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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Page 81 of 211

78 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.19 in a rather unpredictable line of work, dealing with acres of land, the fickle moods of Mother Nature and the fluctuating emotions of peo - ple. We must be able to manage them all, and this requires not slipping into autopilot, and being open to confronting any situation that may arise so we can provide education that will prevent it from happening again. 5. When working with a team, be in present time Trying to get staff in Asia to do things "American style" or "Tony's way" was impos - sible. I was not in America, and the people I was working with were not American. I had to open my eyes and see who they were, and that meant embracing their culture. I discovered that ai is a very formal, po - lite language, with speakers addressing every person as Mr. or Mrs. I began using names respectfully, the way the citizens would with each other, and I learned some other basic practices and courtesies. ese simple actions went over extremely well and opened the door to greater communication and cooperation. is wasn't difficult, and was actually more of a pleasure than a burden. (I've since become fluent in spoken ai, taking lessons and prac - ticing with my staff and the locals. Being able to speak to people in their own language has not only made doing my job easier, but it has helped me earn their respect.) e ability to adjust to one's setting is a skill every superintendent working in a for - eign country must possess, but I think it's just as essential for superintendents working in the States. ough our industry has "standard" ways of doing certain things, each course has its own personality that's a product of its lead - ership and the team that cares for it. When getting started at a new course or on a new project, be in present time — don't compare people or procedures with how things were done "on my last job" or "in America." ere is nothing more off-putting to a new team than being compared to an old team. Several fellow Americans made this mistake in Asia and were not so well received. Let your past experiences inform your work, and communi - cate these insights clearly and respectfully, but also be open to learning from those who have a history with any site that's new to you. 6. Defeat 'fixed ideas' through training We've all run into this obstacle: the pre- conceived idea. Or, as I like to call it, the "fixed idea." is is especially prevalent abroad, and I've seen it take many forms, from "We've al - ways done it this way" to "Yes, sir." Such situa- tions are no doubt frustrating, but responding from frustration — taking a "my way or the highway" approach — isn't constructive and doesn't inspire cooperation. After years of encountering this issue, I've learned the solution boils down to training, training and more training. You must take full ownership of and responsibility for your team's understanding. is is also important in dealing with industry leaders, owners, members or longtime employees whose coop - eration you need to achieve a result. I've found a simple balance of theory and practice helps the trainer get the most from the trainee: • Provide enough of the theory behind why a particular task is done. • Speak to employees at a level they can un - derstand, without using terminology they perhaps didn't have the opportunity to study like you did. (You see this at universi - ties where lecturers speak at their level and not to that of the students — a fast way to lose an audience to their phones or a nap.) Above: Taylor (left) with superintendent Greg Jackson at the 2018 Japan Open at Yokohama Country Club, where Jackson handled the fine-tuning after construction. Right: Taylor (on left) inspects a green at Kurmitola Golf Club in Bangladesh with course superintendent Mohammad Shameem Sarkar. The club is the site of an annual Asian Tour event.

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