Following is a summary presentation of the 18 highest priority superintendents’ job-saving practices this blog has presented through the past two-plus years – presented in descending priority order:
Priority: Job-Saving Practices:
* * * * * Do a good job; i.e., maintain golf courses at highest practical level within cost-efficient economy-driven budgets.
# # #
* * * * Work within a mutually agreed to annually reviewed “Job Descriptions.” (See my September 4, 2009 blog.)
* * * * Publish a carefully drafted weekly updated “constituent” web site. (See my December 2, 2011 blog message.)
* * * * Adopt life’s natural order: Self- God – Family – Country – Career. (See my January 8, 2010 blog.)
# # #
* * * Be willing to tie salary level to annual budget trends – when necessary. (See my August 25, 2011 blog.)
* * * Be Adaptable/Flexible. (See my December 2, 2010 blog.)
* * * Provide high quality greens with consistent green speeds. (See my December 17, 2009 blog.)
* * * Work at a high “work ethic” level. (See my February 4, 2011 blog.)
* * * Negotiate to attend Board meetings. (See my August 13, 2009.)
# # #
* * Seek employment at courses with high “pedigree” versus working at a course for a higher salary. (See my May 28, 2010 blog.)
* * Personal appearance matters. (See my September 11, 2009 blog.)
* * Read, write and publish. (See my October 15, 2010 blog.)
* * Be visible. (See my August 20, 2009 blog.)
A superintendent would be “negligent” if he/she failed to use – as need required – the 18 “job saving” practices listed above to generally guide his/her career through a bad economy.
In comfortable economic times, golf’s n-f-p associations (NGF, NCA, CMAA, GCSAA, PGA, etc.) consistently overcome their inherent over-staffing and economic breakeven cultures by enacting annual dues increases; i.e., because repeated dues increases are accepted as part of an association’s DNA in good economies. However . . .
. . . in difficult economic times, forced annual dues increases become anathema and generally result in driving members out of an association.
We see evidence of this all across the national association landscape today; i.e., a situation that will continue for as long as the bad economy persists unless definitive steps are taken to reverse this debilitating pattern.
Because it is not feasible to convert golf’s n-f-p associations to a “for profit” status . . .
. . . the one effective remedy available to address golf’s n-f-p’s shortcomings is to bring the private sector to golf.
This can best be accomplished by focusing on the following two initiatives – each of which would require bringing (among other essentials) “career counseling” and “outreach” programming expertise to the n-f-p golf association world:
- Adding two or more private sector business savvy individuals to n-f-p association Boards of Directors – with or without voting privileges as seems best for each organization.
- Rewriting the job descriptions for association CEOs to require private sector business experience – especially within the fields of “career counseling” and “outreach” programming – because the CEOs will/should be charged with the responsibility of spearheading all efforts to bring these two career stabilizing disciplines to their associations’ membership bases.
Follow The USGA Example
It is no coincidence that the USGA is considered to be the most effective n-f-p association throughout golf and one of the more effective across the country because the majority of its 15-member Board Of Directors always includes proven private sector experienced lawyers and business people.
The future long-term welfare of golf’s national membership associations depends on bringing the private sector into their n-f-p world.
Should this be the case, new association counseling programs and membership rolls would flourish and only occasional dues increases might be needed to keep pace with inflation, etc.
Next week’s blog message will focus on the chapters’ n-f-p status and crucial long range planning role within the profession.
Virtually every educational conference for decades has focused on the importance of golf course superintendents “communicating” successfully with their constituencies because this has been a “never found” art form; i.e., no direct means has existed to address this challenging task effectively – until now!
For example: superintendents from Day One have been communicating primarily through the following ineffective devices: newsletters, bulletin board notices, direct mailings and little else.
Accordingly, members/players and course administrations know little about their maintenance programs and even less about the person of their superintendents.
Consequently, 80% of golf course superintendents’ jobs are constantly at risk and their essential highly productive work product is generally taken for granted.
Constituent Web Sites Provide Unique Opportunity
Fortunately, today’s web site concept provides the unique opportunity for superintendents to educate and communicate effectively with their constituents (member/players and administrations) in a direct and efficient manner.
Constituent Web Site Profile
The first order of business (after advising the employer of the concept) would naturally be to prepare an attractive home page where the following series of links would lead targeted reader groups to all the pertinent aspects of their golf course’s maintenance program; for example:
- A season long Master Event Schedule that would present all golf course operations – overlaid with maintenance program scheduling.
- Daily updated, seven-days-in-advance official weather bureau forecasts.
- Daily green speed and pin-setting profiles – when plausible.
- A “Definition Directory” of golf course maintenance terminology, procedures and cultural practices.
- An ongoing “Q & A” opportunity for members/players to query re: favorite issues and cultural practices. Summarize periodically with FAQ presentations.
- Profile, as need arises, temporary and/or seasonal problems with golf course quality – together with expectations and schedules to rectify, etc. Couple with similar turf management issues/problems prevailing at regional golf courses.
- A weekly sign-up sheet for members/players to schedule a weekday round of golf with the superintendent.
- A pre-season signup sheet to attend Rules seminars for men, women and juniors where the superintendent and the golf professional would profile all applicable Rules issues throughout their golf course. Seminars would be recorded for replay on the constituent web site throughout the season, and/or to be downloaded to member/player computer systems at home, etc.
- A monthly signup sheet for members/players, their families and children to tour the maintenance facility with specific crew equipment demonstrations.
A weekly updated constituent web site developed with the above series of links would provide:
. . . a cornucopia of opportunities for superintendents to educate and bond with their member/player communities in a manner that would virtually assure their jobs.
Borrowing on a theme I have used from time to time: a constituent web site is a (big) “party” waiting to happen.