Golf Course Management

JUL 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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74 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.14 A dedicated team Meier, a 17-year GCSAA member who came to Valhalla in 2010 from Chariot Run Golf Club in Laconia, Ind., has been instru - mental in nursing all 18 of Valhalla's greens back to championship form after an extensive golf course renovation in 2011. He believes the leadership triumvirate of Reese, himself and Hamburger has become a highly effective team dedicated to making Valhalla a national/ international championship venue and an en - joyable course for members. "The three of us complement each other well, and I believe we are a strong team," says Meier. "Chris is a great liaison to the members for me when I cannot be present. He's in tune with our operation (on the grounds) quite well. Keith has a strong vision for Valhalla and what the future will look like. I think the Val - halla experience has never been better and will continue to grow. "It's certainly not just the three of us who have made it this way. It is the huge support - ing staff in place, including the 39 men and women on my team, and certainly the PGA of America for investing in the future success of Valhalla Golf Club when we embarked on the renovation of the club in 2011. I have never worked with a more passionate team than the one we have now." Meier knows he has advocates — and trusted team co-leaders — in PGA profession - als Reese and Hamburger. "As with any golf course, everyone's role is important for the overall success of the club," says Meier, who stays in communication with Reese and Hamburger via two-way radios, cell phone calls, texts and emails. "The general manager and head professional are the face of the operation, but the golf course superinten - dent's job is very important because we're the ones providing the product and protecting the asset that everyone is playing on. The GM and head professional are the ones in contact daily with the membership and guests, so it's para - mount that the superintendent's communica- tion is precise." Hamburger, who oversees golf operations and member relations as the PGA head pro - fessional at Valhalla, says it is important for all staffs to work together to deliver a consistently memorable golf experience at the venue that also hosted the 2008 Ryder Cup. "Communication from department to de - partment and from members to operations staff is crucial," notes Hamburger. "We receive a lot of feedback from the members about the golf course, so we need to pass that on to Roger and his crew so they can hear what the membership is thinking. We also stay in tune with what the superintendent and his crew is doing, so we can educate members about golf course improvements or maintenance projects that might affect play. No one likes surprises when they get out on the golf course, so we communicate among all departments to make sure everyone is aware of any special situations each day." Accomplishing a common goal Like most major golf course operations, Meier sets his agronomic calendar a year in advance while Reese sets Valhalla's budget, the maintenance component of which is based on Meier's recommendations. "My role as a general manager is multi - faceted, but it all comes down to being team leaders trying to accomplish a common goal," says Reese. "As the GM, I'm Roger's watch - dog and I have to make sure we're within bud- get. But I'm also his advocate when we iden- tify something that must be done that might not be specifcally in the budget. I'll go to bat for him. I'm a sounding board for Roger, and Roger is a sounding board for me. Roger has a great personality — he's a very positive, up - beat guy. He has been more approachable by our members than any other superintendent I have worked with." Reese, Meier and Hamburger helped form a membership advisory committee last year at Valhalla to increase communication with the membership. The committee has proved in - valuable following the extensive renovation at Valhalla, which closed the course for several months. During the renovation, the leader - ship trio of Reese, Meier and Hamburger kept members up to date via monthly newsletters, Keith Reese Chris Hamburger Roger Meier "Communication from department to department and from members to operations staff is crucial." — Chris Hamburger 072-077_July14_PGA.indd 74 6/17/14 3:42 PM

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