How golf course management is like being a quarterback in football

Football Field

As we make our way into late August, football season is right around the corner. NFL preseason games are upon us and college kickoff is mere days away. As America’s most popular (and monetarily successful) spectator sport, football occupies a place of outsize influence both in the sporting world as well as in the popular culture and zeitgeist. It’s hard to escape football during the season — even if you want to. For some, that’s a great thing; for others? Not so much. But one thing I’ve found myself thinking about more and more as we make our way toward this football season is this: being an NFL quarterback is very similar to being a golf superintendent.

Well, maybe not very similar. But it has a lot more in common than you might think.

For one, you cannot be good at either football or golf course design/management with expert and extensive planning. When you’re laying out a course, you have to take into account the natural undulations and habitats of the land you’re building on. You have to take into account climate, grass styles, grass lengths, green placements, trap placements, hazard placements, natural water features, man-made water features… you get the idea. The same is true of football: you have to take into account your opponent, their coach’s tendencies, their personnel, their injuries, the stadium in which you’ll be playing, the crowd, the weather, etc.

For both golf courses and football games, planning is key.

Another similarity between the two is that conditions are always changing, but your opponent always tries to extract an advantage. In football, the other team can add new plays into the playbook, new formations, change how they’re using personnel packages, etc. Furthermore, things like field conditions and weather conditions all change (an offshoot of the need for planning above). In golf, as a course manager or superintendent, your members/players are always trying to score lower. The more they play the course, the more they see the obstacles and contend with them, the better they’ll be at beating you (which, in this case, is just scoring lower).

But, the thing that makes golf course management most like the quarterback position, though, comes on the greens.

Once your course is laid out and built up, there’s only so much systemic change you can make to the course without a massive and costly renovation. You’re not moving lakes or changing hole distances without some serious capital outlays. Your tools for keeping the course interesting and challenging are limited.

The same is true in football.

Once you’ve built your team’s system, designed the playbook, practiced it to perfection and implemented it, there’s not a ton of changes you can make within a given game. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t avenues to find advantages in each.

In football, it comes by way of the audible. Once the offensive coordinator has called the play, the quarterback still has the chance to get to the line of scrimmage, see what the defense is doing, and then audible into another play that gives his team a better chance to be successful that play. Even with all the game-planning and practice and play-calling, when the quarterback can seize on an advantage, he will, right there at the line of scrimmage.

In golf, it comes with hole locations. It’s too costly to move bunkers or green locations on any kind of regular basis. You can’t reorient your golf course all the time to keep players guessing. What you can do, however, is change hole locations on your greens. That throws that little wrinkle into the game for your golfers to stay on their toes.

The best way to ensure you’re moving your holes around effectively without repeating the same locations all the time? ezLocator. Quarterbacks don’t design new plays at the line of scrimmage, they simply call a new play from the playbook when they see an opportunity. Likewise, ezLocator has the best playbook around; all you have to do is consult it to keep your greens healthy, the holes moving around in the best possible ways, and your players engaged and guessing.

Golf course management might be like a quarterback. But, with ezLocator, it’s like having Tom Brady on your team.