There is a new fad going around golf courses in the United States: eliminating on-course accessories. With all of the attention on golf to make it more user friendly and to help speed up play this seems like a complete 180 from the proper direction.
Sure, Standard Golf has some incentive for courses to have accessories but the reality is these products help Superintendents with their jobs, keep the golf course looking good, speed up play and can even help the players (the paying customers) enjoy the course and their experience that much more.
The real question to answer is why are courses happy to eliminate accessories? If you remove ball washers from each tee box, does that really speed up the maintenance on a tee box? If so, let’s take down trees, fill in bunkers and remove ponds!
How about taking trash cans off of the golf course – an area that can be combined with a ball washer. Again, how does this help? It certainly doesn’t help with keeping the course clean. Imagine a foursome of walkers. They break out a new sleeve of golf balls, or finish their water or other beverage. Where do you put the litter? Maybe on a golf cart they can just throw it in the back, but a walker doesn’t have the space to carry – they need a trash bin.
If the issue has to do with aesthetics, which I can see perhaps as a response then perhaps accessory companies like Standard Golf will have to develop products that can still function as needed, but be invisible – or a lot less noticeable (SPOILER ALERT: Standard Golf is going to release at least one new product in 2020 that will be virtually invisible for use throughout the golf course!).
For enjoyment, we did produce a short video, Golf Without Accessories. What do you think about this?
How Can Accessories Speed Up Play
There are many different accessories that Golf Course Superintendents can use around the course. However there are many that they can use in a strategic way that will help to speed up play.
Here is our abridged list. For our complete guide on speed of play, check out our post from 2017.
Sign, Stakes and Rope Stakes
These tools are perfect to help protect sensitive areas to keep carts and players from trampling. Let players know where each tee is, close a range, etc. Communication and directing traffic is key.
Simply having enough bunker rakes or even spread out evenly can help speed up play. And better yet, makes golfers more inclined to rake the sand once they are done.
Broken Tee Caddies
No need to run over tees and dull your blades or spend time picking up the mess. Keep tee caddies on a tee and train your golfers to use these when they break a tee.
Not every golfer has a range finder or a GPS watch. Help them out with adding distances (100, 150, 200) to the fairway or even to sprinkler heads. This helps speed up play so a player can choose the right club, and hopefully then not take 2 or 3 extra shots to get to the green.
For our complete idea as to how accessories can speed up play, take a look at this past article.