4 Golf Course Management Tips to Keep Your Golfers Happy & Safe

  • Aug 18, 2016

One of the most critical challenges facing the golf course superintendent has always been satisfying golfers. Same as any business, a golf course wants happy customers without a list of complaints or injuries. Attaining that goal, however, is not always simple; especially when golfers tend to ask for things that won’t really improve their experience. A survey conducted by Golf Digest and the University of Minnesota found that the top three things that actually make golfers happy are course conditions, design and their score.


While the nature of the game makes the third request a bit more unrealistic for golf course managers to fulfill, good course conditions and design can definitely keep your customers happy. Below are the five biggest tips to creating a happier, safer environment for your golfers.

1. Don’t Forget About the Rough

Golfers hate it, but they hate it even more when it’s poorly maintained. Taking care of the rough throughout your golf course can be one of the most time-consuming, painstaking tasks for golf course management. Moisture, players on the course, length and density of the grass, topography and obstacles all affect how long it takes to ensure proper course conditions in the rough. To save money and resources, try leaving your rough to be as natural as possible and use plant growth regulators to reduce cutting and overall input of resources.

2. Perfect Your Putting Green Set Up

Course design is extremely important to golfers, so the design of your putting greens has to be nearly perfect to satisfy the people that visit your course. The USGA preaches the “Big Three” of putting green setup, which are: Firmness, Slope and Speed. Last year, the PGA reported that firm fairways and fast greens are a top request by modern golfers. Good drainage, irrigation systems and angular sands tend to create favorable firm greens.

3. Renovate Your Sand Bunkers

This tip is important for both the conditions of your course and the health of your golfers. Old sand bunkers need to be renovated for one of the following reasons: contaminated sand, deteriorated edges, poor construction and/or poor drainage. When renovating your bunker, choose USGA-standard particle size and shape (particles between the 0.25 and 1.00mm range). To preserve a freshly renovated bunker, make sure your team performs regular maintenance.

4. Adopt a “Lightning Safety Plan”

Many golfers are realizing that “Play at your own risk” golf courses aren’t worth the risk anymore. Golf accounted for 28% of sports-related lightning deaths in the U.S. from the years 2006-2013 and since then many courses have developed a lightning safety plan that includes severe weather monitoring, customized thunderstorm alerts or an on-site lightning detector. Raising lightning awareness and protecting your golfers from dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes are critical steps in keeping your golfers safe and happy.