A major topic of conversation for golf course superintendents the last two years has been how the economy is effecting maintenance budgets. Superintendents and allied associations have been working hard to come up with answers to the question of how to maintain premium playing conditions while reducing expenses. The USGA published a poll which shows where its participants are focusing these budget cuts.
Survey results are very similar to my instituted plan at The Farms Country Club.
The key to a successful plan is to focus cuts in areas that least effect the member experience. Primary play areas like greens, tees and fairways, continue to be maintained at a very high level. Areas that are less frequented by players like bunkers, rough, etc., receive reduced maintenance. The introduction of more naturalized areas, beautification focusing on more sustainable plant materials, reduced bunker maintenance at off peak times, reduced pesticide applications to "non-prime" areas and other cost reducing programs have made a difference in keeping member satisfaction high while keeping expenses on target with our reduced 2010 budget.