I was afraid. Afraid to change my blog from what I knew and what was familiar, to what was new and unfamiliar. I have spent more time this past year visiting courses, learning products, looking at turf (good and not-so-good), and keeping my mouth shut. I was afraid that blogging would turn people off, afraid that now people would think I'm a know-it-all. While I will be the first to admit that I don't know it all, I can tell you this......I have spent more time FOCUSED on talking turf and seeing first hand what works and what doesn't.
I can also say that my passion for this great game has grown, as has the passion for making sure that the facilities that provide us area for this great game succeed.
I still believe that blogging needs to be short, so I will attempt to make longer blogs into shorter series of blogs.
Although I deal in turf products, I wanted my first blog back to talk about the great sport.
What is working in golf.....
PGA junior leagues!
Whoever came up with this concept should have a bronze statue of themselves somewhere prominent soon. This is so cool, I think I'll see if I can't blog an interview with the dude. For me to do it would not do the concept justice. If your facility isn't engaged, see if it could be a fit for you. I can't imagine any mid-level club that wouldn't benefit from this. If you don't know if you are a mid-level club, I'm gonna guess that you are.
Topdressing works....set a target and do it. There are only three things that happen to thatch and organic matter.
1) you dilute it
2) you manage it
3) you increase it
Option 2 is only if you have an acceptable level of thatch /mat
Option 3 is only acceptable if you are brand new.
Want quality surfaces? Topdress!
In all my travels, the things that separate great surfaces from ok surfaces is the commitment to regular topdressing. Topdressing is like anything else, should have a targeted amount that is based upon the growth habit of the turf, growth rates, and soil type...basically is specific to your facility.
Don't have time to topdress? Take out all the ballwashers and use that labor (see what's not working in golf below).
Long range planning
Long range planning is prevalent at all clubs that are doing well. Who you are and where you are going is a characteristic of every successful facility. Don't forget the funding component of long range planning.
Establishment of natural areas in out of play areas have helped facilitate cost savings. These areas are not maintenance free. Natural areas take some management, especially if they are to remain playable. Nevertheless, natural areas can help a facility save money...Bonus: its good for the environment.
What's not working in golf...
Ballwashers, elaborate flower plantings, trees, and any other golf course amenities that take away from basic programs like.......drum roll please.........TOPDRESSING
If you can't afford the sand to hit your target topdressing amount, remove every single thing that doesn't directly contribute to the golf experience immediately. Don't form a committee to discuss, recommend, or research. And cancel your order for $20,000 in tee signs.
Then buy sand.
The best facilities have established clear realistic expectations of the experience that they can provide with the given resources. They have done this with the input of the staff that is on site. Chances are, you have some pretty passionate individuals that are performing as competent department heads at your facility. All of the answers are right in front of you. I bet that they would be happy to share in the success of your facility.
2018 is going to be great for golf!
A vast majority of the facilities I visit have demographics of women and children prowling all over the grounds. Golf is growing and is not dying, it is simply too great of a game and contains too many life lessons. It is providing a healthy recreational outlet that can be enjoyed throughout ones lifetime. It's good to be back....