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Best Greenkeeping 101: Inside the Life of a Greenskeeper

How to Become a Greenskeeper

Greenskeepers are the unsung heroes that enable us to play golf at our favourite programs. They’re there early, earlier than most of us are even get up, able to get the course in the most effective form potential.

The greenkeeping employees are those accountable for the tightly mowed tee packing containers, the plush fairways, and the pure greens. And hopefully, mowing the tough to an inexpensive degree, repairing regular put on and tear, plus ensuring the pins are minimize each single spherical.

Principally, they make all of it potential. However there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of greenkeeping, and it’s necessary to acknowledge all that they do.

Preserve studying to be taught their fundamental jobs on the course, widespread phrases, and extra in our continuously requested questions part.

Greenskeeper Roles and Tasks

A greenskeeper is outlined as “An individual charged with the care and upkeep of a golf course.”

Greenskeepers work underneath a golf course superintendent, who normally works underneath the Director of Golf. The dimensions of the greenkeeping employees can fluctuate relying on the price range, recognition, location/seasonality, and different components of the golf course.

Should you’re like a golf of gamers, you may need requested your self, “What does a greenskeeper do?”

The reply is – loads!

They’ve quite a lot of roles and obligations that take a group of individuals to ensure your course is prepared for play. A few of the most typical embrace:

  • Plant sod.
  • Water bushes and crops.
  • Set the golf course up for day by day play.
  • Normal development/landscaping work.
  • Carry out hand mowing or hand trimming.
  • Function small energy mowers, trimmers, and greens mowers.
  • Function backpack blowers on particular areas of the golf course.

Except for the final obligations, let’s evaluate a few of the greatest duties and initiatives.

Keep and Enhance Course Circumstances

Chances are high, you don’t know the title of your golf course superintendent such as you do your head golf skilled. Until your course is in pristine situation or if it’s struggling.

In case your course is in nice form, likelihood is you need to inform all your pals, household, and {golfing} buddies about it. And I’m certain you’ll casually point out the title of the man who made all of it potential. Conversely, the identical goes for when the course is in unhealthy form and also you surprise why you’re paying a membership payment.

Sounds about proper?

The primary goal for the golf course superintendent and their greenkeeping employees is to keep up golf course circumstances. Meaning:

  • Guaranteeing the tee packing containers are trimmed and all divots are full of sand/seed on the par 3 packing containers.
  • Mowing the fairways and tough so that there’s a clear distinction between the 2.
  • Mowing the greens in an effort to putt nicely and ensuring that every inexperienced has the identical pace. It is a tougher process on programs the place some greens get quite a lot of solar and others don’t.
  • Raking (or utilizing a using bunker rake machine) to ensure the bunkers are clean all through the course.
  • Repairing divots all through the course with sand and seed. Whereas golfers are supposed to do that, sadly, it’s not a 100% of the time. Thus, leaving the greens crew to ensure you don’t need to hit out of an enormous gap.
  • Sustaining the driving vary hitting areas and general facility. This consists of filling divots, altering teeing areas, measuring distances to the goal, and so forth.
  • Sustaining the placing and chipping greens. That is necessary as a result of golfers need a placing inexperienced that matches the pace of the greens on the golf course. As a result of as I’m certain , there’s nothing worse than being fooled on the primary few greens from a nasty placing inexperienced.
  • Take the course by way of seasonal modifications akin to aeration or overseed (relying on the kind of grass and placement of the golf membership).
  • Normal upkeep which may embrace eradicating bushes, tree planting, flowerbed repairs, sustaining pond water circumstances, and extra.

Measure Inexperienced Pace

Probably the most necessary issues about being a greenskeeper is ensuring the greens are rolling clean. Personally, that is an important issue I have a look at when evaluating a golf course. If the greens are clean, I’m a cheerful man.

Placing on stable greens comes down to hurry and a clean placing floor. The pace is measured utilizing a stimpmeter. Most golf programs roll about 10, whereas extra upscale programs and personal nation golf equipment normally have quick greens which may roll 11 and even 12 (the PGA Tour normally performs on 13-14 greens).

In the event that they use a stimpmeter and see that the greens are rolling gradual, they’ll mow the greens down. Or trim in a distinct route, use topdressing, or different strategies. Or, they are going to roll them with a separate machine in order that they’re smoother as nicely.

Chopping Holes and Setting Pin Positions

One other smaller however necessary process is reducing holes and setting new positions every single day or two. By reducing completely different pins, it permits golfers to get new challenges and in addition helps shield the course. By shifting the pins frequently, it permits components of the inexperienced to get much less put on and tear from foot visitors.

Plus, sure pins could make the inexperienced considerably more durable than different areas. Often, programs have 3-6 areas the place they are going to put the pins so it’s identifiable for golfers. Most programs may have a pin sheet within the golf cart that may let the place the pin is on every gap.

For instance, quite a lot of golf programs use a 1-2-3 system. One means a entrance pin, two is a center pin, and three is a again pin. Oftentimes, the colour of the flag itself matches (crimson being entrance, white being center, and blue being again). This makes it simpler to identify the pin location from a distance and have the most effective strategy shot technique.

Perceive Totally different Varieties of Grass

Every golf course could be very completely different by way of the grass that’s used within the fairways, tough, and greens. As a greenskeeper, they should know every sort of grass to allow them to keep it correctly.

As a result of absolutely the worst factor that may occur is lifeless grass, particularly, lifeless greens. Not solely will this make any golfer (particularly if it’s a personal membership) livid, however very tough to get it again to peak form.

Massive Golf Course Tasks

The greenkeeping employees can be accountable for large initiatives that happen all year long. Not simply sustaining the fairways and greens for day by day play.

Some examples would possibly embrace:

  • Putting in new sprinkler techniques. That is normally a really tedious and time-consuming process as they need to dig out the outdated system. Then, restore or change in order that the grass will get an enough quantity of water.
  • Including new tee packing containers and bunkers. New tee packing containers are generally wanted to elongate a gap or add a special approach to the inexperienced. Equally, a further greenside or fairway bunker would possibly get added as nicely. These smaller initiatives are normally finished in home, which means that the membership doesn’t rent an out of doors agency to do the renovations.
  • Aeration and overseed. It will normally lead to short-term closure of the golf course to permit the upkeep group enough time. Not having golfers will make sure the grass heals rapidly in order that it could possibly reopen sooner.
  • Fixing or putting in new drainage techniques. In accordance with the USGA, “There are three fundamental kinds of drainage. Floor drainage refers to water moved throughout the floor because of a descending grade. Inner drainage refers back to the motion of water by way of the pores of a soil zone. Subsurface drainage normally refers back to the motion of water by way of underlying drainage pipe or buried gravel layer, akin to in a USGA inexperienced.”

Planning The 12 months

There are quite a lot of intricacies in terms of being the pinnacle greenskeeper. You must know each element in regards to the course to make sure it’s prepared for play when the climate permits it.

A few of these particulars embrace:

  • Perceive moisture content material of fairways and greens.
  • Preserve monitor of fertilizers or different merchandise to optimize turf.
  • Planning for unhealthy climate and adjusting the course as wanted.

And much more primarily based on the climate, time of yr, and planning for giant occasions. For instance, if there’s an annual member-guest event, they need to be sure that the course is ideal for the large present. Meaning rigorous planning prematurely in order that the course can peak at simply the appropriate second.

The greenskeeping employees is aware of that their work is far more underneath a microscope throughout these tournaments, so they are going to normally:

  • Trim sure areas for extra pleasing aesthetics.
  • Paint hazards and areas which are floor underneath restore.
  • Roll or double roll the greens for a clean placing floor.

That is why it’s at all times enjoyable to play aggressive golf occasions. You get to play with greater stakes on programs which are in immaculate situation.

Greenkeeping 101

Turn into a Greenskeeper

Should you’re studying this and need to flip this into your job, we bought you lined. Listed below are the steps that can assist you turn out to be a greenskeeper.

So what do it’s essential to be a greenskeeper?

From what I’ve discovered writing this text and doing quite a lot of analysis, it seems like expertise trumps formal training. However you nearly at all times do want a highschool diploma on the naked minimal.

What you do from there can depend upon how rapidly you’ll be able to rise the ranks and probably even turn out to be the pinnacle golf skilled. You may get a level in related fields like landscaping or horticulture, take turfgrass administration programs on-line, or discover different packages as nicely. Sure golf programs may also supply tuition reimbursement and/or require ongoing certifications to remain updated with the most recent developments.

Greenkeeping Phrases

If you wish to turn out to be part of the greenskeeping group, it’s greatest to know a few of the most necessary phrases. Figuring out these will show you how to “stroll the stroll” not simply speak the speak.

Listed below are a few of the most necessary phrases to know from the USGA (click on to learn the complete record of phrases from A-Z).

Aerate – Strategy of aerating soils with hole tines, stable tines, water, or air injection: used synonymously with aerify.

Strategy/apron – The golf green areas in shut proximity to and in entrance of the placing inexperienced, adjoining the placing inexperienced collar. This space is often mowed at fairway top,

Full fertilizer – A blended fertilizer that comprises the three main fertilizer parts; nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.

Dormant – Resting, or non-vegetative state, because it pertains to turfgrass progress.

Fertigation – The appliance of fertilizer by way of an irrigation system.

Slicing – A type of cultivation involving a deep, vertical-cutting motion, used to open the soil in addition to the turf.

Stimpmeter– An implement used to measure placing inexperienced pace uniformity.

Sesiccation – Drying. A sort of winter harm sustained on uncovered turf areas when subjected to excessive winds.

Grain – As utilized to placing greens, the tendency for grass leaves and runners to make horizontal progress in a single route, which interferes with the true pure roll of the ball.

Hydroseeding – A high-pressure spray approach for making use of seed, mulch, and fertilizer in a water slurry over a seedbed.

Lip – The greenside bunker edge that’s two to 4 inches above the sand degree, and prevents a participant from placing out of the bunker.

Overseed – To sow seed over an space that’s sparsely lined with some sort of vegetation, or to plant a winter turf of a cool season species inside a dormant heat season turf.

Parasites – Organisms that receive their meals immediately from residing our bodies of different organisms. Parasites fluctuate drastically within the quantity of injury they inflict upon the host organism.

Rebuilding – A time period that refers to practices involving full modifications within the whole turf space, i.e., reconstruction of a inexperienced, tee, fairway, tough or some other space of the golf course.

Topsoil – A normal time period utilized to the highest layer of native or pure soil discovered on any open land website for use for agriculture. Usually restricted to the uppermost soil horizon, known as the “A” horizon of soils.

Topdressing – A ready combination of soil normally containing sand and natural matter to a desired specification.

Winterkill (harm) – Time period utilized to accidents of turf that happen in the course of the winter, and turn out to be evident the next spring.


Do you have got extra questions on turning into a greenskeeper or studying extra about how they keep the course? In that case, we bought solutions…

Is a greenskeeper a great job?

Should you love golf and dealing open air, then I feel you’ll actually take pleasure in this job. It’s definitely not for everybody, as you need to work outdoors yr spherical. Should you dwell in chilly or heat climates, this may be bodily demanding and definitely isn’t for everybody.

However for those who love the outside and all issues golf, you’ll be able to’t go fallacious. It’s a enjoyable option to work outdoors, probably get some free golf, and see the course like most gamers by no means will.

What does a golf course superintendent do?

The golf course superintendent is the go-to particular person for the greenskeeping employees. Whereas she or he would possibly nonetheless be on the mower once in a while, quite a lot of their work is greater image gadgets which may embrace:

  • Planning aeration and overseed schedules.
  • Planning for the golf course to peak for giant occasions.
  • Managing the group to make sure everybody is aware of their roles and obligations.
  • Adjusting the course (or probably even closing the course) because of inclement climate, akin to frost or heavy rain.
  • Working with golf professionals, members, and greens committee in order that they’re knowledgeable of the course and any upcoming modifications.

Relying on the course, the superintendent could climb the ranks from greenskeeper to boss. Or, they may rent from the skin from somebody who already has formal expertise as a head superintendent.

How a lot do skilled greenskeepers make?

In accordance with Glassdoor, “The nationwide common wage for Greenskeeper is $33,545 per yr in america. Salaries estimates are primarily based on 1793 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by Greenskeeper staff.”

Zip Recruiter discovered the highest 10 highest paying cities for greenskeepers and 5 of the ten in California! Which is smart as they’ve a few of the most unique golf golf equipment and nice climate yr spherical as nicely.

However it’s necessary to do not forget that it’s a very broad determine and might change primarily based on location, the golf course itself, and expertise. Plus, quite a lot of golf programs may also supply:

  • Paid time without work.
  • Matching 401K.
  • Worker uniforms.
  • Tuition reimbursement.
  • Retail reductions on the golf store.
  • Insurance coverage (dental, imaginative and prescient, and medical).
  • Free golf, tennis, or different membership actions.

What does the common day appear like?

Relying on the course, variety of employees, time of yr, climate, and different components, the day-to-day routine can change loads. As I discussed, programs normally be sure that the services are in good situation earlier than a giant occasion… however may you think about getting ready for a significant golf event? One that’s broadcast world wide?

Speak about a ton of stress to ensure you and your group do the job nicely. It is a cool YouTube video that exhibits what it’s like behind the scenes on the 147th Open Championship as a greenskeeper.

Do greenskeepers get free golf?

Typically, sure, they normally free golf, but it surely’s not sometimes a vast quantity. As an alternative, they normally obtain a sure variety of rounds they’ll use every month or yr. They could additionally get to carry household and associates as nicely.

Some programs, which are extra unique and personal, would possibly solely do just a few choose days per yr. If programs don’t present totally compensated days, they are going to normally supply a giant low cost as nicely.

What hours do greenkeepers work?

Greenskeepers work early! Should you hate the mornings, it’s secure to say that this job isn’t for you. Because it’s practically unimaginable to get a lot work finished when golfers are already on the course, it’s very important to get an early begin on the day.

Many of the employees arrive nicely earlier than the solar comes out. They normally have a gathering to debate the aims for the day after which every greenskeeper has their given assignments. Some might be accountable for fairways, others greens, and others bunkers.

Because the employees does get there so early, they’re normally finished by about 1 or 2pm. Most programs don’t need employees on the course whereas golfers are enjoying, because it’s distracting for gamers and onerous for them to do their job as nicely.

Closing Ideas

As golfers, we have to admire the artwork of greenkeeping and all of those that work so onerous to ensure our golf programs are in nice form.

They’re those who’re accountable for ensuring our golf habit is loved to the fullest. They be sure that all areas of the course are good to go so that you simply and your buddies can concentrate on golf above all else.

Being a greenskeeper can be an incredible job alternative if you wish to work open air and be across the recreation of golf. Plus, because you are likely to work tremendous early hours, there’s nonetheless loads of time the remainder of the day to do what you want, together with golf!

The following time you see a member of the greenskeeping employees, do extra than simply wave. Be certain to acknowledge them and thank them for his or her onerous work in sustaining the golf course(s) that you simply love.