What makes a great course?

Jeff ClauseFairways & Greens

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Behind every successful golf course there is a whole organized system that happens behind the scenes to ensure a winning product.

In this article I will show you the true “Heroes” that makes a golf course look great. No operation becomes a success with only the Superintendent leading in the front; the true quality of a course gets measured by the team that does the tasks behind the scenes. I will start with the most important operation in my mind, the workshop. The Workshop determines every step taken on a daily basis, if you don’t have a sound system in place to have all the machines and transport vehicles in a good working condition on a daily basis, then you will see the negative results on the golf course. Machines needs to be checked after every mowing schedule for heights, tire pressure, oil and so much more. Without these checks you will have machines leaving unsightly lines on the fairways, greens and rough and even the roll of the greens won’t be up to the correct standard. It is the duty and responsibility of the workshop manager, which in my case is Nico Young, to make sure all the settings are done and ready for the next day. The daily responsibilities of the workshop team needs to be on par every day to ensure a healthy and visually satisfying playing surface.

The schedules of the workshop gets divided into daily, weekly, monthly and yearly procedures.

– Checking machines heights
– Checking oil
– Checking tire pressures
– Look for hydraulic leaks
– Preventative maintenance
– Placing orders for parts on time
– Filling all machines with fuel
– Report to the Superintendent to ensure that we can prioritize the work to be done.
– Taking time every morning to check the machines while they are cutting.
– Checking that all lights on machines are working on the machines.
– Managing and delegating tasks to the staff under the workshop manager.


– Ensuring that machines that only get used on a weekly basis are in good working order.
– Cleaning of the workshop.

– Stock take
– Staff training
– Grinding of mower reels on a set program.
– Servicing of vehicles and machines.

Machine service board
– Stock take

– Replacement program of machines when required.
– Servicing of key components like the compressors and the hydraulic lift in the workshop.

These are just a few aspects involved in running a workshop and on a daily basis these tasks gets stretched to the maximum due to unexpected breakages and more.

A well organised workshopon your right.


Danny Mhlabeni (Assistant Superintendent St Francis Links)


The other crucial part in a successful golf course will be the assistant Superintendent which in my case is Danny Mhlabeni. Without a good assistant no operation can ever be a success. At St Francis Links I am fortunate not to have a good assistant by my side, but a great one to ensure that the prioritized tasks gets done in the correct manner and at the correct standard. The two foremen and staff that completes the team are each crucial in their own positions, without one staff member on my team we would not be able to be the 8th best course in the country at the moment.

With this article I salute my team and all the other course maintenance teams in this country for their dedication and hard work behind the scenes.

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