The Summit’s new golf course superintendent on keeping greens green

The Summit Club under construction, Westchester County

The golf course industry is one of the comparatively few to experience moments of sunshine during the pandemic year of 2020 according to statistics gathered by the National Golf Foundation. While golfing was initially affected when the pandemic hit, last summer and fall saw solid drives toward solid scores in several areas.The foundation reported that 2020 saw an 8% increase in the number of people taking part in some form of golfing activity compared with 2019. This included play on courses and outdoor driving ranges as well as indoor simulators. There were 36.9 million golfing participants in the U.S. in 2020, with 24.8 million playing on golf courses, an increase of 500,000 from 2019 representing the largest increase in 17 years.

The foundation calculated that the number of course rounds played was up 14% in 2020 over 2019 at approximately 500 million, an increase of about 60 million rounds from 2019.

It also reported that there were more than 14,000 golf courses operating in the U.S. in 2020, which is a lot of greenery to keep green and in good physical condition.

“Basically we’re property managers,” Christopher Alonzi, the new golf course superintendent at The Summit Club in Armonk, told the Business Journal. “Every golf course is unique. Every golf course has its own host of challenges. What you don’t see, underneath the grass, is a huge factor. The type of soil; some golf courses have flatter greens while some have undulating greens; the makeup of the land, even irrigation systems and drainage. Those all play a factor in the conditioning of the course. Is the surface firm; are there spongy conditions; is the ball rolling true?”

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