Target Specialty Products will host part eight of its Turf Fuel Master Class Series, focusing on “Turf Health and Fungicides” on Thursday, September 17.
The event is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. EDT / 10:30 a.m. PDT. It is free to attend, and registration is required.
In the webinar, Target Specialty Products, a leading value-added service provider of pest and turf and ornamental solutions in the United States and Canada, will combine discussions on nutritional and chemical control strategies for managing plant health by bringing together two speakers on these topics.
“As a value-added service provider to turf and ornamental professionals, we know that a multi-faceted approach to plant health is critical to success,” VP David Helt said. “Delivering valuable education is core to our mission to bringing value to our customers.”
Speakers Steve Loveday of Turf Fuel and Paul Grotier of Belchim Crop Protection Canada will be on hand to discuss turf health and fungicides, and answer questions from the turf management professionals.
“Through fundamental plant physiology discussions, Loveday will explain how Turf Fuel’s new product VERTICAL enhances plant health from the soil right to the leaf tip,” proprietary products manager Mark Jull said. “Grotier gives a refreshing take on fungicide modes of action and resistance management.”
Headquartered in Santa Fe Springs, California, and with 43 locations in major markets across the United States and Canada, Target Specialty Products continues to experience exceptional growth. The company plans to continue its expansion throughout North America, expanding its footprint and customer service efforts across the West, Midwest and East Coast regions.
Superintendents are making the move from golf course superintendent to general manager/COO roles at a record pace. The trend started with Frank Dobie at Cleveland Golf and Country Club in 1964. An analysis shows that 39 general managers/COOs rose to their position from the superintendent ranks. Recent movement has seen the brothers of Eric and Nicholas Von Hofen lead The Club at Weston Hills and Colliers Reserve, respectively.
Why are superintendents having such success in making these moves? Superintendent positions develop a broad skill set that are necessary for general managers/COO positions. The traits required for superintendents and general Managers/COOs to be successful include but are not limited to:
- Financial analyst
- Continuous learner
Leaders: Impressive superintendents are the first to arrive and last to leave in their operations. Superintendents manage large staffs. They hold their employees accountable to the standards that have been created. Superintendents cast the vision for course presentation that the staff must believe in and deliver. The greatest leaders encourage their staff to push through difficult times. The weather will often work against the efforts of the agronomy team. The superintendent as a leader stays positive, encouraging the team through the obstacle until the weather changes. Superintendents have to motivate through many challenging times and they know they are only as good as their recruited and trained staffs.
Communicators: Superintendents are experts in course conditions. They must manage this information up to the general manager/COO, laterally to the director of golf and downward to the golfer. Superintendents should be the source of information to the golfer and not leave this task up to the golf shop. Superintendents create content and distribute it via social media directly to the customer and create more raving fans. Many manage Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and pages on the club’s website. Their communication plans are maintained and measured through analytics to determine the best method of delivery. Superintendents understand that being proactive stops rumors and focuses the membership on facts.
Mentors: The millennial work force craves mentoring and superintendents have been providing that skill for years. The United States labor force continues to expand with millennials. Internship programs that have been created by superintendents have morphed into mentoring programs. Superintendents have moved from just providing a job to counseling the students with career advice beyond their internship. Creativity with housing, bonuses (signing and retention) and providing experiences beyond the golf course have been helpful. These mentoring programs have been useful in filling open positions at the club with top talent.
Recruiters: Many superintendents host televised golf events. Superintendents are required to solicit and obtain sponsorship monies to create revenue for the added expense of supporting a PGA TOUR volunteer program. These programs require housing, transportation, clothing and food for the participants. The recruiting is performed primarily through local GCSAA Associations, social media, universities and personal networks. General managers are also required to recruit top talent to the club for department head positions. Labor recruitment will continue to be one of the toughest facets in the country club industry.
Financial analyst: Superintendents manage the largest expense department in the club. The premier superintendents build their operating budgets as zero-based budgets and not off a rolling 12 forecast. Zero-based budgets allow the department’s finances to match the standards created by the green committee. Superintendents are well-versed in capital planning in equipment replacement and this skill allows them to create a recapitalization plan for the entire property when they are general managers/COOs.
Continuous learner: Superintendents are constantly seeking educational opportunities. Technology in their field changes rapidly with plant protectants, equipment and irrigation. Superintendents adapt to the new trends in the industry for their courses to stand apart from the competition. Country club trends are changing in relation to generational desires. The club must adapt or become irrelevant in the marketplace.
As new general manager/COO positions need to be filled, the board of governors for country clubs should expand their mindsets when filling their club general manager/COO role. The top-tier superintendent has developed the skills to succeed. The track record of Frank Dobie and the many that followed him have proven long-term sustainability and success of superintendents moving into General Manager/COO roles.
Tom Vlach, CGCS, is the is the director of golf courses and grounds at Grey Oaks Country Club, a 54-hole facility in Naples, Florida.
Green Start Academy is moving to a virtual format for 2020 as it welcomes a new class of assistant superintendents. The annual event, hosted by John Deere and Bayer, will be comprised of a series of virtual sessions that will begin with a general session on Oct. 14, bringing together the best and brightest of the golf industry.
“We are excited to continue the tradition of Green Start Academy to further the careers and personal connections of assistant superintendents,” said Robert Schmidt, global manager of market development & strategy for John Deere Golf. “Even though our program may look different this year, our goal remains unchanged — to provide professional development and networking opportunities for all Green Start Academy participants.”
Following the general session, participants will have an opportunity to connect via virtual roundtable conversations with notable industry professionals and cultivate critical skills such as leadership and team management through a series of online sessions. In addition, participants will be assigned to smaller mentorship groups with various golf industry leaders to further encourage meaningful conversation and deeper connections with other participants and facilitators.
A new offering for the 2020 Green Start Academy will be a keynote session that is open to all past participants and facilitators, bringing together 15 years of Green Start Academy attendees. Jeff Havens, a successful author, business growth expert and communication expert, will deliver the keynote on leadership in a multigenerational culture. Havens will provide participants with insights about how to become an exceptional leader and guidance for successfully navigating the challenges they may face as they grow professionally. Alumni will receive a separate communication with registration details.
“Because of the dynamic nature of the year, we want to move forward with the Green Start Academy and meet the attendees where they are to continue to develop the next generation of leaders in the turf market,” Bayer Golf customer marketing manager Mike Hirvela said. “While we won’t be meeting face to face, I believe we will provide attendees an experience just as impactful as we have in previous years.”
Green Start Academy is open to assistant superintendents from the U.S. and Canada who are looking to advance their careers and build connections within the industry. The application process is open through Sept. 8.
Superintendent panelists include:
- Carlos Arraya, Bellerive (Missouri) Country Club
- Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club
- PJ Salter, Riveria (Florida) Country Club
- Bob Farren, Pinehurst (North Carolina) Resort
- Grant Murphy, Barrie (Ontario) Country Club
- Lukus Harvey, Atlanta Athletic Club