We get asked on a regular basis why we restrict trolleys to "hedgehogs only" when the course is very wet in the Winter months. Before we ever stipulated rules about Hedgehog Wheels we did some extensive research included our own tests, to see exactly what difference that carrying only, and hedgehog wheels make in comparison to golfer using a regular golf trolley.
In an article written by USGA Agronomist David L. Wienecke, he explains the difference in damage between an average 14 stone person carrying a golf bag and the same person pulling a two-wheel golf trolley over a 6,200 yard golf course, and the results are pretty astonishing.
Mr Wienecke explains that the amount of area covered by the carrying golfer is:
1,283 square feet
The area covered by the same golfer, this time pulling a golf trolley is:
12,908 square feet
This means the the area impacted by the 'trolley' golfer is over TEN times that of a golfer that carries. Or to explain it differently, on a Saturday when one hundred golfers play, if all those players pull trolleys it will create same damage as one thousand golfers who carry! Imagine this over the course of four months and you realise the huge amount of damage that can be prevented.
"At MY club we never have trolley bans!"
This is something we hear a lot, and that's fine. Every golf club has their own policies and procedures, but at Burstwick we can't think of anything worse than allowing the use of trolleys all year round! We're constantly receiving compliments about the condition of the course, how there are no muddy areas, and that golfers come back into the clubhouse with completely clean trousers; why would we ever want to change that?
Where do Hedgehog Wheels come in?
Moving onto hedgehog wheels, the idea with the dimples is that they impact a much smaller area, so the number of 12,908 square feet is greatly reduced.
Although some people comment that on muddy areas the dimples can "dig in", the fact is that if people are using hedgehogs rather than normal wheels there are much fewer muddy areas in the first place, so the positives far outweigh the negatives.
If you CAN carry, then please DO
There is no getting away from it, the best way to protect your golf course is by using a carry bag. The hedgehog wheels are a great middle ground for those who struggle with carrying, but they aren't really intended to promote the use of trolleys for those who would normally carry.
If you want to play on the best conditioned surfaces through the Winter months, then using a carry bag will protect the course more than anything else!