What does Pogo have to do with course maintenance?

It is interesting how I can see a few things on the course and snap a picture thinking this would make a good blog topic and then never get around to it. Or as in this weeks case another thing happens and it all weaves together to form the same basic thought. Right to the point: We decided a while back to tweak the practice tee policy to try and give the tee a much needed break. I could fill an entire post about how the tee is grossly undersized for the amount of use we have and how it takes as much effort to keep grass on this one tee as all the others combined. The new plan was to move all outside events to mats only and also one day a week. We chose Tuesday since this is our maintenance day where the start time is already set back to allow extra time to perform cultural practices such as spraying, topdressing, spiking, fairway divot seeding etc without golfers slowing down the process. Some people have decided that they are beyond policy or regulations and refuse to hit off mats. They hit from between the mats or behind them on the tee using up the last space available whenever we reach the very front of the tee.

clearly Not the mats

driving over ropes into tall grass

pull cart tracks on collars
Other people drive their motor carts through the tall grass. Sometimes over tees and ropes and signs to get there. Still others are driving their carts onto tees. Pretty sure that is frowned upon universally in golf unless you have one of those Bubba Watson hover carts. My favorite is lately someone has taken to tossing the "no pull carts" signs from their respective locations off in the distance. We find them regularly laying in the rough 20-30 feet from where we place them. I like to tell people that 90% of my job is traffic management. Traffic creates compaction. Compaction equals no grass and a path is formed. I told one golfer after he drove his cart up the grass walking path on 5 tee instead of going around the tees on the path that all of my education, training and experience must not be working if he cannot tell a cart path from a grass path through the fescue/little bluestem. Sometimes my snarkiness gets the better of me but after decades of trying to be nice to people when they clearly know better and are just being lazy I figure it is bound to happen. My old boss used to say he swore it was something they put in golf shoes. It did not matter how intelligent a person was as soon as they laced up a pair and stepped foot on the course they became as dumb as a stump. I do believe that people can get fixated on the little white ball and become absent minded. What other reason would cause someone to labor step after step dragging their pull cart up to the third tee? I have seen it more than once and it defys logic just thinking about it. 

"Sometimes my snarkiness gets the better of me but after decades of trying to be nice to people when they clearly know better and are just being lazy I figure it is bound to happen"

The latest incident was a few youngsters that live in the neighborhood thought it would be fun to wander into the Turf Maintenance Facility and drive out with one of our carts. Luckily the ever fierce watch dog Bert was barking up a storm which garnered Cheryl's attention and she intercepted the would be hooligans before anything untoward happened. Off and on over the years we have left a door open for the barn swallows to swoop in and out during the night feeding thier chicks. A couple of years we did multiple generations. It left a bit of a mess on all our equipment with 20 birds dropping their excrament so the staff begged me to halt the process. This year a diligent pair took up the task and have a nest going. Unfortunatley we now have to lock the place up like fort knox. I am not sure what the fate of the birds will be when they can only forage for food when the doors are open.
I am constantly on my staff to try and lead by example while they are on the course performing tasks. There are times when we drive carts on greens and tees and have to be in areas that we discourage golfers and their carts but other tasks can be accomplished with the cart left behind. I try to politely ask the Pro-shop staff not to drive right up to the building with the ranger cart as this lawn is very fragile and easily worn out. 
As Walt Kelly so eloquently said in the old Pogo cartoon "we have met the enemy and he is us" relates to everyone who uses the property and how they treat it. If you drive to fast on the roads and create a washboard, leave trash all over the course, play slow and ruin everyone's day trying to play behind you. Whatever it may be if we all look in the mirrior and ask am I part of the solution or part of the problem?  It might just make a difference.

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