Golf Course Management

FEB 2014

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

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40 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.14 Effcient technology Advances in technology — whether in the form of mowing equipment, irrigation or smartphones — have forever changed the golf course superintendent's job. That's why I am pleased to be writing this column for GCM about technology and the ways superinten - dents can use it. Our job has been and always will be out on the golf course, looking at the turf, soil and water. Yet, more and more of the job is becom - ing administrative, and this aspect is taking more time away from being on the golf course and providing a great product to our members, guests or the general public. I will say up front I am a tech geek. Ten years ago this would have been an insult; now I look at it as a compliment. In my opinion, how - ever, technology is only useful if it is easy for us to use, saves us time and makes us more eff - cient. Any form of technology is only useful if the time it takes to set it up results in saving us time, making us more productive or providing us more information to make better decisions. My defnition of technology is twofold: First, "the application of scientifc knowledge for practical purposes" and, second, "machin - ery and equipment developed from the appli- cation of scientifc knowledge." This is a simple and practical way to think about technology. Technology is a tool just as your mowers or soil moisture probes or any of the hundred other things you use in your daily work and personal life are tools. Once we become familiar with how to use them, these tools don't intimidate us, and neither should technology. If setting something up takes eight hours and saves us fve over the course of a year, it isn't worth using. But some technologies are well worth the time they take to learn. For exam - ple, spreadsheets can perform multiple math problems instantaneously and save a tremen - dous amount of time. The same can be said for word processing. Not only do these technolo - gies save us time, but they also provide useful information to ourselves and our clubs. Most of us have already mastered these technologies; all the technologies I will be discussing in this column can also be learned and will have sim - ilar advantages. In the coming months, I will use the limited space of this column to describe some of the (Technology) Bob Vaughey, CGCS bobbyyslo@me.com twitter: @rollinghillsgcm useful technologies available to us and provide links to videos or screen shots on the GCSAA website to show how to implement them. If you read something in this column that may be of use, please log in to our website to learn how to utilize it or visit this winter when things slow down on your course to evaluate their appli - cation. We will be covering some very useful forms of technology in the coming months to better help you communicate with your mem - bers, prepare budgets and track all sorts of aspects of your operation. We'll also tell you about some of the fun tools and toys available to you. By my own estimate, I have spent roughly 50 hours of my time setting up things that have allowed me to spend little to no time in my of - fce week to week. This time is now spent on the golf course, with members or staff. Almost everything I do now I do from my iPhone, with my offce simply serving as an information hub. I hope you will fnd this column useful, and please email me with questions or sugges - tions for topics you may want me to cover in the future. Bob Vaughey, CGCS, is the GCSAA Class A director of agronomy at Rolling Hills Country Club in Palos Verdes, Calif., and a 10-year member of GCSAA. Google Android Apple iOS Billions Downloaded 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Rise of the Machines "From 2005 to 2020, the digital universe will grow by a factor of 300 . . . the digital universe will about double every two years." The Digital Universe in 2010, IDC, December 2012 "Mobile apps. Has the world known a faster, broader, deeper diffusion of a major technology? . . . In just four years . . . the number of . . . mobile app downloads grew from essentially zero to 60 billion." Soft Power: Zero to 60 Billion in Four Years, Entropy Economics, December 2012 Number of mobile apps specifcally for golf course management introduced in the pages of GCM's "Product News," Jan. 2012-June 2013 040-043_Feb14_Tech.indd 40 1/17/14 11:55 AM

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