Golf course and its maintenance
Golf Course Overview

What Is It Like to Maintain a Golf Course?

As a frequent golf player, you've visited many beautiful courses and over time you probably have started to notice that there is a clear link between the playing experience, turf quality, and the mostly hidden mainenance work of the field. For a course manager or superintendent, a good playing experience is the most important goal, but economics and practicalities play an important role, too.

Have you ever wondered what it really is like to maintain a golf course? If you have, this tutorial is for you: we summarise the essentials of maintaining and managing a golf course while describing the daily greenkeeping life on a very basic tutorial level.

While it can be a great experience to design a course, develop it, and maintain it to perfection, it is nevertheless a very fine craft. In essence, it is golf course architecture.

This tutorial addresses the challenges that golf course managers and maintenance personnel face in today’s competitive marketplace. It covers all the basics about running a golf course successfully so that the course provides an excellent experience for all players.

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Divot in a golf course

1.0 Introduction to Golf Course Maintenance and Management

Golf courses are vast, and each hole has its own unique characteristics. Therefore, creating and managing state-of-the-art golf courses is a highly specialized skill that needs cultivation.

Greenkeepers must carefully maintain the condition of the course for golfers to enjoy their game and the natural beauty of the greens. 

The key to maintaining a golf course is to offer a challenging experience while not making it so hard that players don’t want to come back for another round or so easy that they win every time. We know; this is not easy.

1.1 Turf maintenance and its importance

Golf course maintenance is a tough greenkeeping job. However, it is a critical aspect of the game. Golf course maintenance involves regular upkeep and cleaning, including litter control, irrigation, aeration and overseeding of greens.

Golf courses are beautiful grounds for recreation and relaxation. They attract people from all walks of life. They also make for a great business opportunity. However, a golf course is not a one-time investment; it needs to be maintained to attract customers. Therefore, proper golf course maintenance is important for the business and customers.

1.2 Golf course management in a nutshell

Golf Course Management is a specialised profession. This includes organizing tournaments, maintaining the course and clubhouse, and ensuring that the course is safe for play. Golf course management is a challenging job that requires knowledge of the game, garden design, and turf management.

A typical day for a golf course manager could start with meeting with the superintendent to review what needs to be done on the course that day. Afterwards, they might need to meet with clubhouse staff members to discuss how they are doing or if there have been any complaints from customers in recent weeks. A manager might also need to stay at work until later in the evening because their boss is not available during this time period, so they need to keep an eye on the greens.

1.3 The role of golf course superintendents

A golf superintendent is the one who is responsible for the routine maintenance and management of a golf course and golf facilities. Golf courses are very natural ecosystems that need constant care and attention to remain healthy, safe, and attractive to golfers. Golf superintendents are responsible for all these aspects of a golf course’s upkeep so that the company can generate target revenues.

The role of a golf course superintendent is not limited to working on the turf or plants–they also have an important responsibility in ensuring that all safety equipment required by law is in place. They also work with geologists and biologists if they happen to be on staff at their business to ensure that there are no environmental hazards like erosion or contamination from nearby sources.

Golf course maintenance crews create customer experiences; having a great greenkeeping team means a lot to the success of a particular golf course. 

2.0 Best practices in managing a golf course

To ensure that the golf course is running smoothly, the owner or manager must consider many factors. First, they need to make sure that their properties are properly maintained and in good condition. Second, they need to ensure that they have a plan in place for when emergencies arise. 

Third, they need to talk with their staff and golfers. Finally, they run the whole course while interacting with customers. 

Even if the course is closed, a regular maintenance operation will ensure that turf stays in top condition.

2.1 Ten tips to succeed in managing a golf club from a golf-pro

Managing a golf course is a tough job. The person must be responsible for the course and all the people on it. Here, we outline few things to remember to succeed in this position:

  1. It helps if one cares for the course and the golf club and not just trying to make a profit. Golf courses need constant maintenance so as many people can enjoy them as possible.
  2. One might want to create an environment where people can have fun while playing golf. A golf course is meant to provide enjoyment for all players, not just those who are good at it or have lots of money.
  3. Managers should not forget to talk with employees and co-workers about how they should interact with customers and other players on the course. Thus, everyone feels respected and like they belong there.
  4. A golf course is a business that needs to be managed like any other. This means having a plan for marketing, staffing, and financials.
  5. A good idea might be to offer customer loyalty programs through golf clubs’ memberships that offer discounts or rewards for playing more often — this can be a great way to increase revenue over time.
  6. Golfers remain happy if managers regularly improve the course's conditions with water and fertilizer treatments for greens, fairways, and bunkers. Not only will this make the course more attractive, but it will also reduce staff time spent on maintenance.
  7. Taking a holistic perspective, considering all the stakeholders involved, might bring new insights.
  8. Managers might want to keep seasonal change in mind and adapt to the demand while continuously optimizing the course’s performance.
  9. Remember that people will always remember what one has done, so ethical and responsible manners are mandatory.
  10. The best golf courses are ones that do not only provide a good playing experience but also make the guests feel a part of the club.

2.2 The role of a professional team in managing a golf course

While there are many benefits that a golf course can provide to its community and its members, it doesn’t happen by any miracle. A professional team is needed to manage the course effectively. The team consists of a superintendent, golf pro, and assistant pros.

A superintendent oversees the upkeep of the golf course by inspecting it for potential hazards and maintaining it accordingly. They also must coordinate with other departments, such as groundskeepers, to ensure that the course stays beautiful throughout the year.

The golf pro teaches new players how to play properly while also providing game analysis for better play. Meanwhile, assistant pros help with coordination during tournaments and events activated on the course.

Golf course owners generally hire professional teams who desire to take their knowledge and love for golf to new heights. The team’s goal is always to maintain the course’s highest quality standard to provide the best experience for golfers.

An extended team will typically include professionals from different areas of expertise, including groundskeepers, greenkeepers, cart operators, and other roles, depending on the size of the golf course.

It helps to build a world-class team if one can differentiate the skills of the current team and new candidates for the team. When unsure of hiring or can’t decide what to do with underperformance, one should consult an experienced golf course manager.

Golf driver and a ball ready to take a swing

2.3 Golf course business management tips and how to keep a smooth operation

A golf course is a place where people come to have fun and enjoy a great day outside. In addition, it is also the home of many jobs. Keeping the course running smoothly can be difficult, but here's five steps that helps manage any problems that arise.

Step 1: Managers should listen to the employees

Every golf course needs people who are willing to work hard and often take on tasks beyond their job description for the good of the whole. This includes everyone from groundskeepers and cart attendants to pro golf shop staff and restaurant staff.

Managers need to know each employee’s strengths, weaknesses, and motivations to create a plan that will motivate them on their most productive days. For example, this will help when giving praise or criticism because employees will understand what they need.

Step 2: Workload balance

Employee burnout occurs when folks are trying too much they can handle; it’s good practice to keep an eye on this and hire new people to help with the workload when needed. Burnout will lead to higher turnover and low productivity; everyone should want to avoid this.

Seasonal workers shouldn't be forgot. Some extra hands are needed during the peak times.

Step 3: Grounds neat and organized

An unkempt course will fail to inspire golfers and won’t be taken seriously by potential customers. Also, it is harder to manage. Growing a culture of tidiness helps. 

Imagine everything is clean and sorted, from the tool shacks to bunkers; this will help create tidiness and cleanliness for the greens.

Step 4: Golf course equipment in good shape

One can’t do much with broken tools and equipment. 

If someone needs something fixed or replaced, have a system in place to get them fixed. 

No need to have broken tools lying around. Staff will thank a manager for fixing this one!

Step 5: Keeping up the appearances

A fresh coat of paint on any buildings that need it is a great thing. Note also the walls, the fences, and the handrails etc. 

Rusty and unkept facilities will create an appearance that the golf course is not kept well. That, of course, should be avoided.

2.4. How to create a golfing community

Golf has been around for centuries and was considered one of the most popular sports in America. However, the game has changed over time, and with that, so did people’s interest in it. Today, it is still one of the most popular sports.

A golfing community is a very niche community, so how can one create a golfing community? One way to do this would be to organize monthly tournaments at different courses nearby. For example, one could have a joint subscription to get access to a larger pool of players. One could also have an annual tournament too, in which players would have to register early. Some may say that having an annual tournament might not be feasible because it will require more time and resources than are available. Still, it could also demonstrate the level of commitment to the game on a year-round basis.

Think why you go golfing? Think about why you select certain venues over others. Think why, at times, you make the extra push and travel distances to go golfing? It’s a discovery; you have probably tons of personal experience to draw from. Thus, managers might think about how to could bring some of that special golf juice to the field, e.g., how to make it more interesting and inspire people to come.

Using social media and building a community using different digital tools available is the way to go forward. One thing to consider is email subscription lists. Or, writing golf news, the stories relevant to the community of golfers will inspire them to come to the course. Often it is true; better to start now than later.  However, please note that community building is a modern advanced marketing strategy. It is not the point of this article to go through everything, merely to point community building out. It is not hard; if one wants, he can build an entire community. And, it is good for the business!

2.5 Golf course business development

The profitability of these courses depends on the location, size, and type of course. But there are some basic steps that all golf courses should take to ensure success.

In the planning phase, it is good practice to be surrounded with a strong business development team and a solid business model.

One needs to have all the necessary business skills in accounting, management, finance, marketing, and customer service, in addition to the greenkeeping team.

One shouldn't be afraid to invest in superior guest service or advisory services.

Remember that it is commonly a lot cheaper to sell to existing customers than to new customers. Happy customers are repeat customers; they will be a significant source of reoccurring revenue.

Turf soil for golf

3.0 Best practices in golf course maintenance

A golf course is a challenging landscape that requires constant upkeep. Therefore, the success of the golf course needs to have skilled employees to maintain it.

A golf course will have workers who focus on specific parts of the game. For example, some oversee maintaining boundaries. Others focus on landscaping, and so on.

Many things can go wrong when maintaining a golf course, from overgrowth to vandalism to other natural disasters or extreme weather conditions. The best approach is to be prepared for any situation and be proactive in managing the risks and maintaining aesthetics. Then, if harsh weather conditions arrive, the course is drought tolerant and ready.

3.1 The 10 best practices in golf course maintenance

Golf courses have a concise window of time to be maintained. They must take care of their greens and fairways to maintain a high-quality course.

  1. Golf courses need to be mowed regularly not to get overgrown with weeds or other vegetation. One should use the best cost-effective tools available.
  2. The course should also be sprayed with herbicides and pesticides as needed to keep pests away and maintain the property’s aesthetics.
  3. Courses should also monitor their irrigation systems for leaks or equipment failure, such as a pump or sprinkler head that is not working properly.
  4. Optimum turf soil moisture should be monitored. This enables a higher turf quality together with major cost savings from excess watering.
  5. One of the most important aspects of maintaining the putting green is the condition or speed at which the ball travels over it. This is called green speed, and there are minimum speed objectives. To achieve this, greens need to be kept at a certain level of moisture content. Again, soil sensors technology can achieve this effortlessly.
  6. Tee boxes are areas where players tee off from and play every shot on the course except putts. Therefore, they need to be kept clear, including removing all obstacles and weeds from around them.
  7. The fairways need to be cut or mowed as they do not get enough traffic from players compared to greens.
  8. If one has animals roaming around the golf course, it is important to control them to avoid unfortunate events.
  9. Keeping the greens green  is important — Although it may sound like an obvious tip, many factors contribute to brown patches in the greens. The main cause of these patches is heat stress or drought, which irrigation can solve, but other causes include nutrient deficiencies or disease.
  10. Invasive plants are a large problem for golf courses; they should be removed by applying herbicides or manually pulling them up.

3.2 How can underground soil data be monitored?

Soil Scout provides an easy, wireless solution for monitoring rich underground soil data in real-time.

The highly accurate Soil Scout underground sensor measures soil moisture, salinity, and temperature levels in real-time. The wireless connection transmits the data to the Cloud — on a smartphone or the irrigation system, among the many alternatives.

The sensors are easy and quick to install, and users can monitor the soil conditions with any number of sensors buried in the field. They can start with a small number of sensors and simply dig in more whenever needed.

The cost-efficient system allows managers to cover an entire field, collect data from multiple spots, and accurately capture the infield variations in soil moisture, salinity, and temperature.

Soil Scout sensors are entirely maintenance-free. The sensors are fully buried, allowing for obstacle-free turf maintenance — and the battery lasts for more than ten years of continuous operation.

3.3 How to optimally manage golf turf and turf roots

Turf management is a process that requires constant attention to detail. At first, one might think that deeper roots do not matter. However, it’s not the case when one goes turf pro.

To grow healthy turf, it’s important to understand the needs of the turf roots, both shallow roots and deep turfgrass roots. It’s also essential that one understands how these needs affect other aspects of the turf system.

The following strategies should be used when managing golf turf and the depth of the root system: It’s common practice to reduce traffic where possible.

This way, there will be deeper root growth.

Cooler season for golf course

3.4 What one needs to know about cool-season and warm-season grasses

The cool-season variety grass golf course is a type of golf course that is designed to be played during the cooler months of the year. They are often a mix of fescue, rye, and bluegrass.

Cool-season grass is the most widely used type of lawn grass in the United States because it is well suited to milder climates. Cool-season grasses grow best during late spring and summer and grow best in full sun. For cool-season course lawns, mowing should be done at the height of about three inches and a frequency of every two weeks.

Cool-season turfgrass typically consists primarily of fescue, rye, and bluegrass. Fescue is more shade tolerant than other cool-season grasses and typically forms the predominant component in cooler climates. Bluegrass adds colour to the courses in the spring (when it turns green), and some varieties produce better quality turf under high maintenance conditions. Compared with bluegrass, Rye provides more drought tolerance than other cool-season grasses and improved tolerance for heavy foot traffic. A combination of these three species may be used on one golf course or planted on separate courses based on their desired use.

Warm-season grasses are adapted to warm temperatures and thrive during the summer. Therefore, the warm-season grasses are characterized by their ability to grow in warmer climates than cool-season grasses.

They can survive without irrigation in hot, humid climates, but they require more frequent watering in areas with cooler temperatures. Note also that they have decreased frost tolerance.

One of the most important aspects of running a golf course is ensuring that the grass is healthy and green year-round. Warm-season grasses will come back faster after rain.

Popular warm-season grasses include Bermuda, Zoysia, and Centipede.

History side-track: Golf has been around for centuries and is traced back to ancient Scotland in 1457, where they played on an unenclosed course, sometimes referred to as Links Golf. At this time, Scottish adolescents would play this game on Saturdays using clubs made of willow wood and a ball made of feathers stuffed with wool. One hundred fifty years later, in 1557, King James VI became so engaged with this game that he would play it after church services on Sundays.

3.5 A quick dive into golf greenkeeping turf mowers

Though they didn’t have the high-tech mowers back in the 1560s, we have standard equipment today. And they come in all shapes and sizes.

The greens are typically mowed with motorized or top-driven mowers and trimmed with shears.

The type of mower to choose will depend on the amount of space there is, how often it needs to be mowed, and what features are wanted.

The first thing one might want to do is determine what type of terrain the lawn is on. This will help determine the size and power of the mower that’s right for that lawn.

Mower(s) is a major cost, so it’s important to make good decisions and that the fleet is kept in good working order.

3.6 A few thoughts on artificial golf greens

Artificial golf greens are one option way to play golf. They offer a somewhat similar experience as natural greens without natural greenkeeping maintenance. These synthetic grass mats have been designed to simulate a real grassy surface, and they’re available in a range of sizes and colours.

However, what needs to be consider is that is a lot of plastic. Basically, it's like covering soils with artificial materials.

Note that not everybody will like this.

Thus, this has a brand image concern, as the use of plastics is largely demonised in popular media. If one goes down this path, he should make sure there's a 100% clear conscience in using synthetic golf greens since, after all, it is not real grass.

When creating an authentic golf experience, it is good to think twice about using artificial golf turf.

Some exceptions naturally apply. In the business of making indoor putting greens or building an indoor putting field at the golf club, perhaps next to the venue shop, where kids can have fun, one might go along the artificial turf track.

But to cover a whole course with artificial grass, well, what can we say, it is everyone's own choice.

4.0 Checklists for greenkeeping in golf course maintenance

Many golf courses use checklists to ensure that they are constantly performing at their best. Checklists can be used for almost every aspect of the course, from watering the turf and pruning trees to mowing fairways or fertilizing greens.

Checklists are essential for maintaining a golf course because they guide how to perform tasks, so no important steps are overlooked. For example, fertilizing a green is not just about sprinkling some fertilizer over it. It is also important to ensure that it is applied properly so the different grass types will not burn and die prematurely from too much nitrogen. This ensures a beautiful golf course lawn.

4.1 A quarterly checklist for greenkeeping

Keeping a golf course green is not an easy task, as it requires a lot of work and continuous care. Golf course greenkeepers should follow some steps every quarter to maintain the green in the best condition possible.

A few things to consider:

4.2 A monthly checklist for greenkeeping

The greenkeeper’s basic tools include spades, rakes, edgers, fertilizer applicators for spreading fertilizer down between grass blades or on top of areas that need it. In addition, some have access to more specialized machines like mowers and tractors for cutting grass selectively or applying pesticides in large quantities.

Here are a few things one might want to check every month:

4.3 A weekly checklist for golf course greenkeeping

No matter what work one does, everyone has their own set of weekly tasks. For golf course greenkeepers, it's recommended to create a checklist to remind oneself of tasks each week and keep track of what has been done. This is what the golf superintendents may follow daily.

Here are a few points to inspire building a weekly checklist:

Adam Sedgwick is one of Soil Scouts experienced turf-pros

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Soil Scout is a community of turf soil professionals. If you have any questions regarding golf course turf maintenance, please just shoot. We are happy to assit!

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5.0 The role and benefits of using technology

Technology has changed the way we operate in almost every industry. One industry that has been greatly impacted by technology is the golf course maintenance business. The use of technology in golf course maintenance has led to more efficient and cost-effective operations.

A good example is golf course soil monitoring.

One of the biggest benefits of using technology in this industry is that it helps save time and money. Technology can be used in various activities and improve efficiency when working with staff and clients while reducing maintenance operation costs.

Golf course maintenance is a time-consuming and labour-intensive process. In addition, golf courses can spend up to $1,000 per acre just for water and fertilizers.

One can’t really avoid the costs, since all these need to be met to have a quality golf course.

The use of technology in golf course maintenance helps reduce the manual labour needed on the ground, and it helps to cut the costs in excess water usage and electricity.

While less labour means that golf course managers spend more time on other important tasks such as marketing or strategizing their next business move, less water and electricity can directly be seen in the bottom line.

Technology has helped us automate many tasks that would have taken much longer if done manually. It has made our lives easier and improved the quality of our work so we can focus on other important tasks without any distractions from the task at hand.

Also, learn how Meadow Club benefits using underground wireless soil sensors and soil monitoring in their golf course maintenance, eplained by superintendent Kevin Hauschel.

5.1 Top 5 benefits to consider in implementing precision soil monitoring

Golf course maintenance is a costly and time-consuming process. However, precision soil monitoring can increase efficiency drastically. This will save money and time for the golf courses.

Precision soil monitoring can provide valuable insights to the golf course operators, such as water management, fertilization, and irrigation needs. However, implementing this system on a smaller scale might be a good idea because it will take some time to understand the value of all the data and its analysis.

Some benefits of precision soil monitoring are:

  1. Identify problems earlier to reduce the severity of impact on turf health and irrigation needs.
  2. Save money on fertilizer and other soil treatments by targeting precise fertilization and irrigation needs in the right areas.
  3. Improve turf quality by applying the right amount of fertilization for each area.
  4. Save precious hours each day by reducing turf sampling time.
  5. Reduce labour costs through reduced manual labour.
  6. Underground soil sensors show when and where water is needed

Water is necessary for life, and this is an acute problem in many parts of the world. Some solutions are being developed — from desalination plants to rain-harvesting barrels to underground soil sensors showing when and where water is needed. Soil Scout is one of the pioneers in this field.

Installment of underground soil sensors
Installing underground wireless soil sensors is easy.

5.2 The short history of commercial wireless underground sensors

In 2000, agrotechnology student and 19th generation farmer Johannes Tiusanen wrote an essay on the future of farming at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

The thesis — in 2025, farmers will get online reports on underground soil conditions just like a local weather report — was bold but logical.

After all, two-thirds of agronomic phenomena happen below the ground.

Johannes’ family operated 17 drainage control wells across their farm, but it was hard to determine whether individual tile branches required drainage or not. Experimenting with different solutions, Johannes immediately ran into the most significant disadvantage of the current products — obtrusive, above-the-ground components that disturbed fieldwork.

It was clear that the World needed wireless soil sensors.

In a nutshell, Johannes started his PhD and finished it in 2008. A few years later, IoT became a buzzword.

And suddenly, there was an easy language to explain the idea of plugging soil into the internet. Experienced entrepreneurs Kai Kronström and Ilari Koskelo learned about the solution and saw its enormous commercial potential. So, together with the two young inventors onboard, Kai as an advisor and Ilari as an angel investor founded Soil Scout in 2013.

6.0 Top 10 ways to cut costs in golf course maintenance

Golf course maintenance is an expensive investment for any course. The cost of mowing the grass, fertilizing the soil, and keeping the course in good shape can rack up a sizable bill. It is not always easy to think about how to cut costs in golf course maintenance. Even though golf courses are attractive investments, they may not always be profitable. To make a golf course more profitable, managers need to implement strategies to decrease operational costs while increasing revenue.

With the list below, one can quickly check if there's still something to do to cut costs.

  1. Consider using soil precision monitoring to cut water usage. This will have a significant impact on cost per acre.
  2. One might want to plant and grow trees on the property as they provide shade and decrease the temperature on hot days.
  3. The use of solar panels for energy production, when applicable, might be a better option rather than coal or gas power plants.
  4. Using rainwater and recycling it to water landscaping is better than buying water merely from outside sources. A big chunk of maintenance costs comes from water; it helps to be aware of this.
  5. Animals need to have green spaces for living in as they eat bugs and provide fertilizer for the grass. Having nature's help will cut maintenance costs and bring down cost per acre.
  6. Using fewer pesticides will reduce cost and environmental impact while protecting the health of the staff and patrons.
  7. Consider using hard-to-kill turf grass for the golf course greens. Further, one might want to take care of it by keeping it properly watered and fertilized, especially during hot summer months when it is more likely to become stressed or damaged by heat or drought conditions.
  8. It’s good to have the irrigation systems working properly so that water is distributed evenly and timely throughout the course’s green areas for them to thrive with excellent colour year-round — even through dry periods!
  9. It’s good to run machines cost-effectively. For example, for trimming fairways, use a rotary mower rather than a string trimmer. It will save time and money on gas or diesel fuel for the machine and labour costs.
  10. A 20/80 Pareto analysis will reveal the biggest cost drivers, both in management and in maintenance. Then, one can identify where the biggest spending is and evaluate where it makes sense to cut. Having a cost per acre, and cost per hole balanced throughout is good practice. Consider if it makes sense to a high cost per hole elsewhere than at the signature places; often, it doesn’t. Otherwise, one will probably be spending but not getting any significant returns.
Golf course opimum playability and appearance

7.0 Managing grass for optimum playability, appearance, and quality

The grass is the most natural and versatile of all sports surfaces. It is also the most expensive to install, maintain, and replace. Grass requires more attention than other sports surfaces; mud is more easily cleaned from a synthetic surface or gravel track than a grass field.

There are various methods to manage grass to provide the best playing experience for the players. Next, we’ll look at a few key ones.

7.1 Best 8 tips on managing grass for optimum playability, appearance, and quality

Tip 1: Mowing height

Mowing lawn too short will reduce the grass’ ability to deal with moisture, which can lead to brown patches. While mowing too tall will result in a hard surface that is more likely to become compacted and cause the grass to grow more slowly.

Tip 2: Watering

Watering lawn when it is dry will help avoid weeds, reducing water absorption from the roots. In addition, it’s good practice to monitor the soil moisture for optimum playability and appearance.

Tip 3: Fertilizing

Fertilizing lawn with nitrogen-rich fertilizers every few months will help keep it healthy and green during periods of stress such as hot weather or drought. A blended, granular fertilizer is best for this.

Tip 4: Aeration

Deep core aeration is recommended every 1–2 years for a lawn with moderate foot traffic. Lawns with little or no foot traffic may not need to aerate as often because the soil will have less compaction from use and can stay loose on its own longer without help. Scraping out the compacted areas of the soil surface with a shovel can help loosen it and encourage growth.

Tip 5: Weed control

Weed control is to keep turfgrass healthy and attractive. Regularly spraying herbicides in the lawn twice a year, in late autumn and again in early spring, does the trick.

Tip 6: Growth patterns

Ensure that the turf has a consistent, even growth pattern. One can do this by fertilizing evenly and watering evenly across the surface of the grass.

Tip 7: Soil Monitoring

There are many reasons why it’s important to monitor soil conditions. One reason is that the quality of turfgrass also depends on the soil type. Turfgrass will be greener when irrigated with water containing nutrients, but it can damage the turfgrass if the water has too many nutrients. So optimally, it would be best to have a sensor with both moisture and ph -levels measured.

Tip 8: Crowd Control

People move in a course in different ways, and sometimes in ways one doesn't want them to. See where there is the highest traffic. Note when the folks aren’t strolling the greens quite how one would expect. Have pathways, stones and barriers put in place to control the crowds. This will help to minimize the negative effect of the masses on the fairways and greens.

8.0 How to build an efficient irrigation system for golf course greenkeeping

An irrigation system designed and installed properly can go a long way in protecting the turf growth on golf courses. Irrigation systems come in various configurations depending on the type of irrigation system that is being used.

Irrigation systems for golf course greenkeeping is a very specialized topic. Knowing which type of irrigation system to use and the benefits it provides for the course is essential. There are many different irrigation systems, such as centre pivot, linear, or micro-irrigation systems.

Optimal solutions are typically custom to a golf course; one must understand different cost-benefit -dimensions to design the most effective system.

Next, we will look at some popular irrigation configurations for golf course greenkeeping.

8.1 Top five configurations of irrigation for golf courses

The quality of its irrigation system largely determines a golf course’s success. Irrigation systems give lawns a more uniform and professional appearance, which will, in turn, attract more golfers and make the green fees higher.

There are many different irrigation configurations for golf courses that will suit any budget and design. The below are the top five configurations of irrigation for golf courses that we recommend:

  1. Sprinkler Heads
  2. Spray Heads
  3. Rigid Pipe
  4. Drip Irrigation System
  5. Micro Irrigation Systems

8.2 Irrigation for golf courses is a specialized profession

The irrigation system designed and installed correctly can go a long way in protecting the turf growth on golf courses. Irrigation systems come in various configurations, depending on the type of irrigation system that is being used.

Irrigation systems for golf course greenkeeping is a very specialized profession. Knowing which type of irrigation system to use and the benefits it provides for the course is essential. There are many types of irrigation systems, each with its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to understand what type will work best for the project before investing in any equipment or materials.

It benefits the irrigation design if one has knowledge and experience. Golf course irrigation systems can be expensive to install and maintain, but the right irrigation system will save water, time, and money. Unfortunately, golf course irrigation systems are not always designed to last forever, so maintenance is a key part of the job.

One might want to consider asking for advice if not 100% sure.

8.3 How to design cost-effective irrigation for golf greens

The cost of irrigation is a major concern for golf course managers. Here are five things to consider.

First, consider watering only when and where it is needed and just the optimum amount. Doing manual soil tests and gut-guessing will lead to excess watering or burning grass due to not meeting the minimum watering. When really thinking about it, holistic data insights come only with underground wireless soils sensors.

Second, the most cost-effective way to irrigate golf greens is by using undersized spray heads and low-pressure pumps. This will allow the water to be sprayed evenly across the entire green and wastes less water than traditional methods like sprinklers.

Third, consider the required water pressure and flow rate. This is usually done by estimating how much water is needed in each time interval and then multiplying that number by the average time duration of that interval, such as a day or week.

Fourth is to decide on whether to use a large-flow, low-pressure system or vice versa. Large-flow systems are more efficient when sprinklers are in one zone because they run less frequently and take up less space per sprinkler head. In comparison, low-pressure systems are more efficient when fewer sprinklers are in one zone because they run more frequently and cover more areas in fewer passes.

Commonly, the most cost-effective way to irrigate golf greens is by using undersized spray heads and low-pressure pumps. This will allow the water to be sprayed evenly across the entire green and wastes less water than traditional methods like sprinklers.

Fifth, golf courses must be irrigated year-round.

Golfer taking a tee shot

9.0 A Successful golf course requires regular maintenance

A successful golf course requires regular maintenance. This includes mowing the grass around greens and tee boxes and clearing fallen leaves or debris from cart paths. It also means replacing and repairing divots in fairways and repairing sand traps.

Divot mixes that contain sand, topsoil, and peat and are a great solution for repairing golf course tee box divots, fairway divots, and practice range divots.

The trees need to be trimmed so that they don’t interfere with play. In addition, bridges require inspection for safety issues due to weather changes or natural wear and tear over time.

Maintaining a healthy turf condition is important because it provides some level of protection against damage from insects, diseases, drought conditions, or compaction by foot traffic.

Heat is a major factor. And there are different types of it. There's consistent heat, different degrees of heat, heat spikes and both dry and wet heat. So, a balanced maintenance operation that considers all the types that the course encounters is something to have.

10.0 A few trivial insights; how to tackle sand and golf balls

The sand is used in a lot of golf courses to provide a different surface to the green. It alters the way the ball will react in contact with it, and it is also used as a hazard for players where they might be putting.

Golf courses are not only about putting. One can experience many uplifting experiences on a track. The sand is one of those features which golf courses can find that make them more challenging and interesting to play in.

10.1 How to build great sand bunkers and traps in golf course

Building a sand bunker is an art form. It requires skill and patience. There are many factors to consider when building a sand bunker. The depth of the bunker, the angle of the sides, and whether one wants it to funnel balls towards the cup are all a part of the equation.

One might wonder, what is the correct sand depth in a sand trap?

When golfers are about to putt, they need to consider the sand depth in the sand trap. If the depth of the surrounding sand is too shallow, a ball will take off quickly and may not make it into the hole. On the other hand, if there is too deep of a sand trap, a ball can get stuck easily and be hard to retrieve.

The right depth is just enough for a golfer to sink the ball in without wasting too much time or energy on digging out the sand.

10.2 How to manage golf course golf balls correctly

The golf ball is an essential part of the game. It provides players with a lightweight, aerodynamic projectile that can travel for miles and fit into small holes. It’s also a key part of the player’s equipment that makes up the game, whether casual players or professional golfers are at the greens.

The most common golf ball is made from a rubber compound, while the outer layer reduces drag on its surface.

Unfortunately, because of this design, there can be times when golf balls end up in difficult places — often in the rough grass or under trees or other obstacles. If they do get lost on the course, it’s important to know how to find them as soon as possible and how to handle them correctly after they're found .

It’s good practice to keep any loose balls off the ground. They can be placed in buckets or bags. If there is a lot of them, one might want to consider selling them.

Also, note the ball marks; they differentiate the golf balls.

11.0 How to maximize the operating life of a golf course

Point 1: Customer

There are many ways for a golf course to maximize its operating life. The most important thing is to know the customer and invest in their happiness.

One of the many reasons businesses struggles to find their voice is that they have never taken the time to know their customers. To be successful, a company needs to understand what its customers want and need, including the feelings that drive their decision-making.

A golf course is not just a business that one could close or leave for another day if the people aren’t enjoying themselves enough — it’s a place where people come to find joy, relaxation, and good company.

By anticipating the wants and needs of the customers before they even realize themselves, one can ensure that the course is a success. The best way to do this is by asking oneself: How would I feel if I come to play here?

Point 2: Success experience first

The first two holes should be easy for players of all levels to enjoy; it’s not good practice to have challenging holes too early in the round. The experience matters; it should not be too easy, nor too difficult.

Point 3: Nature aesthetics in perfect order

Grass and trees should be in perfect condition. Few flowers here and there might add beauty. Though a golf course is highly artificial, one should make the players feel like they are surrounded by lush and beautiful nature.

Point 4: A clear map

A clear map to the clubhouse, restrooms, and other important areas before they start playing is important.

Point 5: Adequate rest

Benches, where golfers can rest during the round if they need them, are essential.

Point 6: Not let them miss the best parts

Highlight the course’s signature hole(s). Consider creating a story around it. Make it alive and tangible.

Point 7: Provide refreshments and snacks

It helps to have food and drinks available at every turn to avoid golfers getting thirsty or hungry.

Point 8: Good service goes a long way

Evaluate if it makes sense to have the staff meet and greet players with a smile and a handshake. Be courteous to all golfers, especially those who have faux pas.

Point 9: Cleanliness

It’s common sense to have all golf carts are clean and in good condition. Also, keep the restrooms in top condition. Especially those that are out in the greens.

Point 10: Help to up their game

Offer advice and training on the course to help folks play better.

Hole in one

12.0 Conclusion and what to do next

This guide gave you the essential points on what it is like to managa a golf course effectively and efficiently while saving money on labour and equipment while guiding you on soil monitoring technology. Whether it’s just playing on a course or participating the work yourself, we presented you with some of the best techniques in managing and maintaining a golf course.

We talked about how to best maintain greens, fairways, roughs, tee boxes, and other golf course features by providing overviews on all aspects of these areas. We covered watering, irrigation, team and regular maintenance practices. We looked at the common checklists and inspired you to build your own.

And, finally, we discussed the customer experience, which is at the core of having a golf course a long life since happy customers mean an enduring business.

Remember, lowering costs and increasing revenues is key to a good profitability. 

We wish you all the best times in the sport we all love!

And, if you haven't yet, check out how Meadow Club benefits using underground wireless soil sensors and soil monitoring in their golf course maintenance, eplained by superintendent Kevin Hauschel.

EXTRA: A short glossary of golf course maintenance

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Adam Sedgwick is one of Soil Scouts experienced turf-pros

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