Having worked in the industry for several years and getting to know some of the club superintendents in the area, I've learned to be a little more understanding of certain conditions. Water restrictions, budgeting issues that prevent the ability to chemically treat certain weeds from overtaking the grass, or maybe budgeting issues that prevent a superintendent from having enough greens staff on hand to stay on top of everything. Then you have harsh winters that bring certain diseases like snow mold, or, harsh summers with drought conditions and water restrictions that prevent the superintendent from actually growing grass in the fairways or teeing areas.
Some things are preventable, some things aren't. Sometimes it's impossible to determine the how's and why's, sometimes it's not. And some things, no matter the extenuating circumstances, are just downright unacceptable. But I will say this - of the dozen or so supers that I know - they all take pride in their work. If it's a public facility, they're fighting for every last penny of additional maintenance budget money they can get. And not just for new blades on the mowers, or bunker rakes, or new flags to replace the old faded and tattered ones. We're talking everything involved with maintaining grass, manicuring grass, growing grass, maintaining the very soil underneath the grass itself to keep the needed nutrients for healthy grass to grow. All of those guys I'm talking about - they went to school for this stuff... they graduated top-rated turf programs in the state. They know what they're doing. And they network together, as a group, to help each other out. Because let me tell you - when you have pythium blight going on at one facility - that means every course in the entire region is subject to the same fungus conditions. Or poannua infestations... especially since the seeds can be tracked in from different courses via the golfer's shoes.
Although they all are fighting for the same needed dollars, as competitors in business, and maybe one course would stand to benefit from another course undergoing some serious challenges as far as conditions, influencing customers to play where conditions are nicer - these supers respect each other greatly and understand how difficult their jobs can be even in the best growing seasons. They don't want to see one of their fellow supers under unneeded stress, or even worse - losing a job because of something that maybe they had little control over. By and large - the average greens superintendent is held hostage by two things: Mother Nature, and budget. And they're all generally fighting the same battles, season to season.
What I tend to become impatient with, more than any greenskeeper I've ever come across quite frankly, is fellow golfers just ignoring their part of the obligation. Cigarette butts in the bunkers. Sunflower seeds on the greens. Unraked bunkers, unrepaired divots, ball marks on the greens that literally kills the grass if not repaired properly. Then you have the idiots who don't deserve to be out on a golf course, taking the carts where they're not supposed to, especially if the conditions are mushy and wet. Or taking gouges out of the tee box after a bad tee shot, or taking a divot out of a green after a missed 2-footer. Those are cardinal sins that frankly I cannot and will not tolerate from a playing partner.
I'm a member of a private club, a nice private club. I pay the extra money for nicer conditions and the avoidance of a 5-hour round on the weekends. But I see the same stuff happening at my club. The guy who bitches about his ball landing in the center of a divot quite often doesn't replace the ones that came from his club. The same with ball marks on the greens. The same with footprints in the bunker. I picked up no fewer than 5 cigarette butts today that were either in the fringe of a green or in a bunker. I'd like to assume that they were from guests who played in front of us, but even then - members should hold them to a slightly higher standard compared to wherever else they ordinarily play.
As golfers - we ourselves can do an enormous amount of good by just being good golfers. Being ready to play when it's our turn, and taking care of the course we're playing on. That is certainly not asking too much from anyone, regardless of whether it's at Pine Valley or the local muni.