Managing Cart Traffic: The Role of Green and White Stakes

Here at WBCC we use green and white stakes to manage cart traffic and maintain turf health. Proper cart etiquette and strategic stake placement ensure the course remains in excellent condition, enhancing playability and turf health.

Managing Cart Traffic: The Role of Green and White Stakes

Golf courses are intricate ecosystems that require meticulous care to maintain their pristine condition. One of the most significant stresses on a golf course is the wear and tear caused by cart traffic. To mitigate this impact, we in the Grounds and Greens Department employ various strategies, with the use of green and white stakes being one of the most effective methods.

The Purpose of Green and White Stakes

Green and white stakes are essential tools used to manage and direct golf cart traffic here at WBCC. They serve several purposes. However, it is important to remember to go around the green and white stakes, not between them. These purposes include:

  1. Routing Traffic Patterns: Stakes are strategically placed to prevent the creation of “cattle trails” – well-worn paths that can lead to significant turf damage. By rerouting carts, these stakes help distribute traffic more evenly across the course, reducing the stress on any single area.
  2. Protecting High-Traffic Zones: High-traffic areas, such as the ends of cart paths and around green surrounds, are particularly vulnerable to wear. Stakes are used to divert carts left or right, preventing these zones from being worn down to bare soil.
  3. Preserving Green Surrounds: Green surrounds are critical areas that need to be kept in optimal condition for play. By directing traffic away from these areas, stakes help maintain healthy, upright turfgrass, which provides better ball lies and overall playability.
  4. Restricting Access to Sensitive Areas: In areas with extremely wet soils or those recovering from damage, stakes (sometimes accompanied by ropes) are used to keep carts out. This helps protect these sensitive zones from further harm, allowing them to recover and thrive.

Practical Implementation and Etiquette

Implementing the use of green and white stakes requires careful planning. Stakes are typically placed 4-8 paces apart, which is wide enough to allow carts to pass through but close enough to guide traffic effectively. The goal is to use these markers sparingly, relying more on proper golf etiquette than on physical barriers.

We also refrain from placing these stakes around green complexes; instead, we ask that you keep carts at least 40 feet away from the greens. This approach prevents the course from looking cluttered and avoids the formation of additional worn paths.

The Importance of Cart Etiquette

Good cart etiquette is crucial in maintaining the course’s condition. I ask that you help take care of your course by:

  • Avoiding Wet Areas: Wet soil is highly susceptible to damage. Staying clear of these areas helps preserve the turf.
  • Distributing Traffic: Rather than driving in single file, spreading out helps distribute the wear evenly across the course.
  • Minimizing Footprint: The goal should always be to leave no trace, driving in a way that minimizes damage to the turf.
Avoid wet areas—do not drive through stakes, drive around them

By following these guidelines, everyone can contribute to maintaining the course’s playability and appearance.

Challenges and Best Practices

While stakes and ropes are valuable tools, their use must be balanced with the aesthetic and functional aspects of the course. Overuse can make the course look unappealing and hinder play. Therefore, the best practices involve minimal intervention, using stakes only when necessary, and relying on awareness and cooperation.

Additionally, new or recovering areas, such as newly sodded sections or native areas, require special attention. Keeping carts out of these zones is critical to their successful establishment and aesthetics. We ask you to be particularly mindful of these areas, avoiding them to prevent unintentional damage.


The use of green and white stakes is a key strategy in managing cart traffic on the golf course. By directing traffic, protecting vulnerable areas, and promoting good cart etiquette, these stakes help maintain the course’s integrity and playability. Course maintenance and golf etiquette both play a role in preserving the beauty and functionality of the golf course, ensuring it remains in top condition for all to enjoy.

Interested in Becoming a Member?