When I first started with Calcium Products 5 years ago I heard an extreme environmentalist talk about the “AUGUSTA EFFECT” and he was referring to how televising the Masters in color started the overuse of fertilizers in order to make golf courses and home lawns look as “perfect” as Augusta National. Take it from me, nothing is “perfect” but Augusta is close and it is not because of the overuse and irresponsible application of chemicals or pesticides. Like thousands of other GCSAA superintendents, Augusta National follows a very well thought out, well executed fertility plan. See this article written during this year’s Masters Tournament regarding some of the best practices in maintaining the course, Augusta National Golf Club: Nothing Cosmetic.
The use of the phrase the “Augusta Effect” is one, unfair because Augusta National is an easy target due to the extreme privacy of the clubs operations, and two the environmentalists that take unfair shots at Augusta National are actually taking an unfair shot at all superintendents worldwide. Golf Course superintendents are not a bunch of un-educated, un-informed ogres that are looking to destroy the environment with the overuse of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides at the expense of the watershed. The real truth is that Golf Course superintendents are some of the world’s leading agronomists that are highly skilled, highly trained and most importantly highly educated.
I have been involved in the golf industry for nearly 15 years, gaining my PGA membership in 1999. I have been fortunate to work at one of the world’s leading golf resorts and I have had inside access to how the superintendents manage high value turf at a very high value facility and let me be the first to tell everyone, it is not their mission to turn the facility into Augusta National Golf Club and it is not their mission to destroy the environment. All they are trying to accomplish is providing an experience that is memorable for every golfer that plays at the facility. I think this is ultimately the mission of every golf course superintendent. They are truly the unsung heroes of the industry. Without great golf course superintendents, there would be no golf. No offense to the restaurant, or to the PGA Professional staff, but without a quality golf course with quality playing conditions the golf course would never survive. Don’t get me wrong, all facilities need exceptional value added services like a restaurant, or a well-stocked pro shop or professional providing lessons on the practice tees but if the turf is poor the facility is sunk.
The next time you are out playing golf and you see someone on the maintenance staff, be sure to stop them and thank them for getting the course ready and you appreciate their service!!