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Golf And Golfers – Course Preparation, How Much Do They Know?
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Golf And Golfers – Course Preparation, How Much Do they Know?

How much knowledge have golfers got of what their Green keepers do?

I had the pleasure of talking to a group of Golfers whilst Chairman of the Turf Managers Association. I began my talk with a question, I asked “What do you think your Green keeper does all day for your sporting pleasure?” The answers; cuts the grass; rakes the bunkers; moves the cups; moves the tee markers; cleans the course!

My next question was “Do you think it is hard work?” The answer no. One person, the audacity to say “Grass is grass, you give it water and it grows”. It was obvious that the golfers had no idea what happens behind the scenes, for them to play on the perfect fields and greens that they do. Did I have enough time to educate them? Unfortunately not, you see the average golfer has no idea how much work, knowledge, dedication and research goes into the average day of a Greenkeeper.

Golfers arrive at a facility, prepare for play, go to the first tee, and play their ball. Second and third shots, on to the green, perfectly cut with a smooth surface, cup play-ably positioned and the flag in the hole. He or she has played well, they move to the next hole without a thought of how or when readied for them. The second hole, they land in a bunker, sand smoothly raked, of even consistency, edges neatly cut and rakes supplied. Do they think how much work required to keep the hazard as such?

Does a golfer pay for his round to consider what the Green keeper's job is? No. Then should he have the right to complain about conditions on a course of which he has no knowledge? No.

To many golfers blame the course staff for conditions over which the staff have no control. Nature, the biggest element of any course, will decide the condition. That is not to say that all bad conditions are due to nature, some Greenkeepers are derelict in their duties, but are you as a golfer in a place of knowledge to apportion blame?

The greens upon which a golfer plays are the area that receives the highest attention by any Greenkeeper. Herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and fertiliser all applications made on a regular basis, vertical cutting, vertical draining, hollow tine removal, and hydro tine all physical operations required to make sure of a healthy grass. Over seeding, dusting and top-dressing, applications regularly applied. Irrigation as and when needed, dependant on the requirements of the Golf Director and what competitions planned. Repairs to pitch marks (a golfers job, conveniently forgotten), checking for diseases, grass growth, foreign grass invasion, nematode detection and many other items not known to the average golfer, undertaken daily.

Inspections of the entire course required a few times a day, staff control, paper work, machine repair and maintenance all things they must do. Sure, it is a great job if you enjoy the out doors, the challenges of nature, being surrounded by the fauna and flora and have the skin of a crocodile. Why the skin of a crocodile you ask? You work in the sun, the wind and the rain a tough skin a need, but the reason for the crocodile skin is for the unwarranted complaints of golfers, who have a bad day and blame it on you. After all a bad shot is the Greenkeepers fault!

What do friends think we do? Play Golf.

What does the committee think we do? Burn Money.

What does society think we do? Ruin the environment.

What does the Golf Pro think we do? Cut Grass.

What do the Golfers expect us to do? Play God.

What is it we actually do? More than you will ever know.

Street Talk

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