Sunday, April 09, 2006

Green Committee's - Part 2 of 3 - The Role of a Greens Committee



















I'll give Architect Alister Mackenzie, who apparently had little regard for committees, the first word. In his 1930s manuscript, The Spirit of St. Andrews, he wrote, "The history of most golf clubs is that a committee is appointed, they make mistakes, and just as they are beginning to learn from their mistakes, they resign office and are replaced by others who make still greater mistakes, and so it goes on."

The Greens Committee has a responsibility of overseeing the management of the golf course, but they must not be involved in its day-to-day management. They should be involved in the selection of a golf course superintendent and a golf course architect. They should also provide the superintendent with a basic budget and general direction for the club. They are not there to micromanage either expert. They need not have specific knowledge of turfgrass management or golf architecture, but they must understand the game of golf. They must be willing to learn and know when to listen. Know it alls or dictators are disruptive to a greens committee and the experts it hires

In charge of the committee is the green chairman. The chairperson’s task is to organize and hold regular meetings of the committee and superintendent to discuss new ideas or to deal with any problems that have arisen. The greens chair or committee representative should also be present for any meeting with the golf architect, and should be able to make to make quick decisions when changes arise in the field. An effective chairman and committee can develop and implement plans that can be enjoyed by golfers for generations. Conversely, an ineffectual committee can drag the course down, through meddling or poor decision making. Being a chairman or member of the Green Committee is not a popularity contest. Tough decisions frequently must be made regarding disruptive and expensive programs and projects, and thick skin and an ample dose of conviction are required. Green Committees serve a vital role in the operation of the golf course.

If you are going to serve on a greens committee remember you are there to serve the best interests of the golf course, not for your own personal interests. If you can not do this, do not serve on the committee. As a golf course architect that is my commitment, the best interests of the course must come first.


I think Alister MacKenzie should be allowed to also have the final word of advice to a greens committee. “How often have we known committees, presumably consisting of men of intelligence, receiving the statement that golf is played for fun, with eyes and mouths wide open in astonishment? It is always difficult to persuade them that the chief consideration that should influence us in making any alterations to a golf course is to give the greatest pleasure to the greatest number. Any change to a course that does not do this is manifestly a failure.”

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