How can golf clubs protect their course?

By: BIGGA | Tue 13 Jun 2017 | Comments ()

In times gone by, golf was a warm season sport, and during the winter the clubs would be stored away in the garage.

A number of things have changed since then, not least the development of waterproof clothing, trolleys and carts, and these days golf has become a year-round sport.

However, what that means is golf courses and the greenkeepers who look after them are no longer afforded a recovery period, where the team can get the everything in prime condition and projects can be completed, free from the need to keep the course open for golfers.

Golfers want their course to be in pristine condition, not least when spring comes around and Augusta Syndrome – the knock-on effect caused by golfers watching the US Masters and then going out and expecting their course to be of a similar standard – is in full swing.


What most don’t realise, however, is that Augusta National is completely closed throughout the summer, giving the turf chance to recover after the Major, and protecting it from the additional wear and tear caused by golf during the hot Georgia summer.

If the UK’s greenkeepers are to present as good a course as possible, it’s necessary for them to implement some techniques that protect the course from excessive wear and tear, which can be costly and time consuming to correct, and cause the reputation of a course to suffer drastically.


In out of play areas, pathways through very wet or heavily congested areas of the course are a good way to direct golfers along specific routes, allowing other areas to recover.

Roping-off and GUR

If a green keeper has declared an area out of play and put up Ground Under Repair notices, these should be respected at all times. Players who land in these areas should take relief, and the penalty for a breach could be along the lines of the loss of the hole in matchplay or a two shot penalty in strokeplay.

Winter tees

Winter tees will help protect your actual tee box in the winter months.


Fairways can be partially rested in specific landing areas by introducing winter drop zones or confining play to semi-rough areas. The use of portable mats or an insistence on teeing up is another form of resting. During these periods communication and education of members is vital.

Reduce the use of buggies and trolleys

The soil compaction and turfgrass wear caused by buggies and trolleys can cause serious damage. The weight of buggies, the golfers and their equipment all tend to injure the soil structure.

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British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association

BIGGA is dedicated to the continuing professional development of its 5,700 members, BIGGA works hard through education and training to raise standards in golf course management throughout the greenkeeping profession.

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