This article is reprinted from the May, 2020, Volume 58, Issue 10 of the USGA Green Section Record. Copyright United States Golf Association. All rights reserved.
The good news is that golf is back in all 50 states. The bad news is that many courses are operating with a reduced maintenance staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While maintaining a golf course with fewer employees and resources is a short-term adjustment to the current situation, it may also represent a new business model at some facilities.
One of the challenges of operating with fewer staff members is the potentially negative impact on course conditions and playing quality. These are the most important factors in golfer satisfaction and can determine whether players walk off the course happy and eager to return or leave disappointed and thinking twice about coming back to play.
One solution to this dilemma is making sure resources are being applied to the areas that come into play most and have the greatest impact on golfer satisfaction. Definitive knowledge of golfer traffic can help facility managers to answer questions such as:
How far right are golfers hitting it in the rough on the 6th hole so we can introduce a low-maintenance rough area to save costs without slowing pace of play?
How far can we move up the start of the fairway on the 12th hole without creating a carry that is too long from the forward tee?
Of the three fairway bunkers guarding the dogleg of the 11th hole, which one are golfers hitting into the most?