be mowed four days a week depending on growth and weather conditions.
2) The turfgrass quality will take priority over competition from tree roots, shade and restricted air circulation. Trees will be thinned, pruned or removed on an as needed basis to ensure the highest quality of turf.
3) Divots will be attended to daily; accessories will be checked daily for service as divots are repaired.
4) Tees will be aggressively aerated in the spring and fall using a Toro 648 walking aerifier with .75 of an inch / hollow tines. Topdressing sand will be incorporated into aeration holes.
5) Tee blocks will be checked daily and changed as needed to utilize the greatest amount of teeing space.
6) Tee blocks will be placed in perpendicular to the direction of the golf hole and be maintained at a width of no less than eight feet.
7) Four sets of tee blocks will be utilized, red = front, white = front middle, blue = front back, black = back.

The objective is fairway turf populated with Penn Eagle bentgrass with good density, uniformity, smoothness and firmness. An annual program to curtail infestation of annual bluegrass (Poa annua) is in place to aid in the manageability and playability of fairway turf.


1) Fairways will be mowed at .5 of an inch during the spring and fall months and will be lowered to .375 of an inch on or about the regular golf season.
2) Clippings will be collected during the regular golf season.
3) Fairways will be aerated aggressively in the late fall with the Toro 1298 at a 3 inch depth removing a soil core of not less than .5 of an inch.
4) Growth regulators will be used in the summer and fall months to enhance bentgrass density and to reduce irrigation and clippings. Only organic fertilizers will be used on fairways during the growing season to promote root density.
5) Fairways will be irrigated for turfgrass health only, not for color. Fairways may be somewhat off color throughout the summer months.
6) Fairway divots will be maintained throughout the season from 200 yards and in and in major landing areas. All carts will be fitted with divot bottle and divot mix provided by the golf course maintenance department and maintained by the Golf Shop Staff.
7) All preventative, necessary chemical applications will be applied as early as possible so as to cause as little interference with play as possible.
8) All chemical applications will be applied under the direction of a state licensed applicator.
9) All fungal disease programs will be preventive in nature and applied in anticipation of a particular disease onset.
10) Every effort will be made to apply the most effective and safe products into the disease suppression and control program.

The objective is to maintain rough at minimal levels while not compromising the aesthetics, severity of penalty, and speed of play.


1) The rough will be maintained at a height between 2.25 and 2.5 inches with gang rotary mowers. The courtesy or intermediate cut of rough (area roughly 12' around fairway) will be maintained at 1.75 inches and be mowed two times per week.
2) The rough bordering fairway bunkers will be maintained regularly to maintain proper turf buffer between the bunker and fairway.
3) The rough will be mowed at least once per week when actively growing with perimeters of fairways cut a second time if needed. Growth regulators will be used in the spring and fall, to slow the growth rate of the turf around the fairway perimeter.
4) Large remote areas of rough will be cut as needed throughout the regular golf season.
5) Broadleaf weeds will be controlled primarily in the spring and fall and as needed to promote aesthetics, playability and uniformity.
6) Outer edges and O.B. areas of course will be mowed as required based on weather conditions: these areas include wooded areas with turf, fence edges, and out of the way native / meadow areas.
7) All O.B. areas will be maintained to visually delineate out of bounds areas. These will be staked with a white 2 x 2 inch stake with four feet protruding above ground. Each stake will be visible from the adjacent stake.
8) All water hazards will be marked with yellow stakes, 2 x 2 inch with four feet protruding above ground. Each stake will be visible from the adjacent stake. Yellow paint will be applied to the ground between each stake to delineate the edge of each hazard.
9) Lateral hazards will be marked with red stakes, 2 x 2 inch with four feet protruding above ground. Each stake will be visible from the adjacent stake. Red paint will be applied to the ground between each stake to delineate the edge of each hazard.
10) Painting of water and lateral hazards will occur bi-weekly during the regular golf season.
11) Rough may be seeded in the early fall as traffic and weather dictate.

The objective is to have sand bunkers with the proper amount of sand well distributed within the sand bunker without rocks or other loose impediments. The bunkers should aesthetically complement the architect's original design and vision.


1) The bunkers will be checked daily for smoothness. Raking will consist of hand raking when needed depending on amount of play. Mechanical raking machine will be used periodically (weekly) to loosen compacted sand and to control weeds.
2) Fairway bunkers will be hand-raked at all times to ensure sand firmness.
3) The bunker edges facing the green will be maintained with a crisp edge consisting of a 2 to 3 inch lip. The rear edges will be maintained with the sand reasonably flush with the turf.
4) Stones and debris removal will be tended to daily with regular maintenance.
5) The sand depth will be maintained at no less than 4 inches on the floor of the bunker and 3 inches on steep faces. A report of sand distribution, which includes regular depth measurements, will be included in the Superintendents monthly quality report.
6) The bunkers will have adequate rakes around them. Large bunkers will have at least 3 rakes and small bunkers will have at least 2.
7) The bunker banks will be over-seeded annually with drought tolerant turf or re-sodded as needed in the fall.
8) Bunker banks will receive multiple applications of growth regulators mixed with fertilizer to reduce hand mower maintenance and to insure good turf density.
9) Bunker rakes are to be placed inside bunkers facing the direction of play.
10) The edges of bunkers will be regularly fertilized with organic products in addition to the regular rough fertilization program.
11) A preventive insecticide will be used along with fairway spray applications.

1) Trees in high traffic areas (clubhouse, walk paths, etc.) will be checked regularly for wood, weak limbs, and hanging limbs and maintained as necessary.
2) Key trees will be fertilized and or mulched annually. Poison ivy and vines will be controlled as needed.
3) Evergreen trees in play shall be gradually eliminated.
4) Evergreen trees will be limbed up for aesthetics, maintenance, and ease play and finding lost golf balls.
5) Trees will be pruned as time permits.
6) Large areas of woods will be thinned to enhance turf quality, aesthetics and the overall health of the other trees in the area.
7) Only trees and shrubs that thrive in our climatic zone will be planted.
8) Most tree trimming and tree maintenance work will occur in the winter months.

The objective is to use various hole-cup positions and tee block placements that challenge the golfers thinking, maintains quality of turf by spreading wear and reducing stress over various cupping and tee block areas.


Course setup not including daily mowing practices:
1) Greens will be checked with cups being changed daily in-season and off-season as needed. The course will be setup with an overall balance between the cups and tee position to maintain appropriate yardage. On weekends and during special member tournaments, tee blocks will be located at or near the monuments.
2) Tournament setup: Tournament Coordinator will be given the option of choosing flagstick / hole-cup placements utilizing a standard form used for such placements. Tournament Officials may leaving it up to the Green Department for placements, these decisions should be made well in advance of the event (5-10 days) to avoid these areas leading up to the tournament.
3) Tee blocks will be checked daily and changed as needed to utilize the greatest amount of teeing space. A balance between the tee blocks and flagstick / hole-cup positions will be maintained (6 Forward, 6 Middle and 6 Rear) to maintain the integrity of course distance.

4) Course set-up will include:
Check and cleaning of ballwashers
Moving of tee markers
Hole-cup changing
Trash pick-up
Ballmark repair
Pick-up of broken tees
Ice water on #4 and #13
Rearrangement of directional signage

The objective is to maintain the practice areas in a condition comparable to the golf course.

1) The practice tee will be mowed twice per week at .375 of an inch.
2) The Golf Shop Staff will be responsible for distributing traffic, moving range stanchions and the safe separation of the golfers.
3) The short iron practice area will be maintained to the same standards as the golf course fairway turf.
4) A clean ball pick-up will occur on Sunday and Wednesday evening for mowing on Monday and Thursday morning.
5) The range will be closed Thursday morning until 9:30 am.

1) The department will comply with OSHA regulations pertaining to safety meetings and equipment operations.
2) Equipment will be maintained in safe operating condition.
3) The department will have monthly safety meetings concerning first aid procedures, safety, etc. Accurate records of topics and signatures of attendees will be kept.
4) Safety glasses will be required for all tasks where eyes may be exposed to any hazards.
5) Steel-toed shoes will be required for specific tasks: especially rotary mowing and chainsaw operation.
6) New employees will be instructed on safe operation of all equipment.
7) No individual without a valid driver's license (or of age) will operate any equipment.
8) Pesticide applications will be performed under the direction of a state licensed applicator.
9) Hard hats will be worn at all times when working in or near play.
10) No employee with points on his or her license associated with alcohol will operate vehicles off the property.
11) The Superintendent will provide regular reviews of each employee (at least every six months) and will include the review schedule in his monthly report to the Committee.

1) The course will be developed and maintained to accommodate cart usage.
2) Wet condition tracks will be developed in out of way areas to make it possible to provide minimal cart restrictions because of weather conditions.
3) Carts will be expected to use paths wherever possible.
4) Rope and signage will be used to direct cart traffic wherever necessary.
5) Cart traffic will be allowed to roam (except under extreme wet conditions). During July and August carts may be restricted to the rough on a day to day basis; this decision will be made by the Superintendent.

1) Flowerbeds will be maintained, edged and mulched as needed.
2) Grass areas will be mowed as needed.
3) Entire clubhouse area will be checked daily for trash and other unsightly debris.
4) Annuals and perennials will be planted in appropriate areas. Also, an assortment of other planters will be located throughout the area.
5) We will have an ornamental horticulturalist on staff with a landscaping background to professionally maintain the intricate landscapes around the club grounds.

1) Turf areas will be maintained as needed.
2) Flowerbeds will be maintained as needed. Annuals and perennials will be planted as needed.
3) Fences, gates and other hardware will be kept in proper working condition by club building maintenance staff.

1) The turf watering system will be maintained in like new condition.
2) The system will be programmed to operate during non-play hours as weather dictates.
3) All leaks will be repair as soon as possible.
4) The systems pump station will be inspected by trained professionals prior to season activation.
5) Sprinkler heads will be inspected and adjusted to maintain proper watering patterns.
6) Irrigation audits will be performed systematically on portions of the golf course each year to assure system efficiency.
7) Ponds will be treated to eliminate unwanted odors and aquatic weeds.
8) Every effort will be made not to overwater and cause wet areas on the course.

1) Plastic, paper, cardboard, aluminum, glass and organic waste will be recycled.
2) Engine waste oil will be used to heat maintenance building.
3) Tree trimmings will be used to mulch around planting beds and trees as needed one property.
4) All light switches will be motion activated in storage rooms and offices.
5) Thermostats will be set at 78° F during summer and 64° F in winter.
6) Set back thermostats will be in use to reduce heating and cooling during hours of turf care center inactivity.
7) Hot water heaters will be set at 110° F.
8) Charging of electric utility carts will take place at low demand times of day.
9) Irrigation system will operate at low demand times if possible.
10) Irrigation program will be entered to ramp-up pumps to highest possible output to take advantage of high efficiency motors.
11) Irrigation leaks will be repaired with the highest priority to save water and power.
12) Compact Florescent Lighting will be used wherever possible.
13) Drainage water will be held on property whenever possible.
14) Integrated Pest Management will be practiced whenever possible to lessen chemical use on the golf course.
15) Organic fertilizers will be used whenever possible.
16) Perform energy audits each year to track and improve energy efficiency in our buildings.
17) Meet quarterly with other club management to plan further sustainability practices in the future.
18) A tall plant buffer is to be maintained between manicured turf and water features where practical to act as a living filter for sheet drainage occurring across golf course.

1) Members will be informed of maintenance activities through bulletin board postings and periodic articles in the club’s newsletter and club’s website.
2) The golf course will be closed according to the stated weather policy.
3) Erosion around bridges will be tended to, especially from a safety standpoint.
4) Integrated Pest Management (utilizing many options for pest control) will be a continued goal.
5) Staffing: we will continue to develop a well-organized and efficient team-oriented staff, conscious of the cost/benefit aspects of our operation. The staff will be compensated for consistent and or above local industry standards consistent with their work ethic, dedication and efficiency.
6) Bathrooms in the shop will be cleaned at the conclusion of each day.

While implementing these standards, efforts by the golf course maintenance staff will be greatly enhanced by members and guest who practice proper golf etiquette. These efforts by all who use the golf facilities include:
1) Divots made or observed by a player must be carefully replaced and pressed down. Use divot mix in the fairways and tee boxes only.
2) Each player should repair at least one ball mark on every putting green.
3) Players should be careful not to scuff the putting green while walking. Upon the completion of a hole, scuff marks (especially those near the hole) should be repaired out of courtesy to following players.
4) Remove and replace the flagstick carefully to avoid damaging the hole or the putting green. Refrain from dropping the flagstick on the putting green.
5) Footprints and club marks made in sand bunkers should be filled and raked smooth. Players should refrain from walking up the faces of sand bunkers. Enter and leave sand bunkers from the low or flat side.
6) While players may assign caddies to do any of the previously noted tasks, it is the player’s responsibility to ensure they are done and done properly.
7) Do not litter the golf course. Place trash in the containers provided.
8) Parents must not permit their children to run at large on the golf course or the practice putting green.
9) Dogs are not permitted to run at large on club property.
10) All matters relating to the golf course and its upkeep are the responsibility of the Green Committee. Suggestions, questions and / or complaints should be made to the Chairman in writing. Please do not contact the Green Superintendent or his staff directly.
11) Obey all cart instructions especially during extreme conditions. Carts should remain on paths on all par 3s. Try to use cart paths wherever they are provided and always exit fairways to the side of the cart path.
12) Keep carts at least 25 yards from front of greens. Do not drive carts in areas that are steep and dangerous, use caution and common sense.

Unlike many sports, golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players and to abide by the Rules.

All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be. This is the spirit of the game of golf.
The above standards will very greatly for course-to-course. Use these samples as a starting point and fashion a set of golf maintenance standards specifically for your golf club. The best designed standards are formulated with input from the green committee, golf course superintendent, and board of directors. Your clubs’ standards will serve your membership well if annually the standards are adjusted to meet specific needs, programs and projects.