Turf MD: Top five golf pet peeves

By |  April 28, 2022 0 Comments
Karl Danneberger

Karl Danneberger, Ph.D

A great benefit of working in the golf industry is that the customer, or golfer, is excited to be there.

Surveys and studies have identified how golfers’ excitement and anticipation builds ranging from the ideal drive time to a golf course to the expectation of entering a golf club. 

Golf is a game people approach with a high degree of excitement and anticipation. Every day is a good day when you are playing golf — unless it rains. You don’t play golf because you think of it as a workday. 

This is not to say that when you work in golf or play golf, things can become annoying, rude or frustrating. 

It’s not all sunshine and roses

From a maintenance perspective, there are a few things that golfers do that are annoying. I’ll focus on what golfers can do to the turf, not what is annoying to the other golfers in their group. 

That is an entirely different topic.

Putting green putzing. A good place to start is the practice putting green. Increasingly, I have noticed golfers — especially the better players — will stand in the same position when practice putting, hitting the same putt over and over again. The vast majority of golfers who hit a few practice putts prior to teeing off are not an issue. It is the golfer who stands in the same place for what seems like an hour, hitting the same putt. 

In summertime conditions, the result is severe turf thinning and death under the shoes. Recovery is slow during the summer.

No spray zone

Moving to the course, I find several annoying things.

Spray it somewhere else. I really don’t understand why some golfers apply insect repellent while standing on the putting green. Insect repellent symptoms often appear as healthy green footprints surrounded by a brownish, rather circular area. Fortunately, the turf often recovers with new leaf growth. Still, golfers should apply the insect repellent in the parking lot or, if necessary, in the rough.

It’s a green, not an ashtray. A small burn area caused by a lit cigar placed on a putting green is not only annoying but just poor golf etiquette. Even the action of flicking ashes onto the putting green can cause turf injury. I think a significant number of cigar-smoking golfers are not aware that cigar holders for golfers are available, many for less than 10 dollars.

Common courtesy. Not fixing ball marks is a common annoyance. Fixing a ball mark has been part of golf etiquette since I think the first ball mark was made. Fixing a ball mark is one of the really cool things about walking onto a green. 

Making a ball mark represents a decent golf shot has been hit with a degree of spin.

I can excuse the previous annoying issues to some extent because the golfer may not know or be aware of the issue. 

Respect the green. But, taking a divot on a green is one of the worst things a golfer can do. In this case,
 it is destruction of property. This type of damage shows a total lack of respect for the course and club. Repairing this type of damage takes time, money
and effort. 

Pride in perfection 

Most of the annoying or rude things mentioned above take place on the putting green. Putting greens are where you strive for maintenance perfection, no matter the course’s budget or history. 

Unfortunately, the closer you strive to perfection, the more your imperfections show. We could eliminate much of the small annoyances and frustrations agronomically if golfers looked at greens as a point of pride.

I have only mentioned a few agronomically annoying things that occur on a golf course. I’m interested in hearing the annoying things or behaviors you have observed. 

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