While some things remain the same year after year, golf superintendents are increasingly aware of the changes that are necessary in the realm of maintenance. Whether those changes are due to climate change or advances in available equipment technology, almost 400 golf course superintendents sounded off on how maintenance has changed for them and what they’re looking forward to in the future.

Superintendent Magazine’s Super Survey has the complete survey results, as well as firsthand accounts from superintendents all over the country.

Do you believe climate change/global warming is affecting golf course maintenance?Climate Change

17% – I didn’t used to, but I’m leaning that way.

20% – Yes, I see it more and more.

25% – I don’t know.

38% – No, climate change is a crock.

THE SPIN — Is it any surprise that fewer superintendents believe that climate change/global warming is affecting golf course maintenance these days? The number of superintendents believing in the weather trend, or at least thinking there was something to it, had been on the rise, according to previous surveys. But the percentage of those superintendents dropped from 50 percent last year to 37 percent this year. A freakishly cold winter in 2014 will do that to a vote.

 

 

 

 

Water ConservationWhat are you doing to conserve water at your golf course?

28% – Using more wetting agents

15% – Upgrading key parts of the irrigation system

15% – Not watering the rough

42% – Allowing the course to play firm and fast

THE SPIN — Clearly, superintendents are turning off the water to conserve it — and letting courses play firm and fast. How are golfers reacting, though? No surprise that wetting agents/surfactants are getting plenty of use. The improvements made in these products over the years have garnered the attention of supers.

 

 

 

Equipment upgradeWhat one piece of allied equipment would you like to upgrade this year?

3% – Seeder

5% – Blower

6% – Vacuum

8% – Verticutter

13% – Topdresser

20% – Tractor

21% – Greens Roller

24% – Aerator

THE SPIN — Looks like some superintendents are concerned about compaction on their courses. Also, rolling has taken off the last few years, as study after study has proved it’s an excellent maintenance practice.

 

 

 

 

Greatest InventionWhat’s the greatest invention the golf course maintenance industry has ever seen?

5% – GPS-guided sprayer

6.5% – Modern fairway mower

23% – Plant growth regulators

65.5% – Irrigation central control

THE SPIN — Irrigation central control rules. No surprise here. Someday GPS-related equipment will collect a ton of votes.

 

What else did we learn from this year’s Super Survey? Superintendents are seeing signs of economic improvement and get creative with budgets. They also deal with more than you might expect.