Every morning, golf course superintendents and their maintenance teams work hard to prepare golf courses; without their efforts there wouldn’t be golf courses to enjoy. Unfortunately, labor costs are rising and it is becoming increasingly difficult for superintendents to hire and retain workers. These challenges are driving significant changes in golf course maintenance.
“With workers in short supply and costs rising, golf facilities everywhere are rethinking their maintenance programs and focusing on the tasks that will have the most positive impact on the golf experience,” said Dave Oatis, director of the USGA Green Section’s Northeast Region.
“An easy way for golf courses to streamline maintenance is by reducing the number of course accessories such as ball washers, benches and ornamental planting beds. Golfers do not need these accessories to enjoy their round and tending to them can take hundreds of hours away from maintaining the playing areas each year.”
Like many golf courses, the West Course at Westchester (N.Y.) Country Club had numerous course accessories. Meant to be conveniences, these accessories increased maintenance costs, diverted resources from primary playing areas and gave the golf course a cluttered appearance.
As part of a recent renovation project, Westchester Country Club dramatically reduced the number of course accessories on the West Course. David Dudones, director of golf and grounds, said there were two primary motivations for the change: “We wanted to focus our staff’s time where it would have the most impact on the golf experience and we wanted to restore a clean and uncluttered look to the golf course.”
“We were pressing to keep up with daily maintenance, but we also spent a lot of time on ball washers, benches and flower beds. That just didn’t make sense.”