Golf Course Management

APR 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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40 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.18 Leo Feser Award CANDIDATE This article is eligible for the 2018 Leo Feser Award, presented annually since 1977 to the author of the best superintendent-written article published in GCM during the previous year. Superintendents receive a $300 stipend for their articles. Feser Award winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Golf Industry Show, where they are recognized. They also have their names engraved on a plaque permanently displayed at GCSAA headquarters. On the other hand, the exceptional leader is a macro-manager and maximizes the ben - efits brought about by positive human con- nections. Such managers ensure employees understand and are committed to organi - zational goals, and give them the training, tools and flexibility they need to best fulfill their duties. The exceptional leader/macro- manager is quick to praise and handles dis - cipline with compassion. Employee mistakes are viewed as a teaching tool. The finished product is of more concern to the macro-manager than the process to get there, and because of this, the macro- manager empowers employees to come up with the best way to deliver the final results. The macro-manager delegates responsibili - ties, and employees are challenged to grow. Thanks to the power of positive human con - nections, the macro-manager typically has time to anticipate and prepare for future snags and difficult periods. An example of effective macro-manage - ment that has resonated with me was that of an assistant superintendent named Steve. One day, as the manager of golf for the city's multiple courses, I asked Steve how often fairways were mowed at his course, to which he responded that he didn't know. I was ini - tially surprised by this answer, but Steve went on to say that if I wanted to know the fre - quency of fairway mowing, I should check with Frank, the fairway mower. I did, and Frank explained that fairways were mowed as needed, the frequency depending on time of year and where the fairways were located. Frank said his goal was to guarantee that "his fairways" provided outstanding playing con - ditions every day. Steve was an ideal manager for Frank. Frank knew the objective was superior fair - way conditions, and he had the training and resources to make it happen. Steve was to - tally committed to the mission of providing superior fairway conditions, but as a macro- manager, he left the decisions on how that was to be achieved up to Frank. If a fairway needed mowing twice per week, that's how often it would get mowed. If, at times during the year, a fairway needed to be mowed twice per day, that's the attention Frank would give it. As a result, the course's fairways were pristine, and no one was more committed to furnishing top-quality fairway conditions than Frank. The superintendent's charge is to create an efficient, productive golf course operation. Focusing on positive human connections in the workplace will no doubt help one emerge as the exceptional leader necessary for success in today's challenging work environment. As ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, "A leader is best when people barely know he ex - ists; when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves." (Or, in the case of Frank and his fairways, "He did it himself.") Dennis Lyon, CGCS, is a past president of GCSAA and has been a Certified Golf Course Superintendent since 1979. He earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture from Colorado State University and a master's in man - agement from the University of Northern Colorado. Den- nis spent 37 years as the manager of golf for the city of Aurora, Colo. A 44-year member of GCSAA, Dennis has received the association's Col. John Morley Distin - guished Service Award and the USGA Green Section Award. He is currently retired and a freelance writer, among other pursuits. Employee empowerment: Exceptional leaders are strong teachers and delegators, and they allow their staff a say in processes, which boosts the ownership that team members feel toward the finished product.

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