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December 2006 Inside GCM this month

LEAD STORY • Relationship between club and pro  1


FROM THE CMASA • Changing face of club managers  4
INTERVIEW • Atlantic Beach and Theewaterskloof  6
TURFTEK • Look out for pests  8
HR: DEVELOPMENT • Public holidays  10
COURSE MANAGEMENT • Importance of planning  14

A monthly newsletter brought to you by Compleat Golfer magazine.  Volume 2 Issue 12

Relationship between club and pro


In part one of a two-part series, Andrew Wilson examines the evolving
role of the club professional and the relationship between club and pro.
We use the title ‘golf professional’ unique brand. It’s relatively easy if you are
for the PGA person who looks after us at the only golf club in the area but if you are in
our local golf club, but how professional a metropolitan area competing with a dozen
is the ‘pro’ allowed to be in creating and other clubs for members and visitors, it is a
delivering top-class experiences for his or different matter.
her club, members and visitors? How is the
role of the golf pro changing and what does Develop a vision and mission
the future look like? To what extent are club statement
­committees either leading the change or Start off by developing a clear vision for
hindering it? your club. What will make you desirable to
In this series of two articles we take a your target market and where do you want
good look at what is often a battleground – to be in 10 to 15 years time? Then move on Atlantic Beach and Theewaterskloof
the relationship between club and pro. How to a mission statement. What are the things Craig Nell, club manager of Atlantic Beach
can clubs and pros work together to achieve that are critically important to you that will Golf Club, and Thys Grobbelaar, club
a win/win/win situation? A win for the pro, enable you to achieve your vision and are treasurer at Theewaterskloof Golf Club,
a win for the committee and, most impor- they realistic and sustainable? In develop- give their insight on the golf industry and
tantly, a win for the members and visitors. ing your vision and mission it is essential club management. See GCM’s interviews
In the first article we explore what clubs to involve your club manager and golf pro with Craig and Thys on page 6.
should be trying to achieve, and in the as their involvement will increase their
second article we suggest how to go about commitment.
implementing a blueprint for future success. During this process try to concentrate on promote short-term thinking. The club cap-
Naturally all clubs are different and it would adding value to members and visitors rather tain normally only retains the position for
be impossible to suggest a perfect approach than numbers. The numbers will come if you a year and committee members only hold
that would suit the low-usage country course can add value. Ask yourself, why should I office for approximately three years. This
as well as the high-usage resort course. We want to become a member of this club? means that the focus tends to be on leaving
are looking at principles that any club can What value can I get by being a member of behind a legacy that can be achieved in a
adopt and apply in the way that suits them. this club that I can’t get elsewhere? Think year or two.
We have listened to a broad range of opinions of ways to create a club community that
including club pros, members, service sup- goes beyond the four hours spent on the Maximise your potential
pliers, consultants and committee members. course. Club committees can be excellent at Golf clubs in the future will only be success-
reading spreadsheets and counting rounds, ful if they fully maximise the potential of all
Build your brand but often find it difficult to address the softer their facilities. The pro should be central
These days, golf clubs are just as much a issues of relationships and adding value in helping the club to achieve this. As
business as a branch of Woolworths. Survival for members. golf clubs become more competitive, the
is the name of the game, and in order to The reason for this is that a lot of com- need to accumulate reserves for future
survive you have to protect and build your mittees’ current structures and constitutions Continued on page 2

■ Editorial C
 hris Whales • email: chris@gan.co.za • cell: 082 342 1015
Clive During • email: clive@gan.co.za • cell: 082 920 6646 A monthly
PHILIPPA BYRON • email: philippa@gan.co.za • tel: 021 683 0647 newsletter brought
to you by
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■ SUBSCRIBE to GCM for R240 a year. Contact Natalie Shekleton • tel: 011 301 4448 • email: natalies@rsp.co.za

Golf Club Management December 2006 


SPECIAL FEATURE: relationship between club and pro

Continued from page 1 level 5). The current attrition rate is approxi- introductions, range afternoons, short-
developments becomes more urgent. The mately 50 percent, mainly due to the fact that game/putting competitions and theme
days of break-even are over. Revenue comes the majority of the intake want to play golf competitions.
through involvement and I am not just talk- and are not suited to the broad and diverse 4. Community development: including
ing number of rounds. Too many rounds a demands made on club pros. junior development, clinics and on-range
year can ruin the brand just as quickly as promotions.
poorly maintained greens. How often do we The PGA sees three main 5. Marketing: including internal marketing
see club bars and restaurants empty except career avenues for their to the members and external marketing
at the end of the day’s play? How often do graduates: to generate sponsorships and rounds/
we see poorly stocked, poorly staffed and 1. The sole trader who invests in a pro shop events, etc.
poorly laid out pro shops? or similar venture and makes it their 6. Standards: the overall golfing experience
own business. as well as the appearance, knowledge and
Attitude adjustment 2. The golf coach who concentrates on service levels of staff, particularly in the
So what do we need to do about it? teaching the techniques and finer points pro shop.
Committees and pros need to take a long of the game.
hard look at themselves. In analysing the 3. The director of golf, responsible for all What should the pro be
relationship between committees and pros I matters relating to the golfing experience. looking for from the club?
think of cricket in England in the ’50s and There are four main areas:
’60s, when you had gentlemen and play- 1. Knowledge: to be a part of the inner circle
ers. The gentlemen were those fine pillars
Committees need to of running the club. To be kept informed
of society who had benefited from private look at their structures, of all that is going on in the club so that
education and a sizeable inheritance. They he or she can lead the golfing experience
made the rules, funded the clubs and played constitutions and, most from the front.
the game for the love of it. importantly, attitudes 2. Skills: to be allowed the budget and time
The players were from the other side to keep learning, whether it be the game
of the tracks. They normally came from a towards the pro and of golf, teaching techniques, rule changes,
working-class background and played the merchandising and display methods or
game because they were good at it and their
the degree to which interpersonal skills.
job was to ensure that the club won. They they include their pro 3. Status: to be included in all committees
were paid cash in the boot and that was that; and meetings to do with the golfing expe-
they had no involvement in club matters and
in club affairs. rience so that he or she can influence the
definitely no socialising! How many golf decisions that are made.
clubs today in South Africa have a similar In the practical world, a golf pro at a club 4. Rewards: to have a contract that rewards
relationship with their pro? very often spends his or her time coaching results. The role of the golf pro is not a
I believe this goes to the core of the problem as well as acting as a sole trader as both roles 40-hour a week job, and therefore to
in a lot of our golf clubs. Committees need complement each other. attract and retain the right calibre of
to look at their structures, constitutions and, The PGA is also looking at developing a person, clubs need to develop contracts
most importantly, attitudes towards the pro three-year degree course (NQF level 6) as that are competitive with the commercial
and the degree to which they include their well as specialist programmes on subjects marketplace, if they wish to attract and
pro in club affairs. Has the pro been a part of such as human resources and finance, which retain the right calibre.
the process in developing or reviewing the must be the way to go. Communication between club and pro is a
club’s vision and mission statements, etc? If the profession wants to be taken seri- vital part of building trust and respect. Some
The pros also need to do a bit of soul ously it has to be able to attract, retain and clubs, especially in the Gauteng region, are
searching. They need to re-examine their reward the highest calibre of people who leading the way in their relationships with
role and the skills, abilities and commitment want to be involved with the game of golf in their golf pro.
they bring to the club. The PGA is doing its broadest context. As I mentioned, it would be impossible
a lot of good work in developing future to create a blueprint that would suit all
club professionals but is the bar being set What should clubs really look types of golf clubs, but the points raised are
high enough? Your club pro should be the for from their pro? intended to get clubs and pros thinking, to
executive director of all matters relating to 1. Operational tasks: including greenfees, open up debate, and hopefully, to show a
the golf experience. management of the caddies and event way forward.
At the moment the criteria to become a management. In the next article we focus on the how.
club pro is a matric, a handicap of less that 2. Expertise: including course management, We’ll look at contracts and reward systems,
five and a practical apprenticeship linked to rules and the set-up of the golf course. what to measure in terms of performance,
the three-year PGA diploma course (NQF 3. Creating theatre: including member structures and staffing.

Golf Club Management December 2006 


CLUB MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

Club manager of the future


Bill Taylor looks at how the club manager’s role and committees’ attitudes have changed
in South Africa and why this is good news for the industry.

“Hire ’em and Fire ’em!” – issues, must strive for a balanced budget with
this unofficial slogan by the antiquated appropriate reserves. The ever-increasingly
committee-driven system is a thing of the competitive market and reduced disposable
past. The club manager (or club secretary as it income of our membership base has meant
was once called) has been significantly elevated that solid financial decisions are mandatory.
over the past 10 years in South Africa.
Today, the club manager is seldom seen as Positive changes
the personal punching bag of an egocentric I am extremely proud our managers’ positive
committee and club managers are less often metamorphosis and that of our club commit-
the scapegoats for ill-informed ­ committee tees and golf captains. In the past, managers
decisions. This wonderful transformation is were at one regional meeting, then were
attributed to three key factors: gone the next – a revolving door of note!
• Training/education/CMASA Committees were setting managers up to fail
• Committee transformation or were hiring weak managers who could act
• The calibre of the manager as the fall guy for erroneous committee deci-
sions. Many committee members had good
Education is power intentions but simply lacked the day-to-day
Today’s club manager must be well versed in expertise in the club industry.
a host of areas including agronomics, food Things have changed. Club memberships
and beverages, marketing, finance/budgets, have become astute enough not to just elect Bill Taylor, director of operations at
labour law, human resources and member the most popular member. Instead, they are Atlantic Beach Golf Club.
relations. Our national body, the CMASA, appointing leaders of industry who can pro-
along with recognised educational institu- vide the vision and guidance to a competent their work also allows the committee mem-
tions, have been instrumental in providing bers to enjoy. Their vision can then become
the training opportunities that will jumpstart the committee’s main ambition and focus.
our new and improved club managers. A club that is not run It is our aim to attract a future gen-
Today’s manager can also present a eration into the role of club management.
comprehensive and definitive plan to the
with sound business Unfortunately I cannot entice them with
members/committees that ensures a roadmap principles, ‘best practice’ the never-ending work schedule or with the
for the year ahead, which means no more ad benefits of being on the receiving end of an
hoc irresponsible capital expenditures at the ethics and a commitment inebriated complainant. But I can honestly
golf captain’s whim. With the future poten- convey the genuine contentment that one
tial to tap the volumes of course material via towards good corporate feels when you improve member satisfac-
the CMAA (Club Managers’ Association of tion and create a unique spirit within a club.
America), I am even more excited about the
governance will not The future manager has been afforded the
future of our industry. succeed. educational tools required and a committee
system that will allow him or her to flourish.
Changing face of clubs The charge of energy one receives from
I am not chastising the management of years club manager. They are also smart enough exceeding member expectations can make for
gone by. However, we live in a world that will to hire (and finally pay appropriately) a a rewarding lifetime career path indeed.
no longer tolerate a part-time manager who chief executive officer (CEO) who has the
plays more golf and swills more beer than he experience to implement this vision. The Bill Taylor is the director of operations at
looks after the business… because clubs are committee is learning not to micro-manage Atlantic Beach Golf Club in the Western
businesses. A club that is not run with sound the business. Cape and he owns Club Innovations, a club
business principles, ‘best practice’ ethics I am proud of the many committee mem- management and consultancy company. He
and a commitment towards good corporate bers who have seen the light and allowed the has been involved in the management of 24
governance will not succeed. The multi- penny to drop (the penny can now remain in hospitality properties on three continents
million-rand club businesses, which have the club’s bank account!). By hiring top-gun over 19 years and sits on the national
ever-diminishing margins and testing labour management and letting them get on with committee of the CMASA.

 December 2006 Golf Club Management


CLUB MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

We are recognised as the mouthpiece, listening post, guide and mentor for sporting, recreation, country and resort clubs in South Africa.
MISSION  “To actively represent, support and develop the recreational and sporting club industry in Southern Africa.”

CMASA SERVICES
• Benchmarking − Job descriptions, employment contracts, performance appraisals
− Beverages, greenfees, entrance fees and subscriptions, income − Policies
and expenditure ratios, salaries ß HIV/Aids, smoking, responsible service of alcohol, troubled
• Legislative updates employee, intellectual property, discipline
− Income tax, labour, BEE, OHASA, liquor, smoking − Sample menus
• Recruitment – management positions − Sample surveys
• Education − Digital educational sessions
− Annual Education Conference − Club operations manual
− Partnership with CMAA on their existing education programmes ß New manager checklist, sample organisational charts, sample
− Regional education sessions forms and letters, model of OHASA programme, F&B
• Allied associations procedures, sample employee handbook, strategic planning
− Golf Course Managers and Greenkeepers Association worksheet, service training manual, waiter training guide,
− Junior Foundation emergency procedures, team development
• Information resources − Committee manual

CMASA contact details


Tel: (+27 11) 482 7542 Postal address: Suite 374, Private Bag X09, Karen Stradling: Admin
Fax: (+27 11) 482 7533 Weltevredenpark 1715 Email: news@clubmanagement.co.za
Physical address: 1 Napier Road, Auckland Beryl Acres: General Manager Taryn Broeders: GCMGA and SAGF
Park, Johannesburg Email: gm@clubmanagement.co.za Email: admin@clubmanagement.co.za

Golf Club Management December 2006 


INTERVIEW

Different strokes
GCM spoke to Craig Nell, club manager of Atlantic Beach Golf Club,
and Thys Grobbelaar, club treasurer at Theewaterskloof Golf Club.

Craig Nell, Atlantic Beach What major changes have you noticed in
Golf Club the industry?
Members are demanding more from their
How did you get into the golfing clubs, such as better restaurant facilities,
­industry? championship courses and personal commu-
I began my career in the golf industry at nication, and I agree with those expectations.
Atlantic Beach Golf Club in 2000. My initial Of course, this has forced many clubs to
introduction was as the head of department reassess the way in which they do busi-
for the food and beverage division at the ness. As the clubs raise the hospitality bar,
clubhouse. I come from a food and beverage members will expect the same, if not better,
background and have been in the industry offerings the next time round. Consistency
for 18 years. is, therefore, sometimes the most difficult
The experience of dealing with guests goal to achieve. My most important tools
and customers in several operations (ranging for running my club are my staff, and they
from five-star hotels to intimate restaurants) need to be empowered to take the required
has given me the knowledge, skills and con- operational decisions in order to make the
fidence to work in a personal environment. experience pleasant for our members. Your
I believe the golf industry is perhaps one job as manager is to keep it within the tight
of the most personal environments one can budget set at the beginning of the year.
operate in. The role of club manager is diver- Craig Nell
sified and the manager needs to understand What are the most important ­management Date of birth: 6 March 1971
marketing, finance, membership, house- lessons you have learnt in golf? Place of birth: Durban
keeping, security, golf operations and course Communicate and listen to the needs of your Interests: Spearfishing, road running and
management. Many of these skills and members. Keep a history of your events and reading.
­experiences are replicated in the hospitality plot your management strategies across the How would a good friend describe you?
industry, which does make the transition to board. Start with your yearly budget and Loyal, trustworthy and too scarce.
golf easier. work your way from there. Constantly moti- How would your wife describe you?
vate your staff and impress your members. Loving!
What is Atlantic Beach’s management You also need to communicate your progress
philosophy? and let your members know that you are
We have always aimed to hire good people aware of the challenges and that you are There is a saying I was taught by my mentor:
who want to share in the dream of making making progress. “Plan your work and work your plan.” Set
the club and course the best it can be. Our your policies, procedures and minimum
management style is open and diplomatic, What are the biggest challenges facing the working standards early in your tenure as
allowing each of the department heads manager of a golf course? manager. This will ensure that your staff
to share in the enthusiasm of growth and The erosion of the membership base – we understand what the goals of your club are.
­development. New projects that have been are all in the subscriptions game and that Offer them a road map – without that you
decided upon are openly communicated. We must be the driving force of your business. will not know what you need to achieve.
encourage the department heads to look at Members have to constantly see the value Probably the most valuable piece of infor-
their own departments and run them as if they are receiving for their membership. mation I could offer a new manager in a
they owned them; on many occasions they You want them to be loyal members who small community would be to learn your
are also the authors of their own budgets will promote your name in the marketplace, members’ names.
and they share in the praise and problems grow your base and allow your business to
we all encounter. As manager I see my role be profitable. In your experience, what are the three
as one of guidance, support and loyalty. I most common or mistakes made by club
value my staff and each club member, as What advice would you give a new managers?
they have given us the tools to make many manager at a club located in a more rural Lack of communication, not leading by
of our programmes, ideas and projects work. area (such as Theewaterskloof) that is example and not having a road map.
I would say the key is communication. also estate based? Continued on page 8

 December 2006 Golf Club Management


INTERVIEW

Continued from page 6 What upgrades have you done recently? between the golf club and the homeowners
Thys Grobbelaar, We only have nine holes, and the tees for who are non-golfers?
Theewaterskloof Golf Club the 18-hole layout were very close to one
another, but we recently built new tees which
Theewaterskloof is somewhat off the has allowed us to change it around. Thys Grobbelaar
beaten track. Describe the challenges and
benefits of your course’s location? How busy is the course? Place of birth: Cape Town
It’s only an hour from Cape Town, but Our membership has doubled over the last Background: I lived in Joburg for 27
admittedly most guys don’t want to drive two years, and during December we’re years, working in commercial property
100km to play a round of golf, have a few packed, but through the rest of the year it’s management and have played golf
beers and then drive home… over the moun- pretty quiet – there’s no need to book! You socially for the last 15 years. It’s easy to
tain! Our course has some of the best greens could effectively just pitch up and play. get hooked.
in the Boland and our greenkeeper has taken We’re happy to have an excellent nine-hole Interests: Golf has been a hobby and
his job seriously. It is on the edge of the course rather than trying for 18, and we now it’s become work – I hope I can still
main dam servicing Cape Town so we’re in don’t have enough rounds a year to support play enough. I play about three times
a good spot for water, and we also use recy- 18 holes. a week
cled water from the estate. As the estate is How would a good friend describe you?
so far from the city, crime is much lower – If you could ask another estate club for Probably laid back. I used to be called
houses don’t need burglar bars and people any advice, what would you ask them? Mr Cool a few years back.
leave their front doors open. How do they manage the relationship

Look out for pests


Danny Maritz, golf course maintenance director of Turftek,
gives tips on how to avoid damage caused by summer pests.

The warm weather has finally arrived,


and everyone can now look forward to the
Christmas holidays and the endless pleasures
synonymous with our beautiful summers.
For greenkeepers, however, there is ‘no
rest for the wicked’. An eagle eye is needed
at this time of the year as conditions become
favourable for numerous troublesome
pests. They are defined as external organ-
isms that negatively influence the quality
of turf grasses. Examples of these pests are
fungi, insects, weeds and, last but not least,
enthusiastic golfers. For the purposes of this
article, the latter will be excluded! Unfortunately, Dollar Spot has, over the decimating the grass roots in the process.
When temperatures are high with increased years, become resistant to many chemical Typical symptoms are patches of dried-out,
relative humidity, conditions for fungal growth treatments. A programme needs to be fol- discoloured grass on your greens. To check
become ideal – beware Sclerotinia, which is lowed which involves alternating a cocktail for infestations, dig a pitchfork into the grass
more commonly known as Dollar Spot. The of control products which work either on a and lift it up. If it comes away like a sheet of
pathogens survive winter in the crowns and contact or systemic basis. paper, chances are that the grubs have been
roots of plants and when temperatures reach When it comes to insects, the most at work!
16°C, the fungus awakens from dormancy. destructive culprit at this time of year is the The best time to check for Aphodius
It will begin to wreak havoc at optimal Aphodius beetle. The beetle itself is harm- ­beetles and grub outbreaks is under lights at
temperatures of 21°C to 27°C, with the dis- less, but the white grub larvae which emerge night. At the first sign of the beetles, begin
tinctive ‘scarring’ marks becoming visible. from the eggs in the grass are far less innoc- spraying immediately. The grass is treated
Deep thatch left on mown lawns will greatly uous. Hatching within a few weeks, they with a pungent chemical which will deter
increase the risk of severe fungal outbreaks. feed voraciously on dead organic matter, them from settling and laying their eggs.

 December 2006 Golf Club Management


HUMAN RESOURCES: DEVELOPMENT

Planning around public holidays


Andrew Wilson explains what steps to put in place to ensure
that your club still runs smoothly over the holiday period.

The festive season is upon


us, which means that your club will be
even busier as your members, their guests
Key points for the holiday season
and visitors decide to walk off their over- • Plan well in advance to make sure you have the right cover.
indulgence with a few extra rounds of golf. • Secure public holiday agreements with your staff through either their contracts of
You also have to cope with four public holi- employment or the policies and procedures manual.
days in less than a month. What does the law • Working on a public holiday is by agreement only.
say about working on public holidays and • Workers must be paid extra for working on a public holiday.
how can you plan to continue delivering top-
class service to your members, guests and
visitors during the busy holiday season? partly on a public holiday and partly on Religious public holidays
another day, the whole shift is deemed to Must you give your non-Christian staff
Legal issues have been worked on the public holiday. But leave on their religious holidays? There is
Unless your staff are members of the National if the greater part of the shift was worked on no provision in the Act for religiously based
Defence Force, National Intelligence the other day and not the public holiday, the public holidays. The fact that certain public
Agency or South African Secret Service, whole shift is deemed to have been worked holidays have a religious significance for
their working conditions fall under the Basic on the other day. some is pure coincidence.
Conditions of Employment Act (the Act). The fact that Christmas Day, Good Friday
There are further exclusions to the section of and Easter Sunday are deemed to be public
the Act that deal with public holidays: holidays may have religious significance for
• Senior management, defined as those Religious holidays and some, but they are statutory public holidays
people who have the authority to hire, and available to all workers irrespective
discipline and dismiss employees and leave require sensitive of religious beliefs. There is therefore no
to represent the employer internally and possibility of claims of discrimination on
externally. handling especially religious grounds.
• Sales staff who travel and regulate their
own working hours.
in our current climate The Act does, however, allow for what
they call ‘exchanging public holidays’. This
• Workers who work less than 24 hours per of appreciation and means that, by agreement, a staff member
month. may choose to work on a public holiday that
• Workers earning in excess of R115 572 per acceptance of diversity. has no religious significance to them, such as
year. Good Friday, in exchange for being allowed
time off for one of their religious holidays
The Act states that you may not force such as Yom Kippur. This can be a win-win
employees to work on a public holiday Casual staff situation as you then have a permanent staff
unless you have an agreement with them. Your biggest challenge over the public holi- member working a normal day when the
You therefore need to ensure that you have day periods will be to ensure that you have majority of your permanent staff are off.
included a suitable public holiday agree- appropriate cover for key positions and can Religious holidays and leave require
ment with each employee in their terms offer the required service standards. Most sensitive handling especially in our current
and conditions of employment or in your clubs have a pool of casuals that can be climate of appreciation and acceptance of
policies and procedures manual. called on to fill vacancies. The ideal situ- diversity – it is essential for you to be sensi-
Simply put, if a member of your team ation is that you have a large enough pool tive to different religious beliefs and allow
does not work on a public holiday and the of casual staff who you can trust and who staff time off, within reason, to pursue their
public holiday falls on a day on which he are well trained and experienced enough beliefs. This time off can be in the form of
or she would ordinarily work, you must pay to cover for your permanent staff on public annual leave, unpaid leave or time swap.
them what they would have normally earned holidays. Building a pool of reliable and
for that day. If they do work on the public competent casuals is first prize as it enables For comments or suggestions on
holiday, you must pay them at least double you to allow your permanent staff to take GCM content, email Philippa Byron
what they would have earned for that day. time off on public holidays as and when they on philippa@gan.co.za
If a shift worker works a shift that falls occur.

10 December 2006 Golf Club Management


COURSE MANAGEMENT

Make a plan
Precise planning is a key element in ensuring high-quality course maintenance
standards. Darren Berry suggests a step-by-step programme to ensure top results.

A well-planned golf course produces consistent, predictable results. Practical implementation


maintenance operation is the only way to A reactive maintenance operation is the Some of the most important aspects of the
ensure consistent high-quality maintenance opposite, producing inconsistent results and maintenance programme necessary to apply
standards. All aspects of the maintenance unpredictable and uncontrollable mainte- a well-planned approach include:
programme, from fertiliser and chemical nance standards, and should be avoided at
applications to labour management, must all costs. 1. Pest management
follow a predetermined structure. A good pest management plan must
Communication always be based on a sound Integrated Pest
Consistency Communication must form an integral part Management (IPM) programme. A sound
Consistent maintenance standards are of the maintenance programme. Effective IPM programme utilises proactive cultural
one of the most important aspects of any planning is impossible without good commu- and chemical inputs to manage pest popula-
golf course maintenance operation. The nication between all stakeholders. Golfers tions so that they do not detrimentally affect
most professionally managed golf courses and club members must communicate their the health of the turf or the level of play-
produce maintenance standards that do not desires, club managers must communicate ability. This programme is always based on a
vary from one day to the next. Each day is instructions and schedules, and superin- good plan that takes the needs of the turf, the
regarded as being just as important as any tendents must incorporate all the available golfer and the environment into account.
other and the maintenance standards reflect information, then formulate it into a work-
this philosophy. ing plan and communicate it effectively to 2. Fertility and cultural inputs
Consistency can never be effectively the golf course staff. In a similar fashion to the pest management
achieved without a well-structured, metic- The planning process must include com- strategy, fertility and cultural inputs must
ulously planned maintenance operation. munication from anyone who is affected by also be made on a proactive basis to ensure
To reproduce consistent results on a daily the maintenance standards of the golf course. consistent, high-quality turf standards. The
basis, the maintenance crew must follow a Not taking all aspects into account could lead planning of these programmes should cover
set plan which details each crew member’s to important information being overlooked more than just the basic application inter-
responsibilities. and not included in the maintenance plan – val, but must include the changing seasonal
Consistency does not only affect daily the drawn-up plan must use all the necessary factors, soil, water and leaf analysis and any
results, but must also be viewed as a long- information available. Formal and informal other information that may affect this area of
term goal. Consistency over a period of time meetings between all those concerned must the maintenance operation.
from one season to the next or from year to take place on a regular basis to facilitate
year is just as important. the sharing of information. The flow of 3. Staff organisation
Consistent maintenance standards over information must be maintained at all costs. To encourage consistent results from the
an extended period will help to ensure the golf course staff, each crew member must
club’s long-term success by encouraging Flexibility be well informed and trained for his or her
steady revenue and a desire by golfers to The importance of a well-structured and task, and must also be aware of the overall
play the course. planned maintenance operation cannot be maintenance plan and strategy. It is vital that
overstated, but it must also remain flexible. all staff members work towards a common
Proactive maintenance A golf course maintenance operation goal. This can be achieved by devising a
Taking a proactive approach to golf course has to take many variables into account, well-structured, well-implemented and well-
maintenance can sometimes mean the including unpredictable weather conditions. communicated plan which will ensure that
difference between success and failure. Flexibility in the maintenance plan is vital each member of the team is aware of what
Proactive disease management, fertility to ensure that the superintendent can deal he or she must accomplish, and how their
programmes or attention to detail all assist with any curve-balls that might be thrown at actions affect other team members and the
the superintendent to overcome or avoid him or her by the weather or other outside maintenance operation as a whole.
problems before they are even noticed. A influences. Contingency plans must exist to
proactive maintenance programme can only deal with any eventuality. Even when you Darren Berry is Golf Data’s
be implemented in a well-structured environ- are forced to adjust your maintenance pro- director of maintenance, Southern
ment, where cultural inputs are planned ahead gramme, a good plan will ensure that it gets and Eastern Cape. Contact
of time and implemented on a programmed back on track quickly and that the task at Darren on darren@gdmaint.co.za,
basis. A proactive maintenance operation hand is dealt with efficiently. 083 671 9399 or (044) 384 0680/3

14 December 2006 Golf Club Management