Last month at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Conference, Dr. Ben Wherly (Texas A&M) and I conducted a half-day seminar on managing a golf course under municipality enforced water restrictions. The last section of our presentation deals specifically with communication ideas. Our presentation focuses directly on effective communication with the decision-makers at the golf course and more importantly the customer base for which you provide a service. Many golf courses differ in the hierarchy of authorities that must be onboard with the business decisions that need to be made. As important as it is to be able to educate and communicate well with the decision-makers, we work in a customer-oriented field. The old adage that the “customer is always right” applies to our responsibility to ensure the golfers feel welcomed and privileged from the time they enter the facility to the time they leave. This is especially true at many of the higher-end facilities.
We encourage the people in our class to utilize many different communication resources to inform the golfers and general public about golf course management practices taking place and the positive impacts the golf course has on the local environment. Many superintendents are given the opportunity to write a short update on course management and conditions in golf course newsletters. If you are reading this, you should be somewhat familiar with developing a golf course management blog. Many superintendents use this resource to provide more thorough updates on long term projects and progressions taking place. Many of these blog posts also contain pictures that illustrate the work being conducted and the progress that has taken place over time. My personal favorite is all the social media outlets that we use to communicate with our customer base and the outside world. Many superintendents or golf courses are using these avenues to provide real-time updates or schedule changes (frost delays, cart path only notifications, etc.) to golfers prior to them even leaving their homes. The participants in our class mentioned a pretty large omission and gap in our communication section, and that is making sure you accept your invitation to sit at the legislative table in your respective situation.
I am going to be travelling down to Austin, TX on Thursday, March 26, 2015 to join a group of golf course superintendents and industry professionals to discuss water related issues in Texas.
This is the first year for this event to be held, so we are uncertain how much of it will pertain to our specific water concerns. However, Mr. Kenneth Gorzycki, CGCS at Horseshoe Bay Resort, summed it up best by stating, “always better to be present for self defense than be absent and invite an open forum for negative comments”. Therefore, we will be present at this opportunity to unify the voices of the golf industry in Texas. This example is of the state legislature, but don’t overlook the importance of the municipality water authorities and national legislatures as well. Don’t miss your opportunity to take your seat at the table.