This super has no issue with "The Augusta Syndrome"
Geoff Shackelford's thoughtful Golf World story about Augusta National's impact on golf course maintenance standards countrywide--"The Augusta Syndrome Revisited-- was well-received. Shackelford, with input from several superintendents, pointed out that while imitation of Augusta has led many green chairs down an expensive and misguided path, and many superintendents to their demise, the club has inspired lots of innovations that improve golf courses--and the plight of superintendents as well.
It generated this letter from a green superintendent in New York.
Dear Golf World:
I really enjoyed Geoff Shackelford's article, "The Augusta Syndrome Revisited." I'm a golf course superintendent who has worked equally in private and public golf for the last 25 years. I remember the days of looking so forward to spring and The Masters Tournament, enjoying it all weekend and living the highs and lows with my favorite golfers on TV. Then I dedicated myself to the golf maintenance business.
This is how the Augusta Syndrome worked in the early days. You arrive at work on that "special" Monday morning in April with the answering machine flashing. Typically it displays a double digit number from a number of different members but usually at least 3 messages from "that one concerned member." Unbelievably, every call has an "original" idea for our golf course! After taking the time to personally call all these people back and thank them for these revelations you finally get to the job on the golf course. You ride around and realize it will be a long week of "suggestions." Then you get the call that there will be a greens committee meeting on Tuesday night. After 2 hours of comparing our course to Augusta National, you're told that you need faster green speeds, the bunker is too shallow on 18 and the rough is too long. Volunteer committees are set up for bunker edging and flower planting.
This is kind of a funny look at it all but I swear to God at on time or another every one of these things has happened to me.
My hat is off to Augusta National for subtly educating golfers about turf maintenance and not trumpeting their superiority over everyone else. We all strive to give our golfers the best conditions we can afford and take tremendous pride in our work. I'll probably never see Augusta National, but will tune in every spring to watch the golf and get ideas that I can adapt to my course.
Terry Hills Golf Course