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Managing a Golf Course: How to Keep Your Golf Course Maintenance Under Par

Managing a Golf Course: How to Keep Your Golf Course Maintenance Under Par

Golf is one of the oldest modern sports, and for good reason. Golf has stood the test of time because it’s more than a sport; it’s an experience. People love hitting the course because it’s an escape from the everyday routine—a chance to spend time outside in a well-maintained environment and enjoy the fresh air for a bit.

Keyword: well-maintained.

Effective golf course maintenance is essential to creating an enjoyable experience out on the links. This entails both preventative and routine maintenance, as one issue could reverberate throughout the course (or country club) and lead to major guest dissatisfaction. In this blog, we will discuss how you can ensure your golf course is always in peak condition.

Let’s face it—we’ve all played courses that had no doubt seen better days. The last thing you want is your guests thinking this about your course. That would be pretty rough…(get it?). Keep reading to learn how you can keep your course operations in the fairway.

What is a Golf Course Maintenance Plan?

The best way to keep your golf course running smoothly is by creating an ongoing maintenance plan and implementing it. Whether you run your own course or manage one for a country club, you need a firm grasp on the grounds conditions of your golf course, maintenance equipment inventory, and day-to-day costs of managing your course facilities.

A golf course maintenance plan is a multi-faceted document or system that centralizes all of your course’s unique needs in one place. The fewer management tools you use, the better. This avoids confusion, redundancies in information, and ultimately saves your course time and money, while simultaneously increasing employee efficiency and satisfaction with the system used. Your maintenance plan should include the following components.

Groundskeeping Schedule

To keep your course in tip-top shape, you need a clearly defined schedule for when each task needs to be completed. Below, we’ve listed the most essential tasks that should be clearly laid out in your golf course maintenance schedule.

  • Mowing and rolling putting greens - Depending on the time of year (particularly in warmer months), your greens will likely need to be mowed every day. If you are not mowing the greens every day, you’ll definitely still need to roll them. This ensures smoothness and a high-quality putting experience for your guests.
  • Raking bunkers - Bunkers should be raked multiple times a week. Despite it being an unwritten rule that golfers should re-rake bunkers after hitting from them, we all know that not every golfer lives up to this expectation. The good news is that your larger sandtraps can be raked using a riding bunker rake, which will save you tons of time.
  • Resetting tee markers and pins - Tee markers and pins should be moved frequently to avoid excessive divots and wear and tear in the same spots. This can be up to your discretion depending on how busy your course is, but we recommend moving your tee boxes and pins every two days at the longest. This also keeps golfers on their toes as they won’t be repeating the same shots day in and day out.
  • Mowing tee boxes, approaches, and fairways - Just like your greens, you need to regularly trim your tees, approaches, and fairways to keep your course presentable and playable. Again, the frequency depends on the season, but you’ll likely want to mow these areas once a week at the very least. Here are some of the best mowers to invest in for your course.
  • Emptying trash, filling coolers, and tidying restrooms - Not all golfers are the same, but we’d dare to say a considerable portion like to enjoy a drink (or a few) while they play. It’s essential that you empty the trash every morning. You also need to refill your water coolers every day or so, because golfers need to stay hydrated being out in the sun for hours on end. Lastly, don’t forget to regularly check that course and facility bathrooms are clean and functional.
  • Fertilizing your course - While the outer fringe areas of each hole need minimal mowing, they do require a fair amount of fertilization and watering. As for your fairways and greens, you’ll need to apply fertilizer every couple of months or so.
  • Aeration - It’s a bittersweet process for golf course maintenance workers everywhere. Aerating your course is a lot of work but fortunately only needs to be done one to three times a year. The plus-side for maintenance workers is that they’ll probably be making time-and-a-half with how long it takes to shovel out all the cores left behind.

A clear groundskeeping schedule will keep everyone on the same page when it comes to accomplishing the aforementioned maintenance tasks. Electronically assigning and tracking completion of these tasks will avoid confusion between workers and hold each individual accountable for their responsibilities.

Inventory Tracking for Golf Course Maintenance Equipment

Inventory management is a key facet of your golf course maintenance plan. Because a large portion of your equipment is used on a daily basis, equipment error and failure should be expected.

It’s vitally important that every piece of equipment is well documented and all maintenance and inspections are noted by date. Poor documentation and tracking can lead you to fall behind on maintenance and daily operations.

It can be hard to document and keep track of the status of golf course maintenance equipment. Fortunately, there is automated software that can make inventory tracking much more efficient. A CMMS platform like FlowPath also has reporting abilities too, so you’ll know exactly what your inventory status is and can even be automatically notified when it’s time to perform inspections and replace equipment and tools. Our solution will improve the accuracy of your inventory documentation, save you from potential losses, and reduce headaches among your maintenance workers by minimizing time spent dealing with inefficient asset management.

Structured Budget Allocation

When developing your golf course maintenance plan, understanding the costs of the most common and important maintenance actions is essential. Obviously, groundskeeping will be the most costly maintenance action given all the product and effort that goes into making the course look effortlessly beautiful. Your course upkeep budget can be broken down into equipment cost, labor cost, and employing an average-size maintenance staff.

Your staff should include a superintendent, multiple assistants, a groundskeeper, mechanic, irrigation technician, and spray technician. Depending on the size of your course, some employees may play multiple roles, or you may need to hire additional specialists.

Essential items and equipment that will also need to be factored into your budget include:

  • Mowing equipment
  • Shop tools
  • Course accessories (like tees, pins, markers, and signage)
  • Maintenance carts
  • Fuel, electricity, and water
  • Fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides
  • Irrigation parts
  • Sand
  • Software and data collection devices

It’s also vital that you designate some of your budget for unexpected expenses that could arise. One big pain point for country clubs and courses is when random, unexpected costs lead to increased member prices. This can cause guest dissatisfaction but can easily be mitigated by setting aside a portion of your budget specifically for these situations.

Streamline Your Golf Course Maintenance with FlowPath

Your golf course maintenance plan is how you can future-proof your facility. All of the processes that we just mentioned can be implemented with the help of FlowPath. Our “hole-in-one” solution helps you automate work orders, maintenance, and events, track inventory, and manage projects with a single software tool.

Keeping things running smoothly (not just the greens) will keep your members happy and keep the money flowing in. FlowPath could be the golf course or country club management software you’ve been missing. Schedule a demo today to see what simplified facility maintenance can do for your golf club.

For more tips on facilities management, check out our recent podcast with Laurel Brooks, CFM of the United States Golf Association (USGA).

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