Overuse And Neglect

Grounds managers in facilities with granular-surfaced paths will have to put in more time to make sure material has not migrated off the path and onto the fairway due to heavy wear, wind, or rain. Loose material on the fairway can damage the turf, stick in golfers’ shoes, and also affect maintenance equipment, such as mowers. Regular raking and replacing granular material should be incorporated into a maintenance routine.

Golf cart paths need regular maintenance.

In areas where temperatures allow for a constant freeze-thaw effect, hard pavements (particularly asphalt) will be subject to forces that cause them to crack and heave. Tree roots can also stress and break concrete or asphalt pavements.

“Cart paths are a neglected item at many facilities,” says Art Tucker of Plexipave System, Div. of California Products Corp. in Andover, Mass. “Asphalt and concrete are not zero-maintenance items. They become pitted and raveled either through wear or weathering.”

Various “fixes” may be available depending upon the cause and depth of the problem. Cracking of asphalt, for example, is common, and can have any number of causes, some more serious than others. A sports-facility professional can diagnose the problem and recommend a treatment plan.

Many crack-filling products are commercially available, but not all are suitable for use in athletic-facility installations where people will be walking as well as using motorized vehicles or push carts. Make sure you have the correct product for any use.

Other preventive-maintenance tips, such as keeping tree roots trimmed so they do not sneak under pavement and cause it to heave up, can help keep paths in good shape. Keep paths clear of dirt or grass so standing water doesn’t create problems over time.

Most importantly, listen to what golfers are telling you about problem spots in the facility, and investigate any complaints immediately.

Community Assets

The public golf course is one of a community’s greatest assets, and many of today’s regular players learned the game there. Public courses have so much to recommend them: they’re generally built with the average golfer in mind, so they’re not intimidating; they’re more player-friendly and usually don’t require high maintenance; and they’re affordable, fun, and located in almost every city.

You can’t ask for much more than that.

Mary Helen Sprecher has been a technical writer for more than 20 years with the American Sports Builders Association. She has written on various topics relating to sports-facility design, construction, and supply, as well as sports medicine, education, and health and industrial issues. She is an avid racquetball and squash player, and a full-time newspaper reporter in Baltimore, Md.

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