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Seasonal Cart Paths Only


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#1 sooner66

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 10:50 AM

Our golf course requires cart paths only for 60 days beginning on March 1st. They say it is to help with the bermuda that is coming out of dormancy. I cannot find any evidence this is necessary or actually does any good. In college, I worked at the University course nearby that hosted USGA tournaments and we had no such rule. Any thoughts?



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#2 Ryan3773

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 12:03 PM

Probably because golf carts destroy wet grass.

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#3 sooner66

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 12:11 PM

Its not wet and certainly isn't wet for 60 days here.

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#4 Ryan3773

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 12:12 PM

Where is here?

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#5 ABARTSCHMID

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 12:12 PM

As a former Superintendent I can tell you that it does help. Especially if they do cart path only all winter like they do on the course I am a member at now. As far as the 60 day thing, I think it will help some. Not beating it down all winter is better. Carts are horrible for grass but as long as the grass is healthy it will withstand it.

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#6 BNGL

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 01:09 PM

Echoing above carts are bad for turf. Heavy traffic increases soil compaction which makes it hard to get oxygen to the roots, furthermore it will removes parts of the leaf blade exposing stolons and crowns increasing the susceptibility of desiccation and introducing lower temperatures. All of which are negatives when trying to grow grass, let alone "waking up" dormant bermuda.

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#7 sooner66

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 01:26 PM

This is in Oklahoma. I have seen good evidence for stay off dormant Bermuda in the winter. Seems like conditions would be better once it is actually growing. None of the other courses in the area have similar policies. I was just hoping to find actual evidence to support the policy.

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#8 raynorfan1

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 01:35 PM

View Postsooner66, on 07 March 2018 - 01:26 PM, said:

I was just hoping to find actual evidence to support the policy.

It seems like you're hoping to find evidence that doesn't support the policy...

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#9 caniac6

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 02:08 PM

Here is some evidence. I play almost every day. We have areas where carts are not allowed. I have a Turf degree from NC State, and am very observant and aware of conditions on the course. When breaking dormancy, the areas where carts are not allowed, green up faster, the grass is plusher, and it grows faster than the areas where the carts are allowed. This isn't a scientific study, just observations for almost 30 years. If carts were not allowed on dormant turf, the turf quality would be a lot better when it was actively growing. Once it is actively growing, it should be ok.

Edited by caniac6, 07 March 2018 - 02:10 PM.


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#10 sooner66

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 04:27 PM

We have a few courses that rotate which 6 holes are cart path only during winter. Seems like protecting the dormant Bermuda makes a bigger difference than waiting until it is starting to grow. I suppose no carts would always be the ideal situation for fairways.


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#11 caniac6

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 04:46 PM

View Postsooner66, on 07 March 2018 - 04:27 PM, said:

We have a few courses that rotate which 6 holes are cart path only during winter. Seems like protecting the dormant Bermuda makes a bigger difference than waiting until it is starting to grow. I suppose no carts would always be the ideal situation for fairways.
That would be the ideal situation, but not very realistic for most courses.

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#12 teejaywhy

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 08:50 AM

A good excuse to walk!

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#13 Arb8889

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 09:58 AM

Everyones a super in their own mind, Id love to see half the members at my club who think theyr'e all greenskeepers spend a week in his shoes. You'd get protective of the course reallllllll fast. Practicing empathy and leaving decisions up to the experts are valuable skills to have
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#14 davep043

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 10:45 AM

View PostArb8889, on 08 March 2018 - 09:58 AM, said:

Everyones a super in their own mind, Id love to see half the members at my club who think theyr'e all greenskeepers spend a week in his shoes. You'd get protective of the course reallllllll fast. Practicing empathy and leaving decisions up to the experts are valuable skills to have
Amen.  A golfer (via your greens fees or dues) is paying a Superintendent a significant fee, based largely on his education and experience, and then many golfers want to second-guess his decisions.  Personally, I don't second-guess my car mechanic, my tax accountant, or the Golf Course Super.

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#15 br61

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 11:25 AM

Several posters made good comments. I'm member of a club with bermuda fairways in SW Missouri and few years ago they implemented cart paths only policy from November 1 through April 1. It has improved the club's turf health immensely since they adopted this policy few years ago. Bermuda fairways had several bare spots leading to following fall due to excessive winter cart traffic. Also the rough seems healthier due to less winter cart traffic.

Little walking never hurts anyone and I noticed I'm able to play my ball as it lies in winters easily that I couldn't in the past due to trampled grass with worm's mudballs. Older members still biatches about walking few yards to their balls. Geez.

Edited by br61, 08 March 2018 - 11:26 AM.

A bag of hacking utensils;

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#16 Phil_I_am 84

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 10:57 AM

View Postbr61, on 08 March 2018 - 11:25 AM, said:

Several posters made good comments. I'm member of a club with bermuda fairways in SW Missouri and few years ago they implemented cart paths only policy from November 1 through April 1. It has improved the club's turf health immensely since they adopted this policy few years ago. Bermuda fairways had several bare spots leading to following fall due to excessive winter cart traffic. Also the rough seems healthier due to less winter cart traffic.

Little walking never hurts anyone and I noticed I'm able to play my ball as it lies in winters easily that I couldn't in the past due to trampled grass with worm's mudballs. Older members still biatches about walking few yards to their balls. Geez.

Wish my club implemented this.  Could always have exceptions for those a little more physically challenged.
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#17 br61

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 11:30 AM

View PostPhil_I_am 84, on 09 March 2018 - 10:57 AM, said:

View Postbr61, on 08 March 2018 - 11:25 AM, said:

Several posters made good comments. I'm member of a club with bermuda fairways in SW Missouri and few years ago they implemented cart paths only policy from November 1 through April 1. It has improved the club's turf health immensely since they adopted this policy few years ago. Bermuda fairways had several bare spots leading to following fall due to excessive winter cart traffic. Also the rough seems healthier due to less winter cart traffic.

Little walking never hurts anyone and I noticed I'm able to play my ball as it lies in winters easily that I couldn't in the past due to trampled grass with worm's mudballs. Older members still biatches about walking few yards to their balls. Geez.

Wish my club implemented this.  Could always have exceptions for those a little more physically challenged.

Now that you mentioned it and I forgot to mention it, my home club does have handicap flags but they tell them try to stay off the fairways as much as they can. 90* rule for them. Few members does need them due to their age or medical issues.

Edited by br61, 09 March 2018 - 11:32 AM.

A bag of hacking utensils;

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#18 Roadking2003

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 05:11 PM

Our courses are cart path only for January through March.  Then they request that you drive in the fairway, not the rough.

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#19 Big Ben

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 05:31 PM

Are courses are covered in snow, keeps the carts off the course just fine
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#20 klebs01

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 05:50 PM

View PostRoadking2003, on 11 March 2018 - 05:11 PM, said:

Our courses are cart path only for January through March.  Then they request that you drive in the fairway, not the rough.

We don’t have paths all the way around, but when it’s borderline it’s fairways only.


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#21 mallrat

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 12:11 AM

If you want to find out about cart path only come up to the PNW.

If you don’t stick to the paths there is a significant chance you will get stuck, forfit your round and be asked not to return.

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#22 LeoLeo99

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 09:02 PM

View PostArb8889, on 08 March 2018 - 09:58 AM, said:

Everyones a super in their own mind, Id love to see half the members at my club who think theyr'e all greenskeepers spend a week in his shoes. You'd get protective of the course reallllllll fast. Practicing empathy and leaving decisions up to the experts are valuable skills to have

Supers can do a much better job of educating and communicating the decisions they make.  If the golfers feel more part of the team that takes care of the course, they're more likely to display that empathy.  

I played an upscale public course a couple years ago and the greens were subpar.  There was a notice in the locker room with an apology saying the greens were subpar due to wet wilt and it went on to explain what wet wilt is.  

I'm still confused when some courses have a 90 degree rule and other courses have a keep the carts in the fairways rule.

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#23 mallrat

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 01:05 AM

In Oregon there really isn’t a “keep the carts in the fairway” rule. We have cart path only, 90* and pretty open. 90* is as much for the wet muddy spots, not the fairways. With the amount of water we get carts can dig up some deep ruts and get stuck and the last thing our mechanic needs is to spend his day pulling carts out of the rough.

I wish people took more common sense about their carts. 3 times this year I had to ask people not to drive over the greens and I can’t count how many times I asked people not to drive or park on the collection areas.

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#24 pldbryan

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 01:39 AM

At my club, they want us to be able to drive on the grass as much as possible, without causing damage that will upset the membership.

Always curious why people think there may some conspiracy that does not allow them to drive on the grass. If I felt that our operations crew did not weigh the desire of the members with what is best for the course long term, not sure I would belong somewhere. Maybe ask them why if you disagree.

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