Greenkeepers and club managers now have access to the results of the Syngenta Golf Player Survey, which could now help them focus their efforts and investment on providing what golf club members and visitors want to enhance their playing experience - and to keep them coming back for more.
The survey results, first published at BTME in January 2012 and now available on the GreenCast website, revealed that the course condition and playing quality was the primary factor in attracting players and retaining membership, over and above the clubhouse facilities. "With turf quality and course design so important, it clearly indicates this is where clubs should be focusing resources," according to Rod Burke of Syngenta.
Furthermore, he reported the survey has highlighted potential quick wins for greenkeepers and clubs, where spending a little more time and effort on specific areas of the course could significantly improve player satisfaction. "The rough was pinpointed as one of the key areas of concern with nearly half of players indicating they were not satisfied. Further investigation revealed dense, tussocky grass that impedes play is seen as the major problem.
"Rough management initiatives, including the use of Rescue to clear out coarse grasses such as rye-grass and Yorkshire Fog, should deliver positive reactions from players and help speed up play," he advised.
Tee condition was also noted as a point of significant dissatisfaction among players. "The survey showed that they are not overly worried about stripes or turf colour on the tees, but divots and scars were an issue for players and something greenkeepers could potentially resolve."
Mr Burke pointed out that whilst greens were unsurprisingly the chief area where players judged courses' turf quality, for the most part player satisfaction was extremely high. He believes these findings indicate that where green quality is already very good, greater focus on fairways and roughs could give an incremental advance in enhancing the playing experience and overall perceptions of the course.
"There is real desire for consistent and even turf coverage on the fairways, with turf density to help the ball sit proud - the No 1 factor for players. Using the Primo Maxx Ultimate Fairway Programme can help greenkeepers deliver what the players want more effectively and with other cost saving and quality enhancing benefits," he added.
"With golf clubs under intense economic pressure and the increasing trend for 'nomadic 'golfers to move between clubs and courses, it's more important than ever to find out what they really want - which the Golf Player Survey has achieved," he added. "Greenkeepers and club managers now have the evidence from the survey to make the case for investment in the course and for the actions required to address their players' demands."
The GreenCast Golf Player Survey pages include headline results and in-depth details of the report, in an easy to use format and PowerPoint presentation that is available for download to share with club managers. Syngenta is also looking at options to extend the use of the survey with individual clubs, to identify specific actions crucial to attract and retain players, and to help assure the financial sustainability of the club.