I am curious if golfers have any idea what goes in to keeping a course in good shape? reason I ask is i was reading a bunch of reviews of courses in my area that where getting slammed over there conditions. does the average golfer have a clue on how much $$ it costs to maintain a course?
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I don't think they do. Here in Austin, Texas it gets HOT and dry in the summer and I don't think you can fully appreciate the amount of watering needed to keep things green. I've been told my home course spends about $50K a month watering the course during the summer and it still fairly brown.
There are multiple facets to what causes courses to look run down, everything from weather to the people playing the course. I've seen courses that are watered, mowed, and otherwise well maintained but are torn up because the people who play there don't bother fixing ball marks, divots, and tear up the course in other ways. If a course doesn't have the revenue to have marshalls/starters on the course to keep customers in line it's easy for the course to get in bad repair. This happens to the 2 nicer courses where I live.
I work at a course and most of the people that play there don't know much about what all goes into it.
The things that go wrong at our course that the public sees are when our plans are spoiled by unexpected equipment breakdowns and the weather.
The biggest headache in the South is babysitting Bent grass greens in the summer, but we solved that problem this year by going to Bermuda. A friend of ours still has Bent and he took one day off to come over and play golf with us and one of his employees didn't water his greens and now he has dead spots. They can go from green to purple to dead in a New York minute.
Bring in the artificial turf! It can't be any worse than some public courses I played (you get what you paid for).
My brother and I played at Pasatiempo once. This is a $260/round course and makes it top 100 best golf list for most golf magazines and such.. The course condition was immaculate. A guy (private member I bet) playing behind us reported us to marshal because my brother didn't fix his divot after a shot. Marshal promptly drove up to us and asked us to fix our own divots. I think this kind of care by all who play golf is what is needed to keep the fairway condition better. I normally fix my divot and a few others while I am waiting. But it's like fighting wildfire with cup of water.
Prerequisites for golf course superintendents with bent greens in the South are drive fast, look worried, hope the irrigation system doesn't break down, and don't even think about getting sick and missing a day (or an hour).
Seriously, there are usually one or two superintendents a year around here that get fired for losing the greens. I haven't heard of any this year (yet) because it's been cooler and wetter than normal. Of course now it's time for some disease to kick in.
One of the courses I play often is in fantastic shape and it's one of the cheaper courses in my area. They have a ton of old guys working there, starters, rangers, ball shack crew, cart washers, everywhere. I think they're all retired and probably do it for minimum wage just to get outside and stay busy. They seem to do a good job though, if you need starters and rangers at your course I'd look into this category of people. If these jobs are truly important when it comes to keeping a course nice I don't think I would count on highschool or college kids to do a good job.