My Oct. 9th blog post advised that one of the more effective ways for a superintendent to create a visible presence is to schedule an Open House maintenance facility field day one Saturday afternoon each spring. As a follow-up on this recommendation, this blog is going to focus on the pivotal issue of maintenance facility order versus disorder because -- through my years of visiting America's golf course maintenance facilities -- I have seen the good, the indifferent and the ugly in about equal proportions.
MYTH #1: Believing in the prevailing myth that 'disorderly maintenance facilities can be justified because of the hectic unpredictable nature of the work golf course superintendents engaged in every day will eventually cost many superintendents their jobs.
MYTH #2: Another often stated excuse offered to justify facility disorder is that old tired buildings are not conducive to maintaining order and cleanliness; yet, it is generally understood that there are few better ways for superintendents to impress employers and secure jobs than when they take the lead to repair and repaint tired maintenance buildings - thereby saving the club/course a large amount of money to build a new facility.
These are dangerous myths because the vast majority of those responsible for employing and judging superintendents' work product toil in the private/public sectors in the capacity of:
Successful entrepreneur or private sector executives/managers who require well-organized work environments 24/7 where they work will instinctively think less of superintendents who tolerate sloppy work environments.
Accordingly, my concern for the job security of superintendents who accept maintenance facility disorder centers around three themes:
First: Loosely managed maintenance facilities will generally offend the people charged with the responsibility of judging superintendents' work.
Second: Employers will be entitled to conclude that superintendents and ground crews are likely to adopt the same indifferent commitment to excellence throughout the golf course that they tolerate throughout a sloppy maintenance facility.
Third: Maintenance facility disorder undermines members'/players' pride in their golf course and crew pride in their work.
Borrowing from the familiar 'chain' analogy, the organizational quality of a maintenance facility will be judged at the weakest link level among the following four elements: the surrounding grounds, the equipment storage/repair area, the superintendent's office and crew quarters.
One weak link out of the four above listed maintenance facility components will undermine the other three elements and damage the image of the entire facility and, eventually, likely cost superintendents their jobs.
The photos below are of Tim Hiers' maintenance facility at Olde Collier Golf Club in Naples, FL: