Monday, January 16, 2012

Turf Care Center Self Evaluation Form

In an effort to quantify the maintenance facilities conditions from various golf courses I have built a short self evaluation form. It is my hope that the information gathered from this form will be used as a tool to help superintendents identify the general conditions of Turf Care Centers throughout the industry.

Only superintendents that complete this rating form will receive the final data compiled by me. The more superintendents that complete these evaluations the more exact the data will be. Perhaps the use of this data will enable superintendents to “sell” a new and/or improved facility at the golf course they manage.

Please take several minutes and complete this self evaluation form, follow this link.

I will email results one month from today to all that respond.

Mike Vogt, CGCS

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Measuring the Success of the Golf Maintenance

Methodology: A post was made on LinkedIn Groups - GCSAA, Golf Superintendent, Golf Course Superintendents / Turf Professionals, Golf Course Superintendents, Assistants & Interns; also on Facebook Group; Golf Course Maintenance and the blog, Golf Course Business. At these sites a copy of the question or a link was posted to the poll. These posting links and polls where left online for 10 days and active for 10 days.

The question was: If you were ask to measure the success of the golf maintenance business you manage, what one metric would you use?

The selections were:
  • Budgetary
  • Conditioning
  • Player satisfaction
  • Increase in rounds played
Of 132 respondents that weighed-in, no confirmation was made as to the respondents livelihood as a golf course superintendent.

I asked the question to investigate what was considered the mission as viewed by the golf course superintendent to his/her golf course maintenance endeavor. This poll is unscientific but it revealed that the metric that best described success in the business of golf maintenance is Player satisfaction.

Golf course conditioning garnered 21% and is the top response from golfers perennially from the National Golf Foundation.

An Increase in Rounds played could be construed as perhaps a function of discounted pricing but I like to think if an increase was had it was due to better overall management - cost controls as well as proper pricing.

And lastly success as a Budgetary category, the ability to properly manage a golf course to a budget came in last, at 11%.

In McMahon Group's survey database the golf course has always scored highest in satisfaction considering all club amenities, services and features. Most important, the golf facility was always listed as the most important feature at clubs that offer golf.

We can easily take away that the management of golf course maintenance as viewed by golf course managers, superintendents and others in the same business is driven by Player satisfaction and Conditioning, more so than financially driven by increasing rounds or achieving a budgetary goal. Golf course superintendents should also be keenly aware of the facts that sound business management will also be an integral part of the important metrics equation when judging success in golf course management.

Important to the above equation is also a Value – Price – Quality comparison. Golf has a dramatic range of product, from a mom & pop nine hole to a deluxe high end, oceanfront, private clubs. Consider these variables when making decisions on appropriate golf course maintenance techniques.

Being a golf course superintendent you must consider the above dilemma. Golf course superintendents are constantly being asked to achieve two seemingly conflicting goals: assure the highest quality of the course while keeping costs low. While it may seem futile to try to resolve these two conflicting issues, a structured approach towards cost and quality can help, player satisfaction and conditioning are still the most important drivers to success.

Efforts to quantify these elements are always going to cause ulcers. Great superintendents make their best effort to supply the best conditions that will yield player satisfaction and good conditioning along with a cost that can be tolerated by the business. Once this balance is achieved the market will generally reward the facility with increased business, whether it is memberships or daily play.

The lines are generally blurred when it comes to successful management and key metrics involved. All of the choices are indeed interrelated, if one area is left without attention the rest of the categories won’t matter. Players must be satisfied for them to return, a budget must be closely met or the business will not have appropriate funds to operate, conditioning of the course speaks to satisfaction levels and in increase in usage will generally bring in more dollars.