Recently Wild Horse received some more accolades that can be seen at the following links.
It is an honor to be highly thought of by these sources and others that have included us in their best golf courses listings.
So how does a course get into such lists and what role does maintenance play in that regard? Each publication or panel of raters has criteria for rating courses and most of it is based on the design of the golf holes and how they challenge the golfer. Criteria can vary from one source to the next which can account for the differences in course rankings from one list to another. As with all rankings there is the subjectivity of each rater that can make the difference between being 56 or 78, but that really doesn't matter much. If Wild Horse is included in these lists it must generally be a highly regarded course among the best in the state and nation.
At the stockholder meeting this year I talked about what I feel the maintenance team's role in this ranking game is. We are the coach that hopefully maximizes the "talent" of the course. Wild Horse is a great design with variety, strategy, and fits well into our prairie landscape. So we have plenty of "talent" to work with. Then we try to maximize the golfers' experience by providing great playing conditions that contribute to the design of the course. For example the greens and fairways have some slope to them but are not overly severe. Therefore we try to maximize those slopes and run-up areas around greens by keeping them firm and fast as possible.
Along with playing conditions, we strive to keep the architectural merits of the course relevant and intact. What exactly does that mean? That means keeping bunkering looking as intended by maintaining the "blowout" look. It means keeping mow lines in their place. It means examining teeing areas and adjusting if necessary to weather conditions and/or player capabilities. It means managing the native vegetation and topography to visually accentuate the golf holes. Some of these things probably are not consciously recognized by most golfers, but together these things create a product that subconsciously "feels right" to the player. Then when they are done with their round they say that was fun.
We hope that our work solidifies each golfers' perception of Wild Horse as a top-notch facility-one that they want to return to often. That's what we are trying to accomplish.