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Egos: The worst part of this business

Peter McCormick

9,610 views

This just drives me nuts.  A superintendent is squeezed between the egos of a green chairman and a few other "influential people" and his obligation to the membership that is paying the bills.  A classic tale of what ails this business. The AF (Asshole Factor for those not familiar with the term) brought into stark relief.

 

The superintendent in question is managing one-year old greens. They're young, not ready for aggressive management practices. An amateur tournament is approaching. You know what the weather has been like the past month over much of the country. Massive amounts of rain followed by extreme heat (this is in the Mid-Atlantic area).

 

The egotists (green chair and his circle of campadres) don't want anyone scoring well on 'their course' during the tournament, so begin pressuring the superintendent to increase green speeds.  GC texts superintendent daily, inquiring about stimp readings and what can be done to increase them.

"The egotists (green chair and his circle of campadres) don't want anyone scoring well on 'their course' during the tournament, so begin pressuring the superintendent to increase green speeds"

About mid-tournament week the superintendent succumbs to the pressure and starts double mowing/double rolling to try and counteract the soft conditions.

 

Post-tournament, the heat of last week set in and things started going south, fast. On Monday he went into damage control mode. Vented greens. Communicated to the membership that normal maintenance practices were on hold and that they could expect slower greens until things could be stabilized.

 

He closed one nine for several days to protect three greens that were right on the edge.

 

More pressure from GC & Company to refrain from publicly blaming the tournament prep for resultant turf decline.

 

In communicating with the membership, the superintendent cites the extreme weather and age of the greens as contributing to the precarious condition of the greens.

 

But the membership isn't stupid and it's not difficult to put two and two together. Conditions are OK, tournament comes along, suddenly conditions are not OK.  Hmmm...

 

Superintendent is now in a tight spot. Not wanting to throw anyone else under the bus and sour relations with GC moving forward, he shoulders the blame while not telling the entire truth to the membership about what led to certain decisions being made.  My guess is he has an itchy trigger finger on those texts from GC.

 

Self-admitted lesson learned: "Always stand by what you believe is best for the golf course. That's what a superintendent is paid for. Satisfying the entire membership cannot be compromised by pressure from a handful of people... because those same people won't stand behind you when things take a turn for the worse."

"..because those same people won't stand behind you when things take a turn for the worse."

Another example of politics trumping agronomy in a day in the life of a golf course superintendent. The AF in stark relief.



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Guest Mike Huck

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Bottom line, well in advance of the event put it all in writing, Tell the membership why the young greens should not be taken to tounament conditions before being asked to do so and then get it in writing from the comittee that they want you to take the greens to a conditon that in your judgement will harm the turf. Also keep your GM and Pro in the loop assuming they are team players.

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"..because those same people won't stand behind you when things take a turn for the worse."

 

Well written/said Peter. Been there, done that. Sometimes though when toxic morons are running the show, even when you do the right thing, you lose. And Mike.....Some of us have attempted to get things in writing....good luck getting a snake to do that!

 

It's usually the well intentioned, faithful Superintendent that suffers a short term loss in this scenario. But in the end they must ask themselves.....did they really want to work for a club that lets people like that influence the operation? Super is likely better off somewhere else.....I know I was!

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