The Geneva Convention got it right: only armies wearing uniforms are entitled to the protections of war because a uniformed military ensures that discipline and a command structure exists throughout its ranks. Non-uniformed military never acquires an identity and is disrespected more than it is respected.
Airline crews/pilots wear uniforms to ensure that they will command respect and be able to exercise authority throughout flight.
Marching bands wear well-decorated uniforms to convey the concept that they are a team dedicated to the pursuit of excellent music and that takes pride in their performances.
Bus drivers wear uniforms to send the message that they are a part of a larger disciplined management group that is dedicated to the safety of their riders.
Within each of the above examples, team members wear uniforms because this elevates the performance and recognition of the team itself.
Contrary to all of the above, few golf course management crews wear uniforms and this author believes, accordingly, that this is an opportunity being missed because a uniformed grounds crew will:
- Be noticed, as never before, by the course management and player communities.
- Generate pride within the grounds crew and throughout the player community.
- Bring added discipline to the grounds crew.
- Produce a greater work ethic throughout the grounds crew.
- Inspire a greater commitment to excellence throughout the maintenance team.
- Gain regional notice as guests play the course and spread the word back home.
- Demonstrate the leadership skill set of the golf course superintendent.
- Demonstrably enhance the job security of the golf course superintendent.
Two cautions: (i) The cost of providing staff uniforms should not be an excuse to committing to the concept in today's high budget world; and (ii) It is important that uniforms once issued are kept clean and trim by a laundry service. No 'Sloppy Joe' looks.
In summary, turf care staff uniforms create a win-win image throughout the golf course environment that bespeaks of total professionalism.
At a time when a bad economy puts mounting pressure on golf course maintenance operations, no stone should go unturned in the pursuit of more efficient looking and acting management.