Golf Course Record Keeping
As a golfer, being able to call a course record your own has to be a career highlight. For a superintendent, a detailed set of course records can be a powerful tool of persuasion as well as a self-satisfying accomplishment.
Two great examples of superintendents having a detailed set of course records are Dave Sexton, CGCS at the Meadow Club, and Jim Husting, CGCS at Woodbridge Golf and Country Club.
During a routine visit to check on an NCGA intern at the Meadow Club in late August, I saw that the greens had recently been aerified. This cultural practice was traditionally performed later in the fall (the first week in October), according to Sexton. When I questioned Sexton why he went with an early aerification his response was interesting. The Meadow Club had several large tournaments to host in the fall and the historical window for aerification was very small and routinely encountered weather problems.
Sexton decided to check 20 years worth of weather data to see if there was a recurring weather pattern that would allow them to aerfiy the greens prior to the tournaments rather than after the tournaments. After careful examination, Sexton noticed a trend for cooler weather in the third week of August.
The day before aerification the temperatures were in the high 80’s. The day of aerfication, a cool front and fog moved in and the temperature never got above 58.
Some might say that Sexton beat the odds; I say it was from carefully examining course records.
Jim Husting at Woodbridge G&CC was way ahead of the energy crisis – about 10 years, to be exact.
The Woodbridge membership voted to install a new irrigation system complete with a new pump station. Little did they know they were going to get such a big surprise. The new variable frequency pumps were much more energy efficient, 20% the first full year of operation. The savings continued year after year. After ten years of using the pumps, Woodbridge is just now spending as much on electricity as they did when they installed the pumps in 1992. The energy savings essentially bought the pumps and to top it off, PG&E sent the club a 20% refund for lowering their electric bill by more than 20 %.
Another tool that has been invaluable to Husting at Woodbridge is a computer software program designed to track equipment maintenance and course projects expenditures. Husting and the equipment technician have used the program for ten years to monitor preventative maintenance schedules, purchase orders and employee information and data. Husting admitted that he didn’t know how they performed equipment maintenance before he got the program.
Husting prints up the scheduled maintenance list for the various pieces of equipment and gives the list to the equipment technician, who then completes the scheduled maintenance tasks. The program keeps a running total of hours logged on the piece of equipment, cost of all parts, date of purchase, when the next scheduled maintenance should occur as well as other important scheduled repairs and an inventory of parts for those repairs.
Not only does Husting track equipment maintenance records but has used the program to track course projects costs. If the General Manager or Green Committee chair wants to know how many man-hours and how much materials were used to reconstruct the sixth championship tee, it is as easy as a couple of mouse clicks. Voila, exact cost down to the penny.
Granted, it takes time to enter the identification numbers of all the equipment as well as the part numbers, work orders and other relevant information. But as Husting can attest it is well worth the effort.
Retelling the story of setting a course record never gets old. The same holds true for these two superintendents, having records of their courses that also tell stories. If only the audience was interested in the latter as much as the former