Golf Course Management

JUL 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 07.18 — clarify. At the time of a conversation, the person speaking should be the most impor - tant person in your life. With email, always double-check your message before hitting that send button. Spell check can be a lifesaver, but it's not foolproof. Review what you've written by reading it back to yourself slowly to make sure your written words are communicating your intended message. If you're replying to an email, read the entirety before respond - ing. (How many of us have learned that the hard way?) Also, be cognizant of the length of your emails. Most of us don't have time for an email that would take 10 minutes to read. Keep emails brief and specific, provid - ing only the information necessary for the recipient to understand what you need to get across. Do you have a lot to say? Pick up the phone. Is the message sensitive? Are you correcting behavior or holding someone ac - countable? Pick up the phone. Such conver- sations are received far better verbally than via email. In many situations, I've found it's simply more appropriate to communicate over the phone, and too often we seem to overlook this tool. Body language and other forms of non - verbal communication can speak louder than words. Eye contact, hand gestures and tone of voice all factor into conveying a message. Do your best to be relaxed and approachable, and to speak with a friendly tone. Resolve to be honest, open-minded, empathetic and respectful with every per - son you deal with. Maintain eye contact so that people know you're paying attention and are focused on them. Small courtesies such as eye contact, remembering names, and actively listening help cultivate sincere relationships, improving communication among all parties. 2. Hold people accountable is is such a simple concept, and it's im- perative to smooth golf course maintenance operations, yet it can be among the most challenging of tasks with your staff. After your team members have been trained, monitoring their performance and holding them accountable will ensure that the high standards you have set are being met. Get out on the course, watch them do their job, and steer the ship as necessary. Accountability was high on retired su - perintendent David Ing's list of command- ments. David, who previously oversaw Can- yon Oaks Country Club in Chico, Calif., says that even though he had a highly expe - rienced staff, holding his employees account- able was still part of his everyday duties. is commandment encompasses hold - ing yourself accountable too. Know your mission, understand what's expected of you, and train your staff thoroughly. e golf course maintenance crew is only as good as you are. If the members of your team aren't productive or are poor performers, that's a reflection of your leadership abilities. As a su - perintendent, I always took responsibility for any glitches on the golf course. If there was a product failure out there, that was on me. On the other hand, when receiving praise or appreciation for superior course conditions, my reply was always that the maintenance team did all the work. If you let everyone know that you are responsible for any prob - lems on the course and that your staff is re- sponsible for all that is right on the course, you'll gain a lot of support over the years, from both your crew and your clientele. 3. Find balance e challenge of maintaining a personal life alongside a demanding career transcends professions, and striking a work/life bal - ance was another recurring piece of advice Ponderosa pines tower among the 18 holes of The Oregon Golf Club in West Linn, Ore., where Russ Vandehey, CGCS, is the superintendent. Photos courtesy of American Golf

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