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Golf Course Signage

Golf Sign and Design

Many a club has discussed “what signs do we need, where are they necessary” and even some clubs may think “do we need signs at all”. The easy answer is there is no one-fit for every course, but here are a few facts to think about as you try to find the best answer for your golf course.

Many a club has discussed “what signs do we need, where are they necessary” and even some clubs may think “do we need signs at all”. The easy answer is there is no one-fit for every course, but here are a few facts to think about as you try to find the best answer for your golf course.

First, almost every golf course in the country has some sort of hole signage for each hole. The real question is what do we need on these hole signs. It is often said that “less is more” and in the case of signage I would contend that refers to content. Most courses don’t need a hole map and even more should consider doing away with the “hole lengths” on their signs. It sure makes for a much easier change of the hole or lengthening of a tee box without a huge expense of replacing the sign or worse… trying to cover up the new error.

The reality is every golfer has a scorecard for the hole lengths. And the only holes, where length is important, are your par 3 holes. But far more important than having a tee sign with the hole lengths, even if just for the par 3’s, is to have a plate in the ground denoting where the measurement is taken from. Ahhhh, wouldn’t it be nice if every course had their par 3’s marked properly?

For a golfer of any level it is important to know fairly accurate yardage. It is vital for club selection and let’s face it. Not every golfer carries a handheld device. Not every golfer has a pocket GPS and the better golfers (scratch amateurs and pro’s) only use the very high end devices that most of your members don’t own.

Sadly most don’t measure their courses properly and the ones that do use questionable practices. Why have a 7 million dollar golf course and send your assistant pro out with a handheld device to measure? You are not saving money and you are giving your members and guests a less than par experience when they play. Many handheld devices are plus or minus 7 yards! Did you really save money? Do you end up with a 400 and a 420 plate on one tee box that are 16 yards apart? We see it all the time and it is all because they thought they were saving money by not hiring a professional golf course surveyor.

Then you have the issue of tournament play. Yes your local events may allow handheld measuring devices but is your event a USGA event? Tee Plates with accurate yardage are one of the most critical parts of marking your course properly and may even take precedence over the hole sign altogether.

Back to the signs. The number one purpose for having signs is to give your golfers a pleasant experience. They not only want to know what hole they are playing but directional signs getting them to the correct hole are essential on some courses. It makes the playing experience comfortable and it is an impression on your guests that will play a “part” in their decision whether to come back or possibly to even join.

Signage is all part of the first impression at a golf course. And we all know you get one shot at a “First Impression”. So what’s important and is there a guideline that will help most courses make the best decision in their sign purchases? YES and its far simpler than you may think.

1) Make sure all your signage matches. Use the same colors and designs throughout your property. There is nothing worse than aluminum parking signs, plastic direction signs then beautiful cast signs….. all in different colors. It screams – “Cheap”.

Use the same type of product and more importantly the same colors, from the entrance sign, through parking directional signs and then onto the course with hole signs, directional and even your inground markers.

2) Only put the information that is important on the sign. Most high end clubs have gone to hole number and par with their logo…. that’s all. And that is all that is needed. For public courses serving a lot of first time guests you may want to add the lengths of the holes, but it is only recommended when you are fairly sure there will be no future changes to the holes.

3) Make sure you don’t skimp on directional signs. If budget is an issue, then stick with the same style and go smaller for the direction signs. Another option is using a less expensive material but with the identical look. The Polo Club of Boca Raton recently renovated and they used very nice looking but expensive bronze signs for their hole signs. Then they did an extensive amount of directional signs in a great alternative material called High Pressure Laminate (10 year warranty). They look just like bronze from 20 feet away and cost less than half the price of bronze. This was a great solution to keep a high end look and fit within a preset budget.

4) Don’t forget the tee yardage plates. They are helpful on all holes for future ratings updates, but they are extremely critical on the par 3 holes. And for heavens’ sake, please have the hole lengths and or the sprinkler heads measured professionally.

5) Finally, this is the simplest but often the most overlooked part of your purchase. Compare apples to apples. Hundreds of sign companies make a huge amount of money deceiving you with their product “name”. You can buy solid aluminum or “alumicore”. They will tell you it’s almost the same but it is actually plastic with a sheet of tin foil attached. In short it is junk and will fade within a couple years.

Other companies will say they have bronze in their signs when in fact its plastic with bronze flecks in the paint. You get the picture. Be careful what you allow a company to bid on and demand that your quotes are apples to apples.

Of course there are other important aspects to running your golf course and signage is just one small part of the total equation. Great looking signage doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think and we urge you consider all the factors above when it comes time to update your signs.

When I was in my teens, playing junior golf in South Florida during the 1970’s, a popular song came out with the following lyrics…. “Signs, signs, everywhere are signs”……. Little did I know then that I would be in the business of selling signs some 40 years later and better yet selling to golf courses worldwide.


Tom Eubank
Golf Sign and Design.com

For more information call 404-944-9966, or visit them on the web at www.golfsignco.com

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