S & P DOWNGRADE WILL HURT GOLF

Money in Golf by Eric J. von Hofen
Just when things were showing signs of picking up in the golf world, the last two weeks of financial news has struck fear back into the business. The politics of Washington D.C., problems in Europe and unemployment figures here in the U.S. have cast a shadow on the world economy. The stock market has lost 10% in the last two weeks alone, and is still trending down. Things are so negative that gold, investor’s “safe haven”, hit an all-time high and then sold off from it’s high point during Thursday’s 500 point drop.

On Friday night, August 5, it was announced that the S & P rating for the United States was downgraded from AAA to AA+. What does this downgrade mean for everyone? For starters, the amount of interest the U.S. government pays on it’s debt goes up. Rates on car loans, mortgages, credit cards and student loans will be going up. This downgrade will hit the pocket books of the American people, and discretionary spending on golf will be no exception.

I was traveling last week in New York and was a guest at a few clubs in Southampton. You could feel it in the air. Everyone was talking about the problems facing the country. This morning on the range tee in Miami, a buzz of “whats going to happen next?” was heard down the tee line. If the members are taking cover, its only a matter of time that conversations about cut backs at clubs will take place.

This downgrade will give golf courses enough of an excuse to delay capital expenses and cut back on operating budgets…just what we don’t need to have happen. Many superintendents have been asked to do more and more with less every year. This next inevitable round of cuts may be the breaking point for many guys.

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Synthetic turf circles installed in a high-use practice area-Part 2

Synthetic turf circles with eric von hofen and turfunderground.com
Like many driving range tees, practice chipping areas are tight on real estate.  The same holds true at this course.  With 575 golf members and a young membership that invades the area on a daily basis to hit their quota of practice shots, something had to be done and we began to explore our options.  In years past, we would rope off sections of the turf and not allow people to hit shots, allowing the turf some time to recover.  The success rate of this plan was highly dependent upon the growing season and the weather.  As a result, we realized synthetic turf was the only option.  If you saw my story on the installation of synthetic turf on a driving range tee, you know we kicked all the tires when selecting which product to use.  The product we selected for the driving range tee project received great reviews, so we went with it for the installation on the chipping area as well.  The Director of Golf and I hit a few shots from the chipping areas we thought would be best to maximize the land we had.  We also looked at how the design would work with 8 or more people using the space at one time.  The area allows 3 players to hit bunker shots, 5 to hit wedges to target greens and 2 to hit punch shots.  Not bad for a piece of real estate that is less than an acre in size.  We thought about installing a long tee line however, we quickly realized this was not an option.  A long tee line would have cut the size of useable space in half, limiting players to one area and preventing them from hitting their choice of shot.  After weighing the options, we chose to place 4 circles in different locations, which provided angles to both target greens from each location.  Check out the video below to see how we did it.

Please check out the video below of us changing out the driving range tee with the help of Synthetic Turf International.

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Synthetic turf change out on the tee line


Is there ever enough turf on a busy practice range tee? In many cases there is not, and an area of synthetic turf is the only option to keep golfers happy. If you’re thinking about installing a synthetic turf at your golf course, you should watch this video below. In it I explain the process and show you how a new tee line is installed. If you have ever warmed up on one of the old types of synthetic turfs, you know when they wear out it hurts your hands after you hit the surface with your club. I have seen that the nylon material wears out in about three years, depending upon traffic and sun light exposure. The new materials are now made out of polyester and are made to withstand heavy use. The cost has come down over the years and it makes more sense to look at these products as a solution to your shortage of tee space.

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