“We’re very concerned about the speed of
play and not making the golf course more dif-
ficult,” Straka said. “We feel like we’ve got really
good data to take this turf out and also not
Construction is planned to start in April
Then there are drones
Just five years ago, drones weren’t used in
golf course construction or maintenance. As
they grew in popularity in other industries,
especially in other construction industries, they
entered the golf world.
“Almost every superintendent buys a drone
now,” Straka said. “There are things you can’t
see by walking on the ground.”
That includes reviewing the progress of a
project and examining turf color and health.
An aerial vantage point also can gives course
owners and operators a perspective that previ-
ously was not available, and the effect goes far
beyond capturing beautiful course photos for
Some companies are selling infrared sensors
that can produce images to help identify diseases, water issues and pressures that the turf
may be experiencing that aren’t apparent to the
With such an influx of new technology making its way into the industry, how does a
course owner know which are good products and services? As with anything, there
are always going to be bright, shiny prospects that end up being duds. Some contractors and architects try to search out the best
options for their clients.
“Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s
good,” Straka said.
And just because something works today
doesn’t mean it will work tomorrow.
Cordes expects to see more changes in
terms of labor as equipment is developed and
used for maintenance and construction that
replaces human labor.
“For us, one of the biggest challenges is the
supply and demand of labor as a resource to
be able to execute our project,” he said.
The way architects and contractors do
their work and communicate with each other
has also sped up. With aerial and topographic
maps readily available online, information
can be gathered in much less time.
“It’s really made the industry a much better
world,” Colligan said.
“What gets measured gets managed,” Straka
said. “If you can measure it, you can better man-
For example, GPS devices not only can help
determine the best flow for players on a course
but also can help maintenance crews determine
the most efficient routes for their work.
Fry/Straka is in the permitting process for a
$4 million course renovation at West Bay Club
in Estero, Fla. GPS data loggers have already
tracked the traffic patterns of players and staff,
and that information will help ensure the best
possible outcome for the project. Eight acres of
turf removal has been planned, thanks to this
initial data collection.
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supplies data for that can
aid superintendents in water
conservation, determining labor
efficiences, chemical applications
and strategic planning.