Golf Course Management

SEP 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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Page 19 of 117

President's Message by Patrick R. Finlen, CGCS Following your North Star Among the most frequent questions asked of GCSAA board members is, "What is the board's vision for the association?" As golf course superintendents, we are all asked similar questions about our vision for the facilities we manage. Your answer may be to talk about what you have planned for the coming year or to look many years down the road. The GCSAA board of directors takes a similar approach to its work in planning for the future of the association. One level focuses on the upcoming year through a study of the annual business plan and budget, a task that allows us to allocate our resources to programs and services that best serve our mission and our members. The second level takes a longer, more strategic view, and studies planning from a broader organizational perspective. This strategic planning process is the development of GCSAA's "North Star," and provides us direction in serving our members, their facilities and the industry. For example, many years ago GCSAA members helped to develop and ultimately approve a set of membership standards. That strategic process set the foundation for the annual allocation of resources to a plan that enabled the association to implement the standards in place today. Since its founding in 1926, GCSAA has engaged members about the future. Today, we do this through our committees, at meetings with chapter representatives and at our annual Chapter Delegates Meeting. We ask about issues in the workplace — compensation and benefts, job security, employeremployee relations, etc. We ask about outside infuences on the job of the superintendent — government regulation and legislation, the demands of golfers, the rising infuence of the environmental community. We ask about the skills superintendents need now and in the future — agronomy, business management, leadership, communications. This information, along with data gathered through a variety of member surveys, lays the groundwork for a strategic plan for the association that guides decisions on resource allocation. We know we can't accomplish everything we would like to, so it's imperative we have solid information to establish a priority list of what is important. This past March, the board held a two-day strategic planning meeting. Instead of looking ahead just three to fve years like we have at many previous meetings, we looked toward 16 GCM September 2013 the year 2020 and took an in-depth look at what we believed the profession, the game and the association would look like. One of my favorite quotes about the future comes from a toplevel manager at Apple Computer, who said, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." While we may not be inventing the future for the game of golf, we certainly can be a driving force when it comes to what takes place and how it affects each and every GCSAA member. One area your board paid particular attention to in this While we may not be inventing the future for the game of golf, we certainly can be a driving force when it comes to what takes place and how it affects each and every GCSAA member. exercise was technology. We all know how important technological advances have been in the progress we have seen in golf course management in the past two decades, and we know technology will remain a major driving force for the industry. Although the board has taken what it believes to be solid frst steps in planning for the future of both the association and the industry, the real direction in moving toward 2020 will come from direct member input. And with the 2013 Chapter Delegates Meeting right around the corner (Oct. 1-2 at GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kan.), now is the time to provide us with that input. We want all GCSAA members to have a stake in this process, so I encourage chapters that have regularly scheduled meetings between now and then to make a discussion on the future of GCSAA and the industry a part of their agendas. I also encourage you to reach out to me directly at to offer your thoughts. GCM Patrick R. Finlen ( is the director of golf at The Olympic Club in San Francisco and a 28-year GCSAA member.

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