The follow up

Departments - Teeing Off

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December 10, 2021

So, you are planning to attend a conference and show this winter. Before scheduling classes or meetings, think in reverse. Script your post-show plan and objectives first.

Struggling to do this? Perhaps you shouldn’t be spending your — or the club’s — time and money on registrations, memberships, flights, mileage, ground transportation, board (tip from a frequent traveler: go with a rental home or a condo over a hotel), food, drinks and forgotten toiletries.

Travel costs are inflating these days. Accounting departments possess reams of expense reports to prove it.

Those reports, though, can be justified by executing proper follow-up measures. The best conferences and shows lack definitive endings.

Think about a scholastic commencement. Is the occasion about what happened over the previous few years? Or is it about positioning yourself for the next few decades? Successful and motivated people waste nary a minute and never stop applying what they learn. They also think ahead — way ahead.

An idea introduced in a hallway conversation or educational session might not seem feasible next season. But what about three years from now? No detail is too small or too distant. Scribble it in the margins of a notebook or save it on a phone, tablet or computer file. Once or twice a year, study that notebook or file. Practical guidance ages well, so what you learned in 2022 will likely work in 2025.

Perhaps you heard a presentation or conversation about warm-season weed control while working at a cool-season course and thought, “Why should I care?” A few years from now, you might be looking for a change of scenery. Understanding different turf species and growing environments gives you a competitive advantage.

Above all else, golf is a people business. What good is solid turf if you can’t attract people to experience it? And how do you produce solid turf without surrounding yourself with a dedicated team?

You’ll meet dozens of fascinating and successful people at a conference or show. Listen and learn from their experiences. Thank them for their time at the end of a conversation — and thank them again a week or two after the event via a hand-written note (most recommended), email or text. Follow up on your conversation in the ensuing months and years.

Prolong relationships with suppliers, vendors and, yes, even editors you meet at an event. They see and hear plenty. Imagine being connected with thousands of courses instead of just one.

Suppliers and vendors are a huge part of what makes this industry special. Companies make significant investments in regional and national events. You likely have friendships and professional relationships because of something they have funded. Follow up with company representatives even if you don’t have immediate or long-term purchasing needs. They know something that will help your course and, perhaps, career.

The issue you are enjoying, the sixth annual Turfheads Take Over, was built on relationships, many of which started at industry events. Morris Johnson visited our booth at the 2020 Golf Industry Show and explained the cycle of construction, storm recovery and maintenance experienced by his River Oaks Country Club team. We profiled that demanding cycle in our October 2020 issue and Johnson shares perspective from two decades leading the maintenance efforts of a high-profile club in this issue. Richard Brown and Tyler Bloom are busy fathers of young children who still found the time to contribute articles ... again. Chad Allen, another busy father, contributed his second and third Golf Course Industry articles this month. We met Allen hanging around before and after a Zoom conference for assistant superintendents hosted by Bloom earlier this year. He followed up with us a few weeks later and he now has a national platform to help his peers.

Johnson, Brown, Bloom and Allen are just four of the 15 industry professionals who contributed Turfheads Take Over articles in 2021 and they are among the hundreds of people we have encountered at industry events over the years. They followed up with us —and we followed up with them. The results are found on these pages.

Guy Cipriano Editor-in-Chief gcipriano@gie.net