A Shrinking Proposition
(2-2011)

(from Golf Business Magazine)

Forrest Richardson, ASGCA Comments on Reducing Course Expenses, Importance of Master Plans.

As golfers are already rationing their recreation dollars, courses must be sure the cutbacks they are making do not adversely affect the quality of their product. To save money, course operators are learning new ways to do more with less. According to Richardson, one option is cutting back on the amount of turf they maintain.

"When you look at whether the turf acreage is correct on a golf course today, it's only in rare circumstances where you can't reduce it anymore," says Richardson.

After an owner decides to make a change, Richardson suggests using the new savings as potential investment capital. Putting the money back into the golf course and improving the course's conditions may lead to a better course reputation amongst players and increase interest in the facilities. Establishing this higher status and recognition may then allow course managers the ability to charge higher green fees.

Richardson points out, however, that any changes made should be done in the context of the overall goals and long term objectives for the course. Without a master plan, it is easy to overlook opportunities to save money. The lack of a master plan may also lead to wasted time and resources. When course operators and club managers recognize current problems and future goals, they are better able to assess maintenance expenditures and enhancements.

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