Golf Course Management

JAN 2019

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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76 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.19 how I represented an American in a foreign country. Another byproduct of this resolution was that employees were more communicative and not afraid to ask me questions. ey were eager to do a good job and make me proud, and they became loyal members of a team. Staff from those early years still stay in touch with me, come to me when they need jobs, and send workers my way when I need them. All of this arose from a single decision — to treat others as I wished to be treated. e benefits have been well worth the little extra time I invested in ensuring I was understood and pausing to let any initial reaction pass on its own. And it would pass. 3. Never compromise your standards As the construction boom in Asia contin- ued, there was so much work that I eventu- ally started my own company, Quality Golf. I hired other foreign superintendents along with turf managers who had found their way to ailand and other parts of Southeast Asia on their own. As is inherent in our profession, a community formed in which all of us would share experiences, challenges and ideas. From these relationships, I learned another invaluable lesson: Despite the often steep learning curve that comes with being a super - intendent — especially in a foreign country — we must never compromise our standards. ose superintendents who leaned on their education and experience and never wavered on their standards of excellence are the ones who are still doing well in Asia today. Several parties — owners, committee members, staff — rely on the superintendent's ability to deliver, and one project can color a superintendent's entire reputation. Always holding ourselves to the highest standard is thus in others' and our own best interests. One of my first jobs in Asia, Panorama Golf Club in Nakhon Ratchasima, ailand, still stands the test of time. e greens are con - sidered the best in the area, the course hosts many ai PGA Tour and ai Senior Tour events annually, and the original superinten - dent I trained is still there. And not compro- mising your standards extends beyond agron- omy: From the beginning of my time abroad, I was known for professionalism, and that has kept me working in this part of the world for more than a quarter-century. 4. Never stop improving yourself I received the offer to oversee the planting and maintenance setup of Panorama GC al - most simultaneously with the completion of Barrington GC. I was feeling confident and excited to put everything I'd already learned abroad into practice. And because Panorama GC was closer to a city, I thought the experi - ence would be more like what I'd been used to in the U.S. Nothing could have been further from the truth, however. At the new site, many staff members had prior training from others. Some of the train - ing was sound, but some of it was actually det- rimental to the project. On my first day back after a vacation, I was up at dawn to survey the course, and as I walked out on the first tee, I noticed it looked quite different. e turf was too high. I peered down the fairway, and my heart sank. All the definition between the fair - way and rough was gone. I was dumbstruck. Just then, my assistant came riding up to me with a big grin on his face. Baffled, I asked why the grass was so tall on the tees, fairways, rough and greens. He replied that rain had prevented mowing for a week, and when the crew had started to mow again, it was scalp - ing the turf, turning it yellow and brown. e general manager had told the crew just to stop mowing until I returned. I took my deep breath as I'd resolved to do, but my reply still came out too forcefully. My assistant's smile vanished, and, because of my tone, I lost his attention. I then had to take the time to bring him back to a point where he was willing or perhaps able to listen to me. I had made a bad situation worse. e lesson is this: Even after we've made strides toward bettering ourselves, it is con - tinuous work to apply what we've learned. Superintendents must recognize this and be committed to continuing to improve, always acknowledging our weaknesses so as to keep improving. Our on-the-job development is not a journey with an end. After all, we are Course as classroom: Taylor (left) trains staff at Kurmitola Golf Club in Bangladesh on topdressing application rates.

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