PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

8 Ways To Make Golf More Expensive

May 25, 2016

Illustration by Michael Waraksa

Before we get started, big thanks to the United States Golf Association for their treatise, "Steps to Make Your Course Unaffordable," published December 2015 in the Green Section's corner of the governing body's website. What, you didn't see it? Well, fearing the obscurity that often befalls such brilliant posts—there's no deeper rough than the Internet—more than the golfing public's inability to detect sarcasm from an organization typically characterized by the serious cut of its blue blazers, we thought we'd go ahead and appropriate their message here, in the weight and permanency of print, in usage just shy of plagiarism.

Bunkers: The more the merrier. Especially the really steep ones with complex shapes. Trim, rake and water each by hand. The sand consistency will never be uniform, but at least you can buy lots of uniforms for all the extra laborers you'll hire.

Trees: Never cut them down, and plant as many as you can. Sure, they prevent greens from getting the sun and breeze they need to ward off fungus, but those chinkapin oaks can look really sweet at sunset. As you sip your gin and tonic, try not to think about all the extra hours it costs to mow around them and clean up the acorns, twigs and leaves.

Water hazards: Mow all grass tight to the edges of streams and ponds. Besides ensuring more balls dribble in to brighten everyone's day, this lets all your expensive fertilizer wash away. Watch the steroidal algae grow as fast as your AmEx points.

Mowing heights: Got to keep that maintenance crew on its toes! Those boys could gab forever at their little 3:30 a.m. coffee klatch. Fire up those Kubotas because it's essential the second primary cut on holes 14 to 16 nestles, not cups.

Signs, stakes and ropes: More important than protecting certain areas of the course is to slow down play with drops and rulings. Even though everyday golfers tend to ignore signs and a few inevitably run them over with the cart for sport, you can't lose sight of the hidden value: forcing workers to get off their mowers constantly to stretch the hamstrings.

Ball washers: In a perfect world there'd be one on every tee. Not to scrub your Titleist—it's way easier and convenient to carry around a damp towel—but so there's always a prop to tell the joke about the dentist who had a bachelor party.

Overseed: The two main problems with brown grass are that drives run out farther and greens firm up, allowing for a wider variety of shots to be played into them. This is why when grass turns brown (dormant), it's essential to put down a different seed that will grow in the winter. A course that stays green lets you keep spending green.

Gas blowers: Talk about providing ambience. Besides burning fossil fuel, the only drawback to using them everywhere is, golfers will never learn Rule 23-1: how to take relief from a loose impediment.