Golf Course Management

JUN 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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78 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 06.19 mistakes and being humble contribute to the respect he has earned throughout the industry. Haines has also made an effort to edu- cate parents and children about golf courses. At Pender Harbour, he would invite children and parents to the course a couple of times a year to show its environmental benefits. Along with club members, he would allow the kids to sit on stationary mowers, hit golf balls and learn more about the game, all in an effort to increase its popularity. Growing grass is an art and science, and interaction with others is positive and useful in making decisions. However, there are times when those who speak up can feel the wrath of others who don't think the same way. Haines has experienced that, but in the end, sees the benefits outweighing the negatives. His blog - ging and social media efforts have been recog- nized by industry publications, and his overall communication efforts resulted in his being named second runner-up for the Communi- cations and Outreach category in the 2018 Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards, pre- sented by GCSAA and Golf Digest in partner- ship with Syngenta. In January, Haines moved 50 kilometers south of Pender Harbour and closer to the sea when he took the position as superintendent at Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club, an 18-hole facility. He deals with some of the same issues at his new course, including tak- ing an environmentally sensitive approach to course management. In fact, Haines' commu- nication skills contributed to others reaching out to him and encouraging him to consider this new position. ‰is year, I'm requiring the students in my class to put the following phrase in writ- ing and also in a selfie-recorded video in hopes that it will stick: "Nothing will impact my ca- reer advancement as much as my willingness to work hard at being a better communica- tor." Jason Haines is a blogging, tweeting, liv- ing example. Jack Fry, Ph.D., is a professor of turfgrass science at Kansas State University, currently working at the school's Research and Extension Center in Olathe, Kan. He is a 22-year educator member of GCSAA. Canadian communicator Jack Fry, Ph.D. jfry@ksu.edu (what's the big idea?) Jason Haines is a social media convert who puts thoughts and ideas online and then en- gages in interaction that ultimately helps him make better decisions. It started in 2008, when Haines was the golf course superinten- dent at the nine-hole Pender Harbour Golf Club in British Columbia. ‰e economic crisis was in full effect, and operating budgets were being cut back. ‰e three-year GCSAA mem- ber took advantage of the increasing popular- ity of social media to engage others on how to create the best course conditions with limited resources. Haines has his own blog that he contrib- utes to regularly (www.turfhacker.com), has over 6,000 followers on Twitter (@pender super), and even hosts children on the course to tell them about golf and the environment. Looking for a way to keep his members in- formed, he started the blog in 2011 and used it to provide basic course maintenance informa- tion. Over time, though, he realized that there were a lot of other golf course superintendents visiting his blog. So, he tweaked the blog to contain more detail on course maintenance information, and he found that this encour- aged feedback from superintendents while also pleasing the members. In particular, Haines' outreach through his blog and Twitter has been popular with superintendents managing lower-budget golf courses. His discussions frequently are di- rected at maintaining high-quality playing conditions with less inputs. No doubt, this is something that superintendents across the budget spectrum have had to deal with over the past decade. Specific areas that have been a focus of Haines are maintaining turf with little to no pesticide inputs and following the Minimum Level of Sustainable Nutrition guidelines for turf fertilization. Haines' communication efforts through Twitter have brought him international atten- tion. He speaks regularly at the Golf Industry Show and has spoken at turf conferences in Iceland and Ireland. In 2019, he teamed up with academics to present information at GIS on how turf growth rates can help guide de- cision-making on fertilization. He also mod- erated a session on "Epic Fails" and included some of his own misguided decisions as part of the session. Haines even discusses some of his epic fails online in the blog. Admitting Growing grass is an art and science, and interaction with others is positive and useful in making decisions. However, there are times when those who speak up can feel the wrath of others who don't think the same way.

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