It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. Of the golf year. Masters Week.
While most golfers longingly wait all winter for the immaculate, rich green fairways, slicker than snot-on-an-ice cube greens, and the bursting colors of the azaleas that have become the symbolic first nail in the coffin for old man winter (at least for another year), golf course managers and superintendents at all places “Not-Augusta” sink in the hopelessness of knowing that they will have to make real decisions for the next six or seven months that will probably fall short of the expectations that this week sets.
Those who work in the golf business know why Augusta National looks as it does. And while Augusta National’s annual budget is a closely guarded secret, most of us have an idea of how much it would probably cost to make a golf course look that way. Believe me there are A LOT more zeros in that budget than most of the budgets we have to work with. A real lot.
So most golf operators are constantly looking for ways to get the biggest bang for the buck, and deliver playing conditions that the vast majority of golfers want and find most important. Just because we can’t do anything and everything doesn’t mean we are blind to the realities of our courses. In fact it’s just the opposite. The little details that can really improve the overall presentation of a golf course get done once or twice a year, as opposed to daily at places like Augusta National and the more exclusive clubs. For a superintendent, it can get frustrating. We make choices on how to apply our resources every day to provide you with the most consistent and enjoyable experience. If we had the resources of Augusta National, believe me, we would certainly deliver the playing conditions of Augusta National. So when you watch the Master’s this year, realize that your superintendents are likely watching as well, knowing that they are probably going to disappoint you on Monday morning.
But it’s always fun to take a couple days each spring to play “what if”, and absorb all of the visual delights that Augusta National has to offer - the best of times. And it’s really not the worst of times – we’ve grown accustomed to the “Masters Hangover”, and we will be putting our noses to the grindstone on yet another Monday, doing the best we can with what we’ve got to give you the best playing conditions that we can.