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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gcm ex t ra 'One big party' Like many superintendents, Mike Turner, CGCS, has employees from a number of different demographic backgrounds as part of his staff. Turner, a 15-year GCSAA member, is the director of agronomy at The Reserve Vineyards Golf Club in Aloha, Ore. Many of Turner's full-time crew of 23 and 10 to 12 seasonal part-time employees are Hispanic Americans and are not avid golfers, so he has developed an annual Cinco de Mayo event in which the non-golfers can play soccer and enjoy barbecue and other outdoor activities. Those who do play golf will get to tag along with Turner at least once a year to a neighboring golf club, often a private one, where they get to play 18 holes and enjoy lunch and/or dinner as part of the day. Turner thinks those activities allow his staff to experience activities they enjoy the best. "Either way it's a fun activity where one is a big party and the other allows us to enjoy golf in a different setting from where we work," Turner says. In fact, he uses the golf trips to other courses as a bit of an informal teaching tool, where he and his employees will view and discuss course management and upkeep strategies that are being implemented there. "It's interesting how different people, including me, will see and notice different things being done to the course," Turner says. "It's one of the things we'll discuss during or after the round — how they are handling the sand traps or types of grass used." Pennies for pizza Jim Alwine recently took over as the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Bernardo Heights Country Club in San Diego after working in a similar role in Stockton for several years. During his time as a superintendent, the 14-year GCSAA member has sold old department equipment to help raise money for team or club staff events. He also has installed a pop machine for the department with inexpensive cans of pop (40 cents). The department nets a proft of about 2 cents per can, 70 GCM September 2013 A challenge course tests team skills at Bernardo Heights CC in San Diego, where Jim Alwine is the superintendent. Photos courtesy of Jim Alwine which also goes into the event fund. With that money, Alwine has purchased small prizes for various events. For example, he has hidden money of various denominations in balloons and then had his staff use darts to reveal what they would win. He has thrown pizza parties and hosted par-3 competitions, fnding that even staffers who are not regular golfers can enjoy par-3 events as well as chipping and putting contests. He took one idea he read about and created an obstacle course on the golf course property. Team members tested their skills in several challenges, such as circumventing "mines" in a feld while wearing a heavy backpack. That type of event really helps the working relationship of a staff, Alwine says. "We've had these fun little events and then we'll get prizes for just about everyone, including last place," Alwine says. "With that obstacle course event, we had people cheering for each other and really having a blast. Giving people money is not how you motivate them, I have found, but it is these fun events that you can do together that everyone really enjoys." Getting creative Alwine's opinion is supported by the book "The Human Capital Edge" by authors Bruce Pfau and Ira Kay. Pfau and Kay write that people want recognition for their individual performance with pay tied to their performance. Employees want people who don't perform fred; in fact, failure to discipline and fre non-performers is one of the most demotivating actions an organization can take — or fail to take. It ranks on the top of the list next to paying poor performers the same wage as nonperformers in defating motivation, Pfau and Kay write. Additionally, the authors fnd that a disconnect continues to exist between what employers think people want at work and what people say they want for motivation. "Employers far underrate the importance to employees of such things as fexible work schedules or opportunities for advancement in their decision to join or leave a company," they write. Alwine also may tell some of his staffers to take off from work a few minutes early on the clock if they have been working hard on a particular course project or have gone the extra mile. He says it may only be for a 10- to 15-minute period but such "rewards" are appreciated, especially after a long day or week of work. A few years ago as the U.S. economy was starting to slide, most of the discretionary funds Turner had previously used to fund staff events were taken away. So, much of the money for the Cinco de Mayo event is raised from recycling empty pop and beer cans. In Oregon, those returnables can be taken to any retailer for

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