- Read more...
- 2,160 views
More than ever, golf courses around the country are squarely focused on the bottom line. Many operations, according to industry analysts, don't have the cushion or margin for error to withstand a golf season marked by bad weather, bad luck or bad decisions.
All too often, decisions driven by the bottom line have included replacing a seasoned superintendent with a less-experienced, cheaper model. The city of Madison, Wis., has taken a different approach to cutting expenses and increasing revenue by eliminating the golf professionals at its four municipal courses. And the move, though initially met with golfer resistance, has proven to be a savvy business decision, the city says.
In the fall of 2012, the city council, at the urging of the parks and recreation department, opted not to renew contracts with four Class A PGA professionals with more than 100 combined years of experience operating city-owned Glenway, Monona, Odana Hills and Yahara Hills golf courses. The city estimated that the four professionals, who were independent contractors, took in 90 percent or more of the estimated $1 million that went through the four golf shops combined. The pros were replaced by seasonal, unionized assistant pros and concessions workers, the city said.
The decision to move away from the traditional golf pro model was purely economic.
From 2008 to 2011, the city said, the four golf courses took in a combined average of $1.14 million annually from food and beverage sales and club and cart rental. The city, which owns the courses and takes the greens fees, got 15 percent of club and cart fees and 11 percent of food and beverage sales at each course, with golf pros getting the rest, which also included all proceeds from merchandise sales.
Two of the four former pros said their annual take-home pay after expenses was about $30,000 in 2012, figures that were disputed by the parks department and other city officials who told the Wisconsin State-Journal that the men had not been forthcoming with financial information. One of the displaced pros had worked at a city-owned course for 36 years, two others for nearly 30 years and the fourth for a dozen years. Each, according to the city, also was paid a stipend that ranged from $24,000 to $44,500.
Golfers feared inefficiency and disruptions to play and league activity, and told the newspaper that they would miss the personal touch offered by the golf pros. Instead, they showed with their wallets that they appreciated special deals on green fees and reduced prices in the grill since, discounts the city can stomach since it no longer has to split the proceeds with the golf pro. The result, the city says, is the golf operation's largest profit in several years.
A total of about 81,000 rounds had been played at the four courses. Even though much of the spring golf season was washed out by rainy weather, that number is about 1 percent higher than the entire 2012 golf season, according to park officials.
The four courses turned a combined $287,000 profit that included a $150,000 computer upgrade project. That's an increase of 43.5 percent over last year and a 400 percent increase over 2010. The four courses lost a cumulative $71,000 in 2011, the city said.
The city said it plans to use the profit to make badly needed improvements to the clubhouses at each property.
- Read more...
- 3,042 views
- Read more...
- 2,269 views
- Read more...
- 1,316 views
- Read more...
- 4,083 views
- Read more...
- 1,749 views
Part of the Healthy Turf, Healthy Tomorrow educational initiative presented by Bayer CropScience, the academy consists of two two-and-a-half-day sessions that include classroom training March 3-5 at GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., and field training Sept. 24-26 at Bayers Training and Development Center in Clayton, N.C.
Attendees will receive instruction on a wide range of topics related to plant health, including how to measure plant health and its benefits, available treatments, preventive products and information on issues such as nutrient, water and pest management.
Golf course superintendents can apply through Dec. 18 by visiting the Plant Health Academy web page. To be considered, superintendents must complete the application and answer two short-answer essay questions that will be evaluated by a selection committee that includes John Fulling, CGCS, Bill Maynard, CGCS, and Scott Welge and Laurence Mudge of Bayer . The program is open to GCSAA (class A or SM) members who are also enrolled in the My Bayer Rewards program and are currently employed as a golf course superintendent within the United States.
- Read more...
- 1,614 views
Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power recently launched its Power Code quick response code for its Vanguard single-cylinder and V-twin engines.
The Vanguard Power Code is a square barcode located on the engine that, after being scanned with a smart phone barcode reader, directs the user to information specific to that engine model. Most notably, the Vanguard Power Code will provide the equipment operator with troubleshooting information especially suited for in-field support.
In addition to jobsite troubleshooting guidelines, other highlights of the Vanguard Power Code include: dealer locator via GPS or zip code search; answers to frequently asked questions; parts lists; maintenance recommendations and schedules; owners manuals. All information is available in English or Spanish.
For more information, visit www.vanguardengines.com.
Kubota Tractor names new president
Kubota Corp. has appointed Masato Yoshikawa as president of its Torrance, Calif.-based tractor division.
Yoshikawa is a 32-year veteran of Kubota, which is based in Osaka, Japan. Most recently he held the position of general manager, corporate planning and control.
During his tenure with Kubota, Yoshikawa has spent nearly 13 years in U.S.-based assignments, most recently as President, Kubota Credit Corporation, from 2003-2007. In that capacity, Yoshikawa played a significant role in developing the retail credit segment of KTCs business, which has greatly influenced the companys growth in recent years.
For more information, visit www.kubota.com.
Trailer-mounted toolbox makes use of wasted space
Backyard Pool Products has launched a line of trailer tongue boxes that convert unused space into valuable storage area.
The boxes mount on the front of A-frame style trailers and are ideal for storing and transporting equipment, tools and accessories and minimizing the need to secure items in the trailer.
The trailer tongue boxes are rotationally molded in a single piece from waterproof polyethylene for high-impact strength, lightweight, and resistance to inclement weather conditions, harsh marine environments and chemical intrusion.
The plastic trailer tongue boxes come with a steel hinge pin and a steel hasp for installing a lock. Measuring nearly three feet in length for high capacity yet with a low profile for safe operation.
For more information, visit www.BackyardPoolProducts.com.
- Read more...
- 1,604 views
Finlen, who also sent three of his assistants to the NCGA educational event, told Green Start attendees to do what they must to set themselves apart from their peers in order to stand out when sending out resumes for superintendent positions.
He suggested volunteering for as much extra responsibility as possible, substituting for others during committee meetings when possible and getting comfortable with the budgeting process.
Matt Muhlenbruch, one of Finlen's former assistants recently was named grow-in superintendent for the renovation at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. And he was chosen to move on, Finlen said, because he had set himself apart from other applicants. "He got an MBA. It took him two years to do it, but he stood out from the rest of the people who applied," Finlen said. "Do something that makes you stand out from the crowd." The NCGA event typically is frequented by dozens of assistants working at courses along the Monterey Peninsula and San Francisco Bay areas. Leonard Carrera, however, came all the way from Hacienda Golf Club in La Habra Heights near Los Angeles, where he has worked for almost two years under superintendent Rafael Barajas, CGCS. "I'm fortunate to have a boss who values networking and attending meetings," Carrera said. "I'm eager to learn, meet new faces and take advantage of opportunities to further my education and my career." Dylan MacMaster, assistant to Steve Cook, CGCS at Oakland Hill Country Club in Michigan, said he took to heart messages by Finlen, Farren and Chris Condon of Tetherow Golf Club in Bend, Ore., all of whom stressed the importance of interdepartmental communications and doing all the extra things that set one apart from the pack when seeking to advance to the next level in their careers. "Anything you can do to separate yourself in this kind of environment," MacMaster said, "you need to do." The secret, Farren said, to setting yourself apart, is keeping an open mind and a positive attitude. "Wake up each day and see how many people you can impact and be a resource for," Farren said. "I think if you do that, it will take you a long way."
- Read more...
- 4,492 views
When conditions are not what they should be, regardless of the reason, Stromme says superintendents should be upfront and honest about conditions and have a recovery plan. "I don't like to call it getting fired. I like to call it making someone available to the industry. And I've never done that because someone has lost turf," Stromme said. "The only reason I've done that is because of a breakdown in communication, and it's not a breakdown on my part. I'm the one communicating. But when (superintendents) clam up, when they're hiding and not talking, when they don't have any solutions, that's how you lose jobs." Positive attitude
Maintaining a positive attitude is not always easy when the going gets tough, but doing so can be the difference between keeping a job and being forced to search for a new one. "Don't adopt the victim attitude,"Stromme said. "Be positive with everyone around you, above you, below you, guests. Nobody likes working with someone who complains." Know your staff
A manager is only as good as those who work for him, yet too many superintendents don't take the time to get to know or understand their staff or learn what makes them happy. "I hear it all the time, 'oh, they're an $8-an-hour employee. I can't talk to them,' " he said. "You have to understand what motivates them to come to work. That comes from talking to them." Business communication
Stromme says he stresses the importance of effective business communications to his staff of superintendents. That includes checking emails for correct spelling and grammar as well as proper phone etiquette. "Return emails and phone calls, and understand the importance of that," he said. "With so many properties to manage, I have to prioritize my day. If someone calls me and leaves a voicemail, I will call them back 100 percent of the time. But, if I see a missed call, I assume that it's not that important. If you call someone, leave a voicemail."
- Read more...
- 2,391 views
The deal is worth a reported $465 million, including $300 million in cash, and Deere will retain a 40 percent share in the business, which is a division of the companys ag and turf segment.
Formed in 2001, John Deere Landscapes provides landscape supplies and irrigation equipment to the turf and landscape markets. John Deere Landscapes has more than 2,000 employees at 400 company-owned outlets spread across 41 states.
The move follows other similar sell-offs of Deere divisions and affirms the companys focus on its ag and turf and its construction divisions.
The Moline, Ill.-based company sold its wind energy division to Exelon Corp. in 2010 for $900 million.
- Read more...
- 2,841 views
Powell died Oct. 30 of cardiac arrest in a Lexington, Ky. hospital. He was 74. During a conference in which he was asked to speak on changing climate and the future of turf management Powell quipped with his Kentucky drawl: "We don't know nothin' no how about what's going to happen." A native of Lacie, Ky., Powell earned bachelor's and master's degrees at UK before going on to Virginia Tech to earn his Ph.D. in agronomy in 1967. He served two years in the U.S. Army, and for about a year-and-a-half managed the golf course at Fort Bliss, Texas. After leaving the Army in 1969 as a captain, Powell took teaching positions at the University of Maryland (1969-71) and Virginia Tech (1971-76) before returning to his beloved UK where he remained beyond his retirement in 2010. As professor emeritus, Powell was retired in name only. Until his death he remained active as an extension specialist and consultant, and was a regular fixture at national and regional trade shows and educational events. I was visiting with Marcus Dean, head groundskeeper in charge of managing UK's athletic fields, in August 2012 when Powell pulled up in his truck in a driving rain to check on the status of the renovation of the school's softball complex. Doing whatever he could to help was his nature. And it didn't matter whether it was a golf course, football field, soccer field, thoroughbred race track or polo field, or whether the grass covering them was cool-season or warm, he could tell you how to make it better. Through his own firm, Turf Doc, Powell was the consultant of record on at least four Lexington polo fields, three at Mount Brilliant Farm and another at the nearby Kentucky Horse Park. "Dr. Powell's thoughtful suggestions and advice were instrumental in the success of the polo fields at Mount Brilliant Farm and at the Kentucky Horse Park," said Gay Bredin, chief operating officer at Mount Brilliant. "He always made himself available for a review of the fields and was mild-mannered in taking a stance on how he felt about a situation. His stories about various projects from croquet pitches to putting greens and the characters along the way were always enjoyed." His dedication to the university and the industry he loved did not go unnoticed. In 2011, the University of Kentucky renamed its turfgrass farm the A.J. Powell Jr. Turfgrass Research Center and erected a stone edifice in his honor. Despite years of service to the turf industry, Powell remained humble and true to his Kentucky roots. When talking with him by phone to set up a meeting, I suggested meeting at the Powell Center. "Where?" he asked. "You know, the place with your name on the sign," I replied. "Oh, there." Ohio State University professor John Street, Ph.D., was Powell's close friend, and the two enjoyed skewering each other in front of a crowd. During a Sports Turf Managers Association Conference, Street talked to attendees about the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Web site that tracks climate and soil conditions throughout Ohio. He asked Powell, who had addressed the group previously, whether Kentucky had such a tool. When Powell replied that he checks the weather by "going outside and opening my eyes" Street fired back with a quick-witted jab. "I know what you do," Street said. "When you go out to the outhouse, you stick your finger in the ground and say 'nope, not warm enough yet.' " The room erupted in laughter, and no one laughed more than Powell. It should be added that Street's presentation began by him telling the crowd how fortunate they were to have Powell at the conference, calling him "one of the most prestigious turfgrass men in the country, no, the world." Perhaps the UK turf Web site put it best the morning after Powell's death: "He made a difference." Survivors include wife Janie; sisters Joan Rains, Sue Hoagland, Ann Cravens and Gene Kirkpatrick; daughter Julie Powell; son Jeff Powell; and granddaughter Lily Jane Powell. Services are scheduled for 10 a.m., Nov. 2 at Anchor Baptist Church in Lexington.
- Read more...
- 3,446 views
"Power, income, education, everything is rising among the female demographic," said Bob Baldassari, director of youth golf development for the PGA of America, during this year's Green Start Academy.
"We've seen good results of marketing efforts to try to get the whole family out to the golf course, and some courses are actively seeking that demographic for membership because of women's increasing buying power, control of household scheduling. The list goes on and on."
Chasing the same demographic year after year and failed attempts to grow the game have resulted in a net loss of more than 500 golf courses (18-hole equivalents) since 2006, according to the National Golf Foundation. Facilities that work toward attracting female golfers could go a long way toward avoiding a spot on future NGF lists, said Baldassari, who has worked as a golf professional and general manager for more than 20 years.
According to recent stories in Time and BusinessWeek, women 30 and under earn more money than male counterparts in many of the country's largest cities. Although nationally women still earn 20 percent to 40 percent less than male counterparts, according to several studies, women are attending college in greater numbers than men and are graduating at a higher rate, according to Forbes. That spells opportunity for forward-thinking golf facilities, said Baldassari.
Bob Farren, CGCS at Pinehurst Resort, concurred with Baldassari's assessment of women's role in the family and potential impact on the game of golf.
"They have a big influence on getting children involved," Farren said during the eighth annual Green Start, an educational event for assistant superintendents presented by John Deere Golf and Bayer Environmental Science. "Every good player you know who grew up in junior golf, it was their mother who took them to golf events."
Actively seeking women, however, requires rethinking the standard golf business model.
When Baldassari was general manager at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., he learned that aspects of the game, including events such as new product demo days, that attract men do nothing to entice women.
"If your message blares demo day and high tech' that doesn't resonate with women," he said. "We changed the name of our demo day to Golf Fest because it sounded more inviting. Immediately, more families came out. We still wanted the guys to come out and see the latest and greatest, but even a lot of men said they thought the name sounded more fun and inviting than demo day."
Baldassari said he believes things such as spending time with friends and building relationships on the golf course are much more important to women overall than Stimpmeter readings and perfectly manicured bunkers. Superintendents should keep that in mind during course set up for women's events, he added.
Baldassari made reference to a 1930s era article in the PGA's official magazine, The Professional Golfer of America, in which PGA president George Jacobus wrote that the association should work to make the game more fun and inviting, including the possibility of 8-inch cups.
"Some of the ideas to grow the game that we think are new," he said, "have been around for a long time."
- Read more...
- 2,674 views
Velista fungicide, which received label registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in February 2012, will come to market in a wettable granular formulation, according to Syngenta.
With the active ingredient penthiopyrad, Velista is labeled for control of anthracnose, brown patch, dollar spot, large patch, leaf spots, red thread, powdery mildew and gray snow mold. It is labeled for use on all turf types on golf courses and athletic fields.
Velista has been a long time in coming to the turf industry. University of Tennessee turfgrass pathologist Brandon Horvath, Ph.D., wrote about its attributes two years ago.
"Dollar spot, brown patch and anthracnose all have been tested in my research programs, and Velista has performed excellently on these diseases," Horvath said in 2011. "We also included it as a part of our standard fungicide program this season, and again it provided excellent control."
A succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor class fungicide, Velista's active ingredient is classified by the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee as FRAC group 7 and a member of the pyrazole carboxamide fungicide class.
Said Mark Coffelt, head, technical services, Syngenta Turf and Landscape North America: "Velista will be a formidable turf disease management tool and a great addition for managing tough diseases on golf courses."
- Read more...
- 4,213 views
But life at the top as a superintendent can be lonely. When conditions are good, praise often is heaped onto the staff in the golf shop. Often, it only is when something goes wrong that the work of the superintendent is singled out.
If that is not enough, the superintendent not only must be a self-disciplined, multi-tasking agronomist in charge of managing the clubs most valuable asset, he or she also must be a multi-lingual manager, babysitter, therapist, accountant, electrician, hydraulics expert, ditch digger, arborist, environmentalist, integrated pest management specialist, turfgrass pathologist, entomologist, irrigation expert and mechanic.
Since 2000, the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award has been highlighting the accomplishments of golf course superintendents throughout North America.
Presented by Syngenta, the Superintendent of the Year award program honors dozens of nominees each year for their work in producing great playing conditions often during times of adversity, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, flooding, extreme heat, ice damage, or stress caused from insects and disease.
If you know someone who fits this description, nominate him for the 2013 Superintendent of the Year award.
Nominees are judged on their ability to excel at one or more of the following criteria: labor management, maximizing budget limitations, educating and advancing the careers of colleagues and assistants, negotiating with government agencies, preparing for tournaments under unusual circumstances, service to golf clientele, upgrading or renovating the course and dealing with extreme or emergency conditions.
To nominate a deserving superintendent for this years award, visit the 2013 nominations page. For more information, email John Reitman.
Nominations can be submitted by golf course owners, operators, general managers, club members, golf professionals, vendors, distributors and colleagues. Deadline for submitting nominations is Nov. 30.
A panel of judges will select a list of finalists and a winner, who will be named at next years Golf Industry Show in Orlando, Fla.
Previous winners of the award include Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 2012; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay (Tenn.), 2011; Thomas Bastis, California Golf Club of San Francisco (Calif.), 2010; Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain Golf Club (Ga.), 2009, Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields Country Club (Ill.), 2008; John Zimmers, Oakmont Country Club (Pa.), 2007; Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale (Conn.), 2006; Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club (Calif.), 2005; Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club (Fla.), 2004; Paul Voykin, Briawood Country Club (Ill.), 2003; Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Country Club (Ontario), 2002; Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club (Mass), 2001; and Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas Paiute Resort (Nev.), 2000.
- Read more...
- 3,361 views
- Read more...
- 6,612 views