Doing Absolutely Nothing

Bob Vavrek, a Senior Agronomist with the USGA wrote a fantastic piece on doing absolutely nothing. He said as human beings we are programmed for action, but some of the best superintendents have a special skill for “doing nothing”. Boards and owners everywhere are cringing. Imagine a meeting where he or she says, “I plan to just monitor”.

Should you mow greens right after a deluge, but it’s Men’s Day? Should you top dress after a stretch of hot, stressful weather, but that was the plan we laid out in the off season. What if your greens have winter kill? Here is the classic program of excess to satisfy the owners or Board members:

We could spike and seed, or slit seed, or verticut and seed, or aerate and seed, then we will fertilize three or four times all before soil temperatures even reach 60 degrees, the threshold needed to initiate bent grass germination. As soon as there are sprouts, the process is repeated because you are pissed off it’s “taking too long”. Should I pursue that plan?

Your Soon To Be Removed Superintendent

The Opposite of Absolutely Nothing

absolutely nothing
Easy To Do Absolutely Nothing

As Bob says, go to the other extreme. Imagine trying to explain to an owner or a board that you need to close a green “because you didn’t do something”. As humans we are trained that society is far more sympathetic to one’s misfortune if one takes action, even if it’s completely the wrong action. The mantra of human life seems to be “more is better”.

Think about this…if I sent you a newsletter saying I was “doing nothing this year”, would your response be “that’s perfect, that’s just what I wanted to hear!” No, you want to hear a bunch of items I’m working on even if none of them make sense. You can feel good that I’m taking action. As Golf Course Owner Guy always says, running a course is interesting.


  1. Jeff Troestler January 26, 2021
    • Nick Stephens, PGA January 26, 2021

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