Golf Course Management

MAR 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 65 of 117

58 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.19 Nowadays, I put money in the budget. I have the money to hire. I can't get people to come in and fill out an application." It's not for want of trying. Phelps rattles off his recruiting efforts: Indeed, Craigslist, Facebook, "all the social media," high schools, job fairs and college career fairs. "I think we're beating it to death trying to find workers," Phelps says. "I think that right there, labor, is our industry's biggest issue." "It's tough," echoes Jeff Holliday, CGCS, a 28-year GCSAA member at 27-hole private Salisbury Country Club in Midlothian, Va., just outside of Richmond, Va. "We're compet - ing with contractors and landscapers paying $2 or $3 more than we are. I've been at my club 18 years. When I first got here, the migrant labor force was unbelievable. At least once a week, I'd have a migrant laborer walk up to my door and say, 'Hey, I need a job.' Now I have three migrant laborers on staff. I used to have 14." Holliday has had to eliminate positions and raise wages to retain employees, who, he says, appreciate the benefits the course provides, including insurance, uniforms and occa - sional meals. He uses the Snagajob app to fill shifts and is considering a shift differential to incentivize weekend work. "e environmental conditions are tough to work in," Holliday says, "and you have to work weekends. So that's something we're looking at. We have to figure out a way." A defining moment? Half a country away, Matt Urban is of the same mind. Urban, Class A superintendent at 18-hole semi-private Artesia (New Mexico) Country Club, is a 15-year association member. He echoes many of the familiar refrains heard in the labor survey: Golf courses can't af - ford to match the "Walmart cart-pushers making $15 an hour;" millennials aren't attracted to the industry; turf-school enrollment continues to decline (see related story on Page 56 ). "I'm moving money away from the golf course," Urban says, "from things I'd like to do to the golf course. I'm having to sacrifice on that, sacrificing capital dollars into the opera - tions budget to compensate a guy fairly. We're increasing revenue. We're fortunate on the country club side we can do that. At public courses, you have to charge more because of green fees, and how many golfers do you lose? "It's a difficult balance. It seems to me we're in a weird limbo in the industry. I think we'll 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Very easy 0% Neither difficult nor easy 23% Difficult 48% Easy 3% Very difficult 26% In general, how would you describe the process of finding and hiring employees for your maintenance staff? 69% 16% 26% 15% 14% Can't offer competitive wages Work environment Duties/responsibilities Hours Other Overall, what would you say is the primary reason it is difficult to hire employees for your maintenance staff?

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