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About this blog

Industry consultant Jim McLoughlin addresses topics such as the job application process; career planning; and job security in a bad economy.

Entries in this blog

 

A Personal Student Website: Entre To A Quality Life Style For Your Children

This blog post is longer than most. Be patient with it; read it through several times to digest its contents because it holds the keys that can give your children a solid start in life.   You ask, "What need would a pre-college aged young man or woman have for a personal website?" The answer is not obvious until we start to take notice of the ultra-challenging world the young people of today face as they look to take their first steps into life's battlefield. For example:   Undergraduate tu

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Your Children Are Watching 24/7

Unfortunately, too few parents understand that their role model responsibilities to their children extend throughout every waking hour of every living day.   The imperative lesson to note here is that our children learn more from what they see their parents doing on a 24/7 basis than from being told by their parents what to do, or not do, in life.   The old cliché, "Do what I say and not what I do" has no place within a relationship between parents and their children.   Following is a list

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

The Best Commencement Address Ever?

I am going to interrupt the career-counseling theme of this blog series for these next two weeks to address the matter of how to more effectively meet our responsibilities to our children... because we will all be judged accordingly.    Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas gave the 2008 commencement address to the graduates at the University of Georgia. It has been judged, by some, as worthy of being considered to be the best commencement address given in our time.   Because commencement a

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Classic Course Photographs Create Unparalleled Excitement About A Superintendent’s Work

I recommend that my readers study the current Playbooks blog post (can also be found immediately above this blog on TurfNet home page) by Matt Leverich and its extraordinary photographs before continuing on here because the message for the two posts is fundamentally the same: namely that . . .   Classic course photography frames a superintendent's work product in such an extraordinary manner that they advance both the course welfare and the superintendent's career like nothing else can.  

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

A Superintendent’s Best Friend: Self-Funding Personal Career Budgets

I have always been disappointed that so many golf course superintendents and assistants are unwilling to pay their own way to participate in career securing and career advancing events when an employer is not willing to do so in good or bad economies.   In difficult economic times, there are two polar-opposite approaches for individual superintendents to choose from career planning-wise:   To hunker down; be left at the mercy of the bad economy and their employers, and thereby run the risk o

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Take Charge of The Budget Process In A Bad Economy

The timely question that must be asked today is: How will golf course superintendents deal with the inevitability that an already difficult economy is likely to get worse in the coming years?   The reasons for this question in part are because of the anticipated negative impact twenty-one new Obamacare taxes will have next year, the inevitability of higher inflation and the long promised jump in the cost of electricity. Analysts advise that the next recession will hit hard and stay around for

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Fiscal Guidelines For Family And Career

Rainy Day Guidelines Government officials advise that: 25% of Americans (mostly younger people) save no money for "rainy day" emergencies.   The rainy day fund for families with two incomes should be at least the equivalent of six months of family living expenses.   The rainy day fund for families with one income should be at least the equivalent of twelve months of family living expenses.   Lesson To Be Learned: Failure to establish an adequate family rainy day fund is like being in a

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

What You Don’t Know About Putting Greens?

Every golf course superintendent understands what he needs to know about the putting greens at his home golf course. But this is not the case elsewhere because most superintendents consistently fail to see the unique opportunities and associated risks green quality can bring to their jobs/careers. For example:   Unique Greens Role #1: Within Modest Budget Environments Includes: private, daily fee and public access golf courses.    Superintendents with much of their careers still ahead of t

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Caution: Club Perks Can Put Jobs At Risk

For most superintendents the list of ultimate perks an employing golf club can bestow on them and their families is the following: granting privileges in the areas of club membership status, access to the clubhouse food & beverage programs, access to tennis and swimming pool facilities, access to the golf course and access to club championship events.   The rationale for this perk policy is twofold: (i) As a reward to show appreciation for well-performing golf course superintendents; and/o

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Like The Military: Never Forget Your Fallen Brethren

We are entering the time of year when superintendents will be losing jobs south of the Mason-Dixon line and entering into the danger zone in cool-season areas. Thus, it is appropriate to shed light on what can become catastrophic events (see Sept 25 blog post) for the families so affected and what can be done to stabilize these families and reconstitute their wage earners' careers.   Through my 25+ years of interacting with dismissed superintendents' families I have learned: The mothers are

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

The Superintendent Sets The Quality Standard For All Club Operations

During my 25+ year career I have been fortunate to play or prep for tournaments some 400+ golf courses across the country of all types, lengths and shapes. FYI: You learn more about a golf course preparing it Rules-wise for tournament play than playing the course itself.   Out of this blend of personally inventoried golf courses, I have been able to make the following observations:   Top 100 Classic Golf Courses: I have played, or officiated at 53 of the top 100 courses.   Universal Obser

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Industry Data Tells The True Superintendent Story

Yes, golf can't be played unless the golf course superintendents across the country maintain the golf courses and cut the grasses. But we acquire a new insight once we look into the staggering numbers that dominate the superintendents' world that virtually no one is taking notice of today. For example, based on recent industry data across the United States:   Superintendents are responsible for maintaining an estimated 1,925,000 acres of golf course lands. Data Derivation: 15,400 golf courses

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Rating Superintendent Job Opportunities

Based on 25+ years of interacting with and counseling golf course superintendents through their careers, the following is an upside vs downside rating listing of the full spectrum of jobs that golf course superintendents might consider applying for at one time or another during their careers -- presented in the priority order of the better jobs first:   A+ CHOICE:  With Established Multi-Course Contract Company  Upside: Maximum job security with unique job advantages.  (See Mar 12th blog)  

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Multi-Course Contract Company Jobs: Once Shunned, Today A Utopia

This blog message is longer than most because the subject matter warrants it. Readers are encouraged to be patient; get through the blog message because they will not likely see another comprehensive presentation on the subject of multi-course contract employment soon in their lifetimes.   HISTORY Up until about 20 years ago multi-course contract companies were looked upon as the scourge of the industry because they out-competed individual superintendents for jobs.   This is no longer the c

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Know Your General Manager...

Industry data tells us that there are roughly 4,600 private golf clubs throughout the country, about 2,800 of which are operated through the general manager concept -- a category breakdown of which follows: The Good Guys (about 60% of all GMs): If general managerships are the best form of governance in golf (and they are), the reason for this is primarily because the majority of the time the professional men and women who occupy these positions are gifted and staff sensitive.   Job Prognosis

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Visiting The Masters Elevates Superintendents' Work Standards - Admission Is Free

I firmly believe that every golf course superintendents should attend The Masters championship as early as possible in their careers because they'll see a standard of maintenance excellence that's not available anywhere else in the world and unless witnessed would not be believed possible.   Granted, no golf course superintendent will ever have Augusta National's budget to work with, but that is not the point.   The point is that every GCSAA member who visits Augusta National will be reachin

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Superintendents' Responsibilities To Support The Rules Of Golf: Part Two

Last week's message (see Feb. 5th blog) presented the Part One presentation on the subject of superintendents' responsibilities to support the Rules of Golf; namely, to maintain a constant golf course degree of difficulty, etc. The Part Two presentation is presented below:   SECOND RESPONSIBILITY: To ensure that golf courses are properly marked to support the application of the Rules Of Golf.   Every time a golf course is not adequately prepped to support the Rules of Golf -- a somewhat com

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Superintendents' Responsibilities To Support The Rules Of Golf: Part One

The answer is definitely yes, but the profession as a whole has yet to see the light although a number of superintendents clearly have. What specific responsibilities to the Rules are superintendents expected to address?   Review the USGA Handicap Manual, Section 15 to see a more definitive presentation relative to the first responsibility guidelines presented immediately below.   FIRST RESPONSIBILITY: To maintain a constant golf course degree of difficulty on a daily basis to sustain the co

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Rate The Quality Of Your Club's Golf Program...

The comparison table presented within the Dec. 18th blog invited superintendents to judge their personal job performance; while the 45-line comparison table below invites superintendents to judge the "quality" of the golf programs within which they presently work; i.e.- knowledge that should help to guide your careers.     Golf Program Ratings: 35 In Left Column = A; 30 = B; 25 = C; 20 = D; 15 & Below = F.

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Embracing the Rules Creates "Favorite Son" Status...

Once golf course superintendents commit to becoming personally Rules literate they enter into the game's inner sanctum, which is the pedestal on which Rules devotees are placed in golf.   How Do Superintendents Acquire A Rules Expertise? By registering for the PGA/USGA sponsored Rules Workshops to prepare for taking and passing the very challenging national Rules test. Then, once having passed the Rules test (which might require several attempts), superintendents can validate this newly acqu

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Compare Your Job Security vs Your Job Vulnerability Ratings

(Review Dec 18th post before analyzing the chart below.) I have provided my personal estimates of superintendents' job and life performances below. Line items have been rearranged in descending order within the left column with higher job-securing elements on top. Comparing the chart below to your personal estimates will provide a meaningful learning experience.      

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Total Transparency: The Key To Defensive Management And Job Security

Several earlier posts in this series have focused on presenting better ways of securing jobs. This post combines all earlier comments on the subject with the master umbrella concept of "defensive management."   The concept of defensive management is the least understood and least practiced proven management concept throughout the world of the golf course superintendent and beyond.   By design, defensive management techniques are intended to defuse the impact of arbitrary decision-making and

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Test Your Job Survivability

Time to pause the series to measure your evaluation of your job security and life balance. Be honest; don't cheat on yourself. Read each line below from left to right; marking the left or right column which ever is more applicable.  (For a PDF of this checklist, click here.)     Grade Ratings: Pick Left Column 24 out of 31 times = A Grade. Pick Left Column 20 out of 31 times = B Grade. Pick Left Column 16 out of 31 times = C Grade. Pick Left Column 12 out of 31 times = D Grade. Pick Le

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Procrastination Kills Careers...

As you remember, last week's blog message profiled the definitive steps superintendents can take to survive further downturns in the economy.   The only way superintendents can get hurt when the economy heads further south is by failing to act on the guidelines presented in last week's blog on a timely basis -- which should be implemented appropriately ahead of time but rarely are.   Unfortunately, career-planning procrastination appears to be in the DNA of most male golf course superintende

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

How To Survive A Declining Bad Economy

A reality superintendents cannot avoid: While the collection of golf course players' groups across the country respect the person and the work ethic of their home course superintendents, they do not extrapolate this feeling throughout the profession -- leaving golf course superintendents vulnerable to the whims/ignorance of their employers and any further unsettling economic news.   Unfortunately, more unsettling economic news is already upon us as an adverse economy faces new tax and debt bur

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

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