Nobody wins when greens are aerified, a process that entails cores of dirt being pulled to lessen compaction and better allow water and oxygen, among other positive things, to reach the roots.
It's a necessary spring and fall evil for the long-term health of turf, but that doesn't lessen the sting of seeing previously pristine putting surfaces rendered to look like the surface of the moon in minutes.
Course operators hate it because business comes to a standstill in the two or so weeks it generally takes for conditions to return to acceptable.
Players hate it because it forces them from their favorite courses and routines.
Brent Cohen, the general manager of Empire Ranch and Turkey Creek, may have found a win-win solution.
In the seven days following aerification at both courses (Empire was completed Tuesday, Turkey will punch April 10), full rates will be charged, but players will be given a voucher for the amount they paid that's redeemable anytime. Play the weekend after aerification at either course for $65, for instance, and get a voucher for $65 or a second round free, depending on your perspective.
In the past, the courses offered a $10 post-aerification fee reduction, a typical discount for area courses that generated little enthusiasm. Now, two rounds that previously would have cost a combined $120 will be $65.
"Everybody does the same discount and everybody's tee sheet is dead after aerification," Cohen said. "So we're trying something new."
Cohen's thinking is simple: Generate more play in the week following aerification and the additional retail, range and restaurant revenue will offset the reduction in greens fees.
Better players who demand quality greens probably won't take the bait, but less picky, value-conscious players should find the offer enticing.
"Maybe we'll get some people who normally don't play the two courses to come out, so there's some marketing potential, too," Cohen said.
As with any voucher, some won't be redeemed, a fact Cohen considered.
Here's a suggestion: Wait until April 9 at Empire and April 17 at Turkey Creek, the last day the 2-for-1 deal is in effect at both places and when the greens have had the most time to heal. Play that day, and then don't let your voucher collect dust.
Course guide updated
The Bee's electronic course guide (see sacbee.com/golf) has been updated for 2013 with changes to rates and links to websites for the 39 (minus Trinitas) 18-hole courses in the Sacramento region that are accessible to the public.
There was little movement in peak fees from last April. The exceptions:
Fees at Whitney Oaks, purchased a year ago by the tribal owners of Thunder Valley Casino, are up $14 on Fridays, $10 on other weekdays and $6 on weekends.
Fees at the Ridge are up $4 on weekdays but down $1 on weekends.
Fees at Apple Mountain are down between $7 and $10 throughout the week with the discontinuation of its "all you can" eat, drink and play bundled concept.
Fees at Auburn Valley are down $4 every day.
Sutherland eyes New Orleans
Kevin Sutherland missed last week's Houston Open and this week's Texas Open because of the death of his father-in-law.
He's targeting a return to the PGA Tour on April 25 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Sutherland, 48, playing on a medical extension, is guaranteed entry into 11 tournaments this season. He needs to earn $350,000 in that span to retain his fully exempt status for next season.
The Sacramento resident has missed the cut in his four starts this year.
His records still stand
How good was Robert Meyer?
A Q&A with the former Sacramento junior golf phenom published in The Bee on Monday highlighted many of his achievements. What it failed to recognize is that Meyer still holds course records at North Ridge (63), Sierra View (62) and Auburn Valley (63).
Meyer, 50, lives and works in Florida.
Call The Bee's Steve Pajak, (916) 326-5526.