Golf is a $70 billion industry in the US that has employed well over 2 million Americans. Managing a golf course is no small task – the average golf course is 74 acres. Regular golf course maintenance is what keeps members happy and coming back. This year, 48% of golf courses increased their maintenance budget by 9% as compared to the previous year’s budget.
There is a reason golf courses constantly increase their maintenance budget year after year. A well-maintained golf course is one of the most important things that keep members happy. How does it exactly keep members happy and satisfied and how you can proceed with golf course maintenance that exceeds members’ expectations?
What is Golf Course Maintenance?
Golf course maintenance is a series of actions that are aimed at maintaining the golf course resources and ensuring all the resources work as expected. In includes repair and replacement, mowing, ball marks elimination, carts availability, aeration, divot repair, improving playing conditions, etc. These are some of the repair and maintenance tasks that need to be conducted daily.
Maintenance teams mow the turf, change hole locations, inspect the irrigation system, rake bunkers, move tree markers, irrigate, and check water quality in wetlands. One of the most critical issues that golf courses faced in 2018 is related to turf loss due to pests.
Issues like these can be tackled best with preventative maintenance techniques where you routinely schedule small tasks and inspections for everything from pest control to landscaping duties.
Golf course maintenance is a continuous process and the core purpose is to keep it in working condition all the time and to repair what’s broken.
Ways to Keep Members Happy
Golf course maintenance is all about keeping members happy. How you do it?
Well, there are several ways to maintain a golf course and country club to keep members delighted every single day. The best ones are covered below.
1. Remove Ball Marks
Removal of ball marks and perfecting putting green should be your top priority. It is one of the most important golf course maintenance activity that needs to be done daily. Even if you don’t remove ball marks daily, you should inspect the putting greens and tee boxes for other signs of wear and tear.
The golf ball makes depression and marks in the putting surface when it falls from the sky. These depressions make the putting green uneven and damage the grass.
Ball marks ruin slope and speed and is something that isn’t just against the rules and etiquettes but it doesn’t make members happy. No golfer likes having an errant ball divot misdirect their putt. Having a staff member inspect each green with a ball mark repair tool to fix all the ball marks is a surefire way to make members happy.
2. Putting Green Perfection
Putting green perfection is what all golfers expect from the golf course. Research shows that firm fairways and fast greens are the top priorities of today’s golfers. According to USGA, you need to follow the Big Three approach for putting green:
A firm putting green is preferable. Firmness controls the speed of the ball when it lands on the putting green. Firm putting greens will ensure that the ball moves far from where it lands (the point of impact). Speed refers to the rolling speed of the golf ball. The slope refers to the slope around the hole.
These three characteristics make or break a putting green. In order to make a perfect putting green you need to make sure that the putting green is firm, the slops are well-managed near the hole, and the ball rolls freely.
USGA has three tools that you can use to manage firmness, speed, and slope of putting green. The tools are: Stimpmeter, TruFirm, and a digital level.
3. Rake Bunkers
Bunkers or sand bunkers are used to test golfer’s ability to play in the sand (or avoid hitting the sand). Bunkers represent a temporary handicap, one that can be overcome with skill, determination and luck. More than 52% of players reported that the presence of a high-quality bunker makes them happy.
Not only do you need to have bunkers in your golf course but you have to ensure that they’re high-quality and well-managed. Not sure how to maintain a golf course bunker, follow these tips:
- Create multiple access points for motorized rakes for each bunker that you design.
- Ensure bunkers have a proper drainage system and no water from other areas enter in the bunker.
- Rake bunkers daily to remove footprints and to level the sand.
- Keep sand depth in the bunker between 4-6 inches.
- Mowing the turf that’s around the bunker edges needs to be done regularly (not daily though).
- Make sure you follow USGA standards for designing, construction, and maintenance of bunkers.
Bunkers need special attention from your maintenance team. Raking bunkers daily or multiple times a week is an absolute must. This is essential if you want to make golfers happy and stick with your golf club.
4. Repair Divots
Often, players cut a piece of turf when stroking the ball or with their boots. It is common and something that can’t be avoided. Repairing these divots is a common golf club maintenance practice. The most important divots to repair are those in the primary field of play – the teebox, the fairway, and greens.
Players don’t do it intentionally and the turf isn’t damaged daily. It depends on the number of members and the size of your golf club. If it’s heavily used, you might see quite a few divots daily. You need to repair them because damaged turf makes players unhappy.
Nobody likes playing in a club with divots. It doesn’t look pleasing and it ruins the game. Make sure that all divots (minor or major) are repaired timely.
5. Member Benefits
If there is one thing that will make members happy, it is the benefits that they get. Almost 63% of members reported that they were happy with their club’s member benefits. Many benefits require routine maintenance and inspection checks to ensure they are being delivered as promised.
What types of benefits will make them happy? Here are a few top-rated ones:
- Ease of booking a tee and special discounts
- Clean and well stocked locker rooms – including minor pleasantries like mouthwash, shaving kits, fresh clean towels and more.
- Well stocked golf amenities including tees, filled sand bottles (for divot repairs), functional golf carts, etc.
- Clean restrooms throughout the course. Just because the 9th hole restroom is out in the middle of a golf course doesn’t mean members won’t have high expectations.
- Timely responses for reported maintenance issues
Most of these benefits are require a small amount of effort but on a consistent basis. Using a tool like MaintainX can help remind the appropriate team members when tasks need to be performed so nothing falls through the cracks.
6. Golf Carts Maintenance
Golf course maintenance is incomplete without golf carts maintenance. If you have a well-managed turf but your carts are not well-maintained and aren’t serviced on time, it won’t make the members happy. Golf cart repair and maintenance are essential for providing golfers with a great experience.
If you’re using electric golf carts, inspect them every week. Here are a few tips to keep golf carts functional:
- Wash carts every single day.
- Charge batteries daily and ensure all the golf carts are fully charged.
- Service batteries regularly.
- Check tire pressure.
- Check for oil leakages.
- Inspect the water level daily.
- Repair carts on time.
Well-maintained golf carts that keep running smoothly without any issues keep golfers happy and satisfied.
7. Lightning Safety
The death rate due to lightning for golf is fairly high. Statistics show that 5% of all lightning deaths (and injuries) in the US happened in golf courses. This is something that golfers are really concerned about. If your golf course provides them safety against lightning, they will be a lot happier and satisfied.
You need to create awareness, create shelters, and ensure the timely rescue of the golfers in case of lightning and a thunderstorm. This means you have to train your workforce as to how they should create awareness and how they should rescue golfers in case of a lightning emergency. Standard operating procedures for all hazardous scenarios should be easily accessible for your staff to ensure compliance and satisfaction.
Keeping Member Happy is a Challenge
Golf course maintenance isn’t easy and excellence is often the expected standard. If your golf facilities are in need of improvement, the first thing you should do is hire an expert. Use a golf course maintenance manager job description to recruit a maintenance manager with experience overseeing these complex operations.
Next, use a tool for golf club maintenance to keep repair and maintenance organized. There are far too many tasks that need to be performed consistently to remember or track without a modern system. A tool like MaintainX will automate most of the maintenance tasks in your golf course. Workers will know what they have to do, when it is to be done, what resources they need, and how it is to be done.
Finally, use these 7 ways to keep your members happy by presenting them with a well-maintained golf course and resources they expect. Your members will be proud and excited to share the results far and wide.