Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cart Traffic

Motorized equipment create wear and tear on the golf course. We have been lucky to have a mild summer and some nice rain over the past 3 months. As summer comes to an end and fall begins, our turfgrass is transitioning as well. It has been mowed and been driven upon thousands of times by our maintenance equipment and golf carts. We attempt to reduce this wear and tear with the various cultural practices we perform on the turf. We also attempt to reduce mechanical wear and tear by changing our routes, not mowing during wet conditions and utilizing a lighter weight piece of equipment.

On the course, we use different items to help us control cart traffic.
  • We keep carts on paths during wet conditions
  • We restrict carts to fairways to help reduce damage to the rough.
  • We have the green and yellow stripped exit posts in which we ask our members and guests to not drive their cart past these stakes toward our green approaches and proceed to the cart path.
  • We use directional signs, ropes and stakes to reduce wear patterns and keep carts out of wet or damaged turf areas.

The picture below illustrates some wear from golf carts coming straight down the hill on #3 and using the walk path to drive onto the fairway. Sometimes a ball might be at the bottom of the hill just at the beginning of the fairway. It would be best if all carts entered from along side of the fairway and not from the tee side of the fairway. The area is much longer along the side and can distribute the traffic patterns in more appropriate way. It is also more visually pleasing to see the hole without cart traffic driving straight through the rough and directly into the fairway. Bring the cart more perpendicular into the side of play improves the overall playability and look of the hole. Walk paths should be avoided by carts because they are cut at 1 1/3 inches which is half the cutting height of the normal rough height which makes it more susceptible to damage from cart traffic.

Also, another thing to keep in mind when you are operating carts is to attempt to drive from the fairway to the cart path in a nice area of rough instead of following the path of other carts. We attempt to move our stakes, ropes and signs on a regular basis but on a busy day, 50-60 carts could be potentially driving over the same area. Driving 15-20 feet in a different direction would be much appreicated by our tired old grass.

No doubt there will be some wear patterns developing in some areas. With our traffic control efforts and our members knowledge of how to reduce cart traffic damage, our turf should be able to withstand the pressure that motorized equipment can create.


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