Reflections From 2009 – We Survived Just Fine (More Or Less) February 27, 2015

Reflections From 2009 – We Survived Just Fine (More Or Less)

By Stanley J. Zontek, Director
December 16, 2009


As we prepare for the holidays, it is good to reflect on the past year. 2009 has been a challenging year in many different ways for golf courses in the Mid-Atlantic Region. That said, much of the gloom and doom about golf course closings, membership decline, and the economy, while serious, were not catastrophes. In fact, our region of the country seems to have survived many of these problems better than most. Was it luck or the natural tendency of golf course turf managers to be, (1) inherently conservative and (2) good managers under stress? Either way, catastrophes out on the golf course were few and far between.

What was also good was that most of the golf courses we visited this season were under budget. All courses were asked to either maintain the existing budget or to reduce costs. While it was a struggle, the "heroes" at many golf facilities were the grounds department and how well they controlled costs. These actions no doubt helped all parts of the facility survive the lower incomes and great unknowns of 2009.

2010 will have its own challenges with, hopefully, more generous operating budgets. Most inventories have been exhausted, equipment continues to wear out and, you just cannot defer golf course maintenance for very long as invariably it will show.

From the agronomy to the personal, this is a great time of the year to realize how fortunate most all of us are.

  • Appreciate Your Staff. No one can do every job on the golf course. You need a motivated staff to prepare and present the golf course to the level of maintenance the golfers expect. Thank your employees who work for you and the course. It is a tough job maintaining today’s golf courses.
  • Appreciate Your Employer and Your Family. Without the support from both, the job could not be accomplished as efficiently or as effectively. We live and work in a great industry.
  • Give Thanks. All of us have much to worry about, but we also have much to be thankful for this year.
  • The Coming Year. Start thinking about your list of professional "New Year’s Resolutions." Did you attend enough seminars? Do you take time to read enough? Did you spend too much or too little time on the computer? The winter is a good time to catch up on all those technical journals that may be collecting dust on your desk. Get prepared for the 2010 season.

On behalf of the Mid-Atlantic Region staff, Keith Happ, Sr. Agronomist, Darin Bevard, Sr. Agronomist, our administrative assistants, Laura Niehaus, Marti Zontek and Pat Stairiker and me, Stan Zontek, we wish all those reading this update, a very merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and a happy and healthy New Year. Peace, and be well.

Source: Stan Zontek ( or Darin Bevard ( at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ ( at 412/ 341-5922.