I love the game of golf, don’t get me wrong. But there are plenty of ways to improve the game, and many of the problem areas are the fault of the golf courses themselves. Notice that I didn’t mention “slow play” in this list because one of my pet peeves addresses this issue. Plus, if you’re playing on a weekend, it’s fairly unreasonable to expect a round quicker than 4.5 hours. So, here they are, from 5 down to 1:

5. Over-watered fairways

Bad drainage is one thing. Some older golf courses weren’t as well designed to make drainage easier, and it’s difficult to tear up your course to make the adjustment. I’ll give courses like Crystal Springs and Chuck Corica a pass there. What I fail to understand is why some courses continue to run sprinklers, even on cooler days, or simply soak their greens and fairways when it’s truly unnecessary. Do your watering in the early AM and be done with it already!

4. Too many nuisance birds

Canadian geese, american coots (those little black birds you see at Palo Alto and Shoreline), they’re all over the place! I realize that the coots are somewhat native to wetlands where many of the Peninsula courses happen to reside, but the hundreds of (non-) migratory Canadian geese have got to be controlled. Whether it’s a dog patrol, relocation, sterilization, whatever, I’m pretty tired of walking through goose poop and worrying whether I’m going to be pulled over for third-degree goosicide by one of my errant balls.

3. Extra-lumpy greens

Some courses are great about rolling their greens for truer putts, but most of those courses seem to be the ultra-expensive ones. What does it really cost to buy a green roller and roll the greens ever couple of days. Spend a bit less time hovering over me (like the marshals on some courses seem to do), and pay a bit more attention to the greens. It’s tough to read a putt perfectly only to have it hop and skip like a 5-year old playing hopscotch.

2. Course overcrowding

Every course seems to have a “course rule” to finish in somewhere around 4.5 hours. That’s all well and good, but it’s just about impossible to finish in that time when you jam foursomes in every 6 minutes or so. Waiting 5-8 minutes at every tee box isn’t good for the game, and isn’t good for your pace of play (you hear me Poplar and Mare Island?). Even someone with a 25 handicap can finish in 5 hours if the number of people going through is managed correctly. Stop being greedy and let us enjoy the game at the proper pace.

1. Tee boxes that aren’t level

You may think this is the most minor quibble I could have about golf courses, but it’s one of the easiest things to fix and by far the most annoying to me. When I get up to the tee box and get ready to hit my drive/iron, I hate walking all over the box looking for a level place to stand, where the ball isn’t an inch below or above my feet. Come on, golf course maintenance people, just bring in a bulldozer and flatten it out! Replant the grass/sod and you’re done. Simple, easy, quick. It’s the least I can expect from even the most beat-up muni. Arg!

Thanks for listening, and I’d love to hear your own golf course peeves. Fire away!