Golf Course Management

JUL 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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12 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.19 Regardless of where you practice your par- ticular brand of golf course management, it's difficult to dodge the impact of the dreaded "dog days of summer." If the month of July is in the heart of your golf season, you and your teams have probably been grinding hard for several months and know that you still have a few more months to go before you can get much of a breather. If Mother Nature has been testing you at the same time ... well, those dog days can seem extra trying. Even for superintendents in situations like mine — where play is concentrated in the winter months as opposed to summer — this time of the year is no picnic. We might not have the everyday play that our colleagues in the northern half of the country experience, but at least in my experiences, we have plenty going on that can challenge even the most ac - complished superintendent. At my facility, Boca Grove Golf and Ten- nis Club in Boca Raton, Fla., because regular play does drop off in the summer, we are able to devote more time and attention to complet- ing course-improvement projects. For exam- ple, we are currently regrassing our par-3 tees. While there is no ideal time of year to do a project such as this one because of the disrup- tion and the cost of the improvements, it does make sense when you consider our facility's overall pattern-of-play, so my team has found ways to make these work successfully. Another key to making the most of this time of year is finding ways to lessen the stresses and frustrations that naturally come along with the dog days. For me, that has meant drawing strength and support from my team at Boca Grove, from my colleagues and fellow superintendents in my local chapter, and from taking advantage of all that is of- fered by GCSAA. Because of my duties with and travels on behalf of the national association, I am not always able to be at the golf course to over- see efforts such as our tee project. Earlier in my career, not being able to have a day-to-day personal touch on a project such as this one would have been a source of great frustration for me. But time has taught me the value of the team and delgating responsibilities and own- ership over the work they do on the golf course. It's a strategy that has led to more in- vestment from my team in the work they do, Rafael Barajas, CGCS rbarajas@gcsaa.org Twitter: @rbarajas001 Surviving the dog days of summer Another key to making the most of this time of year is finding ways to lessen the stresses and frustrations that naturally come along with the dog days. (president's message) more confident employees, and great personal relief for me from the pressures that come at this time of year. I have also found solace, support and en- couragement from my local chapter. Involve- ment at that level has always been important to my career. At first, I saw it as a way to edu- cate myself in this business and forge new rela- tionships. Later, I realized taking part in chap- ter activities also opened my eyes to the fact that I was not alone in what I was facing in my professional life, that there were others going through the same thing who were willing to help if and when needed. It was a significant realization for me, and I can assure you that taking a day away from the course to attend a chapter activity is well worth the effort, even if only as a mental-health break during a busy time of year. Finally, if you're struggling through this traditionally challenging time of year, I en- courage you to dig into the products, services and support available from GCSAA. What that means to an individual superintendent will vary from case to case. Maybe it means finding a webinar that offers feedback and advice about a particularly troublesome agro- nomic issue. It might mean tapping into the association's government affairs team for sup- port with a legislative matter that has come up in your area. It might mean something as sim- ple as checking out the online forums. It can also mean something far more sig- nificant if your facility or your home has been damaged by violent spring weather. I have spoken to several superintendents who are dealing with the effects of spring flooding or tornadoes, and GCSAA's Disaster Relief Fund (www.gcsaa.org/about-gcsaa/gcsaa-disaster- relief-fund) is there to provide assistance and help relieve at least some of the trauma that comes along with these kinds of events. The dog days of summer bring plenty of challenges for superintendents. If you need a little pick-me-up or significant assistance for your course and/or your family, I hope you know that your crews, your friends and your association are there to help and ease the tran - sition to better times. Rafael Barajas, CGCS, is the director of golf course opera- tions at Boca Grove Golf and Tennis Club in Boca Raton, Fla., and a 33-year member of GCSAA.

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