Golf Course Management

OCT 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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front NINE 9 see more @ www.gcsaa.org One of golf's hot-button topics is pace of play, and one of the leading experts on the subject is a superintendent — Steve Southard, CGCS. His new book, "Golf: The Complete Guide to Mastering Play," is available now. Photo courtesy of Steve Southard V v v Nominations for the 2013 Edwin Budding Award are open until Oct. 31. The award, presented by the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association (IGCEMA) and sponsored by Ransomes/Jacobsen, recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the golf course equipment industry, including those who have excelled in the business, history, design, engineering and maintenance of golf course equipment. Budding invented the reel mower and the adjustable spanner/crescent wrench. Go to www.igcema.org to make a nomination. 20 GCM October 2013 Change of pace Tiger Woods weighed in on the issue. So have Arnold Palmer and Paula Creamer. No doubt that Steve Southard, CGCS, belongs on their platform. Woods, Palmer and Creamer were among the famous faces that appeared in those USGA public service announcements televised during the U.S. Open in June as part of the organization's launch of their pace of play initiative, "While We're Young." Southard actually has been addressing that issue much longer. In fact, he has published two books to show for it. A 10-year member of GCSAA, Southard recently published his second book, "Golf: The Complete Guide to Mastering Play." To create immediate interest, Southard is releasing the frst 52 pages of the book as a free downloadable PDF. Just go to www. paceandproduction.com "The industry needs it," Southard tells GCM. "I volunteered to teach it. Pace of play simply can't be ignored anymore." GCSAA allied with the USGA and other organizations to tackle pace of play, which USGA President Glen Nager says has become "one of the most signifcant threats to the health of the game." A National Golf Foundation survey noted that 91 percent of serious golfers are bothered by slow play and more than 70 percent indicate pace of play has worsened over time. Southard, director of golf course management for Loveland, Colo., oversees two 18-hole and one 9-hole course. It was a decade ago, though, when Southard reached what he called his "breaking point" when it came to pace of play. He was part owner of a golf course. "Even with 9-minute tee times, trying to spread them out, was not enough for us to make a sustainable business," Southard says. "Spreading tee times and raising rates are not good strate- gies. Those types of things were never logical to me. The bottom line is, if you are responsible for your golf course's revenue, this is on your plate." Since then, Southard has dedicated himself to seeking solutions. It began by launching a consulting business called Pace and Production LLC. He does public speaking on the topic of pace of play, including seminars for GCSAA. In May 2010, Southard wrote an article for GCM on the subject ("Improving your pace of pay," Page 44). Superintendents are key to making pace of play a non-issue, Southard believes. "Our profession, the superintendents, can make a huge impact on pace of play," he says. "We are out on the golf course all the time. We are in the right place. We can observe what is going on. We can be troubleshooters. We are a great resource on this issue, and we can contribute to making a difference." Southard's suggestions include enforcing the course's pace of play policies, maintaining natural areas so they don't become lostball refuges and improving the role of the roaming beverage cart. In fact, in his latest book, he calls the addition of beverage carts to golf courses "arguably the worst event in the history of golf in regard to pace of play." Everyone needs to chip in, so to speak, for this to work, Southard says. It starts with the golf course owners all the way to the golfers. The frst step? "Training. There is literally no training anywhere, other than our GCSAA seminars and classes," he says. "Owners, golf pros, golfers and superintendents all need to know more. They have to take pace of play as a value to their organization. If it's not a value, you're not training." — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor

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