A few days ago I read this post on the NEFA forum. It’s written by Jason Southwick, a guy who’s probably put more time in working on courses than I’ve played on them. It’s a recipe on how to build great tee-pads. It’s also kinda funny.
As a course is being put together, the tee-pads tend to be last on the “To Do” list, and often enough they’re treated as an after thought. A course needs a layout. A course needs baskets (although, some object courses can be really fun- like the ones that hang old oxygen tank halves that make a satisfying “GONG” sound when you finish a hole!). And finally a course needs tee-pads. Oddly enough, conversly, when you visit a course for the first time, the tee-pad is the first thing you see and physically interact with.
How frustrating is it play a course hours after it’s rained, yet there are still puddles inches deep on the tee-pads? How hard is it to throw a pinpoint accurate drive when you’re trying to avoid giant divots in the dirt? It’s not a great first impression, but can be a lasting one.
People often tell me it’s no use complaining unless I intend on doing the work myself. I actually agree with this- since nobody appreciates a whiner. However, I don’t think being complacent is exactly a valiant alternative.
Having witnessed and helped my local course rebuild 18 tee-pads, I now have a new-found respect for how much work goes into it. It basically took over 20 people two full days of hard labor to get it done. This was with pre-existing timber framed dirt tee-pads already in place. We filled in 6’x12′ framed squares with crushed gravel and stone dust and tamped them down before capping them off with rubber horse mats. The result is that picture up at the top. Our “recipe” was remarkably similar to Jason Southwick’s as he outlined in his NEFA post. It’s a little daunting to think about how much work goes into it, but his post is helpful in dissecting it and breaking it down. I think in the end- the important thing is to try. Tee-pads are a worthy project to devote your time to. I here-by plead for you to do it, and do it right. Go out- adopt a hole, and if the tee-pad isn’t top notch- make it top notch. While you’re at it, grab me a coffee. I’ll be over here. Waiting… for the tee-pad… to be finished…