Before you can satisfy expectations of members and guests at your golf coursed facility, it would be prudent to determine their exact nature so that you can accurately identify which goal or purpose you are working towards. Setting written standards with the committee and/or owner of a golf course goes a long way to creating reality and agreement on where your priorities lie, and only then can you focus your energies to achieve some mutual understanding and perceived benefit for the Club.

Another purpose for implementing maintenance standards is to provide continuity in the goals of the committee and/or owner and guidelines from year to year. These policy standards should be written down in a formal manual, which can be adjusted after each year’s performance to correct and/or change components that were either not successful or not accepted.

Areas that can be standardized include:
Greens: The benchmark green speeds should be set in accordance with the season and or weather conditions. For example, during the monsoon seasons you would want to raise the height of cut to protect the health of the turf. If the membership supported this policy, they would understand that, in order to provide great greens for the golf season, they would have to endure slower green speeds during the monsoon season, when it is the most stressful time to grow turf. Also, coring and renovation timelines and procedures could be spelled out and planned annually according to set policy. Members would then know what to expect and schedule visits with their VIP guests accordingly.

Tees: Guidelines should be set for tee leveling and uniformity, along with listing the mowing heights, divot repair procedures and marker rotations.

Fairways: Fairway width can be standardized, and mowing heights and cultural practices can be included to set objectives for turf density, fairway firmness and uniformity.

Bunkers: This most volatile area can be discussed and a general agreement can be detailed to include sand firmness and frequency of hand-raking versus machine-raking, and edging schedules of bunkers can be set to ensure consistency. 

Roughs: Heights of cut, mowing frequencies and density of the turf can be decided upon and adapted to members’ preferences depending on the age and/or skill level of your members and guests.

Landscaping & Tree Maintenance: Since these areas also require continual maintenance and care, it can be determined how much the Club is willing to invest in them in the long term. All too often, new Committees add more trees and flowerbeds without consideration for future financial implications. Furthermore, since trees have a negative impact on the eventual quality of the turf, the golf course management should carefully identify and recommend which types of trees and/or shrubbery to plant.

In summary, these standards can be plain and simple, and can be professionally developed by an external consulting agency in coordination with the committee and management.

Other successful businesses have standard policies and procedures that help them achieve customer satisfaction. Likewise, golf course facilities should also have a written manual for daily and long-term operations. When performed accurately, this will bring management and membership to a better understanding of what is expected, needed and wanted for our golfing public.

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