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Should Course Improvement Projects Be Performed In-House?

USGA Green Section | Published on 11/7/2023

By: Zach Nicoludis, regional director, Central Region

Whether you are installing drainage, rebuilding bunkers, expanding irrigation coverage or working through the checklist on a master plan, the shoulder seasons and offseason are ideal times to tackle projects. When it comes to planning this work, it is important to evaluate whether it can be completed in-house or if it’s necessary to hire a golf course construction company.

Taking on an improvement project in-house may limit what else can be performed on the golf course from a daily maintenance perspective. On paper, it might make sense to complete a project in-house. However, decision-makers must be aware that playing conditions and detail work may not be up to the normal standard while the staff is divided between the project and maintaining the golf course. For example, unplanned Easter egg hunts may take place around the golf course if a project is scheduled when leaves start to drop and the agronomic team cannot keep up with leaf removal. 

Consideration must also be given to the project timeline. Even if agronomic team members possess the skills to execute a project in-house, working with a contractor makes it possible for the project to be completed faster. A contractor will have the necessary equipment and their team will probably work more efficiently since this is the type of work they perform daily. 

Whether it makes sense to hire a contractor for a course improvement project depends on the course and the project. If course conditions are to remain at the normal standard during the project, or the project has to be completed within a specific time window, then working with a contractor may be a sound decision even if it costs more. For more information on planning offseason golf course improvement projects, reach out to your regional USGA agronomist.

Central Region Agronomists:

Zach Nicoludis, regional director –

Paul Jacobs, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

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