The USGA and golf course maintenance

Robert Lewis

I thought the USGA was only about handicapping, conducting 13 major golf championships each year, professional and amateur ratings, free USGA hat when you sign up, rules and more rules and yes—more rules.

But did you know that the USGA has a significant Course Consulting Service (CCS). The CCS started in 1953 and permits individual facilities to reap the benefits of on-site visits by highly skilled USGA agronomists located in Green Offices throughout the country. Their experience helps golf course staff and officials (Green Committee Members) produce the best possible golf turf for the dollars that can be spent. The CCS’s purpose is not to tell anyone how to run a golf course or what products to buy. Rather, it brings a wealth of information and impartial, yet concerned, perspective regarding turfgrass growth requirements, how these requirements might be best managed for golf and ideas that other golf courses have found to be beneficial.

The list of various videos, news articles, etc. associated with the USGA can be found at Then click on Serving the Game at the top of the page, then click on Course Care. This page presents information on Tools and Discussion, Green Section Record and USGA Green Section. All contained a plethora of topics to satisfy those following the future of our Quail Creek Golf Course.

The Green Committee, in conjunction with the Course Superintendent and Quail Creek General Manager, has had two primary studies done to continue evaluating the course conditions.

The USGA has provided recommendations on a variety of topics to include turf reduction, water usage, evaluation of Greens and bunkers to name a few.

As for greens and greens conditions; a typical green, with proper maintenance and proper draining, can last for 30 years. We are at that age for the Quail nine holes. The Champion grass currently on the greens has been contaminated with other grasses. You will notice this when putting as the ball will tend to “bump” over these areas. With this said the USGA evaluations and recommendations are critical to ensure that, when necessary, the best quality replacement grass will be used.

The USGA website identifies regional offices that specifically address the location and weather conditions for the area being evaluated. Area specific evaluations as well as the experience supporting golf courses in our area add to the experience of the USGA local representatives but also to the quality of the recommendations. In addition, the USGA evaluations cover all aspects of course age, conditions and use (irrigation, turf reduction, bunker maintenance, green maintenance, etc.). This overall approach will save money when work is done in a methodical approach considering all aspects of work to be completed.

Our course is in very good condition for this time of year. The continued Green Committee oversight, management attention and support from our community will ensure we continue to see our home prices remain constant and our attention to water conversation unwavering.