The golf course industry may be coming out of the last throes of the recession, but that doesn’t mean things are easy. In our survey of almost 400 golf course superintendents, we asked about the challenges faced in the new economy, ranging from budget woes to personal issues.

In times like these, superintendents have found new ways to get creative with budgets, and have learned to do more with less.

 

What's the first thing you cut from your budget?What’s the first thing you cut from your budget?

54% – Drainage work and other improvement pesticides projects

35% – Labor

6% – Fertilizer

4% – Pesticides

THE SPIN — Five years ago, we would’ve bet that labor would be the No. 1 choice. Alas, it’s a good bet that superintendents have already made those cuts and can’t reduce their staffs much more. Now most are cutting improvement projects.

 

Is your 2015 maintenance budget:Maintainence Budget

2% – More than 10 percent higher than last year

2% – More than 10 percent lower than last year

3.5% – 10 percent higher than last year

3.5% – 10 percent lower than last year

13% – 5 percent lower than last year

17% – 5 percent higher than last year

59% – About the same as last year

THE SPIN — When we’ve asked this question in the past most superintendents have responded similarly: Their budgets have remained about the same from year to year. Fifty-nine percent of superintendents gave that answer this year. Maybe it’s good news, but maybe it’s not. One thing is for sure: Superintendents need to be more creative during the budget process.

 

Would you allow foot golf at your golf course to increase rounds and revenue?Foot Golf

8% – Yes, we have foot golf now

47% – I would consider it if it could help increase revenue

45% – No way, it’s not real golf

 

What else did we learn from this year’s Super Survey? Superintendents are seeing signs of economic improvement, a need for change, and deal with more than expected.