April 2008

Goose Valley
Recovering from crippling floods
Also in this issue • 5 Star Golf Experience • Orlando Trade Show • Rainy days • Boca West Country Club • E-mail newsletters • Caddie training • Security • Earthworm farming • Key performance standards • Instant HR
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CONTENTS LEAD STORY Goose Valley Golf Estate 5 Star Golf Experience! You too can aim for the 5 Star Golf Experience! THE ORLANDO GOLF INDUSTRY TRADE SHOW There’s nothing Mickey Mouse about the Orlando Golf Industry Trade Show COURSE MANAGEMENT Rainy days are here again! OVERSEAS NEWS Make your club a lifesyle SECURITY Blackout and tight finances causing more fraud and theft WORM FARMING The early bird catches the worm E-MAIL NEWSLETTERS Should e-mail newsletters be weekly or monthly? CADDIES The caddie predicament part 2 BIRDIES & BOGEYS Snippets INSTANT HR Become an HR expert – Just add water! GENERAL MANAGEMENT Identifying the general manager’s key performance standards Cover picture by Andrew Wilson: Looking down the short par 4 17th hole at Goose Valley Golf Estate.
■ EditoriAl ANDREW WILSON email: consultaew@iafrica.com cell: 082 575 3861 ■ AdvErtisinG SImON TuRck (PUBLISHER) email: simon@rsp.co.za cell: 083 252 8387 ■ AdvErtisinG TYRON mARTIN (ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE) email: tyronm@rsp.co.za cell: 083 235 7509 ■ AdvErtisinG JAmES FERRANS (NATIONAL SALES MANAGER) email: jamesf@rsp.co.za cell: 084 252 6373 ■ sUBsCriBE to GCM for r240 A yEAr. ContACt NATALIE ShEkLETON tel: 011 301 4448 email: natalies@rsp.co.za



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Build your course on sandy soil
The 11th green during the floods of November 2007.

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Goose Valley Golf Estate on the Garden Route suffered crippling floods on 29th November 2007 and yet was open for play within 24 hours. How did they do it and what lessons can other clubs learn from their experiences? GCM spoke to Klippie Melck, their club manager, and Gaeren Wilkinson, their greenkeeper, to find out how they managed it.
To quote from the bible, Matthew chapter seven verse 24 says “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundations on rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rains came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash”. Obviously golf course designer Phil Jacobs was more concerned about the course than he was about the club house when he designed and built the second nine at Goose Valley Golf Estate on the Garden Route, which opened officially on 27th April 2003 under the watchful eye of Gary Player. The extended course and the original course, built in 1994, are built on sand dunes which accounts for the excellent drainage, which in turn, was the major contributing factor enabling it to recover so quickly after the devastating floods of November 2007. We are pleased to report that the club house also survived the storm, but maybe building techniques have improved since the time that the parable of the wise and foolish builders was written. The floods really were devastating. To put them in perspective, the neighbouring Lookout Beach at Plettenberg Bay was totally washed away. This was caused by the fact that the flooding coincided with the spring high tide. Vast quantities of flood water came down from as far away as the Karoo only to meet an exceptionally high incoming tide pushing up the vastly larger Keurbooms river mouth. The flood levels were recorded as being 1.4 meters higher than previously recorded in living memory. At one point, pig-nosed grunter were seen swimming across the submerged 11th green. The pot bunkers acted like ancient fish traps; when the water receded, fish were to be found trapped in the bunkers, much to the delight of the local population! The high flood levels on the Keurbooms river caused substantial damage at San Marino, Silver Ranch, Twin Rivers,

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April 2008

Golf Club Management

Home Owners Men: Ladies: Juniors: Outside Members Men: Ladies: Juniors: Hon/Courtesy: TOTAL Members:

Goose Valley Golf Stats

The 11th green at Goose Valley Golf Estate was submerged during the floods and at one point had pig-nosed grunters swimming arcross it! Strandmeer, the Protea Keurbooms Hotel and other places. In spite of all this devastation, the course was playable within 24 hours. How was this possible? As already mentioned, the main reason was because the course was built on sand dunes and therefore drained exceptionally well. But what else did they do to make sure their disaster recovery time was as short as possible? There is no doubt in the minds of both Klippie Melck and Gaeren Wilkinson that the original design of the course had a lot to do with its ability to recover quickly. Phil Jacobs and Gary Player ensured that all the fairways were tilted to encourage run-off and that “berms” were created to divert water towards the watercourses. In addition to this, the greenkeeping staff had constantly worked to ensure that the flood plains were free of clutter. There was a minimum of loose material on the course that could have caused blockages and the subsequent damming of water. Another decision they took, which paid handsome dividends, was to fertilise the course with a controlled release 21:4:11 fertiliser. This they did two weeks before the flood. In spite of the quantity of water they had to deal with, the fertiliser continued to do its work long after the floods had subsided. If they had used a cheaper form of standard fertiliser, all the goodness would have been washed away with the floods. The flood water that covered the 11th green was low in salinity, the amount of flood water in the lagoon having diluted the normally pure sea water and apart from the bunkers, no damage was caused to the green by the flood waters; there was no “force” involved with the flooding of this green. On the other side of the course a completely different picture emerged. The lake in front of the Turtle Creek Golf Estate homes overflowed and the stream dividing that section of the course became a raging torrent. Carts were banned from the course for two days and for a period of time after that, all “traffic” had to be re-routed so that they only used the higher ground. This also applied to the maintenance vehicles. Bridges, made out of planks laid on the ground, were used to provide access over the more sodden areas of the course and players had to be routed, using stakes and ropes, away from the more sensitive areas. Luckily Goose Valley had laid down adequate stocks of planks, stakes and rope for just such an eventuality. In addition, extra marshals had to be deployed to advise and guide the players with regard to the best routes to take to enable them to complete their round with reasonably dry feet. Once the flood waters had fully receded, the only major repair work that had to be carried out was to the bunkers. Most of the sand had washed away and had to be replaced. It is often at times of extreme adversity that we learn the most. In spite of the fact that the course was extremely well designed and prepared for

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Considering the floods in November, the December/January rounds played were excellent and are summarized as follows: Members rounds: 9 holes: 923 18 holes: 1.521 Visitor rounds: 9 holes: 2,213 18 holes: 5,528 Golf cart rounds: 9 Holes: 453 18 holes: 1277 Tee Championship Club Ladies Length 5951 5720 4858 Course Rating 71 70 70

Heading the recovery team at Goose Valley: greenkeeper Gaeren Wilkinson and club manager Klippie Melck.

flooding the club is now working on increasing the capacity of the “berms” to channel away further extreme amounts of water. Two security fences that created a “damming” effect have been redesigned to a fail-safe system whereby excessive pressure on the fence will allow for a controlled break allowing the gates to swing open on hinges to clear the flood water. So what can other clubs learn from the Goose Valley experience? Firstly, most areas of South Africa are prone to flooding from time to time. You may not be lucky enough to have your course built on sand or to have it designed in a way to enable flood water to run easily off the fairways and greens. This shouldn’t stop you from preparing in other ways. The more prepared you are, the sooner you will be able to get golfers back on to your course and therefore the sooner you will be generating income to pay for some of the inevitable damage caused by the flooding. For more on the Goose Valley experience contact Klippie Melck on 044 533 5082 or at manager@goosevalleygolfclub.com
Golf Club Management April 2008 5

You too can aim for the 5 Star Golf Experience!
Not all clubs can hope to offer a 5 Star Golf Experience, but every club can up their game and improve their facilities. Ian Leach of Euphoria Golf Estate & Hydro is a Compleat Golfer 5 Star Golf Experience panel judge. In a series of eight articles he shares with GCM readers what he looks for when judging the experience a club offers its members and visitors.
The Compleat Golfer 5 Star Golf Experience considers eight different criteria that make up a golfer’s total experience when playing golf at any club. The 5 Star Experience was written up in the March 2007 edition of GCM and this year’s awards were featured in the March edition of Compleat Golfer. The eight criteria considered in the programme are: 1. Clubhouse facilities 2. a) Golf course – service and facilities b) Golf course – quality of experience 3. Halfway house 4. Practice facilities 5. Quality of customer service 6. Price/value relationship 7. Services offered 8. Ambience One of the stated objectives of the programme has always been to constantly help raise the standard of the golf experience offered by clubs throughout South Africa. This is achieved by drawing the attention of club management to what they can do to improve their facilities and standards of customer service offered. There is no doubt that the process has been successful and that it has contributed to the overall improvement in the golf experience over the past three years. In order to help clubs even further, GCM has decided to publish a series covering all eight of the criteria in more detail. The first of these is the subject of Clubhouse Facilities. The Compleat Golfer evaluators clearly recognize that all clubs do not and cannot be expected to have large, modern highcost clubhouses with everything in them that opens and shuts. What is considered is the layout, quality, housekeeping and general condition of seven different areas within the clubhouse buildings. No matter how old, big or small a clubhouse is, it must be appropriate to the club, have a good layout with a smooth flow of goods and people and be maintained in good condition. Housekeeping and cleanliness should always be impeccable. This all seems to be logical and simple to attain yet when one takes a closer look, many clubs do not pay enough attention to detail in their clubhouses. Very often significant improvements can be made at little or no cost increment. The seven areas examined in the clubhouse are: • Entrance, golf centre, reception and public spaces • Golf shop • Change rooms and locker rooms • Clubhouse bar • Restaurant, lounge and function rooms • Outdoor bars, patios and dining areas • Ablution facilities For those club managers who want to rise to the challenge we invite you to take a critical look at your own clubhouse facilities. Look out for empty boxes, old magazines, piles of paper and anything else in the public places that should not be there. Look for artwork not properly lined up, untidiness in the racks of the golf shop, windows that have not been cleaned, light bulbs that have not been replaced for ages, dirty carpets, shabby walls and wall-hangings. Often one will find function tables and chairs just left where they were last used. In particular, special atten-


tion needs to be paid to the change rooms. Take a look at the condition and laundering of towels, cleanliness in the showers, the condition of the lockers, broken appliances, leaking taps. Are your vanity basins cleaned regularly during the day and when last were your hair combs cleaned or replaced? Other areas that require special attention are bars and restaurants, not to mention the kitchens. Look behind the bar counters for cleanliness and any old materials that should have been disposed of. Are the staff properly dressed and looking smart? Do they adequately represent the status and culture of the club? Inspect the club trophies, are they clean and polished and properly positioned in the trophy cabinet? The list is endless. Club managers and their line managers are often too busy to pay attention to the detail of the clubhouse. If this is so, then get somebody to do it for you. Remember first impressions are vitally important. As the age-old expression goes, we sometimes cannot see the wood for the trees! You should not let this happen at your club and with respect, these typical shortcomings are not too difficult to turn around. Clubhouse facilities account for 11.0% of the 5 Star Experience so it is worth your while to accept the challenge to improve. Good luck. Ian Leach, a 5 Star Golf Experience panel judge, can be contacted at Euphoria Golf Estate & Hydro as follows: e-mail: ianleach@euphoriaestate.co.za cell: 082 892 8693 office: (014) 743-2242/3759.
Golf Club Management April 2008 7


There’s nothing Mickey Mouse about the Orlando Golf Industry Trade Show

Willie Pretorius of Golf Course Solutions recently visited the Golf Industry Trade Show in Orlando and came back fired with enthusiasm and convinced that new horizons are opening up for the turf industry world wide. In this article, he shares some of his experiences with GCM readers.
As an introductory remark, the golf industry trade show must not be confused with the PGA merchandise trade show also held in Orlando two weeks prior to this one. The industry show is all about the club, the clubhouse, the course and everything that contributes to the overall golf course and club facility and therefore has a large turf science content. The merchandise show on the other hand is all about golf clubs, golf balls, apparel, golf clothing and everything to do with the actual game and merchandise supporting this. The industry trade show brings together the Golf Course Superintendants Association of the USA (GCSAA), the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), the Club Managers Association of the USA (CMAA) and the following supporting organizations; the Golf Course Builders Association of the USA, the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and the National Golf Foundation (NGF). At the conference several awards are also given of which the Old Tom Morris award must rank as the most prestigious and is awarded annually to a person that has made a meaningful contribution to the game of golf. This year’s award was given to Greg Norman. Although the show runs from Monday to Saturday, the trade show (the product and merchandise displays) only starts on the Thursday and ends mid-day Saturday. There were in excess of one thousand exhibitors in the west wing of the Orlando Conference Centre which has a floor area in excess of 100 000 sq meters and also includes a store selling a large number of turf related books. The other days are taken up by seminar and conference events which continue
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through to the Friday. Each one of the affiliated organizations runs a series of conference seminars scheduled on all five days of the show. Firstly, having attended more international trade shows that I care to remember, I have learnt that it is very important to go with some objectives that you want to achieve and then at the end of the show evaluate how you achieved against your objectives. My own objectives for this show were: 1. to strengthen my already established relationships with the international academia that work in the turf science field. 2. to expand these contacts if at all possible.

3. to further establish what is new in the field of turf-growing technology as well as related machinery and chemicals that support these new technologies. In sharing my experiences I trust you will get a feel for the intensity and vibe that existed in Orlando. In order to get the most from a trade show like Orlando and to ensure I achieved my objectives, I started studying the program well in advance so that I could schedule my time in the most efficient manner. Every year I use the first three days to attend very specific high level educational seminars presented by the best authors the turf grass industry in the USA can offer from the turf

The Old Tom Morris award for making a meaningful contribution to the game of golf is the most prestigious award at the Orlando Golf Industry Trade Show. The 2008 winner was Greg Norman.

science university faculties all over the USA. Seminars on offer during this five-day period this year numbered 121 and included all topics related to the golf course superintendant’s job; the cost of these seminars varies from US $115 for a half day seminar to US $445 for a two-day seminar. Running concurrently with these “specialized educational seminars” are conference items which are free for all registered attendees. These topics cover hands-on issues usually presented by a superintendant who happens to have researched a specific issue at his or her facility. These presentations are usually grouped together and presented in short half-hour presentations, dealing with very practical issues. The choices you make as to what to attend are therefore not easy as you are literally overwhelmed by a huge amount of content. The first seminar I attended was presented by Dr. Al Turgeon and Dr. Joe Vargas and was titled “The Physiology and Culture of Annual Blue Grass”. Dr. Al Turgeon is presently professor of turf grass management at Pennsylvania State University having obtained his Ph D at Michigan State University with a strong specialty bias to turf grass cultural practices. Dr. Joe Vargas is one of the most interesting speakers you can ever wish to listen to, particularly as he is someone who has, on several occasions, changed the thinking on a particular issue. He obtained his Ph D from the Oklahoma State University in 1968 and moved to the teaching staff of Michigan State University as Professor of Plant Pathology. He was the recipient of the “greens section award” at the 2007 Conference in Anaheim, California. He is still at MSU where he has published in excess of three hundred papers on turf science related subjects. The important issue from this presentation was the enormous amount of biotypes that exist within the Poa annua specie and the incredible mechanisms that this specie has in its arsenal to survive and to dominate. A very good overview of cultural practices was given in this presentation taking the physiological growth cycle into consideration when a practice is performed. Dr. Turgeon again brought home the importance of understanding the USGA green specification and what to expect when incorrect sand

The Orlando Conference Centre which houses the Golf Industy Trade Show covers in excess of 100 000m2. textures are used in top dressing that will not only create impervious layers but are the initiators of black layering The other seminar I attended was on “Strategies for Poa annua prevention and control” presented by Dr. Bruce Branham of the University of Illinois and Ronald Calhoun of Michigan State University (a colleague of Dr Joe Vargas). This seminar provided some very interesting herbicide control measures for Poa annua on tees and fairways and somewhat of a different approach on Bent Grass greens. From this seminar I also learnt of a newly discovered chemical that is very selective in its suppressing action of Poa annua on Bent and could possibly be available for registration in SA within the next eighteen months. They have not yet been able to decide whether this chemical should be classified as a herbicide or a Plant Growth Regulator (PGR). The results at MSU are extremely encouraging and it was suggested by Ron Calhoun that this chemical, together with a proven biological control measure, is what they are looking for as the ideal combination. One of the outstanding conference items was presented by Michael Morris, the Head Golf Course Superintendant at Crystal Downs Country Club, Frankfort, Michigan, which he titled “ You do what with your Stimpmeter?” In his presentation he refers to the intense frustration this piece of equipment has caused many superintendants and how they overcame this problem at Crystal Downs. This was achieved by going onto a comprehensive communication and member involvement exercise that ultimately has put this issue to rest. In his presentation he also refers to a green-speed quickening program that also has beneficial turf spin offs such as less Dollar Spot as well as fewer localised dry spots amongst others. The research work at this site was done together with Dr Thomas Nikolai and Dr Joe Vargas from MSU. Interesting items on display were: – The new Graden Verti cutter with fitted sand box and seed tray allowing you to deep verticut, fill in the removed sand and interseed at the same time. – Precision Laboratories exhibited a range of “Precision Zone Surfactants” with three distinct products; one that provides water movement through the thatch and water repellant soils; one that moves water through the top two inches of the root zone, and a third one that moves water into the deeper areas of the soil profile. – Spectrum Technologies has a very wide range of measuring equipment; from weather stations to all kinds of units measuring temperatures, soil moisture, Continued on page 11
Golf Club Management April 2008 9

Continued from page 9 pH, electrical conductivity, soil compaction and many more. The most recent innovation is their “SpecMaps” that enables you to draw up a GPS map of the area with contours. A SpecMap of a green or fairway measuring EC will immediately indentify your so-called salinity “hot spots” that need treating; moisture readings, compaction and pH, can now also be mapped in the same fashion. – Airfield Systems exhibited their new revolutionary sports drainage systems that are suitable for complete sports fields, golf greens and bunkers. In fact the stadium of the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Arizona, where the Super Bowl match was recently played is drained with this system. The research was conducted by Texas A&M University and their opinion is that, because of the ease of installation as well as the efficiency of the system, it could quite soon be sanctioned by the USGA as a recognized greens drainage system. turf grass research program for 2007 with the results and discussions. I can go on and on but it must be remembered that each person has different interests and the above, very brief summary is given from my own perspective, which is “maintaining good turf health and identifying stress conditions with particular emphasis on salinity issues as well as Poa annua control and identifying the best cultural practices to achieve this”. As a closing remark I want to advise that the 2009 golf industry show and conference is scheduled to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, from the 3rd to the 7th of February. If there is any way you can make a plan to be there, you’ll be doing yourself a favour. For more information on the Orlando Golf Industry Trade Show in particular or course management matters in general, contact Willie Pretorius of Golf Course Solutions. (tel 021 913 2913 / 083 4589854) or visit the show website www.golfindustryshow.com

The new Graden Verti cutter with sand box and seed tray allows you to deep verti cut, fill in the removed sand and interseed at the same time. – The American Society of Golf Course Architects provided Question and Answer Brochures on the following topics: • Selecting your golf course architect. • Master planning for golf courses. • The golf course remodeling process. • An environmental approach to golf course design. – The USGA provided a very informative document summarizing their complete

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Golf Club Management April 2008 11

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Rainy days are here again!
At some time of each year, all golf courses experience heavy downpours of rain. Murray Veitch of Turftek gives us some hints on what to do during the downpours and how best to recover after them.
Over the past few months, golf courses in most parts of the country have experienced high rain falls at some time or another. Don’t worry, you guys down there in the Western Cape, your turn will come again in a couple of months’ time. Heavy rainfalls can signal disaster for a greenkeeper and his or her maintenance crew. There is not much that a greenkeeper can do about a flooding river except wait for it to subside and then start with the clean-up program. While waiting for the rain to pass there are a few things that the greenkeeper can do to keep the maintenance crew busy. Workshops Now is a good time to get the whole crew to give the workshop a good spring clean. Storerooms can be swept out and repacked. The changing rooms can also be given a special clean. It’s also a good time to go over all machinery in detail and try to pick up any faults which may cause problems later on. Staff Training It is also a good time to squeeze in some extra staff training. Professional maintenance staff need to be continually trained to ensure standards are maintained and new techniques perfected. Once the rain has stopped it is time to jump in and sort the course out. Being prepared for such disasters will help in the clean up process. Sludge pumps, squeegees etc should always be close at hand to assist with the clean-up process. Fairways Pools of water standing around in low areas on fairways will need to be dried up in order to prevent the grass from rotting. Using squeegees to spread the water or manual hand pumps to suck up the water will help dry out these puddles. Any mud which has been deposited on


After heavy rain it may be necessary to raise the cutting height on your mowers to prevent scalping. fairways will need to be removed by either washing it off or physically scraping it off. Mud which is left too long on the grass will smother the grass, causing it to die. Bunkers Bunkers are normally the worst hit by heavy rains. Those which do not drain very well will have to be drained using pumps or buckets. Once the water has been removed from the bunkers the sand in the bunkers will have to be loosened up and redistributed within the bunker. Greens Modern USGA spec greens normally drain pretty well and should not have any water standing on them. The big thing to watch out for is disease. With an increase in humidity and temperatures, an increase in disease pressure occurs. It is a good thing to spray a preventative fungicide as soon as the rains stop. Excessive leaching would also have occurred as a result of the heavy rains so a bit of fertilizer may need to be applied. Those older type greens which do not drain so well and have become water-logged, may need to be aerated in order to prevent an algae build up. The use of a vertidrain type machine may be a good idea. Carts Nothing causes more compaction to golf courses than golf carts which are allowed to drive over wet fairways. The damage that a golf cart causes to a wet fairway can only be corrected by using decompaction equipment. A policy of no carts during wet conditions is the best one. It is also just as important that maintenance crews keep their vehicles off wet areas. Grass cutting Due to the heavy rain, the grass may have become excessively long which will require that the cutting height of all mowers be raised in order to prevent scalping which is a result of cutting the grass to short. Extreme weather conditions are something that every greenkeeper will have to deal with at some point. Quite often, as soon as the maintenance crew has cleaned up a course, it starts raining again. Unfortunately this is all part of the job and all that you can do is grin and start cleaning all over again. For more information on turf-related issues, contact Murray Veitch of Turftek on 012 807 7282 or at leonette@turftek.co.za
Golf Club Management April 2008 13

Make your club a lifestyle
Love them or hate them, we’ve got a lot to learn from the Americans. Peter van Onselen of GCM spent two years working at the Boca West Country Club in Florida. He spoke to Jay Di Pietro, general manager of the club and chairman of the Club Manager’s Association of America, to find out what challenges they are facing and what we can learn from them.
Boca West Country Club is the epitome of international five-star golf club service. Situated in the small town of Boca Raton, 30 minutes north of Fort Lauderdale in Florida, USA, the club is rated by The Platinum Club of America as the number one country club in Florida and number five in the United States. The reason for this - the unwavering commitment to service levels at the club. The club is home to four championship golf courses designed by legendary golf course designers Arnold Palmer, Jim Fazio and Pete Dye. Characterised by tropical palm trees and strategic water features (with alligators), all the courses are in pristine condition despite extreme weather conditions in the summer months, including hurricanes and extraordinarily hot temperatures. Over the past four years the club has undergone a $40 million expansion and renovation program. The reconstruction project involved more than 210 000 square feet of major on-site additions and improvements including two golf course reconstructions, one restaurant renovation and refurbishment to the spa. Boca West has a close association with South Africa in that every year the club employs over 300 South Africans on a six month contract in various positions throughout the club. All the courses are ‘cart only’ courses so help is required to facilitate the 300 golf carts, assist in the pro shop and man the tee times call centre. During the busy season (October through April), the number of rounds of golf PER DAY, can reach up to 1000 over the four golf courses. It’s not a case of one person standing at the pro shop booking tee times on a manual sheet. There are four dedicated phone lines to the tee time’s department with a specialised random system to allocate tee times to the members, dependent on their member14 April 2008 Golf Club Management


market and now the trend seems to have reversed. • The arrival of Tiger Woods has had an incredible effect on getting young players back into golf. Youngsters have a real role model in Tiger and there is a heightened enthusiasm for the game. • The need for courses to renovate and/or redesign to keep up with the competition. There are so many golf clubs out there, that one needs to offer something unique and innovative. What are the biggest three challenges facing golf club owners/committees in the short term? • Maintaining and improving the current and expected lifestyle of your membership. • Find and retain good staff. Well trained and efficient staff are the bed-rock of any successful club. • Be pro-active. Don’t wait for people to ask, try and be one step ahead of the game. What do you see as the major challenges that will face golf club committees and management over the next five to ten years? • Be willing to prepare a long range plan that will always position the club to be viable 10 years later. • Stick to that plan. • Focus on an ever changing membership and attract new members who will be the foundation of your club for the next 10 – 20 years. What do you think the rest of the world can learn from what has worked well and what has not in the USA golf club environment? Know your own club and the wants of its members. Don’t try to be someone else.

Jay Di Pietro, general manager of the Boca West Country Club in Florida and chairman of the Club Manager’s Association of America. ship status. And you thought your club was busy! It’s safe to say that golf is the lifeblood of the community. Along with the golf courses, the property has six restaurants, a fully equipped spa, a free-form swimming pool and 30 tennis courts (nine of which are floodlit) to service the near 6 000 residents (3 000 of whom are golf members). Here’s what Jay Di Pietro, general manager of the resort had to say in response to questions put to him by GCM. What have been the major changes that have taken place in the golf club environment in the USA during the last ten years? • The economy has played a huge role and has affected the housing market considerably. First was the big rise in the housing

What do you think are the ten most important things for golf club committees to focus on in order to run a successful club? • Listen to the members. They are the one’s that actually employ you. • Look for good staff. • Be ready to change. Be innovative. • Attract new members. • Pay attention to the guests – they could be potential members. • Pay attention to the juniors – they could be future members. • Spend the money needed to keep courses in shape. • Don’t forget the little things. It’s the small things that actually count. • Make sure the committee all share the same view/goals. • Don’t be afraid to rethink, re-evaluate and if needed change your direction. For more information on Boca West contact Peter van Onselen on (011) 301 4467 or at petervo@rsp.co.za or visit the Boca West website www.bocawestcc.org

As much attention is paid to the surrounds of the Boca West Country Club in Florida, as is paid to the course itself.


Blackout and tight finances causing more fraud and theft
When the going gets tough, the crooks get going. Jenny Reid, managing director of GriffithsReid security consultants, identifies staff as your major worry.

The load shedding of Eskom and local municipalities is enabling all kinds of long-fingered thieves to steal from businesses/clubs already suffering enormously from all the power outages. The nasty sting in the tail is that employees are likely to steal and defraud your club the most! Be very aware! Staff are by far your greatest risk. Some of the causes of this are holiday debt coming on top of home loans having risen by 28% and the prime lending rate up to 14,5%; this in addition to rising fuel, food and school expenses. We are not alone however in South Africa. Recent US surveys isolated thieving staff’s damage. According to the University of Florida’s National Retail Security Survey, retail shrinkage averages 1.54% of annual retail sales, and up to three times as much for small and medium sized retailers. This obviously applies to Pro shops but could equally apply to other areas of the club. The survey identified that employees steal the most - a whopping 48 percent. Some estimate losses to be closer to 75%. A national supermarket research group survey reports staff theft to be 57% of all grocery retail losses. Even worse, 55% of employee theft occurs among managers and supervisors! Yet another interest rate increase is looming and no salary would have increased by a third in the last 18 months in order to keep pace. The little disposable income people had, was instead swallowed up by rising expenses. This is where nightmares come from and experience has shown that personnel will be tempted to be dishonest, resorting to theft and fraud. Do you have the necessary security measures in place? Outdated systems won’t be as accurate or effective as workplace intelligence and proper screening. Now is the time to take a long, hard look at your existing security measures. Workplace intelligence has proven to be one of the most cost-effective countermeasures and when linked to proper staff screening and background checking, in-house pilferage and fraud virtually disappears. For more information on fighting crime in the workplace contact Jenny Reid of GriffithsReid on 082 6008225 or at jenny@griffithsonline.co.za

The early bird catches the worm
The first thing that strikes you when you meet Mary Murphy is her passion for the environment. She quotes Charles Darwin who after writing The Origin of Species devoted much of the rest of his life to the study of earthworms. In his book The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Actions of Worms with Observations on their Habits Darwin wrote “The plough is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man’s inventions, but long before it existed, the land was in fact regularly ploughed, and still continues to be ploughed, by earthworms. It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world as have these lowly organised creatures.” Earthworms aerate, till and fertilise the soil, breaking down organic waste into plant-available forms, improving the soil structure, nutrient and water-holding qualities of soil. In the past 50 years in particular, the use of chemical fertilisers, over-tillage of the soil and the use of pesticides have killed earthworms and other beneficial organisms, leading to poor soil fertility, loss of soil structure and soil erosion. At the same time, rotting organic waste dumped in landfills is polluting our underground water supply and releasing vast amounts of the ‘greenhouse gasses’ responsible for global warming. Earthworms eat organic waste and give us healthy soil and organic fertiliser in return. As worms move through soil and decaying organic matter they ingest (eat) and aerate it, depositing castings as they go. These castings are rich in nutrients and beneficial soil organisms. Inside the gut of one worm there are enzymes, masses of bacteria and microbes. Everything that passes through the gut of an earthworm is coated with these beneficial microbes and bacteria. While fertile soil has in the region of 5million microbes per gram, worm castings have been found to contain up to 100-million microbes per gram - up to 20 times
18 April 2008 Golf Club Management


The Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town has successfully introduced vermiculture (worm farming) as part of its waste management practices. Are there lessons to be learnt for golf courses and estates? GCM interviewed Mary Murphy of FullCycle to find out more.
Researchers have identified and named thousands of distinct species of earthworm, but to date only around six have been identified as useful in vermiculture systems. These species have the ability to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions and fluctuations and they are not adversely affected by handling and disruption of their habitat. Other qualities that make these species suitable include relatively short life spans, and rapid growth and reproductive rates. Put simply, it is a deal that humanity cannot afford to pass up. So what is vermiculture? Zamuxolo Ngwane and Mary Murphy seem to enjoy working with worms! more! In the soil, these microbes continue to break down organic matter into plant-available forms, thereby enabling plant roots to take up nutrients that would otherwise have stayed bound in the soil. These beneficial organisms also suppress the growth of pathogens , which means healthy soil and healthy plants. Not surprisingly, it is these very microbes that play a major role in determining soil fertility, so it is ironic that earthworms are the very creatures that are killed by inorganic fertiliser applications. While we have been taught that bacteria are ‘bad’, the vast majority of bacteria are not pathogenic to humans, in fact many are beneficial and essential to sustaining the processes of life. As long as the decaying organic matter is maintained at the correct pH and prevented from becoming anaerobic (when there is too little oxygen), no foul odors are created, pests are not attracted and the process remains hygienic. It is only when the pH is out of balance or the decaying organic material becomes anaerobic that pathogens and toxin-producing bacteria begin to proliferate, and pests are more likely to be attracted. ‘Vermiculture’ literally means worm growing or worm farming. When earthworms are used primarily for the production of compost, the practice is referred to as vermicomposting. Golf clubs and estates should seriously consider going this route. Just ask yourself the following questions: 1. Are you spending a lot of money on fertiliser? 2. Are you looking for suitable alternatives to fertiliser? 3. Do you want to increase the vibrancy and greenness of your fairways and greens? 4. Do you want to reduce your water consumption? 5. Do you have the space and facilities to build a worm farm? The likelihood is that you answered ‘yes’ to all of the above. If so, you should seriously consider introducing verticulture on at least a trial basis. Just think of it, you can put all that waste you generate on a daily basis to really good use. Verticulture produces both worm castings (fertiliser) and worm tea (liquid fertiliser). If you don’t want to risk it on the course until you have experimented, why not start small and treat your flower beds and clubhouse surrounds with. You’ll be amazed at the results.

To get going, all you really need is to be able to produce approximately two to three kilos of kitchen waste a day. You’ll require a minimum of 1000 worms (R150) and a worm factory (R700). It is recommended that you should start with at least ten worm factories to produce viable amounts of castings and tea. The lead time to produce your first usable load of castings/tea is approximately five months but the more earth worms you have, the quicker the lead time. Training to use the equipment takes approximately half a day at a cost of R1000 plus travel. The most important ingredient though is the passion and commitment of the greenkeeper. For more information on vermiculture (worm farming) contact Mary Murphy on 021 789 2922 or Fax 086 618 8865 e-mail mail@fullcycle.co.za Earthworms eat organic waste and give us healthy soil and organic fertiliser in return. n To read Mary Murphy’s CV go to Birdies and Bogeys on page 25.

Should e-mail newsletters be weekly or monthly?
There are various debates surrounding e-mail newsletters and the frequency in which they work best. Graham Starkey, head of golf operations at RetailTribe, considers this point and gives his view.
One of the key reasons why golf clubs should consider introducing an e-mail newsletter is to improve communication with their members and community, bringing them local news and information on what is happening at the golf club. From club results to course changes and from members questions to shop promotions, a digital e-mail newsletter brings a cost effective solution to this requirement. The main reason for a club manager to introduce an e-mail newsletter is to increase revenue through green fees and takings at the bar, in the restaurant and at club functions. So should the newsletter be sent out weekly or monthly? On the one had one does not want to send out a long drawn out mail that the members don’t read and probably miss out on key information. Conversely, sending a weekly mail could be seen by some as potentially a lot of work. Whilst a monthly e-mail will take longer to produce due to the amount of information you will need to include in it, you will only be doing it once a month. The net result however of this infrequent e-mail is a that too much ‘pollution’ will get in between you and your members in the form of e-mails from other clubs, retailers and third parties, giving golfers a reason to take their business elsewhere. A weekly e-mail on the other hand enables you to insert news from various sections of your club that is relevant and topical. You can then feature various sections on a rotating basis, e.g. this week the course, next week the shop, the following week the events team and so on. Drip feeding the information in bite-sized chunks in an e-mail is a way of keeping the club at the forefront of the customer’s mind. You are able to give the members their five


A weekly e-mail newsletter is a great vehicle for you to remind golfers about events and important dates that they should be getting into their diaries.

Drip feeding the information in bite-sized chunks in an e-mail is a way of keeping the club at the forefront of the customer’s mind.
minutes of fame by inserting photos and results from the previous week rather than leaving them to build up for a month before informing members. Keeping the members up to date with last minute changes to events, important information on the course or news about other members is therefore only possible with a weekly e-mail. Quite often problems occur that require an urgent comment from the club to ensure the club’s stand on a particular issue is clear

and concise. If you don’t respond quickly, issues can escalate. A quick response in an e-mail that is short enough to allow your key message to be given high visibility, is the best solution. One of your objectives surely must be to increase the amount of golfers playing golf, attending events and parting with more money whilst at the club. A ‘click here’ system of enrolment or entry on your regular e-mail newsletter is one way of achieving this. A recent example of this came at St Francis Links where an up-coming event was not being well supported until a section with a call to action was inserted in their weekly e-mail. The attendance and entries rose from almost nothing to 160 over a weekend solely due to the e-mail reaching the golfer’s inbox at the right time, irrespective of where they were in the country or the world for that matter. In conclusion therefore, a weekly e-mail allows you to maintain a constant relationship with your golfers, members and community, keeping them informed of news from around the club and making them feel very much a part of what is going on at their club. The weekly newsletter allows golfers to respond to club issues as they occur and before they get out of hand. The weekly email is also a great vehicle for you to remind golfers about events and important dates that they should be getting into their diaries. For more information on e-mail newsletters and solutions right for you, contact Graham Starkey at RetailTribe on 021 880 2693, e-mail him on grahamstarkey@retailtribe.com or visit www.retailtribe.com
Golf Club Management April 2008 21

The caddie predicament
In last month’s article on this topic, we identified five shortcomings in the current caddie predicament. If these are not addressed, the status and availability of caddies at golf clubs in South Africa will inevitably continue to decline. A number of attempts have been made to address the issue, but so far none of these have been followed through to full implementation. There is no easy solution – if there was, it would have been implemented already. As a starting point, the issue needs a ‘champion’, someone or some organization that is willing to commit time and effort to research the topic and to identify sustainable solutions. None of the existing golf organizations are structured to take on this role so the ‘champion’ will have to come from a body yet to be created. Nothing is likely to change unless or until a new leadership organization is formed. This will inevitably need to be a low budget or even a voluntary group. In the past, caddie organizations were funded on sponsorships and this is simply not sustainable. In the event that such a body is formed, the opportunity to improve the status, job security and customer service levels of caddies throughout the country is enormous. A sponsor would need to be found to cover the initial start up costs of such a body, but once operational, the organization would need to become self sustainable and there are ways to accomplish this. There are two overriding scenarios with any number of possibilities in between. The two scenarios are either, maintain the status quo or take proactive action. Maintain the status quo The outcome of this was discussed in Part 1 of this article. The number of caddie rounds will continue to decline, caddie conduct will continue to be inconsistent, training
22 April 2008 Golf Club Management


PART 2 In last month’s article on caddies, Ian Leach of Euphoria Golf Estate and Hydro identified the reasons why caddie usage is dropping nationally. In this article he looks at some solutions.

Being a caddie is a source of employment for many thousands of otherwise unemployed people in the country. will remain at a low level, use of golf carts will continue to increase and the overall golf experience with a caddie will remain questionable. There will of course be exceptions to this at those clubs who accept accountability for their caddie contingent. Under present conditions this represents only a small percentage of all the caddies employed throughout the country. Many golf clubs, and no doubt many individual players, are content with the status quo. Others are not and are doing something about it. These efforts are, however, isolated and often do not have the critical mass to make them sustainable. In order to properly manage and improve the overall level of caddie service, either the club or the player or a sponsor has to provide the necessary funding: • Golf clubs should be encouraged to provide funding in their annual budgets for caddie development and training. The long term benefits of this are obvious: → Increased caddie satisfaction and motivation → Increased member and visitor satisfaction → Improved golf experience → Increased rounds and revenue. • Players who make use of caddies should make a contribution towards a development fund which in turn will benefit the player in the long run. A contribution of R10 to R15 per round goes a long way towards covering the cost of training and in some cases life insurance policies for each caddie. • Clubs should actively pursue the opportunity of finding advertising sponsors to promote their company or product on caddie uniforms. This should be a simple business decision for the company to determine the value that the advertising brings vs the cost. What is obvious is that urgent action is required.

Take proactive action: The ultimate vision of a proactive action plan could be the following: • Establish a Section 21 non-profit company with a board of directors consisting of committed and interested people representing appropriate sectors of the golf community. • Develop a vision, mission and objectives to support the sustainability and growth of caddies by region and nationally. • Develop appropriate training programmes for caddies and consistent procedures for club management. • Source an appropriate financial sponsor to fund the initial start up operations. • Work actively to win the support and commitment of club management and committees. • Sign up supporting clubs. • Create a membership opportunity for caddies to become members of this association at a fee. • Issue paid up caddie’s membership identification cards.

Golf clubs should be encouraged to provide funding in their annual budgets for caddie development and training. The long term benefits of this are obvious.
• Register, train and grade caddies according to their on-course ability. • Manage the income of the company with sources of income from club contributions, player payments, caddie membership fees and possible advertising sponsorships. • Appoint an operating manager of the

company, regional managers and individual club caddie managers. • Outsource administrative, legal and training activities, initially at least. • Proactively address all disciplinary matters as and when they occur. • Create pride in the minds of caddies. Concluding comments Being a caddie is a source of employment for many thousands of otherwise unemployed people in the country. Generally speaking, they do not enjoy a good enough reputation. There is an opportunity for leaders in golf to address this and to turn it around. The world will never be perfect, but the time has arrived when something needs to be done. It can be done. Who will take the initiative to make it happen? For more information contact Ian Leach – Euphoria Golf Estate & Hydro Phone: (014) 743 3769 or 082-892-8693 or e-mail ianleach@euphoriaestate.co.za

CMASA – International Education Programmes for 2008
CMASA was the first allied association of the Club Managers Association of America to successfully implement the Leadersghip Edge international programme locally in 2007. CMASA is ahead of the game and will be running two programmes back-to-back in 2008. This is what Bill Taylor of Atlantic Beach and Doug Bain of Randpark had to say about last year’s course: Bill Taylor, general manager of Atlantic Beach Golf Club “Thanks for the first ever CMAA management course outside of the USA! It was simply the best management course that I have ever taken in my life (full stop). It is amazing that I can bring this management philosophy into our lodge and amusement park business as well. After 19 years, the course has reinvigorated my excitement for our industry and its future. The youngsters attending the seminar (including our bursary candidates) made me feel better about the future of our industry. Tony and Amanda cannot stop talking about the course and our ambassadors (main committee) were ecstatic in last evening’s meeting about their participation.”

Doug Bain, chief executive officer of Randpark Club “Thank you again for all your hard work and bringing fruition to your dream of bringing this course to SA. As I said to you, I learnt more that week than all the conferences put together that I have ever attended. Our first step in using what we learnt will begin tomorrow morning with a business and service strategy meeting planned for our F&B department.” BMI II – Leadership Edge is designed for managers seeking an opportunity to develop their leadership, management and critical thinking skills. The programme can benefit managers at all phases of career development – from rising stars to senior-level executives BMI III – General Manager/Chief Operating Officer enables participants to learn how to operate their club as a business and be perceived as its leader. BMI II – Leadership Edge will run in Cape Town from 30 June to 4 July 2008 and BMI III - General Manager/Chief Operating Officer programme will run in Johannesburg from 23 to 27 June 2008. Please contact CMASA on (011) 4827542 or e-mail admin@clubmanagement for more information on these courses.

Mary Murphy
See our article on Worm Farming on page 18 of this issue of GCM. Mary Murphy is an environmental activist and educator. She developed the Plastic Bag campaign, with support from former Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mahommed Valli Moosa, and is presently developing a diesel emissions campaign called Clear-the-Air. She conceived and presented Environmental Matters on SAfm every Monday at 8:30pm from August 2005 to March 2007. Her primary focus is finding ways to embed human rights into sustainable development. She has worked with gang members on the Cape Flats, lead the Findings Writing team at the TRC, and facilitated conflict reduction workshops in Northern Ireland. Mary has a Masters degree in International Relations, a BA (Hons) in Peace Studies and is currently studying towards her PhD in Environmental Education at Rhodes University, which will be written as a novel about Polo the penguin: http://www.poloandfriends.org Mary is an ISO 14001 SATCA certified environmental auditor. Mary Murphy can be contacted on 021 789 2922 or Fax 086 618 8865 e-mail mail@fullcycle.co.za

People on the move

Marinus Weiss, ex Plettenberg Bay Country Club, has been appointed as general manager of Vredenberg Golf Club. Greg Phillips, ex Rondebosch Golf Club, has been appointed general manager of Plettenberg Bay Country Club.

Tradition can’t be bought!
Very few traditional clubs feature in the Compleat Golfer 5 Star Golf Experience Awards but does this mean that they are not worth a visit? Surely, if a club and/ or course has been going for 50 or even 100 years, they must be doing something right. GCM believes that this is why tradition is so important, and that these clubs and courses need due recognition. In an effort to get the ball rolling, GCM would like to compile a list of the oldest clubs and courses in Southern Africa. If you believe your club needs a

mention, please let us have the following information: 1. The date that your club was founded. 2. The date that the first round of golf was played on your current course. 3. The original designer of your course. 4. Any major revamps on your course and their date/designer. Please also confirm your full contact details including the names and contact details of your club manager, greenkeeper and club pro if you have one. Details can be sent to Emma Uren at emmau@rsp.co.za

Golf Club Management

April 2008


"Your complete media partner in golf"


Become an HR expert – Just add people!
No time to study the finer points of Human Resource management? The following checklists will help to point you in the right direction.
The trouble with Human Resource management is that history never repeats itself. Every situation is different due to the fact that there are so many variables. People are by nature emotional animals and therefore unpredictable. The following checklists, however may help you to use the right processes and procedures for the more regular occurrences. Let’s start off with some of the more common ones. Dealing with performance or behavioral problems: 1. Explain the problem and gain agreement that the problem exists and is worth resolving 2. Seek the persons support in finding solutions to the problem. 3. Try to identify possible causes or reasons for the problem. 4. Ensure the person understands why it is important to solve the problem. 5. Identify possible solutions to the problem. Try to seek out solutions beyond the obvious. 6. Agree on an action plan and set a followup date. Recognising and supporting improved performance or behaviour: 1. Make sure the person knows what good performance/behavior you are referring to. 2. Explain why this performance/behavior improvement is important to both the person and the club. 3. Seek out reasons why the person has improved so that the causes can be identified and maintained. 4. Get the person to identify how they think the performance can be maintained or further improved.


5. Congratulate the employee for the improved performance/behaviour. Responding to informal complaints 1. Listen carefully to what the complaint is and why it is important to the person. 2. Make sure the person knows that you have understood the nature of the complaint by summarizing it back to him or her. 3. Outline your position to the person so that they understand your view or the issues you have to deal with. 4. Reach agreement on what action needs to be taken and agree a timetable. There are five steps that should govern any problem-solving process: 1. Get the person’s interest, and ensure their cooperation. 2. Obtain the other person’s point of view, thoughts or ideas. 3. Only present your own views once the other person is satisfied that he or she has had their say. 4. Allow emotions and disagreements to surface and deal with them constructively and positively. 5. Work together on reaching a solution to the problem. There are three key philosophies that should govern any interaction: 1. Show respect for the other person’s point of view. 2. Listen, listen, listen. Remember, we were born with two ears and one mouth; use them in that proportion. 3. Encourage the other person to help in the process of finding solutions. Continued on page 29

Continued from page 27 Now that you have got the person performing at the desired level you can turn your mind to delegation. There are six steps to follow when delegating responsibility and authority to a team member: 1. Explain to the person why the job is important. 2. Be clear on what you expect in terms of standards, timing, etc. 3. Outline where the authority boundaries lie. 4. Agree on deadlines and follow-up dates. 5. Ensure the person has understood the brief by asking for feedback. 6. Put in controls in terms of what is expected and by when. Three things to consider before dealing with an HR problem: 1. Can I? Am I within my legal rights to take the action I am contemplating? 2. Should I? Is it the right thing to do from an operational and strategic point of view? 3. Will I get away with it? What are the likely consequences? If the answer to all three questions is ‘yes’ then press ahead. If the answer to any one of the questions is ‘no’, then think again! Not everything in life runs smoothly and occasionally you may have to counsel someone on their performance to the point that their employment contract could be at risk. What do the CCMA require in terms of the performance counseling process? 1. A clearly laid out and agreed job description. 2. A history of performance appraisal. 3. Being told what he/she is doing wrong. 4. Being told what the performance standards are. 5. Determining if the required performance standards are reasonable. 6. Determining if the employee knew of these performance standards. 7. Determining the reason(s) for not meeting the required performance standards. 8. If possible, or feasible, assisting with eliminating the reason(s) for non-performance. 9. Giving the employee a fair opportunity to meet the required performance standards. 10. The employee being made aware that a continuation of non-achievement of the required targets could lead, for example, to a dismissal. 11. Follow-up on the employees’ progress. One of the biggest skills that an accomplished HR practitioner or top-line manager needs to acquire is the art of listening. What are good listening behaviours that you can cultivate? 1. Show that you are paying attention and are interested in what the person has to say. 2. Ensure that interruptions are avoided or kept to a minimum. 3. Don’t respond too quickly or table alternative proposals without having first explored what the other person is saying or suggesting. 4. Establish and check out the facts to ensure what the person is saying is correct. 5. Explore feelings. Find out why the person feels so strongly about the matter. 6. Respond with empathy but not sympathy. 7. Don’t rush in to fill silences. If the other person is struggling to put his or her thoughts into words give them time. Use encouraging gestures rather than words. 8. Summarise from time to time what you have understood the other person to have said. 9. Only respond once you have fully understood what the other person has said and more importantly, why they have said it. What characteristics should you be looking for when trying to identify future leaders among your team? Here are nine ideas: 1. A creative and innovative mind. 2. High energy level. 3. Ability and willingness to on-going learning. 4. Flexibility and adaptability. 5. Emotional maturity and stability. 6. Personal impact and influence. 7. Warm but confident disposition. 8. A willingness to explore the unknown. 9. Decisiveness. For more information on HR matters contact Andrew Wilson on 082 575 3861 or at consultaew@iafrica.com

Identifying the general manager’s key performance standards
Louis Allen wrote ‘The Management Profession’ in 1964 and won the Academy of Management McKinsey Award for best publication that year. Tony Beart, who was general manager of Country Club Johannesburg, chairman of Associated Clubs and club manager of the year, suggests that what was good then is still relevant today.
There is a tried and tested cliché in business that ‘what gets measured, gets done’. For some reason, most CEOs in commerce and industry have clearly defined standards of performance. Certainly, the major hotel groups in South Africa place emphasis on setting standards for their general managers who, in turn, cascade these standards down through the ranks. Not so the club industry in the majority of cases. For some reason we club general managers are treated differently. Possibly this situation exists because the committee does not wish to give the GM and his/her team too much authority or responsibility. It may take something away from the committee who are sensitive to the scrutiny of the membership. Whatever the reason, it is sound business practice to provide general management with a clear understanding of the committee’s requirements for the year ahead and, if possible, for the next three years; especially the financial requirements. Perhaps this discipline in corporate governance will result in a better performance all round by the GM and the management team, especially if regular performance evaluations are part of the business culture of the club. In the early 1970’s I was employed at the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg, part of the Western International Hotels, an American hotel management company where the setting of ‘standards of performance’ for the GM and the regular monitoring of performance was of paramount importance. There should be no difference for us in the club industry. The following ‘standards of performance’ could be applied to any club environment. You would however obviously need to adapt the detail to suit your own requirements.
30 April 2008 Golf Club Management


Ten steps to improve your COMMUNICATION
Central to any manager’s life is the art and science of COMMUNICATION. Everything that happens in a golf club, happens as a result of the initiative and efforts of people. As a manager, it is impossible for you to do everything yourself and therefore you have to communicate with others in order to get things done. No matter how good your planning, organisation and control methods are, sooner or later, you will have to rely on others to perform. The following ten steps may help you to improve your communication methods: 1. Know yourself. What are your attitudes, opinions and prejudices? 2. Use language that is understandable and that can’t be mis-interpreted. 3. Try to find common ground where you are both in agreement. 4. Don’t rush. Move at the pace of the recipient. 5. Be an active listener. Watch particularly for non-verbal clues and make sure that you really understand why the person is saying what they are saying. 6. Consider timing, environment and customs. 7. Avoid interruptions. 8. Encourage feedback and avoid ‘yes but’ type responses. 9. Build on the feedback. Use the other person’s ideas where ever possible. 10. Always be honest about what is relevant.

A. Satisfactory performance with respect to PLANNING has been attained when: 1. The annual club budget for the following financial year has been prepared in the proper form, on time, and accepted by the finance committee. 2. The actual club budget must equal or exceed 95% of the agreed upon budget approved by the finance committee. 3. Agreed upon capital improvements as noted in the attached annexure are completed on time and within budget. 4. The club property is maintained within the budget and in accordance with club standards as defined and approved by management and the committee. 5. Year-end working capital is not less than 90% of that stated in the budget. B. Satisfactory performance with respect to ORGANISATION has been attained when: 1. The club’s organisation chart is updated and reviewed with the committee twice annually and is disseminated to the club’s personnel via staff notice boards, etc. 2. There are written job descriptions and standards of performance for all supervisory positions included in the organisational chart, distributed to each and reviewed twice annually. 2. Weekly department head meetings are held covering aspects such as upcoming events, communication issues and priorities. 3. Weekly executive committee meetings are held and minutes kept for distribution. 4. Committee policies have been disseminated in writing to the appropriate department heads.

C 1. Satisfactory performance with respect to CONTROL has been attained when: Variations between actual performance and the budget are properly explained. Timeous corrective action taken when deemed necessary, with the finance committee being informed of the variations and the action taken. A review of the pricing policies has been completed in accordance with club procedures twice annually There is a workable procedure for armed robbery, fire drills, cash security, CPR, etc which has been approved by the committee. A safety committee actively exists and written reports of their monthly meetings are submitted to management and the committee. month of the completion of the survey 2. Regular communication through e-mail, sms, website, house journal, notice boards etc is clearly demonstrated and is effective. 3. Every effort is made by the general manager and his senior staff to exercise the utmost courtesy and professionalism towards members and guests which in turn will serve as a standard to all the club staff. 4. All written complaints and compliments are analysed by the GM, handled speedily and reviewed with the committee monthly. F Satisfactory performance with respect to CLUB MARKETING has been attained when: 1. The following annual marketing activity plan has been submitted on time and in proper form, has been approved by the committee and is reviewed at least once a year. The year-end results indicate the marketing plan has been implemented for the year in respect of: a. membership recruitment b. membership activities c. club news d. club survey G Satisfactory performance with respect to LEADERSHIP has been attained when 1. The club is represented in the community in such a manner as to enhance its reputation . 2. The general manager conducts himself/ herself in an exemplary manner and encourages other members of staff to do likewise. H Additional objectives to be determined by the general manager and approved by the committee.

2. 3.


D Satisfactory performance in respect to PERSONNEL is attained when: 1. Staff facilities are properly maintained and contribute to a high level of staff morale. 2. There is a specific written procedure for the induction of all new employees 3. A review of employee turnover records is completed twice annually. 4. All salaried staff are evaluated twice annually and their salaries discussed with them at least once a year. 5. The club develops at least four qualified persons per year for internal transfer and promotion. 6. A succession plan for all departments of the club is reviewed twice annually. 7. There is evidence that the general manager encourages good relations with union representatives where applicable. 8. The club has developed and implemented an affirmative action program that sets realistic goals and timetables for hiring, developing and promoting women and historically disadvantaged people. E Satisfactory performance with respect to MEMBER SATISFACTION is attained when: 1. A member satisfaction survey is conducted annually on a sample of the membership, the results evaluated and shared with the membership within one

For more information on F&B or general management issues contact Tony Beart on 082 443 6975 or at tbeart@tiscali.co.za