USGA Resource Management – It Could be a Game Changer for Your Golf Course
Using resources for maintenance of a golf course needs to be on the areas that are in play. What those areas are and how much it costs to maintain them is just a click away with the USGA Resource Management tool
Ask yourself this simple question, “Where are golfers actually using your golf course?” From a golf course maintenance perspective, is the primary focus for all of your resources on the “down-the-middle” portion of the golf course or is a considerable amount being used on areas not in play? This question has been a focal point of the USGA for the past several years as golf course maintenance costs continue to rise. With this in mind, the USGA has introduced Resource Management, a new web-based product that will help golf course superintendents, owners and operators be more precise, efficient and productive in maintaining their facilities.
Launched for beta testing in 2017 and continuing this year, the USGA Resource Management tool is a map-based product that allows facility managers to understand their consumption of resources – such as labor, water and fuel – and to measure accurately, even down to the square foot, the allocation of these resources to each feature of the golf course. The data will help facilities to manage their maintenance practices in ways that reduce costs while also improving the experience of their golfers.
“As the cost of maintaining a golf course continues to rise, facilities increasingly need smart tools and data to operate efficiently,” said Rand Jerris, the USGA’s senior managing director of Public Services. “For nearly a century, the USGA has helped improve golf course operations and golfer experience through educational materials, research, and agronomic and environmental consulting services. This investment in technology is an important next step, which will help facilities realize immediate benefits through simple and effective behavioral changes.”
The USGA Resource Management tool features a user-friendly interface that empowers superintendents and facility managers to perform “what-if” analyses and develop models that quantify the financial impacts of proposed changes in maintenance.
Another key feature of the application is the ability to generate visual mapping of golfer traffic, allowing facility managers to focus maintenance and resources on the areas that are most heavily used, while reducing unnecessary costs on acreage that has little to no impact on golfer experience. Examples of redirecting resources noted in 2017 visits by USGA agronomists include:
• Highly maintained rough around tees complexes.
• Large acreage rough in out-of-play areas.
• Bunkers that receive limited or no play.
• The need for more forward tees at most golf courses and their positive impact on resource management by reducing overall fairway acreage.
• Heavy traffic patterns near greens with the negative impact of bunker placement.
• Landscaping beds on the golf course.
• Cart path locations and their impact on pace of play and traffic on turf.
• Tree locations and their negative impact on traffic areas.
The USGA also has begun working with the industry to develop additional functionalities for the application and encourage innovations built on this platform. The ongoing development and refinement of USGA Resource Management reflect the USGA’s commitment to advance the game by making the benefits of science and technology available to all facilities. These advancements will help to elevate the golfer experience and improve productivity at 35,000 golf courses around the world. At this time the tool will hopefully be available in North America on all golf courses in the U.S. and Canada.
The USGA Resource Management product was an important part of the toolkit used by USGA agronomists across the country in 2017 as they worked directly with facilities to improve the impact and efficiency of their maintenance practices. If interested, contact a USGA Green Section agronomist, by going to http://www.usga.org/greensectionstaff.html. It may not be your only recourse for reducing your resources, but it truly is a game changer for the golf industry.
Larry Gilhuly, West Region Agronomist, USGA