Want to Make Friends and Impress People? Here are the Best Times to Show Off Your Home Course

Brett Chapin, Property Manager, Redding Country Club

Each season I am approached by a handful of members asking about how the course conditions will be in the upcoming weeks. Usually these members are making plans to bring guests to the club and want to present the course at its very best. We can work together with the members to plan ahead to ensure the best possible time for a great day of golf. Unfortunately, members also ask if optimal conditions are possible to achieve within a few days. Planning for stellar conditions is best when you have a bit of extra time to really plan ahead.

Clubs and courses in the Met Area strive to provide consistent near-tournament conditions to members on a regular basis while also maintaining the health of the turf grass. However, there are times throughout the year that courses must be disturbed for aeration. There are also instances when your superintendent is forced to back-off focus on some conditioning practices in order to focus on plant health. What does this mean to you as a golfer? First, many factors impact daily conditions but you can always find out more about your course maintenance schedule so you can plan accordingly. Your course golf and green staff are ready and willing to answer any questions you may have.

A few common practices that affect course conditions:

  • Major Aeration Practices. Most clubs will post aeration dates on the yearly calendar, available at the club. If the dates are not posted, the golf and/or green staff can answer questions and give the specific days that are targeted.
  • Weekly Topdressing. Most topdressing applications are done early in the week, generally on a Monday. This layer of sand is what helps provide your golf ball a smooth roll across the putting surface. These light applications of fine sand generally do not affect ball roll, but are visible to the golfer.
  • Club Events. Most club members know what events result in staff taking conditioning and preparation to the next level. We have several such events at my club and the attention to detail club-wide is top level. Try and attend these events and support your club. It is an excellent time to show off your club at its finest. Participation is what makes such events both possible and successful.
  • Before and After Club Events. Many golfers who do not participate in our premier events like to schedule a round of golf around the event. The day before we are working to finish preparations- the entire staff is sure to be mowing, trimming, and working all over the property. I would not recommend that day if you are looking for a quiet, social round of golf with friends. The day after the event would provide you with top conditions, but understand that there may be some additional staff at work, attending to clean up.
  • Weather. A superintendent is at the mercy of Mother Nature. It’s important to remember this unavoidable fact. If the course received multiple inches of rain the day before, green speed and bunker conditions will likely suffer. During times of high heat and humidity, green speeds typically decrease because the grass needs to be protected. In the fall, temperatures and stress levels decrease, allowing for firmer and faster conditions. If your goal is showcasing firm and fast conditions, avoid sharing your course in late July or early August when heat and humidity is at its peak.

Your golf course superintendent is available to provide you with a great experience day in and day out at your home course. Be comfortable asking questions about dates and times that will enable you to enjoy your facility and share it at its “best” with your guests. It is also important to keep in mind that what is “best” for one group you are entertaining may be different for another based on skill levels and other factors. Ask specific questions about the conditions you are looking for, and provide the staff with as much information as possible. With enough information and a little time, a recommendation that suits the preferences of you and your guests can almost always be met and your expectations fulfilled.