Tee Box Renovations at Kingfisher Golf Course

The Smart Approach to Tee Box Renovations

Manage tee box renovation with minimal play disruption and impact to budget.

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Think about it — everything begins on the tees. That’s where your guests and members first encounter your course. The extent to which the tee surface is firm, level, aligned properly and well turfed not only determines their first impression, it also sets expectations for their play experience.

But tee boxes, especially given their footprint-to-foot traffic ratio, undergo a lot of wear and tear. So, what is the lifespan of a tee box? The American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) recommends tee boxes be replaced every 15 years or so, possibly even sooner for courses whose tee box areas are insufficient for the amount of annual course play.

The question for many — if not all — club managers and superintendents is when and how to manage tee box renovation with minimal play disruption and impact to budget. Read on for our experts’ advice.

Schedule Wisely and Use Specialists

close up of a tee box on a golf course
The cost of tee box renovation can range from $1.50/sq. ft. - $2.50/sq. ft., depending on the type of turf. 

The cost of tee box renovations can range from $1.50 per square foot to $2.50 per square foot, depending on the type of turf. There’s a lot that goes into tee box renovation and building it into your annual budget and schedule is a smart approach. Many clubs plan on renovating two to three tee complexes per year so they can better manage course play and the labor and material costs associated with these renovation projects.

Tee box renovation involves several golf course construction line items: sod stripping, tilling, drainage and mix (if necessary), irrigation adjustment, laser leveling, finish grade, seedbed preparation and sod laying. Out suggestion is to bring in specialists for better results and costs. For example, laser leveling requires specialized equipment and, in certain states, clubs can save on taxes by having the company from which the sod was bought lay the sod.

Tee box renovation costs can range from $1.50 per square foot for warm season turf to $2.50 per square foot for cool season turf. As for timing, count on about three weeks from start to finish: five days of work for every 10,000 square feet undergoing renovation and two or more weeks after the work has been done for the tee to be playable.

Keep Play Going

Probably one of the biggest challenges clubs face is keeping play going around the work. Again, the planning that goes into this needs to be a part of the schedule. Talk to your superintendent and greens committee well ahead of time and find a suitable area near the tee complex that can serve as the tee area temporarily. Make sure it’s level and begin mowing it down about two weeks prior to use for optimum play.

Follow the Three Golden Rules

Finally, keep these three guidelines from our experts in mind when planning tee renovations:

  1. Work with your superintendent to create a long-term tee renovation program and stick to it. It will pay off.
  2. Make sure your tee surface is large enough for the amount of play on your course and that the turf you’re using can stand up to the expected use. The United States Golf Association (USGA) recommends 100 square feet of usable tee area for every 1,000 rounds of annual play. Make sure each tee box is properly aligned toward the center of the fairway. Tee boxes will vary in alignment, size and shape. 
  3. Go for transparency. Hiring a golf course contractor to undertake your renovations can be a time-saver and should produce quality tee surfaces. Make sure to know them and their experience. Choose your partners wisely.

Whatever you do, keep in mind your tee boxes are your guests’ and members’ introduction to your course. Keep them high quality and make those first impressions count.

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