Golf Course Management

FEB 2018

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

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Page 23 of 119

International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association (IGCEMA), spearheaded by Stephen Tucker, became a reality. "I was the first secretary/treasurer and did all the legwork for getting our 501(c)(6) status, hired and consulted with an attorney to draft bylaws, and hired an accountant to guide us financially," Kriz says. Tucker lauds the role Kriz played in IGCEMA's growth. "He was always looking out for the little guy when we started to build IGCEMA," says Tucker, a 17-year GCSAA member and the equipment manager at Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort Orlando. "He has always fought for the place that has only one technician." In 2015, the IGCEMA dissolved and was welcomed by GCSAA, which added an equipment manager classification for membership, in part to identify, enhance and recognize the vital role of equipment managers in the industry. "GCSAA was a great model right in front of us when we first formed. It was all about elevating the profession, to be just as professional as the superintendent was," Kriz says. Arrowhead's Richard Novak, CGCS, supports Kriz and his profes - sion. "When you call somebody a mechanic, you probably think they work on cars. So this (equipment manager title) is a good thing," says Novak, a 31-year association member. "Mike is always want - ing to be better at his job. When something goes wrong or if there is a major repair, typically he'll have it put back together fast." Kriz, a nine-year GCSAA member, has been instru - mental in fostering equipment manager relations with the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA). Helping overseas has allowed Kriz the oppor - tunity to return to England, where he was an instruc- tor at Royal Air Force Base Bentwaters. "When I instruct, teach people, whether it is a mower or a car, I tell them it is smarter than you are. It knows what's broken. You don't. You have to be smarter than it is," Kriz says. That is the challenge that keeps Kriz, 60, on his toes. "I like the sat - isfaction, knowing you can troubleshoot something, fix it, and make it right," he says. — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor SBI 2017: 'They don't teach that in turf school' Working his way up through the ranks of the golf course superintendent profession, Ryan Swilley saw many peers come and go — casualties, in his view, of deficien - cies or generational differences in supervisors' manage- ment styles. "It was 'rule with an iron fist,' and that doesn't work with a lot of people," Swilley says of the early days of his career. "The person in charge needs to possess the skills to understand what motivates different generations and how to create an attractive work environment." A desire to learn those skills himself was part of what led Swilley, now the superintendent at Gulf Stream Golf Club in Delray Beach, Fla., to the Syngenta Business In - stitute, Dec. 4-7 at the Graylyn Estate in Winston-Salem, N.C. Swilley and 25 other superintendents devoted three days to a deep dive into the financial and interpersonal aspects of successful golf course management — and, in the process, got precious insight into themselves. "By the last day, everybody was taking a look in the mirror and seeing their strengths, weaknesses and things they could change," Swilley says. "A lot of things we do because we've always done them that way or we were taught to do them a certain way. It was valuable to take the opportunity to start with myself when it comes to management." The 2017 edition marked SBI's ninth year, and while the format and superintendent-tailored curriculum — taught by professors in the Wake Forest University School of Business — have remained largely unchanged through - out the annual event's run, the variety of backgrounds and career paths within each SBI class makes every install - ment unique. "This year we had two attendees who had an international perspective — they've either worked in other countries or are currently managing courses in other coun - 20 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.18 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.18 20 GCSAA Class A superintendent Bruce Bach always loved the water. Still does. His passion for it saved lives. Long before he became the director of golf course maintenance at TwinEagles Club in Naples, Fla., Bach served in the U.S. Coast Guard. He served as a boatswain's mate, which essentially is the most ver - satile member of the operations on a ship deck, a person capable of performing an array of tasks. While serving at the Coast Guard station in Islamorada, Fla., from 1991 to 1995, Bach participated in the rescue of hun - dreds of Cuban refugees fleeing to the U.S. "For sure, I saved some lives," Bach says. "I've done CPR on people. Two of them died. One time, someone severed a finger but we found it, put it on ice, got him back to shore, and he got his finger reattached. I saw him a few times after that and he showed me his scar." A political science major at the University of Richmond (Va.), Bach imagined he was destined to become a lawyer, like his parents, but instead he joined the Coast Guard. That is when he picked up golf, which in time led him on his current journey. "I was playing on the old Air Force base in Homestead (Fla.), and I was in a group with a golf course superintendent. He told me you could make a pretty good career as a su - perintendent," Bach says. Obviously, Bach took that recommenda - tion to heart. After he left the Coast Guard, Bach enrolled at Lake City (Fla.) Commu - nity College (now Florida Gateway College) to study turfgrass management. In 2002, Bach landed his first superintendent job at Estero Country Club in Village of Estero, Fla. For the past six years, he has been stationed at TwinEagles Club, a 36-hole facility that hosts the Chubb Classic on the PGA Tour Champions circuit. The event is Feb. 16-18. Bach counts on superintendents Julio Francisco, a five-year GCSAA member who oversees the Talon Course where the Chubb Classic is played, and Joel Smith, who over - sees the Eagle Course, both before, during and after the event. "Talon is straightforward with big and wide fairways. What you see is what you get," says Bach, 49, and a 16-year association member. It even has some water hazards, but not anything close to the life-and- death water hazards that Bach encountered in his Coast Guard days. — H.R. ACT ON COURSE OF As a member of the U.S. Air Force, Kriz served as a ground support technician. One of his jobs was helping with the legendary SR-71. Photo courtesy of Mike Kriz

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