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Industry Interview

Name: Steve May Position: Golf Course Superintendent Qualifications: years of agricultural experience Guelph correspondence in turf management, Pesticide License Experience: 30 years in agriculture and 25 as a Superintendent Working Conditions: Explain your daily routine as it happens in peak season, shoulder season, and dead of winter In the peak season, goes to work and assigns jobs with the assistant’s help, check e-mails, look at course and does a job and then decides for the next day, planning projects, goes and talks to golf pro before golf starts, and general manager. Check when there are tournaments and upcoming functions. Use weather data to change times for irrigation. Do you feel that you are adequately compensated for your level of responsibility? Due to the current economic structure of the world, relatively speaking yes, making enough money. How does your ability to golf affect your level of professionalism in the industry? It is important because it helps you see the course from the point of view of the golfers, not necessarily being very good at it matters. It will help manage the course better. Do you deal with the public/memberships a lot? No doesn’t deal with them, no greens committee members goes to the proshop. What environmental concerns do you have regarding the use of Water? Need a license but don’t have to have it immediately, water isn’t a big problem compared to Alberta How often do you use pest control products? Based on past records for preventative methods and then when first diseas outbreaks occur on indicator greens What are your thoughts regarding the Audubon Certification of your golf course? It’s a good idea but not really necessary, because of the nature of the construction of the course it wouldn’t be practical here. The cost to implement it would be beyond our ability to recover it with revenue. What’s the biggest health and safety problem? Wearing hard hats out on the golf course, and there aren’t any safety meetings

What is the most rewarding part of your career? The getting out there and doing the work, the cultural practices. Enjoys using machinery and doing the hands on component, success in member compliments and returning corporate functions The hardest part of your career? The hardest part of this job is the HR, office work, bureaucracy, because employees complain yet still do what they are told. They never say they won’t do it. Just do their own thing if there isn’t any direction. Budget cuts and having to work with less money and limited resources to do everyday jobs. For example the weather was good past the point where the budget allowed for labour required in maintaining the course. Owners only see the bottom line, don’t trust the managers and are paranoid. Do you or the Assistant work to develop the programs for the greens? The cultural program is developed by the Superintendent, and the Pesticide program as well as the fertilizer program with the help of a company who does soil testing. Is there a specific order of Equipment Operators? Not really, everyone is trained to do most tasks, so for example there isn’t a title for an irrigation tech or a spray tech. How much control do you have over large purchases? Equipment purchases have to be approved by upper management. Superintendent decides what is needed to buy, a list is made and then money is received for them. How much influence does the membership have on course conditions? The membership has a huge bearing on what changes are made to the course, for example the drainage system being out in has been in the works for a while, semi-private, and the members don’t pay for the projects. What are your thoughts on a performance review? Performance review is good but should be in writing to see how the individual improves and then it. How have changes in technology influenced your position? Its important to be able to use the computer because everything is changed to digital, and so its paramount to know what to do on the computer. How important is it to wear nice clothes? Should wear clean clothes not jeans. It depends on the situation, but should have a clean appearance.

If you find that there are employees who don’t complete the work to the standard, how do you deal with the situation? Provide a detailed explanation of what the results are supposed to look like and why it wasn’t achieved. Provide constructive feedback to help them improve What is the downside to your position? No pension makes it difficult to retire and/or hard to stop working How do you structure your pesticide program if the fungicide you apply doesn’t work? Starts with a systemic before stress period, If the fungicide doesn’t work, then goes contact to stop the disease, then alternates a systemic, 6 weeks after would put on a preventative cheaper one. Doesn’t use heritage it does not work, uses the daconil rovral trilogy alliette, only spray in good conditions to make sure it still works. If you had to cut the budget, which items would you protect? Would not cut the greens component of the budget because its so important for the success of the course Do you interpret the soil tests? The company interprets them and then says what you need to recommend the rates and that deficiencies. Give readings and then a guideline for corrective action etc… How do you go about dicsliplining people? Will talk to the workers, write them up and give 3 chances can send them home if they are unsuitable to work at the time. Pay a minimum of 2 hours.

Introduction:
Steve May has been the Superintendent at Mayfair Lakes since 1990.. The golf course was constructed on the farmland where he was born, raised and worked on all his life; it opened in 1988. He received on-thejob training for golf course management from a couple of superintendents, and holds a valid BC Pesticide Applicator’s License. The course has hosted several Canadian Tour events such as the BCTel Open, which later changed to the Telus Open. Steve is a good candidate for an interview because he holds the position of Superintendent and has numerous years of experience working in this role. He has been my trainer and mentor for the many years I have spent working at Mayfair Lakes Golf Course. The interview was done in person at his home in Richmond, BC. The daily routine for Steve would start by waking up at 4:00am and heading through the golf course on an ATV, checking the course and turning on sprinklers for areas that were particularly dry the day before. Then he would open up the shop and begin by having a cup of coffee while the rest of the crew entered and sat down to read their morning paper, eat breakfast and drink coffee. The job board had been prepared in advance with the help of the Assistant and everyone would have a chance to see their morning tasks, some of which involved multiple people. There would be a brief discussion on the daily golf schedule to make sure everyone was on the same page and started in the right place. Some days there would be a shotgun at 8:00 am or tee off from the back 9. Once the crew began their morning routine, Steve would record weather data or check e-mails and do office work, or on days when there was a spray application, he would mix the chemicals and send the Assistant out to spray. Once the Mechanic arrived at 7:00am there would be a discussion about repairs needed from the day before, or prep for aerating in spring and fall involving an inspection of the equipment pulled out of the back of the shop twice a year at most. Steve would make his way down to the clubhouse to talk to the people in the pro shop prior to the first tee time and would then return to the clubhouse to discuss events with the General Manager. Then he would go out on the course and cruise around visiting several people and discussing what needed to be done towards the latter part of the day. Once this was completed, he would return to the shop and write down the next job for everyone to view. Steve would go home for lunch since he lived right on the edge of the golf course and then come back to attend the afternoon meeting with the board in the clubhouse held every Tuesday. The end of the day consisted of paperwork and developing the job board for the next day, plus recording daily activities. He would go home around 3:30 after the work was done. The remainder of the report includes competencies that were derived from the series of questions asked during the interview as well as from input from personal experiences working with this individual.

Key Competencies of a Superintendent
A) Supervise Employees Employed for Golf Course Maintenance 1. Hire new employees a) Evaluate personalities when considering candidates b) Ask appropriate questions during interviews c) Choose candidates who possess skills to fit positions d) Communicate with General Manager to assess golf course employment needs 2. Evaluate EmployeePerformance a) Conduct regular performance reviews b) Praise employees for good work performance c) Work with employees to set goals to improve weaknesses d) Ensure adequate training is provided 3. Deal with employee conflict a) Communicate with staff by holding regular? meetings b) Mitigate conflict between employees c) Plan and lead team-building events d) Apply disciplinary action according to company policy B) Follow government regulations related to golfcourse operation 1. Follow provincial and federal environmental regulations a) Ensure facilities meet environmental standards b) Be responsible with fertilizer and pesticide use c) Communicate and educate public on use of pesticides d) Obtain all necessary licenses (water rights, pesticide applicator’s, etc) 2. Provide a safe and healthy workplace a) Ensure shop is equipped with required safety equipment b) Ensure staff are trained in use of safety equipment/first aid supplies with a few having basic first aid training c) Follow protocol laid out by WCB d) Train staff to operate machinery properly, with guards in place, and be attentive to hazards on the golf course 3. Treat employees fairly a) Provide equal opportunities at the workplace b) Use merit as justification for pay increases c) Avoid discrimination by expecting each employee with a specific skill set to complete each job as described in the employee handbook

C) Oversee Department Operations 1. Prioritize daily tasks a) Outline core standards b) Work with Assistant to outline importance of each task c) Make changes to daily job board d) Develop and describe tasks based on project work 2. Delegate roles and responsibilities to staff a) Allocate responsibility to subordinates b) Divide workload fairly among employees c) Ensure required tasks are being completed by those with proper skill set 3. Propose capital improvement projects a) Use feedback from members/ surveys to determine needs of golf course b) Communicate with General Manager to determine what improvements would produce the best results for the golf course c) Develop a plan to follow through with construction projects d) Identify when and what subcontractors are needed for course improvements 4. Communicate with all employees a) Visit with employees while they are working b) Provide feedback on the spot c) Discuss special events with the crew , emphasizing importance they apply to daily activities d) Participate in team building activities e) Play golf with employees to describe effects of their work and how the course is playing 5. Develop an Operational Budget a) Structure budget items b) Allocate funds based on priorities as outlined by core standards c) Make budget adjustments as required D) Develop Golf Course Management Programs 1. Develop a cultural program for course features a) Determine management intensity for each golf course feature

b) Develop and execute grooming, verti-cutting, topdressing, aerating, and other physical actions that maintain quality of each feature. 2. Develop a pest management program a) Identify pests b) Assess the impact of pests c) Determine the economic impact to justify cost of controls d) Implement control tactics as they apply to each pest and their location e) Evaluate success of program 3. Develop a fertilizer program a) Interpret soil tests to determine nutrient requirements b) Select fertilizer type and rates to correct deficiencies c) Produce a calendar outlining when applications take place d) Evaluate success of program as it applies to golf course core standards 4. Maintain records for all management programs a) Record weather data b) Record conflicts, accidents, employee grievances c) Record results of cultural, fertilizer, and pesticide programming d) Record daily activities with hours required. E) Communicate with other departments 1. Attend board meetings a) Participate in meetings with board and with other department heads b) Ask questions about how decisions are made 2. Provide course conditions report a) Post signage indicating atypical events (spraying fungicides) b) Assess whether or not carts are allowed on the course c) Produce an online blog outlining projects, standards, challenges 3. Communicate with membership a) Golf with members b) Attend member functions F) Continue further self-development 1. Attend professional conferences a) Obtain CEC points for certifications b) Network with others in the industry c) Keep up to date with changes in industry 2. Participate in community activities a) Give tours of the golf course

b) Assist in promoting sustainable management approaches

Conclusion:
The basic competencies outlined above will fulfill the requirements for the position of Golf Course Superintendent. The areas that I would need to focus on more are the human resources, departmental communication, development of pest management programs, better presentation as a professional, membership communication, and an overall better understanding of what works to manage employees who are working for me. There are many things that I have already done which fit into the competencies of a Superintendent but with very little experience.