Almost 14,000 attendees and exhibitors are expected at the Golf Industry Show this week in Orlando, Florida. The GCSAA conference began today, and the joint GCSAA and Golf Course Owners Association of America tradeshow will begin Wednesday. Here are some top moments from the first day.
1. Turfgrass Talk Show
Monday morning began with a Turfgrass Talk Show hosted by Dr. Thomas Nikolai of Michigan State University; the program featured colorful guests, including John Bambury, the grow-in superintendent of the Trump International Golf Links in Scotland. He said the constant media presence was the by far the biggest encumbrance to getting the work done. Working with his famous owner was demanding but rewarding. “He wanted to know every detail, the equipment, the inputs, architecture, everything,” Bambury said.
The result is an an exceptional golf course with 600 acres of huge dunes that will be there for as long as people are playing golf, he said.
Maybe so will the Askernish Golf Club, now that it has be re-discovered by Gordon Irvine of MG Consulting, a Scotland-based renovation architecture firm that specializes in restoring classic golf courses. He discussed “The Lost Course of Askernish,” an island golf course built in 1891 by Old Tom Morris. This private golf course was shuttered in 1920, which means it was never tinkered with by other architects or maintained by modern practices. Old Tom’s original plan lay in ruin for him to uncover. He said he wanted to restore the course in the original vision so if you took away the pins, you would barely know a green was there. The links course features greens with steep, natural undulations, which allows the course to grow out the greens to .21 inches. “It’s about the health of the grass instead of the speed of the greens,” he said.
2. Technician Skills: Are You Focusing on What Matters?
During “Technician Skills: Are You Focusing on What Matters?” hosts Stephen Tucker, Equipment Manager at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort in Golden Oak, Florida and John Cunningham, CGCS, Assistant General Manager at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri, discussed personal and professional development ideas that can motivate yourself and your staff.
Here are 10 ideas of motivation:
- “Skills are learned, behavior is innate.”
- “Sometimes we get stuck in our comfort zone learning skills that’ll prepare us for the next level,” John Cunningham said.
- Skills can be developed. A lot of us just don’t know how to identify and develop them, Cunningham said.
- It takes a lot of discipline to do something you’re not very good at.
- Differences exist, but there are basic skills necessary to be effective in your role, Stephen Tucker said.
- Ask yourself: What type of preventative maintenance are you doing to develop your skills?
- Try to put a development plan in place for yourself and start checking them in a year. This is a good way to improve your skills.
- Ask yourself: What can you do better?
- “You don’t grow from making 100 percent on your review, you grow from making mistakes,” Stephen Tucker said.
- Identify your skills and pick one skill that needs further development. Create a development plan and make an effort to improve that one skill this year.
3. Municipal Courses
Josh Heptig, golf course superintendent for the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Parks and Recreation, led a discussion Monday with dozens of superintendents from municipal golf courses. He said municipal courses are facing a plethora of challenges including managing operational contracts; budget constraints, especially due to labor costs; prevailing wage laws; and greens fee pricing. Competition from other courses is also a concern, though Heptig says: “I’m for the competition. I want sticks in hands. I don’t care where they’re playing, eventually they’ll get to one of our properties.”
4. Another $hade of Green
In a session titled “Another $hade of Green,” financial advisors outlined how superintendents can prepare for retirement. Keith W. Smith, CFP, vice president and financial advisor with Morgan Stanley, said it’s important to target a retirement date, but stay flexible. And keep in mind where your retirement income will come from — social security, pension, rental income, and more sources. “Saving in different ways in different places gives you the chance to retire when you want,” Smith said.
5. Reel Science and Optimum Cut Technology
During his session titled “Reel Science and Optimum Cut Technology,” Greg Turner, sales manager for Foley United, said equipment manufacturers put money into producing a good reel type cutting system, so they assume it’s coming to you in its best condition. After purchase, establishing a grinding schedule is key to minimizing potential issues, and will help show the “money people” why maintaining equipment in this way, instead of buying brand-new, is valuable. Takeaway tip from Turner: follow what the manufacturers ask you to do for maintaining reels.