In all those years we re-defined our approach, looking at a golf course as a “sum of components” - the different areas that make up the course. For each of those areas we created a system to optimize that area of the course and create real alternatives versus natural grass. With the feedback from our clients and using the power of our vertical supply chain (SWG is owned by Shaw Industries, the world leader in the manufacturing of top-quality synthetic turf products for various athletic surfaces), we have access to a large R&D department to improve our synthetic system solutions. Dividing a conventional golf course into components and then looking at how we can make improvements to these components is a strategy that we believe adds genuine value to the golf course industry as it adjusts to ever-changing variables and confronts increasing challenges. But also driving ranges or entertainment facilities use synthetic “outfields” and these installations require a different approach under the daily operation and the pressure of the ball-picking machine or robot.
With regards to each component, we start developing with the “end-result” in mind. Acceptance of the players and a healthy return of investment for the facility owner. Within course golf that acceptance can be brought back to a “look and feel” concept whereby the look means that it needs to replicate quality golf course construction. The feel we discuss in terms of ball behavior, more specific Bounce, Aim and Roll.
We call this project “Science Behind The Surface” and we test our synthetic system against natural grass with a playability assessment tool. Intense field research is done, and data is being collected from many natural surfaces to get a high-quality reference. The synthetic system gets compared in: Ball Roll, Bounce, spin, trueness, speed, aim and firmness. That gets reported in a Bounce, Aim and Roll versus the reference. A reference that represents the best courses in our industry and sets a B.A.R. to mimic.
With 7 metric points in “ideal ranges” we can test each surface and give a direct comparison in a playability radar. The testing procedure for natural grass and synthetic systems are the same and they all compare the benchmark. Looking at the positives and negatives enables us to improve the synthetic system and get closer to the benchmark product, which leads to better offerings to the market.
We see science translated in knowledge and sharing that knowledge as an important task for a market leader to assist the industry to improve the ways we work or simple to “better the product” we offer our end-users.
For more information go to www.southwestgreens.eu