Springtime can bring a roller-coaster ride of emotions for hardcore golfers. The season gets underway, the weather warms up, trees reclaim their leaves, the grass starts growing and the golf course starts looking more like it does in mid-summer.
Then come the machines, tearing up the greens just as they're starting to roll true.
Even worse, it often happens without warning. We see it all the time in reviews that roll in this time of year: golfers miffed that their chosen course has just aerified their greens and given no warning about it. It's the ultimate first-world problem, of course, but the feeling of betrayal left by that lapse in communication can have long-term effects on goodwill toward the course, even after the putting surfaces have recovered.
Golf course operators should take a page out of the playbook from the folks at San Juan Oaks Golf Club, a daily-fee outside San Jose, Calif. They will be aerifying their greens March 22 and 23. The course will be closed those two days, and the couple following weeks will see the typical bumpy surfaces that characterize recovery from the practice.
In order to provide a heads-up to their clientele, the course operators circulated an email not only announcing the aerification nearly two weeks in advance, but acknowledging the natural frustration it always causes and providing a quick explanation of why the procedure is necessary to ensure long-term health and roll of the greens.
It seems like a customer-service no-brainer, but not all course operators have quite grasped that they need to be more skilled at marketing and public relations than previous generations. A bit of care means savvy courses like San Juan Oaks have a leg up on their competition.