Golf Course Management

APR 2013

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

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THE INSIDER: assistants Jonathan Bennett Tree maintenance: Think twice, cut once Working since 2009 at a golf course next to a city nicknamed the City of Trees, I've gotten a clear idea about what the No. 1 turf inhibitor is. Jonathan Bennett NEWS & notes Using body language effectively can play a key role in communication. Writing for the American Management Association, leadership consultant Carol Kinsey Gorman, Ph.D., offers the following tips: • To boost your confidence, assume an expansive "high-power" pose (leaning back with hands behind the head and feet up on a desk, or standing with legs and arms stretched wide open). • To increase participation, look like you're listening. If you want people to speak up, don't multitask (checking email or text messages) while they do. Turn your head and torso to face them directly and make eye contact. • To encourage collaboration, remove barriers. Take away anything that blocks your view or forms a barrier (even a coffee cup that is held too high) between you and the rest of the team. • To stimulate good feelings, smile. A genuine smile tells those around you that you are approachable, cooperative and trustworthy. 32 GCM April 2013 Yet tree removal at The Kansas City Country Club has proved to be a delicate and highly controversial program, just as it is at most clubs. While trees provide shade, beauty and a colorful landscape palette — and individual specimens may even elicit an emotional response because they have a "history" — they also restrict air movement and sunlight, generate root competition for moisture and nutrients, and create a poor environment for growing grass. At KCCC, we employ multiple strategies using local experts, historical data and results, on-site species inventory catalogs, technology and long-term strategic planning to design a successful tree maintenance program. The frst resource for developing and implementing a tree maintenance program is the club's grounds staff. In creating a comprehensive, club-specifc policy manual regarding tree maintenance, the grounds staff is responsible for documenting the past results regarding the turf conditions. The staff also needs to create a catalog or inventory of the trees on the property. This document should include the location and current condition of each tree and the condition of the turf that surrounds it. Any past recommendations or work done concerning that particular tree should also be included in the inventory. After creating the inventory and documenting past results, a club will supplement this staffgenerated information with input from area and industry experts, including arborists, the USGA Turf Advisory Service and companies such as Arborcom. By gathering recommendations from experts in the feld of tree maintenance, the club introduces a factual element to their process of developing a comprehensive tree program. Once the recommendations are compiled from expert sources, they are coordinated with the club's long-term goals for its grounds. A consensus on the long-term strategy concerning the golf course is necessary if the tree program is going to be successful. Without the support of the board, the staff and the membership, there will be side agendas and arguments that can hinder the success of the course. Once an agreement concerning the desired direction is reached, a comprehensive tree maintenance principles manual needs to be developed with input from the board, the industry experts and the club's historical data. The complete manual must frst be shared with the staff, the board and the green committee so that they are educated and will serve as ambassadors to the membership, communicating the steps to be taken and the reasons for taking them. These steps must be developed and enacted over time. With each step's success, the plan will develop credibility and will, in essence, create its own support system based on the favorable results that are visible to the membership. The plan is not static, however, and periodic re-evaluation and adjustments will be needed depending on results, changes in weather patterns, or changes in long-term strategic plans for the club in general. Tree removal will always be a controversial issue, but many of the emotional issues can be eliminated by using multiple resources, engaging experts in the feld, setting goals that ensure the health of the turf is the top priority and, ultimately, creating a comprehensive, detailed, documented tree maintenance plan that is communicated to the membership. Tree maintenance must always be a process with open lines of communication so everyone is aware of where, when and why a tree is being removed. With proper documentation, research and support from the board, the staff and the green committee, a tree maintenance program can prove to be a vital tool in every superintendent's arsenal for dealing with the mighty tree and Mother Nature herself. GCM Jonathan Bennett is the assistant superintendent at Kansas City Country Club in Mission Hills, Kan., and an eight-year member of GCSAA.

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