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mentioned scenarios are more conspicuous to a golfer, turfgrass diseases and pest damage can also be the origin of a cart paths only restriction. Many fungal diseases like dollar spot can be quickly carried on tires from one area of the course to another. Limiting cart path traffi c on these areas can slow the spread of disease and give the superinten- dent a better chance to contain and properly manage it. Destructive turf insects can also invade areas of a course and cart traffi c exasperates the issue. While the reasons are many,

moving to cart-path-only restrictions is a very diffi cult decision. Keeping guests happy, speeding up the pace of play and increasing course revenue are concerns that must be weighed when contemplating daily or long-term cart policies. Ultimately, the responsi- bility of maintaining the health of a multi-million dollar course must take precedent. Golfers can assist superinten- dents by adhering to all cart path rules. These include not only cart-path-only areas, but strictly following the 90 degree rule when in effect and staying on paths around tees and greens. Golfers should also follow signage indicating where to enter and exit areas of play and not deviate around staked areas. Through proper cart

traffi c management, the superintendent can provide consistent and favorable playing conditions without the threat of long- term damage and added maintenance costs. And that’s a small price to pay for a few extra minutes of inconvenience.

For more information, visit or follow the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America on Twitter @GCSANC.

The new Poppy Hills mandates carts on the paths at all times to help retain fi rm and fast qualities.

The Pull Cart

An Underappreciated and Underutilized Asset


ext time you are at Poppy Hills, or any other course that off ers pull carts for

players of any age, why not consider renting one? Pull carts literally take the weight off

your shoulders, making it much easier to enjoy the walk around a beautiful course. On courses that are cart-path only, pull carts greatly enhance pace of play since your equipment goes where you go—no more returning to the golf cart for that 5-iron you forgot. Some golfers have resisted the pull

cart because of a stigma that is diffi cult to grasp. Perhaps they aren’t “cool” or you’d never see one on the PGA Tour. But these reasons are silly at best. Even Junior Tour of Northern California events are full of them. A pull cart allows golfers to enjoy one of

the essences of the game—walking— without the need to lug clubs for miles over the course of 18 holes and 4-plus hours. Try a pull cart the next time you play.

It’ll save you that ugly walk back to your cart. It’ll save your back, too.

Pull carts take the weight off your shoulders making it much easier to enjoy the walk around a beautiful course. At Poppy Hills, pull carts rent for $10.

Why is the New Poppy Hills Limited to Cart Path Only?

Matt Muhlenbruch, Poppy Hills Golf Course Superintendent:

One of the most frequently asked questions about Poppy Hills is about our cart path only policy. Why? When does it end? The question is simple but the answer is not. The recent renovation focused around water con- servation, and fi rm and fast playing conditions for a high volume of NCGA member play. A large part of our water conservation eff orts was the grass selection for the fairways and tees. The grass is a fi ne fescue and perennial ryegrass mix. Fine fescue is a very drought-tolerant grass species, but does not have a high tolerance for traf- fi c. The ryegrass was added to the mix to help with the foot traffi c and divot recovery from 50,000-plus annual rounds. In order to balance reduced water usage, superior playing conditions and a high volume of annual rounds, golf carts need to be restricted to the cart paths.

SUMMER 2015 / NCGA.ORG / 65


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