It’s the time of the year when New Year’s resolutions are made. So we asked the esteemed members of our editorial advisory board, “What golf maintenance resolutions are you making for the new year?” Here are their responses:

1. Get the turf in shape

Being healthier is something that most of us challenge ourselves to do in a New Year’s resolution. Plant health is a buzz phrase that I’m starting not to like, but if we can grow/maintain healthy turf then I think we would all be happier. Our New Year’s resolution for the course is almost like resolutions for a lot of us. For example, the course could shed a few pounds, that is pounds of fertilizer, and in return it could be leaner, harder and faster. We’re going to try and stay well groomed and not rough around the edges so the turf will be maintained with the sharpest of equipment. We’re also going to work our turf out – make it sweat a bit. But at the end of the day the turf will be stronger.

The turf is only going to get the water it needs with no preservatives. Finally, we’re going to do our best to let the course breathe good air, so some trees have to go.

Todd Voss

Golf Course Superintendent/COO

Double Eagle Club

Galena, Ohio

2. The right time

I’ve talked to all my supervisory people about work and personal time. We need to make sure we put in the “appropriate” time at work. I think many of us have gotten into the habit of being here more than we really have to be. I’ve always been a little old school when it comes to people working late for events and projects. Since we’re open 363 days a year, coverage is important, but so are our families and our own well-being.

Ken Mangum

Director of Golf Courses and Grounds

Atlanta Athletic Club

Johns Creek, Georgia

3. Keep staff engaged

As many superintendents would agree, the agronomic side of the business can be the easiest part of the job. So leading employees and keeping staff engaged is a constant challenge. In the mountains of western North Carolina, we’re fortunate to have the change of seasons, and that certainly keeps things interesting as we go from maintenance in the summer to a variety of capital improvements and renovation projects in the winter.

I’ve been fortunate to have a well-tenured staff during my 14 years at Highlands Country Club. Several staff members have been here just as long. My goal is to continue to come up with creative ways to keep staff engaged and challenged. I’ve made great efforts to hire locally, and I’d like to expand that by eventually phasing out my H-2B staff. From this aspect, the club would benefit from consistent, reliable and dedicated staff. In short, investing in human capital is my priority in the coming months.

Brian Stiehler

Certified Golf Course Superintendent

Highlands Country Club

Highlands, North Carolina

4. Continue to learn and grow

My golf maintenance resolutions haven’t changed for a number of years. Simply, my job as superintendent is to provide the best possible playing conditions daily. There are many factors that affect this statement, from things that are within my control to things that are beyond my control, like Mother Nature. But no matter what the actual circumstances are in 2015, the goal will remain the same. The only resolution is to grow as a person, continue to learn, work hard each day, deal with things outside my control to the best of my abilities, and treat everyone I come in contact with the way I want to be treated.

Michael P. Osley

Certified Golf Course Superintendent

Meadow Hills Golf Course

Aurora, Colorado

5. Maintaining our role

In 2015, I intend to continue to emphasize the role of the golf maintenance department in growing the game and helping to ensure the enjoyment of our customers. This will be expressed through course conditioning and setup, maintaining reasonable and sustainable standards, and a greater emphasis on job satisfaction within our staff.

Kevin Smith

Vice President and Director of Agronomy

Pinnacle Golf Properties

Greensboro, N.C.

6. A better leader … all year

My golf course resolution for 2015 is to try and be a more consistent, understanding and appreciative leader to my staff year-round. I find myself being pretty good with this for about eight months a year. My attitude is lighthearted, I remain flexible, and I tend to listen and care a lot more about my employees’ needs and desires. Then I fall into the summer stress trap! Members’ expectations seem to increase overnight, everything needs to be done today, and my to-do list is never complete. At that point my attitude shifts to getting it done at any cost. Sick days, day care issues, car won’t start, and all those things that were perfectly normal and accepted just a few weeks ago can’t happen anymore. It’s summer!

Craig Felton

Golf Course Superintendent

Oak Hills Country Club

San Antonio, Texas

7. A better irrigator

It’s hard to believe that 2015 is already here. With that said, it’s important to look back and learn from this past year in order to get better and be more prepared this year. California is currently in its worst drought in recorded history, and the golf industry is in the middle of it. My resolution for this upcoming year is to closely analyze our irrigation system and watering practices.

We all take pride in watering our properties as efficiently as possible every day of the year, and we continue to push ourselves to new limits. This past year was one of the toughest for our course, as we were challenged to find new ways to accomplish excellent conditions under strict water restrictions. I feel we can continue to do better because we have to.

Things like hand-watering, utilizing soil moisture sensors and manipulating programs in our central computer have become the norm for our industry. Now we must push forward into new arenas. This may mean things like evaluating grass types and converting to drought-resistant species, and pinpointing areas that are currently irrigated that could be converted to non-grass areas. It could mean learning to accept different levels of green (I don’t want to say brown). I’m aware that many clubs are currently in the middle of, if not completing, a lot of these strategies, but as an industry we must explore these avenues, and continue to search for new ideas and techniques in order to be successful.

On a personal note, I plan to become a certified water auditor along with attending seminars and classes regarding watering practices this year to help further my knowledge in this important area. As we all begin 2015 in the golf industry, I eagerly look forward to exploring new watering techniques and practices that will make us even more successful in the future.

Chris Dalhamer

Certified Golf Course Superintendent

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach, California

8. A better communicator and learner

I have two resolutions this year. The first is to work on being a better communicator with both my staff and members. Whether that’s to update my blog more during the season or meet both individually and as a group with the staff, I think I have to continue to work harder to get the word out about what we are doing on the course. The second is to take advantage of education opportunities to make my operation run more efficiently. I have found myself staying closer to the club the last few years and have missed out on local meetings and other events where I can learn from my peers on what they are doing at their courses.

Pat Daly

Golf Course Superintendent

Framingham Country Club

Framingham, Massachusetts

9. Enjoy the rainbows

My golf maintenance resolution for the new year is to stay connected with the simple intangible reasons why I chose this profession many years ago, and to slow down and enjoy the subtle rewards of our jobs. For instance, there’s nothing better than being on the golf course during a quiet early morning as the sun begins to rise. To keep in mind a motto that has served me well my entire career: Endure the storms, but enjoy the rainbows.

Rick Slattery

Golf Course Superintendent

Locust Hill Country Club

Rochester, New York