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The Villages
Friday, June 21, 2024

USGA report supports claim of El Niño’s harmful impact on golf courses

A report from the United States Golf Association has backed up a claim that El Niño had a harmful impact on golf courses in The Villages.

The much-anticipated USGA report was unveiled Wednesday before the Amenity Authority Committee at Savannah Center.

The USGA was summoned to offer advice on the golf courses, after Villagers began complaining about “atrocious” courses that were barely playable. Residents howled in disbelief when golf officials in The Villages attempted to blame the El Niño weather pattern for the deterioration of the courses. The USGA has backed up the El Niño explanation.

The winter El Niño weather conditions have not been very kind to golf courses throughout Florida, and some golf courses throughout the Executive Golf Portfolio were not immune to this issue. Wet conditions and cloudy cool temperatures were a recipe for disaster for finely mowed turfgrass, similar to putting greens,” wrote USGA Consulting Agronomist Chris Neff.

Mitch Leininger
Mitch Leininger

And while some officials have called for the removal of some top management officials, including Director of Executive Golf Maintenance Mitch Leininger, the USGA consultant suggested that would be a mistake.

“His pivotal role in keeping management companies focused, managing member expectations, and preparing for future renovations and projects is crucial to maintaining these golf courses. His efforts should be recognized as monumental in accomplishing these tasks,” Neff wrote in the report.

One of the common complaints among golfers in The Villages has been that contractors have been ceded too much authority when it comes to course maintenance. On that point, the USGA consultant appeared to agree.

“There needs to be more clarity in holding contracted companies accountable for subpar golf course conditions throughout the duration of their contract,” Neff wrote in the report.

The report offers detailed observations and recommendations.  You can read the entire report at this link: USGA report

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