Golf Course Management

OCT 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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our profession shrinking a robust 25 percent in this scenario. This is not good news for any superinten - dent, whether you are just starting your career or are trying to fnish a long tenure on a high note. However, it is not necessarily bad news for every superintendent or the many organi - zations that have protected golf since its in- fancy. The golf industry took a hit, and adjust- ments must and will be made in every aspect of the way we manage the game, our facilities and our careers. Is the situation we see in golf 's magic mirror scary? Yes. Apocalyptic? No. Facing the statistics: The rest of the story There are still a lot of really good jobs in our industry. They are not as plentiful as they once were but they are not as rare as unicorns, either. It simply requires more investigation to quantify if a job is really good or not. Seasoned superintendents advise that you should always know your business — the whole business — if you are going to fnd long-term success, whether you are interviewing for a potential job or celebrating your golden anniversary in a position. This means not only knowing the meticulous fnancial details for your operation but also having an accurate knowledge of the fnancial strength of the entire business, even your property's position (rising or falling) in the local marketplace. There have been too many superinten - dents that looked into golf 's magic mirror and only saw a part of the whole refection, their personal/operational part. They performed well by most measures but were surprised to learn that the facility was going into foreclo - sure or that their position was being elimi- nated for reasons they never acknowledged or suspected. Darren Davis, CGCS, superintendent at Olde Florida Golf Club in Naples and a mem - ber of GCSAA's board of directors, sums up golf 's fnancial realities this way: "In today's challenging economic times, a successful su - perintendent must have a frm grip on the f- nancial situation of the entire facility, not just their department. "Golf is a business, and the days of stay - ing employed for only providing good course conditioning are long gone," continues Davis, who has been a member of GCSAA for 25 years. "The product is still mandatory, but more than ever it must be provided within the fnancial constraints of the facility." Therefore, knowing the whole fnancial picture for a golf operation can give you valu - able insight into whether to grow "wings" (skills and programs to land your next job) or "roots" (skills and programs to sustain your current job) as a golf course superinten - dent. Understanding the numbers and trends within golf can provide a clear image that will guide your career path through diffcult times. Facing change: The constant in the mirror It has been said that the only constant in the golf course superintendent profession is change. When we look into the mirror each day, we see subtle changes — sometimes we notice them and sometimes we don't. I know how constant change can be and how critical having a clear strategy is to fnding success. In my 28-plus years in the industry I have served 14 general managers, nine directors of golf and one director of fnance, four owner - ship groups, three brands (Nestlé/Stouffer, Renaissance, Marriott) and three properties. Just like the weather moves in cycles impact - ing everything we do as superintendents, the people and programs that we must connect to are constantly changing. Staff members come

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