Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cart Path Restrictions

After heavy rains, golf courses often have to restrict cart traffic.  There are generally two types of restrictions: no carts available or cart path only.  We do this to limit damage to the course and ensure playability for the season. 

The following is from the Golf Course Superintendents Association:

For the sake of your golf course, remember that golf car traffic can cause damage to the golf course that is both unsightly and expensive to repair. Tire ruts in soft, wet areas can take weeks to heal. Compaction caused by heavy traffic can ruin the playing surface. As a result, most courses have a standard golf car policy and sometimes employ temporary restrictions due to weather, construction or other factors.

Golf course superintendents only put restrictions such as "Paths Only" rules in place when they feel it's necessary to protect the turf from damage. (GCSAA Article)
After the heavy rains Thursday, we had to restrict carts to paths only for two days.  During that time, we had some golfers stray from the paths with visible results. 

The pictures below show why we occasionally have to restrict cart usage:

As a superintendent, I really dislike having to restrict cart usage to the paths but you can see why it is important.  Imagine if 10 people decided to go off the path instead of the 2 or 3 that probably did.  If the areas you can see in the pictures were driven over multiple times, these areas would be damaged for weeks or even months. 

To summarize, cart path restrictions are put in place by the people who really know the condition of the golf course and they are for every one's benefit.  Just like frost delays, no one likes them -- but they are necessary for the health of the course.

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