Golf Course Architecture - Issue 63, January 2021

79 topic and then re-approaching the ways we do things creates transparency in the maintenance budget and allows for innovation. It also compares traditional surfaces with alternative surfaces in an honest way. Having said that, innovation in the golf industry needs to go hand in hand with acceptance of golfers and other stakeholders. The ‘user experience’, the course’s aesthetics and the relationship to nature need to be considered. Case in point is the success of bunker alternatives we see in today’s marketplace which get a lot of praise and are widely accepted. A similar process is taking place for tee lines and teeing areas. Many of the world’s top clubs have now opted for the synthetic alternative, due to the quality of the product, and given that traditional tee lines can be difficult to maintain and keep at a consistent and top-quality level. The comparison of investing in such an option shouldn’t be made compared to tee mats on the range as the ‘user experience’ is not the same. The honest comparison is a natural tee area versus a quality synthetic product. Hot, dry summers or cold, freezing winters wreak havoc on tee areas due to their need to withstand constant ball-striking from players. Tee boxes on short courses are being used so intensely that maintaining the natural grass is hardly possible and often shows in the quality. Southwest Greens Premium Champ Tee is a solution that has been installed on a global level and stands the test of different climates and intense usage. For many years, the product had a dark green ‘industry standard’ colour and that has functioned with a lot of satisfaction. With SGC gaining feedback from clients and working with Shaw Industries’ research and development team, the Southwest Greens brand introduced a more natural colour for the tee use ‘on the course’. In September 2020, the French Golf Federation opened its short course at Le Golf National. SGC had installed there, for the first time, its spring green colour, a simple innovation with the same quality standard, but giving the tee areas a more natural look. Although a small change, the details make the difference, and even a colour change can create more acceptance from players as positive comments about the playing experience have become the norm for quite some time now. An acceptance in look and feel, improving the journey for both clubs and their guests, is what we are after. GCA Kevin Holinaty is president at Southwest Greens Construction Photo: Southwest Greens Construction Synthetic turf system tee lines are used on the FFGolf Academie at Le Golf National in Paris, France