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Matt Leverich: Career & Technology Interchange


Critical checklist for your online presence...

Posted in communication 09 January 2017 · 599 views

The very first article I wrote for TurfNet back in 2013 covered the many potential dangers of an online presence. I'm sure most of you have forgotten it and it's only gotten more important in the years since as social media continues its rise in our daily lives. As 2017 starts, now is the time make sure your online presence is working for you in a completely positive way. Here are some key things to consider:


  1. Ensure your security settings in Facebook are heavily restricted. Great info on this at https://www.wired.co...ivacy-settings/
     
  2. Lock your Twitter account down so only those who you approve can follow you and the tweets aren't public. I can't stress this enough for job opportunities, it really is a major factor I have dealt with in the industry.
     
  3. Be very careful what you post. The world of golf has a certain view of how one should behave and, like it or not, compliance leads to better future opportunities. And while it may be fun to commiserate with peers about member antics or turf-care difficulties, it is probably not a good idea for success long term.
     
  4. Have your maintenance blog hosted on the private members' website. This ensures only members can view it and you can freely communicate about issues on the course without worrying about other clubs seeing it. This gets very critical if and when you decide to apply at another club. The committee will scour your information for any sign of distress, trust me. Even if your blog shows you communicated an issue very well, it still has them thinking that you are not Mr. Perfect candidate who never has issues. If you don't have an option for a private blog, make sure the public one is clean of any bad course conditions or issues and send those out through email blasts instead, which will reach more members anyways.
     
  5. Do promote your career website or online portfolio with your membership. This is one area where you can work to push your online presence because it has been carefully crafted to make you look your best. A large percentage of your membership really doesn't know much about you and your career at the vast majority of clubs. Why not get ahead of any future issues by creating a more professional image of yourself and educating members on your extensive background and education? Once you have your career materials complete, leave a small notecard with a link to them at the front desk, send an email with a link to all members, include in a blog post and many other ways as well to show members your career background.

 

Using these five tips will ensure that when it's time for your next career opportunity, you'll be ready and protected from potential online harm.




The Course Set Paradox...

Posted in communication, Technology 30 November 2016 · 665 views

by Greg Wojick, Playbooks for Golf
 
Many golf course workers can now be thankful that setting up the course is over for the season (not so for the sun belt guys and gals). Course set-up is that recurring job that golfers can easily understand but it can also become a tedious chore for the worker routinely assigned to this hugely important duty. Day after day this set of chores is expected to be done with perfection lest the superintendent will hear about it. If a violation with course set-up is consequential enough and not detected in time by a staff member, (i.e. hole location on a slight slope) golfers may never forget it!
 
Lets take a look at just some of the detail of a comprehensive daily course set routine:
  • Clean and set up tee markers (for all sets of tees)
  • Fill divots with seed/soil from previous day
  • Fill divot boxes
  • Empty broken tee containers
  • Pick up any trash on course, around buildings
  • Set up the practice area tee/position locations
  • Check club cleaning units/towels
  • Check practice area signage
  • Check practice ball supply
  • Check on course restroom facilities
  • Set hole locations on the practice green(s)
  • Check the ball washer fluid and towels (if you have them) at each location
  • Clean and reposition benches on tees, at the practice area too
  • Check ropes, stakes, scatter mechanisms
  • Clean plaques on tees, in the fairways
  • Check and reposition signage
  • Decide on where to position hole locations on each green
  • Repair a few ball marks
  • Check bunker rake placement
  • Empty garbage receptacles
  • Check on divot containers for caddies, in divot-concentrated areas of fairways, in golf carts
  • Making note of and communicating weeping sprinklers or sprinkler heads stuck on
  • Repairing damage from overnight animal burrowing
Golfers will comment with some degree of authority about most all of the items on this list of daily chores (most often hole location) and many have specific thoughts about how the work should be done.  As an example, many golfers feel that the tee marker locations should deliver variability but also end up with an overall yardage about the same as what the scorecard indicates.  Additionally, golfers typically want each par three hole to play at different yardages so that the same club (i.e. 7-iron) is not used for each of the par three holes.  This requires that tee marker location combined with hole location be in the correct synchrony.  Seems easy enough but just try explaining that to the recruit who you hope is competent enough to handle the course set duties.  
 
Well-trained assistant superintendents oftentimes get the course set assignments but because of the increasing demands on assistants (spraying, fertilizing, watering, etc) I have seen staff other than assistants performing course set on most all of the courses I visit. More specifically I have noticed that many of the workers are foreign language speaking who may or may not have command of the English language, which adds to the challenges of perfect daily set up.
 
Have you ever been notified about a ball washer that is dry or a rope that is drooping?  Has a worker ever inadvertently left tee markers in the same place or forgot to change a hole location?  How about the cart arrow sign pointing in the wrong direction or the Snickers bar wrapper blowing across a fairway?  Criticism is sure to follow these mis-deeds much sooner than would a fertilizer spill or a spray skip.
 
The myriad golfer gadgets that are now commonplace with golfers should give us a strong clue in the quest for daily course set perfection.  Golfers love their gadgets!  Yardage plaques can now easily be checked by golfers range finders (and caddies).  Other yardage markers like the 150, 100, etc can be critiqued with accuracy.  Smart phones can actually detect the slope on greens and also can have daily hole locations pre-set on an app (our own ezPins system does this) that golfers can see before and during their round of golf.  With all the complexity that overall course presentation entails, specific course set up remains the most often criticized part of what the golfer can confidently discuss with turf pros. Superintendents should never minimize course set.  Similar to setting up a restaurant for fine dining, the slightest indication that something is 'off' can start a downward spiral of course comments.
 

Similar to setting up a restaurant for fine dining, the slightest indication that something is 'off' can start a downward spiral of course comments...

 
I know a few supers that will set the course themselves each day to avoid issues.  I know one superintendent who sprays a small dot on the tees and greens each morning to help his staff with the decisions about where to place markers or holes.  Everyone has their own procedures for course set and most don't let the uninitiated ever perform the task without proper guidance and experience.  I have found that the weary and glazed-over worker who is asked, because of his/her sense of doing things well, day after day to set the course eventually learns to avoid risk.  This risk avoidance becomes manifested with hole locations in similar spots time after time.  It also shows up with tee marker locations in the middle of each tee.  Ironically, by trying to avoid risk of criticism, the worker creates a noticeable sameness to the course set up.  Sameness of set-up leads to criticism.  There is the paradox!
 
Consider this as a New Year's resolution or simply as a holiday gift to yourself and your staff: create a set of SOPs (standard operating procedures) for course set up.  This document of procedures can be distributed to your green chairman and his committee, to the golf staff and caddie group if you have a caddie program.  In the SOPs detail, the reasoning as to how the hole locations are selected and how each worker is trained with the responsibility of setting pins. This doc should be clear and approved by the chairman and committee.  Additionally, an automated computer system for selecting hole locations is a very realistic, affordable solution to hole location nightmares, with more courses opting for this all the time. I can provide more details on how this works great for all parties involved -- green committees, pros and superintendents -- from direct experience at clubs I have consulted at in the past year. Just contact me directly if interested. 
 
Perfection in course set up rarely happens each and every day throughout the entire year, but when the occasional mishap occurs, communication with respect to procedures can go a long way towards understanding.  And maybe with this extra effort more workers can be properly and confidently trained to set the course.




Tech tip: Image headers in Word for a professional look

Posted in Technology, communication 18 October 2016 · 942 views

I would estimate that close to 100% of superintendents have and use Microsoft Word for creating various documents for use around your clubs, and personally as well. While there are limitations to the software, one thing that works great is how it handles headers. There is a little bit of process to it, but in the end you can have a very nicely designed document that you can then edit on your own. 
 
Let's say that you have had TurfNet design a header for your blog and you'd like to use it on some documents as well. Or you had someone design a custom look for you. As part of my career services we create a custom header for resumes anyways and we include it in the Word file for the base cover letter in this manner. Yet another option would be that you want to have your club logo with your name in large text at the top of any notes to the membership on course conditions, articles, green speed, etc. These are all easily set up as headers in Word. 
 
I've created a stock header image for myself to use as an example in this tutorial. Here's how it works: 
 
1. Hire someone or find a designer friend to create a professional header image. This will allow you to have the best look that reflects your professional career properly. The image can be various sizes, but if you want it to be really easy, have them set up the image as an 8.5 x 11 file in jpg or png file types, at a minimum of 150 dpi. 
 
 
2. In Word, click on the Insert tab and select the Header section. Then select Edit Header
 
 
3. Select the Picture section in the new set of sections available at the top. This will open a dialog box for you to find the file you want to include. Navigate to where the header image is located on your computer or drive. 
 
 
4. Once the picture is inserted, it must be sized properly. Click on the very bottom right of the top sections where there is a small arrow in the Size box. 
 
 
5. In the Size tab, click on Absolute and enter 11 for the height and 8.5 for the width. 
 
 
6. Click on the Text Wrapping tab and select the box for Behind Text
 
 
7. Click on the Position tab and select Alignment: Left and related to: Page from the drop down menus in the Horizontal section. Do the same for the Vertical options as well. Exit from this dialog box. 
 
 
8. The head has now been sized properly. Click on the Design tab at the very top right of the menu list. Then select the Close Header and Footer option. 
 
 
9. Now you can adjust the margins for the text areas. In my example I have lined up the text with the edges of the header layout for a unified look. You can alter the margins by moving your arrow over the rulers on the top and left of the document where the gray and white meet. 
 
 
10. Save out the file. As you can see in my example, the header image shows up as faded out or semi-transparent. This is how Word handles it. The header will display properly (not faded out) when you export the file to a PDF. I covered the importance of exporting to PDF in my last blog.
 
 
That's it. You now have a professional look for any document you wish to create. 
 




Export your career documents to PDF...

Posted in Career 07 September 2016 · 801 views

 

I have covered this topic very briefly before in a larger article about cover letters, but it's worthwhile to include this as its own feature in our goal of providing excellent and easy to read career materials. 
 
Portable Document Format (PDF) preserves document formatting and enables file sharing. When the PDF format file is viewed online or printed, it retains the content and format that you intended. 
 
Out of all the career files I view each year, over 50% are still sent in a non-PDF format, usually in a Word file  (.doc) format. The message here is pretty simple:
 
ALWAYS CONVERT ANY FILE TO PDF BEFORE YOU SEND IT. 
 
Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, etc. do some funny things to text margins depending upon the version and computer. Especially if you are using tables, I can't tell you how many times I have tried to view a resume in .doc format and I can only view the first page of a tabled resume; everything else is missing. And with mobile devices so prominent, it gets even more complicated to ensure your file retains its original formatting.
 
Each version of Word seems to have it's own variation of save/print commands, but generally speaking you can export to PDF from Word using
  • File/Save & Send/Create PDF
  • File/Save As/ change "Format" from .doc to .pdf
  • File/Print then Save as PDF from the small PDF dropdown at lower left
  • Export/XPS Document
  • or use a free online converter if your computer cannot export to PDF. 
 
Microsoft has instructions for creating PDFs from each Office application and version here.
 
By converting your document to PDF, you are certain that your margins, text formatting and overall page are laid out the way you want, and that all pages will show up no matter what computer or device is used for viewing. The hiring person will appreciate the format and while it's a small thing, it can only help to give you a better chance at success. 

 




Rethinking the Superintendent Search

Posted in Career 28 July 2016 · 1,707 views

Guest post by Greg Wojick, Playbooks for Golf --

 

I recently visited the CMAA (Club Managers Association of America) website. One of the first things I noticed was that more than two dozen executive search firms were listed.
 
I looked further, scanning many of the search firm sites. I saw that there were numerous searches for general managers, most often referred to as COOs and occasionally CEOs. I also saw searches for assistant general managers, executive chefs, directors of food and beverage, golf professionals and golf shop staff, marketing positions, and human resource positions. Though all the jobs listed were for golf club personnel, searches for golf course superintendents were conspicuously absent. None of these websites listed searches for a superintendent! 
 
That prompted a visit to the GCSAA website. Not one executive search firm was listed there.  I even went so far as to track down executive search sites that specialize in golf course superintendent hires, and no active searches were listed. Hmmm.  
 
Debate on Super Searches
It appears that clubs are willing to pay thousands of dollars to enlist professional help to hire key individuals at their clubs, but the golf course superintendent isn't among them. 
 
I find this particularly interesting since, from what I understand, a survey revealed that golf course conditioning is considered to be the most important aspect in the business of golf course management. Golf Course Architect Robert Trent Jones, who is clearly well versed in all that goes into cultivating a healthy and well-groomed golf course, was quoted as saying, 
 
The importance of having the right golf course superintendent at a given club cannot be overemphasized. Indeed, a club's very success depends, for the most part, on the professional and personal qualities of the superintendent.
 
I don't have a definitive answer for why most clubs haven't recognized the importance of enlisting the help of a search firm to hire their golf course superintendent. I do know, however, that increasingly general managers, working together with search committees, have taken on the duties of hiring the superintendent. The merits of this practice, in my mind, are debatable.
 

...increasingly general managers, working together with search committees, have taken on the duties of hiring the superintendent. The merits of this practice, in my mind, are debatable.

 
The golf course, as we know, is one of the club's most essential and valuable assets. What is a golf club, after all, without its golf course? What's more, the skills and knowhow required to successfully manage a golf course operation don't come easily. It's a science that requires years of study and experience to master. Superintendents must be diagnosticians, capable of recognizing myriad turf diseases and insect infestations, while pinpointing just-the-right remedy from a dizzying array of pesticide and insecticide options. But this is just a piece of the whole. Superintendents, at the same time, are required to manage sizable budgets with great care and precision, communicate effectively with club staff and green committee members, and inspire peak performance from their staff members, seven days a weekparticularly from early spring through late fall. This is a sizable and highly specialized job.
 
Tips for the Candidate
Clubs conducting their own searches for superintendent can't possibly know the nuances of the profession, but I've witnessed times when they've taken a fact or two out of context to project that they have a grasp on what it is that superintendents do. Not only does this fail to adequately vet a candidate, but it makes it challenging for the person being interviewed.
 
Aside from recommending that clubs consider passing the search for superintendent on to a qualified search firm, I'd like to offer a word to the wise to those interviewing for a superintendent's position, particularly assistants seeking to climb the ladder.
 
First, keep in mind that search firms with expertise in the turfgrass management industry understand the complexities of the job of golf course superintendent, and they are highly qualified to evaluate job candidates' ability to manage a particular golf course operation. They understand what's involved in topdressing, the use of moisture meters, and the life cycle of the annual bluegrass weevil. By contrast, those who are familiar with golf but not deeply involved in the turf world, may have heard these terms, but won't fully grasp them. It's essential, therefore, that you practice describing your qualifications in laymen's terms. In other words, keep it simple. 
 

... It's essential, therefore, that you practice describing your qualifications in laymen's terms. In other words, keep it simple.

 
Also be sure to communicate your experience and expertise with professionally done career tools. Portfolios and digital websites are essential to ensure that proper communication actually takes place. 
 
When I take time to ponder why clubs rarely enlist a search firm for hiring a golf course superintendent, I have to wonder whether the industry goal of elevating the status of the profession may actually be falling short. And when I watch the GCSAA TV spots that encourage golfers to thank their superintendent, I can't help but feel that thanks may just not be enough.
 
SIDEBAR
Take It From the CMAA
 
Also on the CMAA website was an idea that I thought might work for the golf course industry. There's a list of 223 individual CMAA members who are available for Interim Management Service (IMS). The IMS is designed to assist clubs that are in need of immediate temporary management assistance.
 
In the turfgrass management industry, an IMS doesn't exist. But maybe its time has come. I would bet that superintendents would put their names on a list to help out a club in need. There seems to always be a pool of supers who are in between jobs and would be pleased to fill in temporarily. 
 
Perhaps local chapters could initiate this list and advertise it to area clubs. Just a thought.

 

After nearly 30 years as a golf course superintendent and consultant, Greg Wojick co-founded Playbooks for Golf in 2008.




Prepare in advance for unanticipated job openings...

Posted in Career 14 June 2016 · 1,053 views

 

As with any season in the golf industry, inevitable job losses have come in 2016. While it is an understandably hard time for those on the losing end, others see it as a possible bright new future for their career. And this event can happen at any time; even your dream job can open up unexpectedly. You should always have your career materials ready to go, just in case. It's too risky to not be ready when so few of these superintendent positions open up. 
 
Recent activity brought this old issue to the forefront for me. I received a multitude of requests for career work to meet a very tight application deadline. I accepted all I could and had to turn the rest down. Although I offered to work on the projects after the deadline so these professionals are ready for the next big one, very few were interested. This is not the way to operate... waiting until an opening appears and then frantically putting your life's work together. 
 
This is a call-to-action, a chance to be proactive with your career. Don't wait until it's too late! 
 
In 2014, I wrote a comprehensive post on things you can do to prepare now. I encourage you to read it and begin work today.
 
And also remember that it is critical to create a professional image, not a DIY, spare-time one, as laid out in this earlier post.
 
If you are in the job market at all -- and realistically speaking, just about everyone might be some day -- do yourself a favor and have your career materials current and ready in advance.

 




Beyond turf, tap into golfers' wants and needs...

Posted in Career, communication 04 May 2016 · 1,000 views

One of the biggest traps you can fall into in our industry is focusing too much on turf. Instead, you should spend extra time learning as much as you can about what golfers care about and want to discuss. Outreach to your customers is something that is truly lacking in the golf maintenance world. Many of the problems that arise for a superintendent stem from communication, or a lack of it, with golfers.

The best way to create better outreach to golfers is through first learning what the most passionate of them think. To better understand their frame of mind can lead to improved dialog and education with them on course conditions and what is involved, versus their impressions of conditions.

To this end, Greg Wojick (my business partner at Playbooks), has compiled a very extensive article on "A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Course Ranking System. Greg is a Golfweek rater and former superintendent. His look into all rating systems and what passionate golfers like raters think is a great educational opportunity for those of you not fully familiar with rankings and how it's done.

I invite you to read the complete article here (lengthy but very worthwhile and educational).

As I am sure most of you know, even if your course will never be ranked, some of your most passionate members like to discuss architecture, rankings, pretty much anything to do with comparing courses. The more you know about the process or things from the golfer's perspective the better off you will be in communicating with them. They may even begin to consider you one of "them", which is a good thing for your long-term success in this industry.


(Greg Wojick's article was originally published in the MetGCSA's Tee to Green newsletter, content courtesy of the MetGCSA.)
 




DIY job application basics...

Posted in Career 26 March 2016 · 1,096 views

Over the course of the last several years I have covered different aspects of creating good career materials. From tips on resumes to hiring professionals to create your personal brand through websites and portfolios, we have covered a lot of material. And I intend to cover much more in the future.

However, I've never compiled any kind of resource to some basics on job applications - your cover letter, resume and references. So, here are some links to what I consider the baseline must-haves on these documents for your use and reference:

Best Tips for Resumes

Creating a Great Cover Letter


Guidelines for Professional References

Each one of these articles will give you an excellent opportunity to execute your career advancement and goals, and it is handy to have them compiled together right here. Of course you can (and should) do much more to stand out by hiring a professional and building a website and portfolio. But at the very least following these guidelines is a good first step. Best of luck on your next application.

 

Never underestimate the value of this seldom used tool. In today's world this simple act resonates more than almost anything in creating an impression on the recipient...

 

On a related note, I have seen an increase in the number of you who have gotten back to hand-written thank you notes for applications and just use in general. It's great to see and I try to include a reminder post once a year on it. Never underestimate the value of this seldom used tool. In today's world this simple act resonates more than almost anything in creating an impression on the recipient. I have put together custom cards for several of you already and hope to get many more requests going forward because I truly believe in this effort and hope it catches on much more.

 

For my full layout of this idea, check it out here.




Keeping Pace With the Age of Technology - Guest post by Greg Wojick

Posted in Technology 17 February 2016 · 1,984 views

Several weeks ago, I had lunch with the vice president of Arccos Golf, a startup company that has developed technology intended to help golfers improve their games. The system they came up with allows the golfer to use the data created by each swing of the golf club (sensors are attached to the club) to identify weaknesses and strengths -- among many other useful data points -- like quantifying the percentage of time that your approach shots miss the greens to the right or to the left of the flagstick. 

 

I found Arccos's concept intriguing, so the company gave me a demo set that I could put to the test on the golf course. I was assured that the device was not difficult to use, particularly for the young and tech savvy -- i.e., the Millennials -- who were quicker to pick it up than the Boomers or even Gen Xers!

 

During the course of this conversation, I also learned that this older crowd made use of just a portion of the new system's capabilities and, in the end, were more likely than their younger counterparts to give up on using the gadget altogether due to frustration or distrust. The Millennials, on the other hand, are more likely to utilize the entire system almost immediately, AND quickly adapt to the regular updates and free software enhancements. Hmmmm.

 

As one of the users from the Boomer generation, I can't say I found the system difficult, though if I did some soul-searching, I guess I could say that I, too, would gravitate toward using the device's more basic and essential functions.

 

In today's technology-based society, its almost a curse having been born in what I call the BT (Before Technology) Era. With kids virtually leaving the womb with a cell phone in their hands, navigating technological devices becomes second nature to them, just as a second language or a sport like skiing is when learned at an early age.

 

I do have techno-envy when I watch my 19-year-old son and my 23-year-old daughter quickly and more easily navigate their electronic gadget of choice. It's not that I can't accomplish the same things; it's just that it takes effort. It is far from second nature.

 

Okay, so I'll probably never be a techno-savant, but I refuse to throw up my hands and give up on keeping up when it comes to new strategies and tools that can benefit me, personally and professionally.

 

I'll probably never be a techno-savant, but I refuse to throw up my hands and give up on keeping up when it comes to new strategies and tools that can benefit me, personally and professionally..."

 

If you have been in turf management for 20 to 50 years, you undoubtedly have wisdom, insight, and value to add. Just keep in mind that technology gives you new means to keep demonstrating and applying that value. Don't get down on yourself because you failed to learn the latest software or app. Just make it a point to master it, and then watch your productivity grow.

 

Why not start today by making technology your friend, and bear these pointers in mind:

 

  • Practice yields proficiency. A family friend was a textile designer for more than 30 years. When her craft first started going digital, she felt lost and obsolete. Then she realized she was best off learning by doing. She began to welcome assignments that required new software skills, and in addition to taking courses to retrain, she hired a kid she found to coach her through the job. Last I checked, she still calls on him. It;s how she stays current.

 

  • Pick your kids' or a young staff member's brain. In the book Overcoming the Digital Divide by Shelly Palmer (President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY, and the digital living guru from CNN, Fox Television, NBC Universal and satellite radio), I read that the two groups with most tech smarts are typically those under age 25 and those over 45. The latter are often parents who have their own onsite techie to school them: the 16-year-old playing Xbox in the family room.

 

  • Find daily blogs that sift through tech stories and talk about only the things you should focus on. That adds up to a five-minute read that keeps you up-to-date and in the know.

 

  • Go into a Verizon or Apple store and don't just grab latest device with the most press. Tell a sales associate what you do for a living and ask the person to show you the smartphone, tablet, or device that is right for you.

 

  • Always ask for device demos that focus on the specific functions, tips, and tricks that can boost your personal productivity.

 

  • Take it one step further and sign up for the workshops that Apple and others typically offer to help you master relevant programs. Winter is the perfect time!

 

Though older is wiser on so many fronts, ignoring technology and its increasing role in the turf profession is a certain pathway to obsolescence. Everyone should anticipate and embrace the inevitable technological advances.

 

...ignoring technology and its increasing role in the turf profession is a certain pathway to obsolescence."

 

Like Arccos Golf has introduced it's golf club sensors to enhance golfers' experience on the course, we at Playbooks for Golf recognize the importance of introducing, and continually improving on, technological devices like the Coverage System that will streamline and simplify various aspects of superintendents' jobs.


Slowly but surely, technological advances are taking hold in the industry, particularly among the Millennials streaming into the industry. So come on, Boomers and GenXers, you smart, mature people. Make the same commitment to staying technologically up-to-date.

 

Every day there's at least one twenty-something techno geek suggesting you just move over and let him take over. Ignore him. Pull out your smartphone and stand firm!




For 2016, organize with technology...

Posted in Technology 07 January 2016 · 1,697 views

A new year is upon us, and I thought it would be a good time to review some things in tech that we can start out fresh with at the beginning of this year. The key with using technology in your job is to not let it overtake you and keep you from managing the course properly. With a few of these suggestions you should be able to harness the power of tech without many of the side-effects.

Wunderlist
The first step for most people to get organized is to start making lists. This solution could be software called Wunderlist, which I have talked about before. I have tested out quite a few different products for this and Wunderlist seems to be the easiest and most useful option for the purpose we are discussing. It was also awarded the App of the Year from Apple in the past.

By using it for all of your task planning, you can limit the time that other technologies can take away:

  • Set reminders and due dates for tech tasks like checking Twitter and don't look at it until the reminder is sent to you.
  • Share specific lists with your Assistants, particularly research on new tech and products--they are typically interested in these things and may do some work for you in their off-time in these important areas.
  • Create sub-tasks and notes on tech-related tasks that can offer you reminders on how to use software, devices, etc. that are readily available from any device.
  • Set and edit the list schedule no more than once per day and don't open up the software otherwise. Then let the reminders and due dates alert you to what and when you should be working on the tasks. This limits your use of this technology and allows you to focus on the course while knowing your tasks will be sent to you much like having your own secretary.
  • Add files to lists and tasks to store research, club documents and more in a central location that can be shared with other staff members.

Inbox Zero
This is another idea I covered last year and implemented for my work life. I cannot understate how truly awesome this idea has been for me. I think it can offer huge value to superintendents because of the nature of your position and all the directions email can pull you. The general idea behind it is quite obvious: maintain your email inbox with ZERO mail all the time. It also calls for timed, structured protocol in composing reply email. This can be achieved by utilizing several components, folders, actions, etc. After using this principle for going on 2 years now, I still have zero mail in my inbox as I am typing this and it feels so great! Check out the full tutorial I wrote on it here.

Turf industry tech products
Every year there are more and more products that are capable of saving you time and/or money through using technology specific to our industry. Many of these products are created by supporters of TurfNet too and this is the time of year to take a look at them. A few I have experience with or directly worked on include:

Labor Management: ASB Task Tracker. This was developed by a golf pro and superintendent to provide you with a digital jobs board and also track where your labor is used. If you are interested in either one of those components, Task Tracker is a very good solution currently.

Water Management: There are a lot of different technologies out now to help with this important area. Several components you may be aware of are:

  • Moisture meters (Spectrum TDR or Stevens POGO are both good options)
  • Energy Snapshot for Golf(architect Andy Staples has created this process to improve efficiency in water operations and other utilities)
  • As-Built mapping (with new central control programs for Toro and Rain Bird it's key to have accurate mapping for the system and can be done without expensive on-site GPS these days)
  • OnGolf (this is more comprehensive than water management but offers a lot of analytical data for tracking irrigation, meters, stimp, weather and more)

Chemical/Fertilizer Management: Coverage System. I worked to develop this system with superintendents to create something that was extremely easy to use and offered turn-key solutions for managing your application programs. There are a lot of way to plan and track your programs on your own, but Coverage System makes it really easy and convenient.

Course Setup Management: ezLocator / ezPins. I have seen first-hand how it can save so much time and aggravation for superintendents in regards to hole locations. I recently worked with them to develop a more affordable option called ezPins. This should bring these great time saving features to a lot more of you.

There are many other options out there too. I am only writing about ones that I have direct experience working with so I can confirm they are simple to use and will save you time and/or money.

GIS 2016
I hope to see many of you at GIS, please stop by booth #4816 and say hello. I'm happy to assist in getting you set up with technology and answer any questions you may have about Wunderlist, Inbox Zero, Careers, software and more.








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