Anglers practice catch and release to ensure fishing remains plentiful for generations to come. Golfers can also do their part to ensure courses remain as alluring as they are today.
The Brainerd lakes area has some of the best golf courses in the state, but it takes a collective effort to keep them in prime condition.
From replacing divots to fixing ball marks golfers can help course maintenance workers do their job by providing a picturesque place to play but there are many other things involved.
"If (a player is riding a cart and) it is a day where they can get off the cart path, golfers have the tendency to all go on the same path," said Matt McKinnon, superintendent at the Legacy at Cragun's. "With 200 people going on the same path, that hurts the course.
"If they can refrain from doing that, stay out of wet areas and areas that are seeded or sodded, that would help."
If you've seen a sign that reads "Scatter" that is what it means. Another sign referring to cart use is the 90-degree rule. What that means is when a golfer takes a cart into the fairway to hit their ball they should enter the fairway at a 90-degree angle.
After hitting, golfers should proceed all the way to the other rough and then turn around as opposed to turning around in the middle of the fairway.
Another common mistake made by golfers deals with insect spray.
"The bugs haven't been that bad this year but when golfers apply bug spray on the fairways or greens and tees it kills the grass," McKinnon said. "If they can do it on the cart paths it would be better."
Concerning divots McKinnon mentioned that golfers should not take a divot on their practice swing but there is some confusion whether to replace a divot.
"It all depends," said McKinnon. "If they take a divot and it comes out in pieces then it's probably better not to. If they take a piece of sod definitely replace it. People tend to hit the ball in the same spot, which are called landing areas. At the end of the day if people don't replace their divots it gets pretty messy."
For bent grass fairways some carts offer canisters on golf carts with a seed-soil mixture. Instead of replacing divots you should apply the mixture to the area. If there isn't a canister then replace the divot.
For Madden's superintendent, Scott Hoffman, his biggest problem is ball marks on greens.
"It's not so much that they aren't fixing them but it's that they don't do it properly," Hoffmann said. "What people do is they pull up on the turf and that kills the grass. What they should do is pull the turf from the edges.
"With ball marks we spend probably eight to 10 man hours a day just on one course."
The more golfers can help the more time maintenance workers have to concentrate on making the course better.
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