Tuesday, August 18, 2015

IGM Helps Caesar’s Improve Top 100 Ranking

IGM is proud to work with Caesar’s Entertainment to maintain its two Las Vegas golf courses, Rio Secco and Cascata. Both are high-end courses designed by renowned architect Rees Jones. Over the past year, the collaboration between IGM and Caesar’s has helped Cascata Golf Club move from a ranking of 53 to 46 in Golf Digest’s, America’s Top 100 Public Golf Courses.

Golfers visiting Las Vegas are drawn to two beautiful Rees Jones-designed golf courses that promise high-end performance: Rio Secco and Cascata Golf Clubs, owned by Caesar’s Entertainment. Each course brings challenges and renown to the golfing experience, and IGM is proud to be the maintenance contractor for both.

Eric Dutt, vice-president for golf operations for Caesar’s Entertainment, selected IGM to take over maintenance responsibilities for the courses in February 2014. “I’m very pleased with the relationship,” said Dutt. Greg Plotner and Steve Gano (IGM’s Executive VP and VP of Operations) visit regularly, so I get the value of their expertise and insight, in addition to the director of maintenance, Jon Dodds, who oversees the courses on a daily basis.”

Cascata Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada is now ranked 46th among top golf courses in the country, up from 53rd in 2014, according to Golf Digest’s, America’s Top 100 Public Golf Courses. Dutt noted that Cascata is a 15-year-old course and maintaining a ranking at that level, more so improving it, “is a testament to the quality of IGM’s work, particularly with no capital outlay at this point.”

Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nevada is home to a teaching facility run by Butch Harmon, often referred to as "the best golf instructor in the world."  Harmon’s students have included Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, and he regularly brings top touring professionals to the club. “Expectations for superior performance at the course are very high,” said Dutt.
Without yet making capital improvements, one of the major priorities at the courses has been improving water utilization. “We have dramatically increased water savings by basing irrigation on the principle of evapotranspiration, or factoring in the different watering needs created by sun, wind, humidity and other conditions,” said Steve Gano, VP of Operations for IGM. “We’re also using the latest technology in wetting agents, products that break surface tension and allow more water to be absorbed.  In addition, we have raised and leveled sprinklers to improve distribution uniformity.”

Efficiency with irrigation is a big deal in the desert; water is a precious, expensive commodity,” noted Dutt. “We have regular discussions about getting better performance at less cost.” With a combined 56,000 rounds of golf played at the two courses each year, daily maintenance is a priority.
Gano added that maintenance director Dodds’ crew includes a designated detail crew. “They don’t ride the mowers. Their job is to take care of the flowers, keep things pruned, and ensure the course looks beautiful.”

Dutt is particularly happy from a business standpoint that he is provided an accurate forecast of his annual maintenance expenses. “That’s especially important with the way the golf industry has been hit. I operate two high-end golf courses, and I need them maintained in a way that allows us to charge the greens fees we do,” said Dutt. “We serve some well-known clients who expect a certain level of performance and experience.”
Dutt added, “The outsourcing model is out of the box, but it’s a model course operators need to look at. Owners with multiple facilities get the opportunity for economies of scale in such things as overseeding. The team at IGM are agronomists as well as business people who can help look at savings.”

Monday, August 3, 2015

IGM to Restore Cypress Greens Golf Course

IGM recently partnered with Sun Communities to take over responsibilities for Cypress Greens golf course in Lake Alfred, FL. IGM Executive Vice-President Greg Plotner and course superintendent Glenn Esposito have plans to restore the course’s fairways and greens to optimal playing conditions.

IGM is proud to announce a new partnership with Sun Communities for the maintenance of the Cypress Greens golf course in Lake Alfred, FL. “It’s a great opportunity to restore this course to its former beauty and playing performance,” said IGM Executive Vice-President Greg Plotner.

When Sun Communities purchased the Cypress Greens property, it was apparent the retirement community’s golf course needed restoration. “The greens, tees, and bunkers were in bad shape,” said Michael Machikas, Divisional VP of Operations and Sales for Sun Communities. The company had successfully outsourced their golf course maintenance services in other communities, so they put the contract out for bid and subsequently hired IGM in May 2015. Machikas said, “I was impressed with Greg and his hands-on approach. He was knowledgeable and made recommendations for course improvements right away.”

Those immediate recommendations included a focus on fertilization, weed control, and updating the irrigation system and the maintenance facility. Plotner said, “A lot of maintenance had been deferred. We needed to get a sound agronomic program in place and ensure that the property was being maintained consistently.”

IGM brought in experienced superintendent Glenn Esposito to oversee the course restoration and daily maintenance.  A previous Cypress Greens maintenance employee remained on the crew. While the contractual relationship is new, IGM is already in process of renovating the bunkers, leveling tees and enlarging the teeing areas. 
Machikas noted, “Cost was not our number one concern, but IGM was less expensive than other bidders. More significantly, they were willing to do things the others weren’t.  It’s clear they want to build a partnership.  In business, you want to work with someone willing to walk with you for the long-term.”