Letter to the Editor: Where golf is today in America

By |  November 8, 2017 0 Comments


I finally was able to sit down and read your latest column in the September issue of Golfdom, “Disparate Golf Destinations.” Being from rural Nebraska, I’ve had similar weekends, from playing on exclusive courses to low-budget and sand-green facilities. But my real take from your story is the illustration of what and where golf is today in America.

Everybody, whether they play golf or not, can relate to the “picture-perfect” Tour courses they see on TV every week. They are in perfect condition and they have unlimited budgets to achieve that perfection. These superintendents are under an enormous amount of pressure to deliver an unflawed product! Unfortunately, many of the masses who watch TV and do not play golf assume these courses are the “norm” of the industry and are the playgrounds for the wealthy.

Your example of the other extreme is a 9-hole sand-greens course…. low budget, low maintenance and maybe a staff made up of one part-timer who might even donate his time. When I moved to McCook, Neb., 37 years ago to build and manage our 18-hole facility, there were five sand green courses in the smaller communities surrounding McCook. Now there are one-and-a-half sand courses. The others have converted to grass greens. You might be wondering about the “half” course? It is a community that is converting to grass greens at a rate of two per year… they currently have four grass and five sand. This too, is also representative of golf in America!

Your third example (Topgolf) can be representative of golf’s future and our ability to evolve and be innovative in today’s changing business environment.

To me, the real message of your column is the importance of those courses in the middle. These courses are operating as a small business model (and) are striving to produce the best quality product possible with the resources they have. Your examples illustrate the diversity of golf… and they all play a pivotal role in our industry!

Bill Bieck, CGCS
Course Operations Manager
Heritage Hills GC
McCook, Neb.

This is posted in Uncategorized

Post a Comment