Friday, April 27, 2012

Attitude Matters – Even in Golf Course Maintenance

Last night on American Idol, Elise found out the importance of attitude.  After weeks of smug reactions to the judges and almost haughty appearances, Elise found herself voted off the prime time show.  It had nothing to do with her singing ability and everything to do with her way of behaving.  We all can learn from this.

In the world of golf course maintenance, we’re judged every day – multiple times a day.  Oftentimes, we’re judged without consideration for increasing golf course maintenance costs or other uncontrollable challenges.  Too many times, we’re compared to the golf course down the street without anyone considering the differing golf course infrastructures, locations and obstacles.  What’s most important – is how we react to the reviews of our customers. 

We believe all of our employees should exhibit the following traits when dealing with customers, co-workers and industry peers:  professionalism, tact, friendliness, helpfulness and openness.  During orientation, IGM team members are trained utilizing a proprietary manual specific to golf course maintenance tasks.  Team members are introduced to the game of golf and are briefed on the terminology appropriate for use at a golfing facility.  IGM personnel are encouraged to smile, make eye-contact, address members and guests by their sir name, i.e. Mr. Mrs. Ms. etc., and in general project a positive attitude.  And, most importantly, they will be encouraged to always find a win-win outcome in any situation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April Anniversaries

We would like to recognize the following team members who have demonstrated their continued commitment to excellence and have reached important milestones with IGM.

12 Years
Scott Brindley

9 Years
Wayne Deese

7 Years
Gerald Cheslock

6 Years
Chue Chang

5 Years
Jeffrey Coe
Josue Garcia
Gabino Garcia
Gabriel Guzman-Mota
Joseph Malarles
Franco Vecchio

4 Years
Leland Cumming
David Ramos

3 Years
Jorge Avalos
Roger King
Gene Mulholland

2 Years
Kevin Karkiewitz
Mark LeBron
Christopher Swider
Andres Lopez

1 Year
Ramon Vizcarra
Renee Arden
Julio De La Cruz
Mark Edmisten
Jaklyn Hunter
Derik Lopez
Adam Wagner

Thanks to each of you for your efforts in making IGM the leader in the golf maintenance industry. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don’t Make These Mistakes!

Have you heard about all of the qualified Golf Course Superintendents losing their jobs to less costly (sometimes unqualified) Assistant Superintendents just to save a few bucks?  Or, have you heard about the Superintendent being asked to cut the golf course maintenance budget by 20%?  We hear troubling stories each week about a different club faced with the challenge of losing money.  However, trimming the budget by an arbitrary amount or sacrificing a competent Superintendent can be extremely costly in the long haul. 

At IGM, we employ a golf course maintenance strategy which can help a club improve the bottom line.  The answer may not always be to randomly lower the golf course maintenance budget or cut golf course maintenance positions.  IGM representatives listen to club owners, directors, committees and management closely, and we develop affordable golf course maintenance plans to fit into the club’s overall budget.  IGM’s customized golf course maintenance plan will match the goals of the Club.  First and foremost, IGM understands the importance of golf course maintenance conditions and how the quality of the maintenance affects golfer satisfaction.  Across the Country, IGM has been implementing efficient golf course maintenance programs for years – well before the hurdle we now face in the golf maintenance industry. 

To see if IGM’s maintenance plans can help you or your course, please call (800) 413-5500 or click here to contact us.

Friday, April 13, 2012

April Birthdays

Members of the IGM Team with April birthdays:

Santos Abelar
Christian Acevedo
Brian Aiken
Charles Benton
Junobed Bonilla
Prophete Branel
Tanner Couch
LeLand Cumming
Richard Davis
Juan Diaz
Curt Doerrer
Christopher Domurat
Ryan Duffel
Enzo Galiano
Jorge Garcia
Roberto Gomez
Todd Hugill
Anthony Huseman
Kevin Karkiewitz
Robert King
Michael Kuhn
Derik Lopez
Maria Martinez
Shane McGuire
Raymond Morrison
Fred Ponton
Kapiledo Ramkaran
Gamard Richardson
Luciano Rodriguez
Marvin Rodriguez
Carlos Rosario
Richard Taft
Robert Tetlow
Adam Wagner
Terrence Watson
Ernesto Gonzalez
Ramon Vizcarra
David Ramos
Jorge Gorac
Brandon Haynes
Jorge Hernandez

We wish each of you a very Happy Birthday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Warm Spring Good For Golf, But...

USGA Green Section
April 4, 2012

It's important to remember many courses are not yet fully staffed and pest management programs may require adjustments.

Tee it up! Golf activity always parallels the weather. A mild winter and warm early spring conditions have been welcomed by golfers across the country. Golfers are not the only ones loving the weather, however, as golf facilities are seeing boosts in early season revenues.

Obviously, the unanticipated financial gains are important to all golf facilities but especially helpful to courses that suffered abysmal margins last year due to extreme weather conditions, most notably the severe drought in the southern U.S. and excessive rain and heat in many Midwestern and northern states.

As golfers gain an early start honing their game in 2012, golf course superintendents are busy with course preparations roughly a month or more ahead of schedule. Staffing is limited at this time and the labor hours available are typically reserved for completing offseason projects, such as drainage installation, tree maintenance, bunker renovations, etc. With full staff levels still several weeks away, turf managers are scrambling to condition golf courses to meet expectations while still trying to complete scheduled off-season projects.

Labor is the largest line item in a golf course maintenance budget, so the obvious concern in bringing seasonal employees back early is an effect on the bottom line. An early start to the golf season equates to an extended golf season, and this requires more labor and resources for course conditioning and setup. Operating budgets are determined well in advance and on the assumption of a golf season more typical in length. Unless serious adjustments are made to the “to do” list, it is unlikely that turf managers can operate within the approved operating budgets created months in advance. Keep these early-season expenses in mind as the season rogresses.

In addition to labor concerns, a few other factors need to be considered as they relate to the early spring.

● A significant amount of winter and/or early spring play on putting greens that are not actively growing could lead to turf thinning and bumpy surfaces. Turf may be green but not actively growing and therefore unable to recover from wear injury. Or, if it is growing, is it growing fast enough to stay ahead of wear? Additional nitrogen inputs and light topdressing may be necessary to promote active growth for recovery from traffic stress.

Additional aeration and rolling may also be necessary to smooth the surfaces from winter play. To further complicate early season turf recovery efforts from increased winter play, sometimes regional challenges exist, with one such example being a state regulation in New York that does not allow golf courses to apply nitrogen until April 1.

● For cool-season turfgrasses, spring is the time to produce a healthy and deep root system, which is an indicator of how well the turf is prepared for hot summer conditions. An earlier spring could equate to a longer period in which to build a deep, healthy root system before summer. However, root production is directly related to mowing height, so potential gains in rooting could be thwarted by earlier than normal ultra-low mowing heights on putting greens.

● Warm-season grasses have greened up but have yet to begin the lateral growth necessary to recover from whatever damage was experienced last fall and through the winter. As a result, they are highly susceptible to additional injury from concentrated traffic. The key is to control traffic beforedamage occurs, not after it is obvious to everyone.

● Pre-emergence herbicides used to suppress summer annual grassy weeds (e.g. crabgrass and goosegrass) will need to be applied earlier than normal because soil temperatures warmed up so early. With the early application, some herbicides may not last the entire season, and this could lead to weed breakthrough later in the season. An additional pre-emergence application may be necessary for season-long control, or additional post-emergence control may be necessary.

● An early rise in air and soil temperatures brings with it earlier insect emergence and activity. Proper insecticide timing is crucial for control, and the early spring dictates that adjustments to planned control strategies will be necessary. Not only are insecticide applications needed earlier in the year for control, but the extended season may also require repeat applications. For the northeast U.S., the annual bluegrass weevil, a tiny, yet devastating turf insect, becomes active as spring weather warms. The insect has become active already in many areas weeks ahead of schedule, which will add to the challenge of preventing this pest from damaging golf course turf. For the southern parts of the country, nematode and mole cricket activity has demanded earlier control treatments that may have to be repeated as the season wears on.

● Disease prevention programs may require adjustments, especially for pathogen control that is implemented based on soil temperature (e.g., summer patch). Many courses will need to make initial applications earlier than normal and potentially require more total applications for the season. For instance, summer patch disease prevention in most situations requires control from mid-May through August. That window may be extended by an extra month this year. On courses with bermudagrass greens, leaf spot (Bipolaris and Drechslera) has been much more active and is present earlier than usual. Other turf diseases may become active earlier as well, extending the need for fungicide applications, which will add significant costs. Remember, heavy traffic and slow turfgrass growth increase disease occurrence, reduce the effectiveness of control efforts, and exacerbate disease damage.

● Earlier than normal maintenance may also mean earlier than normal impacts on the budget. Regular mowing and other routine maintenance tasks cost money. Enjoy the additional early season revenue, but remember the potential impacts that this may have on your maintenance budget! Golf courses are busy and that is a great thing! Just remember that with all the benefits of the early spring warm weather, there are season-long implications for the turf and operating budget. Some golf course maintenance practices may need to be examined and adjusted. Of these, labor resources will be the most limiting. Golfer patience and understanding become even more important.

Having trouble meeting the challenges of the early start of the season or looking to improve your overall maintenance operation? IGM may be able to help. Contact us with your questions or concerns. Put our expertise to work for you. Click here.