As the 2010 golf season comes to a close, we spend our days now reflecting back on our season. It was a pretty good year for the maintenance department. We had to swim our way out of the fourteen inches of rain that came down in the spring months. We certainly had our battles with summer and heat stress. We were challenged with tournament preparation for three big events. We faced in-house projects that helped renovate the course, particularly the golf school facilities. Lastly, our management team was challenged with the training of a young staff. The year of 2010 will certainly go down in our memory bank.
The reassuring thing about 2010 is that we have a great staff committed to providing great playing conditions. Each individual was excited to take on a new challenge. It was fun helping and watching individuals on our staff grow into better people or better turf professionals. We learned a lot from this year. But, like any department, there is always room for improvement. That is what the winter months are for.
“So what do you guys do all winter long?” is the common question asked by any uninformed individual to a turf professional this time of year. Well, there is plenty of work to keep us busy while we wait patiently for the turf to break dormancy. The mechanics stay busy servicing the 130 pieces of equipment in our fleet. The assistants and I consistently evaluate our programs from this past season. Those programs include, mowing schedules, spray schedules, crew efficiency and productivity, staff orientation, and overall staff management. We evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve. We spend some time in the classroom learning the newest products and research from university professors. Dr. Kaminski (Penn State), Dr. Mitkowski (URI), and Dr. McElroy (Auburn) are some of my favorite professors to listen to at the winter turf meetings. Along with internal evaluation and continuing education, we spend a lot of time analyzing budget and trying to project for the 2011 season. Last, but definitely not least, is snow removal. Our full-time staff is in charge of property snow removal, keeping the parking lots and building walkways cleared and salted.
Although it may not appear to be a full-time job, it definitely lasts 12 months. Our summer heat is long gone, and our days of watering turf until the sun goes down won’t exist until for another six months. We must take this time to oil and fine tune the inner parts of our maintenance department, not just our machines, but our infrastructure as well. Thanks for your support this year! Make sure to continue to read the blog, as we will continue to post educational pieces and advice for your lawn this spring. See you on the course!
-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent