Labor, Capital Spending Top 2022 Budgets

Budgeting for 2022 is complicated by rapidly changing circumstances and market conditions. GGA Partner Henry DeLozier offers insight into areas where budgetary impact will be greatest. 

Budgeting for 2022 is complicated by rapidly changing circumstances and market conditions. For most experienced hands, anticipating changes within their industry and business is far easier than predicting the breadth and depth of the impact the changes will have on their budgets. Here are two significant categories where budgetary impact will be greatest:

1. Labor costs

Historically, the cost of labor and employee benefits represent the largest line item in a golf course’s operational budget. A trend toward a $15-plus per hour minimum wage and desperately low labor supply conditions will only increase the budgetary impact of labor and benefits. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting impacts on labor, two truths are becoming evident:

  • Those clubs and courses that kept staff on the payroll and continued long-term relationships with their employees are being rewarded in two ways. First, those courses are not having to search a tight labor market for replacements. Second, course care and upkeep have been sustained by committed and knowledgeable employees who have a running head start on those clubs that have been forced practically to start over.
  • Working knowledge of your specific course and conditioning expectations promotes a more cost-effective recovery process.

But what if circumstances and decisions beyond your control have forced you into a game of agronomic catch-up? Here are some remedial actions to consider:

  • Update your agronomic plan to state your expectations for course conditioning. New employees need (and want) to understand what is expected of them. Be thorough. Be enthusiastic. Show how much you care.
  • Plan for robust new hire training. Pair experienced hands with newcomers. See that the veterans describe the values and standards of the work to be done with the same clarity and as enthusiastically as teaching the job’s “how to” components. Train the trainers to ensure across-the-board engagement and understanding. Plan daily technical training for your round-up sessions to bring new hires up to speed and promote consistency.
  • Hire veterans. There are approximately 19 million veterans in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As the increasing number of veterans mustering out of service expands, many trained and mature workers are searching for jobs. Some three-quarters of these veterans saw wartime service. Take the steps to learn more about those who have given so much and see how much they can give to your operation.

2. Capital maintenance

Capital spending for most golf facilities has expanded decidedly as an improving economy loosened purse strings and made more money available for deferred capital maintenance spending. Financial analysts at our firm note that capital spending is up by more than 55 percent at U.S. golf facilities, with most projects focusing on course renovations and restorations of historic designs, greens reconstruction and new bunker projects.

With the upsurge in golf’s popularity in the wake of the pandemic, many facilities have experienced growth in rounds played and membership enrollments. According to Golf Datatech, rounds played in 2020 increased by 13.9 percent over 2019 and through the first quarter of 2021 are up another 24 percent. The increased demand for tee times has given owners and managers new confidence to expand facility spending.

What are the smart moves being made by superintendents? They’re updating capital project rosters and renewing long-awaited requests for capital to upgrade facilities. And they’re not waiting. They’re describing the features and benefits of the intended projects and supporting financial projections with trustworthy third-party analysis.

In these uncommon times, it is important for turf pros to remember the sun does not shine on the same dog’s back every day. Market demand will shift. Access to labor will change. But the self-imposed high standards for most superintendents will remain and the expectations of enthusiastic golfers will expand. Prepare your 2022 budget carefully and with a broader understanding of social, economic and market conditions.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine.

You’re Now the Leader

In today’s world, where technology, media, and consumer demand intersect in a constant state of disruption, leadership starts with understanding and dealing with change. Henry DeLozier provides perspective on how superintendents can rise to the challenge.

Times have sure changed. Now you’re the one whom young men and women — the ones who aspire to your position one day — look to for guidance and assurance. And it’s in those hopeful faces, full of equal amounts potential and self-doubt, that your biggest challenge and the most important aspect of your job lies.

It’s called leadership. And in today’s world, where technology and media and consumer demand are intersecting in a constant state of disruption, leadership starts with effectively understanding and dealing with change. Among the biggest changes for golf course superintendents in the last decade:

 

  • Agronomic knowledge has become “table stakes.” Knowing the science of growing grass efficiently and effectively has gotten most superintendents into the game. The superintendent is often the best-educated member of the management staff in many facilities. There is no way to overstate the importance and reach of agronomic knowledge, and yet the job is so much more now.
  • Techniques have advanced. Generations of superintendents schooled in the college of hard knocks have found new and innovative solutions to age-old problems. These solutions have resulted in more efficient usage of water, advanced and less damaging pesticide management, and improved playing conditions arising from healthier and denser turf.
  • Environmentalism is of top-tier importance. If everyone was as diligent an environmental steward as golf course superintendents are, we would live in a better, safer world. Trained in the chemical sciences and well informed through professional resources like GCSAA, new generations of superintendents have introduced planet-friendly solutions to fertility and water scarcity challenges.
  • Golfers’ expectations have become more robust and detailed. In their insistence on improved playing conditions, golfers — God love ’em — have continued to push for tournament-quality conditions daily. Their demands, not unlike the quality demands of consumers for any other product or service for which they pay a premium, add stress and push budgets across the country.

If those are some of the major changes currently affecting the superintendent’s world, what might be over the horizon in terms of effective leadership qualities? From our perspective, it’s retaining your best talent. Although job-hopping in many industries has slowed this year as economic uncertainties weigh on employees, the situation could change as the economy and job market continue to improve, especially if employees aren’t feeling supported by their employer. It’s a challenge shared by your peers in organizations across the board.

“Employees crave a rewarding and purposeful workplace atmosphere. Now is the time for organizations to evaluate what is working well for their people, and what’s not resonating,” says Laine Thomas Conway of Alight Solutions, a global consulting firm. “When employees feel their employers are continually improving their offerings and working to enhance the employee experience, they are likely to remain positive and committed to their organizations, and in turn, employers can better retain top talent.”

In other words, says Tom Wilson, the CEO of Allstate Insurance: treat employees like customers. “They don’t pay you in dollars, but in hard work. That has led us to an employee choice model in the new world,” he says. Here are several tactical suggestions to help your team members:

 

  • Education grants for the children of your crew. When the club or golf course funds educational support for the children of its workers, your crew will see you as the employer of choice.
  • Field days for employees’ children. Help families share in the workplace culture and pride with your team. Most children want to see where their parents work, and what cooler place is there than a golf course?
  • Regular feedback sessions. Give employees the same feedback opportunities customers have with retailers and service providers.
  • All-team meetings. Help crew members understand their place in the overall team effort, including other departments and functions at the club and course.

It’s no longer enough to react to changes affecting our careers. To be an effective leader and to encourage your best players to remain part of the team, we must anticipate the next wave of change heading in our direction.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine.

GGA Partners and USGA to Collaborate on Golf Course Superintendent Executive Search and Placement Services

New offering combines organizations’ expertise to improve golf facilities’ ability to deliver better playing conditions and enhanced golfer experience

BLUFFTON, S.C., and LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (April 14, 2021) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) will join with GGA Partners (GGA), an international consulting firm, to launch a new service to place top-notch golf course superintendent candidates at facilities across North America.

As part of its suite of advisory services, GGA has long provided executive search services for facility clients. The collaboration will expand the company’s offerings, with the USGA Green Section’s agronomic and maintenance expertise serving as key factors in targeting the unique needs of each golf course and identifying superintendents with matching skills who can help facilities elevate playing conditions, improve course presentation and foster sustainable practices.

“For any golf facility, the ability to hire the right talent is crucial for long-term success, and we believe in creating and maintaining partnerships with facilities,” said Patrick DeLozier, GGA’s managing director of executive search. “The stakes are higher than ever for facilities looking to hire superintendents, and they are looking for candidates with a wide variety of skills.”

Added Craig Johnston, a GGA partner: “The ability to complement our services in strategy, facility governance, finance and operations with the USGA’s agronomic strength will ensure that we can continue to support our clients with the gold standard in best practices, education, innovative products and research.”

The collaboration will allow the USGA to expand its reach and enhance its ability to inform best management practices for golf course maintenance, including resource prioritization. As part of its mission to champion and advance the game, the USGA is helping to ensure a sustainable game in which course managers are empowered to create a positive experience for their golfers.

“GGA’s values and business areas are strategically aligned with our mission,” said Matt Pringle, managing director of the USGA Green Section. “With this new joint service, we can find the best match between the needs of the golf course and the skill set of their next superintendent, while providing ongoing support to deliver outstanding playing conditions and improved golfer satisfaction.”

The joint service will utilize the USGA’s nationwide network of agronomists, whose extensive knowledge of the facilities and superintendents in their regions will be pivotal to the program’s success. They will work closely with DeLozier, who heads up the firm’s executive search practice.

To learn more, contact Patrick DeLozier at patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com or Elliott Dowling at edowling@usga.org.

 

About the USGA

The USGA is a nonprofit organization that celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. With The R&A, we govern the sport via global set of playing, equipment, handicapping and amateur status rules. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Associations, Research and Test center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit usga.org.

 

About GGA Partners

GGA Partners™ is an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, private clubs, resorts, and residential communities. We are dedicated to helping owners, asset managers, club and community leaders, investors and real estate developers tackle challenges, achieve objectives, and maximize asset performance.

Established in 1992 as the KPMG Golf Industry Practice, our global team of experienced professionals leverage in-depth business intelligence and proprietary global data to deliver impactful strategic solutions and lasting success. GGA Partners has offices in Toronto, Ontario, Phoenix, Arizona, Bluffton, South Carolina, and Dublin, Ireland. For more information, please visit ggapartners.com.

Staffing For Success: Part 3

Game Plan – Henry DeLozier‘s monthly column in Golf Course Industry Magazine – continues its series on staffing for success with the third of three installments. After looking at how the pandemic has afforded club and course managers the opportunity to reevaluate their teams (Staffing for Success: Part 1) and strategies for finding and hiring the right team members (Staffing for Success: Part 2), we turn to creating a culture that inspires and retains top performers.

Culture: The Secret Sauce of Success

A Supreme Court justice once defined obscenity by not defining it. “I know it when I see it,” Justice Potter Stewart famously said in 1964. It seems that an organization’s culture might fit into the same category: difficult to define, but obvious once illuminated.

The difficulty in defining organizational culture is because it is so many things at once. An amalgamation of personality, values, reputation, purpose, style and traditions framed by a set of written and unwritten rules developed over time and considered inviolable. Put them all in a pot, let them simmer for a while — a few years or maybe a few decades — and what’s left is culture!

Culture then is nothing less than an organization’s heart and soul, and its importance rivals any other asset or advantage. It is the glue that holds the organization together. It inspires loyalty in employees and motivates them to act consistently and pridefully. It influences them to perform at a high level because they feel a responsibility to uphold their end of the cultural bargain.

Culture is also an important factor in retaining top performers. Randstad, the international employment and recruitment firm, lists toxic cultures with poor pay, limited career opportunities, lack of challenging work, lack of recognition and work-life imbalance as the leading reasons people leave their jobs. There is an urgent need to pay attention to the culture growing around your club or course or risk losing top talent.

If this amorphous entity known as culture is so critical, what steps can you take, what keywords can you prioritize for search engines and what KPIs do you elevate to bake it into your organization? If only creating or transforming culture were so easy. Every winning culture is part of a unique set of attributes and characteristics that cannot be invented or imposed. It must be discovered from within.

But that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for culture to reveal itself — or for it to form in ways that could be detrimental to your future success. The road to a sustainable and winning culture ensures that employees:

 

  • Understand the club’s/course’s vision and how they contribute to it. When everyone knows where their leaders are steering the ship, it’s much easier to get people onboard and for employees to feel good about rowing.
  • Know how their performance is measured and what their personal success looks like. What results are expected? Are there both quantifiable and qualitative measures?
  • Are consistently recognized for contributions that meet and exceed goals. Nothing is more motivating than recognition in front of colleagues.
  • Recognize a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Employees of color and minorities want to see evidence that their opinions and work is valued and that they’re on a level playing field.
  • Feel that their managers are taking steps to safeguard their health and well-being. In a post-pandemic world, employees want to feel confident that their job is not putting them and their families in danger.
  • Are rewarded through a set of personal, flexible, creative benefits. Baby boomers, millennials and Gen Xers think about benefits and perks differently. To make them meaningful, managers must understand what each employee values most.

In addition to helping retain top performers, an engaging and embracing culture also has competitive advantages, particularly when it comes to sustaining high performance. Bain & Company research found that nearly 70 percent of business leaders agree that culture provides the greatest source of competitive advantage. In fact, more than 80 percent believe an organization that lacks a high-performance culture is doomed to mediocrity.

Culture may not be the easiest thing to define, but you can take steps that encourage a culture in which your organization thrives. You can’t rush culture, but you’ll know it when you see it.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine.

Staffing For Success: Part 2

Game Plan – Henry DeLozier‘s monthly column in Golf Course Industry Magazine – continues its series on staffing for success with the second of three installments. After looking at how the pandemic has afforded club and course managers the opportunity to reevaluate their teams and redefine job descriptions in Staffing for Success: Part 1, we turn to finding and hiring the right team members.

As businesses reshape themselves into leaner and more efficient operations, top performers are the best value their money can buy.

A great many Americans are currently unemployed and looking for a job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.7 percent of the labor force — more than 10 million people — is out of work. Finding top performers for rising needs in club management roles should be easy work, right? If only it were a simple matter of statistics.

As management professionals in any business know, the magic is finding the right person for the right job. With the war for talent continuing to escalate, we turn to three experts to help us identify the best practices for optimum staffing in these turbulent times.

Jim Collins: Get the right people on the bus

Step one, as management thinker Jim Collins advises in his bestseller “Good to Great,” is to start by “getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats” before heading down the proverbial highway. In other words, focus on “who” before determining “what.”

Those who build great organizations make sure they have a busload of people who can adapt and perform brilliantly no matter what comes next. Selecting the right people is a matter of clearly deciding what types of people — attitudes, talents, backgrounds, skillsets — are needed to enable your team to accomplish great things.

Jeff Bezos: Ask these three questions

The Amazon founder uses a straightforward three-question guide for hiring key employees. Bezos’ three questions offer direct application to the management of golf and private clubs and are particularly useful during unpredictable circumstances.

1. Will you admire this person?

“If you think about the people you’ve admired in your life, they are probably people you’ve been able to learn or take an example from,” Bezos says. This discipline requires that management first knows who he or she is and has a clear-eyed understanding of the strengths and benefits that are needed for any position. Hiring managers do well to ask themselves:

  • What traits and attributes inspire me to be my best?
  • What do we need?
  • To what do we aspire?

2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they are entering?

Will the candidate increase the efficiency within the organization? Is he or she able to see around the corner and anticipate needs? Are they willing to challenge established norms and traditions? (Should course setup be executed in the afternoon instead of first thing each day? Can mechanical work be executed after hours by veterans who need extra work?)

3. Along what dimension might the person be a superstar?

Listen to candidates’ answers. Push for details. Ask follow-up questions to understand how your candidate thinks and imagines your operation. One is more likely to be a superstar when he or she is encouraged to make others better.

Regina Hartley: Hire the scrapper

Throughout her 25-year UPS career — working in talent acquisition, succession planning, learning and development, employee relations, and communications — Hartley has seen how people with passion and purpose will astound you when given the opportunity. That’s why she says, “Hire the scrapper.” She defines scrappers as people who have had to fight against the odds to get ahead. They differ from those she calls the “silver spoons” — people who have had clear advantages in their lives and from birth seem destined for success.

Before tossing the résumé of someone who has obviously scrapped his or her way to the experience and skills that qualify them for a job in your organization, at least give them an interview, Hartley says: “A résumé tells a story. A patchwork quilt of odd jobs and experiences may signal a lack of focus and unpredictability. Or it may indicate a committed struggle against obstacles.”

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine.

Read Staffing for Success: Part 3

Staffing For Success: Part 1

This month, Game Plan – Henry DeLozier‘s monthly column in Golf Course Industry Magazine – kicks off a three-part series on staffing for success. First in the series is a look at how the pandemic has changed staffing needs and why superintendents and managers should consider reorganizing their teams and redefining job descriptions. Parts two and three will look at finding, hiring and retaining the right team members and creating the culture that inspires and motivates top performers.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” is a quote often attributed to Winston Churchill in the days following World War II. Scholars question whether Churchill ever spoke those exact words, but as we make tentative steps to emerge from a pandemic-induced crisis of our own time, the lesson it implies — finding opportunity amidst great difficulty and challenge — rings as timely and as relevant as it would have in Churchill’s day.

In the still-churning wake of the global health pandemic of 2020, maybe the first place we should look for opportunity is with our own staffs. As COVID-19 raced through communities across America, thousands of golf clubs and facilities found themselves on either side of a dilemma. For those places where golf was booming, stretching tee sheets, golf car fleets and maintenance staffs to their limits and beyond, the question was whether to staff up to handle the surge or stay with current staff levels, figuring the wave would eventually crest and return to some semblance of normal. For places the boom never reached, the questions were: How long can we manage to keep our current team intact before payroll takes too much of a bite from dwindling revenues? And among those eventually let go, who will we bring back and who no longer has a place on our team?

By now, many of those calculations and decisions have been made and the ramifications felt. But the lessons they taught should not only endure, but also inform future staffing plans. In the heat of crisis, owners and managers learned who on their teams could take on more responsibility, who had leadership potential and who had reached their ceiling. They learned where they needed additional resources and where resources might be redeployed for better coverage and results. Now it’s time to put those lessons to work with redesigned organization charts and job descriptions.

One thing is for sure: a dynamic job market has changed even more in the last 12 months with continued disruption on the horizon. “The fallout will fundamentally change recruiting and hiring practices long after the pandemic has passed,” recruiting strategist Jack Whatley recently told Forbes.com.

Another certainty is that the war for talent will continue to escalate. Top performers will be in even greater demand because as businesses reshape themselves into leaner, more efficient operations, those top performers are the best value money can buy.

“Twenty years ago, all interns had mechanical skills and no computer knowledge. Now it is just the opposite. They all know how to operate computers, but they can’t change a spark plug,” says Rick Tegtmeier, the long-tenured and highly respected golf course superintendent at Des Moines Golf & Country Club. “It sure doesn’t hurt someone to work at a lesser-budget golf course operation and learn more of the skills that help you become a more rounded superintendent.”

There will never be a better time to take all the names off your org chart and rethink the needs of the club and course, the time and talent required of each of those needs, and the right names to place in those roles. As you go through that exercise, be aware that the pandemic and its economic reverberations have also changed employees’ perspectives.

Workers have had a lot of time recently to reevaluate their careers and question their next moves. Am I in the right job in the right industry? Where could I find more happiness and greater security for me and my family? Is this a stable environment and can I count on a stable paycheck? Where will I be exposed if (or when) another crisis emerges?

“Safety and job stability are at the top of mind for the job seeker now — and that changes what they want in a job,” Whatley says. “Businesses will have to become employee-centric as well as customer-centric.”

Hopefully, you and your facility have weathered this crisis without too much damage. Now’s the time to take advantage of an opportunity it has afforded.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine.

Read Staffing for Success: Part 2

Executive Search: Director of Golf Course at Cherokee Country Club

DIRECTOR OF GOLF COURSE
CHEROKEE COUNTRY CLUB
Knoxville, TN

 

The Club

Founded in 1907, Cherokee Country Club is a private, member-owned country club which has a long tradition dedicated to enriching the lives of its members and their families by providing the finest in dining, social, and recreational interests in a private club environment.

Cherokee Country Club is recognized as one of Knoxville’s greatest assets, featuring a classic, elegant Clubhouse, top-quality athletic and social activities, and a golf course designed by the legendary Donald Ross.

The Club’s goal is to promote and elevate golf so that the pursuit of the game is an important part of members’ lifestyle and recreational pleasure. Cherokee offers golf at its finest and is truly an exceptional golf experience for all levels of players. A classic 18-hole Donald Ross links-style course opened in 1907 and is supported by golf facilities that include an extensive golf shop, practice range, practice putting and chipping green.

Members are afforded access to the most prestigious tennis facilities in East Tennessee. The Club is home to nine outdoor and four indoor courts in addition to an outstanding pro-shop and each court is accentuated by a beautiful east Tennessee Valley view.

Recognizing the growing emphasis of a healthy lifestyle, Cherokee strives to provide the ultimate fitness and wellness experience through its fitness center and health program, which is operated by Performance Training, Inc. (PTI). Members enjoy a comprehensive health and fitness experience through a variety of services which include personalized training, group exercise classes, nutrition coaching, physical therapy and rehabilitation, as well as fitness assessments and consultations.

The Cherokee Aquatic Center and Overlook Bar and Grill offer a fun and safe gathering place for children and adults alike. Featuring both a family and a competition pool, the resort-style facilities were recently renovated to include kids’ entertainment zones and a pool bar. The Family Pool includes zero-entry access, Baja shelves, shade sails, slash fountains, and an adult lounge area. The competition length pool is wonderful for swimming, lap and severs the competitive Cherokee Swim Team.

Cherokee provides a wide selection of dining venues to accommodate members’ dining needs and the experienced culinary team is one of the finest in the Southeast. Whether it’s a quick bite to eat in the Pub, or dinner with the family in the Sequoyah Room, the Club’s talented staff are there to make sure all of members’ dining needs are met.

Since its inception, Cherokee has been the recreational home for generations of families and the Club’s story is about more than brick and mortar; about more that golf, swimming, bowling, and tennis; and about more than bridge, music, and social events. Cherokee Country Club’s story is about the hard work and hearts of generations of people, people who stand together, play together and work together.

Cherokee Country Club Overview

 

  • 914 Members
  • Initiation Fee (Resident Member Golf: $40,000)
  • $15M Gross Volume
  • $5.0M Annual Dues
  • $4.70M Gross Payroll
  • Average age of members is 58
  • Greens: Bent Grass
  • Fairways: Bermuda
  • Tee Boxes: Bermuda/Zoysia

The Director of Golf Course Position

The Director of Golf Course reports to the General Manager/COO and coordinates with the Greens Committee Chair on a regular basis. The Director of Golf Course implements the policies established by the Board of Directors and the Club’s bylaws. He/she develops operational policies and is responsible for the creation and implementation of standard operating procedures for all areas.

The Director of Golf Course is the lead catalyst for driving excellence in the golf experience and establishing standards for agronomic practices are critical part of the position. The Director of Golf must facilitate an environment where staff is involved and enthusiastic, with open communication and respect for themselves, members, guests and the property.

The Director of Golf Course should have a strong presence and seek to be highly visible to the membership and staff. They set the tone of pride in setting the course conditions for a first-class golf experience.

Primary Duties

 

  • Responsible for all phases of Golf Course Maintenance and Agronomic operations and related personnel.
  • Works closely with, advises, and coordinates with the Head Golf Professional on any issues related to golf course maintenance.
  • Plans and assists in the direction, construction, and maintenance of the grounds.
  • Plans and assists in the design of landscape plans for facility grounds and implements the plan.
  • Administers and enforces all Club rules, regulations, and policies for staff.
  • Supports and assists with membership seminars and orientations as applicable.
  • Works closely with the General Manager/COO and Board to operate the Golf Course in a fiscally responsible and professional manner.
  • Must be able to work independently and be a self-starting problem solver.
  • Provides technical, operational, and safety training for employees to ensure that staff is working within OSHA, club safety, state and federal guidelines for safe working conditions.
  • Oversees subordinates in proper and safe operation and maintenance of mechanical and power equipment. Plans and budgets for additional or replacement capital equipment.
  • Supervises and participates in the application and recording of chemical applications (fertilizers and pesticides) on the Club’s grounds in compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Supervises and controls all maintenance expenses associated with Golf Course Operations, including payroll, supplies, chemicals, and fertilizers.
  • Develops an annual operating budget and plans for maintenance and capital improvement projects.
  • Maintains, records, and completes required reporting which includes ordering parts, supplies, and equipment as needed.
  • Schedules maintenance practices around member play and outings to maximize efficiency and minimize disruption to members.
  • Coordinates snow removal and winter maintenance activities when necessary.

Knowledge & Skills Required

 

  • Knowledge of management and maintenance of greens, fairways, and roughs.
  • Knowledge of use and operating standards of equipment and tools used in golf course construction and maintenance work.
  • Skill in recruiting, supervising, training, monitoring, evaluating, and motivating personnel.
  • Interpersonal skills to resolve conflict resolution professionally.
  • Knowledge of safe use, mixing, and application of chemicals and commercial products.
  • Knowledge of the game of golf, golf rules, and methods of play.
  • Ability to anticipate personnel, equipment, and material requirements related to golf course maintenance and repair assignments.
  • Ability and knowledge to lay out irrigation patterns, drainage patterns, construct tees and/or greens.

Candidate Qualifications

  • 5-7 years’ experience as a Golf Superintendent or 1st Assistant
  • 2-year Degree or Certificate in Turf Management (or related field, like agronomy, horticulture, plant science, soil science).
  • Advanced computer skills required for financial reporting and control of operations, including use of Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Valid Driver’s License.
  • Certification by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America is preferred.

Note: A pre-employment drug screen and background check will be required. The position is available February 3, 2021.

Salary & Benefits

Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Club offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.

Inquiries

IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should submit résumés along with a detailed cover letter which addresses the qualifications and describes your alignment/experience with the prescribed position by Wednesday, February 3, 2021.

Documents must be saved and emailed in Word or PDF format (save as “Last Name, First Name, Cherokee DOGC Cover Letter” and “Last Name, First Name, Cherokee DOGC Resume”) respectively to: patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com. Please e-mail résumé with references.

 

Lead Search Executive
Patrick DeLozier, Director
GGA Partners
(501) 258-2911
patrick.delozier@ggapartners.com

 

For more information about Cherokee Country Club, please visit cherokeecountryclub.com.

What Are You Doing to Develop Future Leaders?

One of the most important responsibilities for managers is developing the next generation of leaders and preparing them for the professional challenges they will face. The most obvious way to develop leadership qualities is simply to pay your knowledge forward by identifying the most important lessons you’ve learned — often the hard way — and passing them on to your team.

That responsibility starts with acknowledging that agronomic knowledge is simply table stakes. Knowing how to grow turf and keep it healthy is expected of anyone in the superintendent role, and most up-and-coming turf managers come to the job well prepared. GCSAA educational programs and the generous teaching of consulting specialists and suppliers go a long way in helping to lay this foundation. Certainly, the college of hard knocks provides its lessons as well.

But what lessons will you teach your assistants and crew members? And how can you help prepare them for their next opportunity to move into more responsible positions? In addition to making yourself available as a mentor, you can also broaden your own knowledge by paying attention to what your most respected peers consider their priorities. Here are suggestions from two of the best in the business.

Bill Cygan is the exceptional young superintendent at Silver Spring Country Club in Ridgefield, Connecticut. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Bill spent six years as an assistant at Innis Arden Golf Club in Greenwich and another six years caring for the West Course at Winged Foot.

Build strong relationships and communicate often.

“This is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight, but the stronger your relationships are at the club, the smoother the ride will be, especially during times of adversity,” Bill says. “Relationship building should include department managers — especially the golf pro, controller and general manager — as well as certain key members of the club, including the green chairman and treasurer, who can be important allies.”

Trust your teammates.

In addition to the administrative leaders with whom a successful superintendent works, Bill adds, “Be sure to build a strong team responsible for the daily golf course maintenance operations.” The strength of the team is your strength.

Carlos Arraya, the assistant general manager at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, began his career as a golf course superintendent and over two decades has grown into a key leadership position at one of America’s finest clubs, having hosted the 100th PGA Championship in 2019. Carlos teaches several key points of focus:

Lead the way.

“Understand your leadership style and voice,” he says, adding that managers who favorably influence the next generation of leaders practice mindfulness, leaving their ego at the shop door, putting the interests and needs of their crew ahead of their own and recognizing a job well done. Further, he recommends continue evolving as a leader to best handle the needs of a changing workforce.

Be present.

Some managers are overly focused on the next job, but Carlos counsels: “Focus on being great in your current role.” One can never know too much; by the same token, one can never know everything, so don’t pretend that you do.

Hone your own character.

Superintendents and managers of all descriptions work in the proverbial glass house. The key to being effective at each level is understanding that one is setting an example for others up and down the organizational chart. “Know the difference between an excuse and a reason,” he says. “And don’t fall into the trap of professional jealousy.”

Rely on science.

“(Superintendents) are trained in the scientific method. But sometimes we overreact and are too quick to make a decision,” he says. Club and course managers can pressure superintendents, especially when times are tough, to have immediate answers. “Be deliberate, rely on the science.”

Developing young people into experienced and highly effective crew members, ones who will one day lead their own operations, is one of the most important jobs of any superintendent. And only when you lose some of your best people, when they move on to the top job at another club or course, you will know that you’ve been successful.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine

What’s Next Rests in Your Hands

Every superintendent’s hands tell a story. Tough as worn boot leather, marked with the scars of the trade, a superintendent’s hands are testament to long days and honest work that never seems to end. Their hands groom and maintain the course and grounds that are an owner’s most valuable asset while holding the employment and income stability for their crews.

By all accounts, a superintendent’s hands shape the future. That’s as true with the things that are visible — tee boxes, fairways and greens — as those that are not, namely the meticulous plans that support every aspect of an agronomic program. How do the best superintendents plan for the future? They start with three basics:

1. An overall plan for their work.

The overall plan for the care and upkeep of your course establishes the standards of excellence by which you should be measured. The agronomic plan describes your cultural practices for the basics and should include detailed descriptions of fertility, irrigation, labor, arboreal and the sub-plans that support each of those major pillars.

Plan so that you can make your agronomic plan an educational and informational guide that uses photographs and narrated video to keep your owner, board and greens committee well-informed. In addition to setting standards, your agronomic plan is a great opportunity for you to teach key stakeholders what they should expect of you and your team.

2. A comprehensive communications plan.

Once your agronomic plan — together with its supporting details and sub-plans — is established and approved, it’s time to implement your communications plan. Target all stakeholders — your team, the rest of the management staff and your golfers — to help everyone understand your plan of action. This is not a time to seek permission. This is the time to demonstrate your knowledge, experience and expertise.

Set a schedule for your messaging and meet it. Use multiple media to deliver the message — video, brief written descriptions and small-group field days, when you take members onto the course to demonstrate how your programs are being executed.

Some superintendents become victim to overpromising details and conditions that cannot be delivered. Be alert and carefully describe what you will accomplish. By the same token, do not understate the value of your efforts. This is no game for sandbaggers. Demonstrate your professionalism and capabilities with clear-cut descriptions of who you are, what your team goals are and how the goals will be successfully achieved. Show what features you will emphasize on the course and explain the benefits of each element of your strategy.

3. A self-improvement plan.

GCSAA provides countless opportunities for superintendents to stay current on science and technology and to learn about new trends. The most respected and rewarded superintendents also seek out opportunities — and a regimen — for self-improvement. Here are a handful of keys for improving your own capabilities:

  • Read more. Leaders in every field are readers who continually gather more information that bolsters insight and wisdom.
  • Get fit. The pressures that come with the job and the common inclination to treat oneself well when one feels overlooked or unappreciated combine to add weight, cholesterol and risk to your well-being. Get in shape and stay there.
  • Identify and address blind spots. What do you overlook or consider to be inconsequential? Which people or circumstances trigger frustrations during your day? The better you identify threats to your overall view of your world, the better you will navigate unexpected events.
  • Live with BHAGS. Set big, hairy, audacious goals for yourself and your crew. The bigger your dreams, the more fun it is when you make them real.
  • Avoid negative people. Their attitudes can be contagious and poison morale. Build your network around positive people who inspire you and bring out innovative thinking and your best work.

Superintendents hold in their hands the franchise value of their course. Describe your plan to make it even better. Communicate your plans clearly and honestly. And never stop making yourself an even more valuable professional.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine

Constantly Thinking About Budgets

With most 2021 budgets prepared and submitted, many golf course superintendents and their managers are reviewing and updating agronomic plans for the coming year. A sound agronomic plan is a living document that must anticipate upcoming conditions and respond to emerging circumstances. In volatile times, certain constants must be considered. Let’s evaluate some of those constants in the context of today’s conditions and challenges and see how they might affect budgets.

Constants

Certain irrevocable factors influence the proper care and upkeep of golf facilities with budgets leading the list. Your budget is the mathematical “North Star” on which you steer your performance. It’s also a measure of your intentions. One superintendent summarized his budget by saying, “You can run but cannot hide from your budget, so you might as well pick it up and run with it.” In other words, dig into the process and learn to deal with the variables.

For 2021, here are several budget guidelines to understand:

  • Most planners expect a choppy year ahead. Set aside funds for the unexpected events that will emerge and keep your powder dry.
  • Plan for three categories of expense. Fixed expenses for such budget overhead requirements as utilities and equipment leases are unlikely to change, although careful budget managers ask for relief on such fixed costs through abatements or forgiveness that may help to stretch budgeted resources. Second, labor costs will ebb and flow as impacts from COVID-19 and closures of club facilities will place irregular demands on labor dollars. Give yourself some room to maneuver. Third, discretionary needs will emerge as fellow managers and golfers seek new solutions to new problems. So be prepared.
  • New ideas and methods introduce new solutions for labor and overhead costs. Be alert and watch for new and innovative possibilities that make your work eventful and add purpose to your accomplishments.
  • Changing weather patterns demand that golf course operators become better informed and more proactive in planning care and upkeep practices. While much of your work is influenced by changing weather conditions, superintendents know to rely on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for accurate weather pattern forecasts that help them more accurately plan and schedule their maintenance practices.
  • Golfers’ expectations continue to escalate. You can count on golfers wanting “more and better,” which means course managers are always searching for process and results improvements. For 2021, golfers’ expectations include enhanced sanitation and clearing of on-course comfort stations, golf carts and practice range equipment. Next year will demand sustainable care and upkeep standards despite irregular resources that may be interrupted by supply chain and budgetary limitations.

Upcoming Conditions

Course managers must anticipate changes being introduced for labor management and workers’ expectations. Such changes as reducing the number of workers exposed to one another is requiring managers to divide crews and adjust shifts. Your team’s protection is vital.

Changing climatic circumstances requires enhanced emergency preparations. Consider your clean-air, fire and immediate-notice evacuation plans for workers and affiliated departments. Your liability insurance carriers are a good starting point for collecting guidance, as are emergency preparedness agencies in your vicinity.

Emerging Circumstances

Develop your short list of resources on which you will draw for new threats and opportunities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health are examples of resources on which you can rely. The coming year will reveal new problems, challenges and circumstances with which golf course managers must reckon.

Emergency services professionals, such as your local health care, water supply and cyber-security experts, are valuable resources on which you can call. Beyond your club’s insurer, call on fire and police experts to provide guidance in planning ahead.

This article was authored by Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry magazine

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