A photo of a vintage ad for a golf course greenkeeper.

Hole 6 - The Green Keeper's Barn

A photo of a vintage ad for a golf course greenkeeper.

If the Architect is the Devil then the green keeper must be the Devils Child


A vintage photo of the green keeper's barn.


When I first became a member of the green committee more years ago than I want to remember, there was a good deal of discussion taking place among board and committee  members as to what the "golf course superintendents job" entailed. Out of the blue I piped up and asked the head green keeper what he thought his number one responsibility should be. 

Without hesitation "To protect the golf course from the players" he snapped dead serious and eyes fixed on me. This drew a chuckle from the committee members as they liked seeing the new committee member put in his place. 

After a few seconds passed and comments about my golfing ability (or lack there of) were voiced I asked another question. "If that is your first priority on the job may I ask your second ?" Again without pause came back, "to protect the golf course from the green committee."  Silence. 

The new guy hit a nerve, a raw, injured nerve that had been festering for awhile and as the air began to lighten and the silence broken with a deft change of subject, ( like a well struck approach being re-directed by a bunker rake or sprinkler head ) I decided that I was going learn as much from this curmudgeon as I could and then some. And I was going to do it either with his willingness to teach me or without it. 

What I didn't know was with that decision I committed myself to many years as a green committee member that have proven to be both rewarding and frustrating beyond what I ever imaged.

American Golfer July 1912
An open letter to green committee members 


Just what makes a really good golf course is a question. The answer to which could be told perhaps in as many different ways as there are golf enthusiasts. However, as there are perhaps ninety duffers (the term used in all charity) to one real player in a club, the fact that the scratch or plus players demand certain things which if not produced causes them to proclaim the course on the bum, must be taken with a large amount of salt.


A vintage photo of a Greens Committee

Green Keeping Lesson # 1 

The green keeper's barn is definitely not for the thin skinned, so if you are a 7 handicap or a 27 handicap and think you know all there is to know about golf course turf management or if you prefer " Keeping the green", then don't bother reading any further because around the barn the green keeper gets to voice his opinion of you and your work on the golf course. "If ya think ya can handle it laddie" feel free to click thru anywhere along here, if not we suggest you along your merry way."  

Green Keeping Lesson # 2

It's greens, tees, fairways, bunkers, roughs in that order, period.  When they are perfect then we'll talk about that fountain you want built as a memorial to yourself.

A photo of a golfing green.

A photo of a golfing teeing ground.

A photo of a sand trap lined golf course fairway..

A photo of a Oakmont's famous church pew bunkers.

A photo of a a nasty bit of rouhg surrounding a golfing green.

Green Keeping Lesson # 3

To do the job right we need labor, equipment, fertilizers, seed, water, lots of water, more labor, know how ranging from controlling cutter ants to knowing how to enable all the control panel programs for the irrigation system and most importantly we need God's blessing. So "if ya goona piss him off please don't let him know ya play yur golf here !!" And oh by the way you can save a handful on labor if you replace your divots, rake the traps and learn to fix a ball mark !


A photo showing a golf course green being rebuilt.
Golf course labor
rebuilding a green

A photo of the inside of the green keeper's barn at St. Sndrews.
Golf course 
equipment barn

A photo of golfing green being fertilized.
Fertilizing a green
a multi-seasonal task

A photo of a golf course fairway being seeded.
Seeding a fairway
the modern way

A photo of a modern golf course irrigation system putting down some  water.
Golf course 
irrigation system

Green Keeping Lesson #4

Since Tom Morris started taking care of Prestwick in 1851 golfing conditions have been improving along side improvements in green keeping processes and golf course maintenance equipment. For the love of God before you start beefing about the playing conditions here take a lousy hour or two some early morning see "how we cut the grass". We don't have rabbits and we don't have sheep !  (Although a goat or 2 might help) Better yet just come out and look at what goes in to those pin placements and tee marker locations you seem to always have something to say about.

Green Keeping Lesson #5

If the inside of the green keepers barn looks like a storage shed for garden tools and antiques your golf club will soon have a problem. Although there are many tools that are  50 - 100 years old that are still serviceable the vast majority are not and are just plain useless. The demand for continuous golf course improvements equals a demand for new golf course maintenance equipment, so budget for it.

A vintage ad for golf course equipment .

A vintage ad for golf course sprinkler system.

A vintage ad for golf course equipment, a bunker & sand trap weeder.

A vintage ad for golf course equipment with a lady operator.

Vintage Advertisements for Golf Course Equipment





Dave Foulis - Greenkeeper Extraordinaire

The Shawnee Fairway Mower




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Let's meet at the putting green|Hole 1 Handicap and Wager|Hole 2 Golf Tournaments|Hole 3 Golfing Excuses
Hole 4 Golf Etiquette|Hole 5 The Golf Course Architect|Hole 6 The Green keeper|Hole 7  Range rat|
Hole 8  Ball hawk
Hole 9 Golfing Partners
|Hole10 Golf Resorts|Hole 11 The Caddie|Hole12  Golf Rules|Hole 13 Golf course living
Hole14 Golfing Equipment|Hole15 Golfing Accessories|Hole 16 Golf School-Now what|Hole 17 The Golf Pro
Hole 18 Hall of Golf Champions|Hole 19 The grillroom