Opened in 1978, Lakeview Golf Club is considered a Treasure Valley gem located between the rugged Rocky Mountains and Snake River Valley. The Bob E. Baldock-designed 18-hole, par 72 course enjoys a high desert climate and the beauty of all four seasons.
“Lakeview Golf Club has been a community treasure for more than 40 years and we’re excited to expand on the goodwill and great golf experience it provides our citizens,” said Mike Barton, superintendent for the City of Meridian Parks. “With the help of our city leaders, dedicated employees and KemperSports management, we’re confident this will be a reality.”
Tree-lined fairways, undulating greens, strategic pin placements, numerous water features, and bunkers throughout the 6,521-yard layout present challenges for seasoned players and a sense of accomplishment for those less experienced in the game.
“Whether you’re a long-standing resident, a newcomer or simply passing through the Treasure Valley, Lakeview Golf Club offers a fun, memorable experience,” KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner said. “We look forward to building on this already amazing foundation and bringing our formula for delivering great golf experiences to the state of Idaho for the first time.”
The goals of the Fazio renovation were to improve the overall golf experience while protecting the legacy of the club and the integrity of the original design, and to advance the golf course for the future. The project included updating the playing surfaces with new modern Bermudagrasses to allow for faster greens speeds and more consistency, the updating of bunker positions and sand, improved tee locations, the expansion of the practice facilities, and the addition of new drainage where necessary to provide firmer and faster playability conditions.
“We are excited to showcase the outstanding course improvements made by Fazio’s team to our many members who are returning to Florida for the winter months,” general manager Tom Noyes said. “The renovation project has greatly enhanced the superb design and will elevate recognition of the Coral Creek Club as one of the finest courses in the state. Importantly, the course can be enjoyed by golfers of all levels but also will present a challenging test for the very best players.”
The entire property was also cleared of overgrown vegetation and native areas were restored.
Coral Creek Club is situated at the southern tip of the Cape Haze Peninsula near Little Gasparilla Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast and is bordered by Coral Creek and a 6,000-acre protected nature preserve.
The art of giving feedback requires a sweet spot of providing enough guidance and direction without overwhelming employees or yourself.
As annual reviews or seasonal exit interviews are being administered, management teams have been curious about best strategies to provide proper feedback. Shifting away from annual reviews to more periodic coaching sessions is becoming normal practice to maintain highly engaged teams.
Creating an environment where constructive feedback becomes a normal habit in your operations requires repetition, clear trust, self-awareness and open mindedness. Leaders should incorporate feedback from the hiring process into onboarding and throughout the employee life cycle.
Institutionalizing feedback sessions can be intimidating and a bit inauthentic. However, keeping calendar benchmarks to have formalized sit-down meetings with team members can be healthy reminders to stay connected.
In the spirit of mentorship, superintendents should share the responsibility with their management team. Establish some base guidelines to solicit feedback with staff members, appropriate language and boundaries. Any misalignment, gaps or breakdown in the delivery of feedback can compromise the intent and exchange.
Creating shared values will tie nicely with your leadership team’s approach to constructive feedback and generating a high-performance team. Connecting and generating trust from the top down will become much easier, and you will inspire those from the bottom up with clear guidelines. After all, when employees confide in others, rather than combat them, they’re more inclined to speak candidly.
The standards should constantly evolve to the personalities and strategic goals of the business. What was acceptable a year ago will not propel business forward. Build trust and confidence by acting on feedback and making necessary changes.
One of the biggest miscues in soliciting feedback to employees is not giving it at all. Waiting for the ideal moment to praise or bottling up frustration over mistakes and pushing them to the side until review time is counterproductive.
The adage “pick your battles” is certainly relevant when we’re bogged down with the stresses of summer heat, short labor pools and personal responsibilities to the job. However, don’t let seasonal demands be a scapegoat to provide corrective actions and often inspirational messages.
Many managers are uncomfortable giving feedback for a variety of reasons, but mostly due to our own insecurity to sound corny or stupid. That’s why establishing rapport early and often reduces the awkward tension.
No great leader wakes up in the morning and thinks, “Oh, I plan to be a jerk today and point out mistakes in my direct reports.” But missing important coaching and teaching moments reduces your growth opportunity to communicate and build relationships. Reframe feedback with guidance and commit to the tenet that you care about your employees and the team’s growth. You can provide feedback with growth intentions, not skepticism and negativity.
Often in morning meetings as a golf course superintendent, I would take the opportunity to start the day with a positive acknowledgement regarding course conditions, an employee accomplishment or company update. Reinforcing positive feedback, I would offer an opportunity for the staff to contribute. I put myself out there for criticism and accountability. Most importantly, it allowed me to put my communications on the right path vs. being an adversary and skeptic.
As the day unfolded, I intentionally made a point to engage with staff to ask how things were going, gain their perspective on the golf course and ask for any tips. This broke down barriers and allowed employees the opportunity to see me as a human being who genuinely cared about their involvement in our team and work processes.
Understanding differences between generations requires education, skill and an adaptable approach. We can often alienate one person with the same delivery that motivates another person.
In my early experience, I followed traditional annual review practices and old school methodologies that I had developed. I had one approach, and it took all of one or two reviews to be disappointed in my management.
I remember one specific interaction with an extremely experienced, respected and valued employee. There had been tension boiling for some time on both ends. My lack of self-awareness and consistent feedback built an ongoing disconnect and growing frustration. During an annual review, the employee unleashed months of buildup and a checklist of my shortcomings. While the delivery was not acceptable, I recognized quickly I played a major hand in his frustration and looked back at many missed opportunities to build a connection.
The individual didn’t want constant public engagement, but private recognition, direct communication with me and desired autonomy to make in-field decisions without my consent. My behaviors of constant follow-up, shared responsibilities and developing internal growth with younger staff members made him feel uncomfortable in his position. Because of the individual's extensive experience in standard, top-down management systems, the employee did not feel safe or comfortable opening up in fear of retaliation.
While my efforts to create an open-door policy were genuine, a combination of factors contributed to his self-doubt. One of the most valuable lessons I learned early in my career came from current Crooked Stick (Indiana) Golf Club superintendent Jake Gargasz: “To earn respect, you have to give respect.” In this instance, I needed to give respect, show humility and establish mutually agreed upon follow-up protocols. I let silence become the norm, and the individual felt threatened. Moving forward, if I could tell there was tension between myself or any team member, I developed the confidence to put my ego aside and be vulnerable. I used the hard lesson as a benchmark to establish more customized communication channels, respective of personality differences. I also established collaborative programs to ensure my goal of a fluid nature of the organization structure resonated.
I asked for the individual’s help in the relationship, which served us both to establish a better understanding of our personality differences, communication styles and overall work styles. In addition, providing career path and growth opportunities demonstrated our commitment. When dealing with youth, acknowledgement is often the simplest motivator and precursor to feedback. Often in my travels I have listened to managers discuss disengagement from young staff members, only to observe them drive right past them moments earlier without making eye contact.
Here are some suggestions that may serve you well in feedback sessions:
- Look at people straight in the eye, smile and state their first name
- Strike the perfect tonality of being empathetic, direct and trusted advisor
- Give impromptu praise first, establish rapport, provide constructive criticism if necessary, and encourage feedback
- Take ownership in your miscues, take action on your promised deliverables and set a timetable for a follow-up meeting
- Don’t overload them with feedback and unrealistic goals
- Offer enough positive support and encouragement
Creating the proper feedback sessions can be instrumental in advancing your operations. As I became more comfortable in my own skin, I adopted feedback into our standards of operation. This allowed the staff – young or old – to clearly define the standards they had for themselves, hold each other accountable and provide an employee-directed work environment.
Asking for feedback from direct reports on an individualized basis provided them opportunity to contribute to the organization. After trial and error, I often found that employees were able to bring unique perspectives to solving problems on the golf course, creating a diverse and collective representation.
Build an action plan to address bad behavior. As critical issues continue to build, they will result in emotions of anger and resentment. Once it reaches a peak, it explodes and the feedback is harsher than it needs to be. Create follow-up meetings to assess how the individual or circumstance is improving.
Impromptu on the spot recognition is a powerful strategy. Developing methods to reward individuals for achieving goals will be extremely valuable to the long-term relationship.
Don’t waste an opportunity to be a positive force in someone’s day or life. Feedback can be both genuinely positive and constructive for your own personal, team and organizational growth.
Tyler Bloom is a workforce and leadership consultant and principal owner of TBloom, LLC. He previously served 15 years in the golf industry, most recently as golf course superintendent at Sparrows Point Country Club in Baltimore, Maryland. Follow him on Twitter @tbloom_llc.
I do not know about you, but watching Dustin Johnson win the Masters was just what the doctor ordered. It did not matter who won, the fact we were able to watch the Masters in 2020 would have been classified as good medicine in a year unlike any of us has ever endured.
It is hard to believe that at this time last year families were preparing for Thanksgiving celebrations with hopeful thoughts for what the new year would bring. Now, here we are one year later after enduring arguably — actually, I do not even think it is arguably — the most stressful year on the planet in our lifetimes.
Lockdowns, quarantines, self-isolation and closed businesses led to high numbers for unemployment and uncertainty. Mix that with civil unrest, peaceful protests and riots in parts of the country, followed by a contentious election and it felt like 2020 was guilty of piling on.
And I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic surged again late in the year, leading to increased measures and more lockdowns and closures for parts of the country. As Charlie Brown would say, “Good grief!”
So, back to Augusta National Golf Club and the November Masters. For those who truly know me, it is no surprise the Masters is my favorite tournament and I binge on everything Augusta National each spring. Shoot, I wrote about the awesomeness of their impeccable attention to detail in these very pages shortly after the 2019 Masters, won by Tiger Woods.
Seeing Augusta National sprinkled with the golden hues of autumn was breathtaking. Seeing more of the golf course without patron stands and patrons certainly added an interesting element for those of us who geek over architecture. And seeing the golf course looking spectacular as expected, but simultaneously not its very best, was something else I believe the doctor ordered.
For those of you who abstain from social media, you are missing out four weeks a year (only three in 2020) when the majors are played. Golf/turf Twitter is an interesting place to hang out when the biggest prizes in golf are up for grabs. This November Masters was no different.
It started in September when pictures of a brown Augusta National surfaced on Instagram. Then, about three weeks later, it was green again. That’s the magic of Augusta National and perennial ryegrass. The Masters is played the second week of April because it is the optimum time of year for peak ryegrass, peak bentgrass performance, and peak spring blossoms and blooms.
The folks at Augusta National could have easily canceled this year’s tournament and not permitted a glimpse behind the curtain at a time of year when things are not yet up to typical Masters standards. But thank goodness they did not. Kudos to chairman Fred Ridley and the Augusta National membership for allowing the world to see the work of Brad Owen and his amazing staff and team of volunteers this year. We needed it.
Granted, no one would have predicted the first day of the tournament would be interrupted for three hours as tropical moisture from a storm named Eta would collide with an approaching cold front to kick off a torrential line of downpours in mid-November. But, hey, it’s 2020! That same line of storms hit my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, later that same morning, kicking off widespread flash flooding and setting a record for one-day rainfall. We saw 4.28 inches at Carolina Golf Club. “Good grief!”
So, the overseed at Augusta National was still juvenile, the warm fall temperatures kept the base Bermudagrass actively growing and areas of the course experiencing the severest of shade showed the signs of less than perfection. And not one player complained.
Personally, I thought the fact the overseed was thin in places and the 12th green was starving for sunlight showed the golfing world that the perfection we’re accustomed to in spring does not exist 52 weeks a year, and hopefully that in turn is a good thing.
Golfer expectations are a widely discussed topic in our world, and the conversation is rarely if ever positive. And Augusta National is widely criticized each year for creating the unrealistic expectations the rest of us try and live up to. Heck, it has even been named Augusta Syndrome by some.
But in this year of all years, we saw an Augusta National on a global stage unlike we have seen her in decades. I believe it was just what the doctor ordered.
Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG, is the superintendent at Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, and past president of the Carolinas GCSA. Follow him on Twitter @CGCGreenkeeper.