Newly appointed to commissioners board. Mistake?

Bucketsofjoy

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Ok, so... I've been appointed to the commissioners board that supervises our golf course (Municipal). Our club pro recommended me for the gig and sure enough I got it. I'm pretty excited about it, but equally nervous. I thought calling out on here for some advice might give me an edge going into the first few meetings.

A little about our club - Municipal. Small town (<3,000). Mostly retirees. In the middle of nowhere. The course was built in the early 70s. It's a short track, but it's really in a terrific location. Membership is cheap, daily rounds are pretty cheap too. We kind of have to stay at that price because Arkansas's #1 ranked public course is just 20 minutes away, and people will just play there if we begin to approach their fees. The course doesn't really need re-designed or anything, it just lacks a lot of appearance related upkeep.

My main question is who has been in this situation, and what advice can you pass along? Also, what are some practical ways to improve course appearance without breaking the bank?
 

DawgDaddy

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Congratulations on your appointment. I have never served on a board at a course but I would think at a muni the best way to make improvements without breaking the bank is to petition the local government in the interest of recreation. Those retirees can be pretty influential with local government.
 

1fairway2anothe

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Not quite the same but I have worked in grounds keeping before for a company that always tried saving money. And they spent a lot of money wastefully for things that weren't necessary. I would recommend talking to the guys doing the job and seeing what they think could be done to help improve the course and save the course money. Getting to know the people doing the work and genuinely being interested in their opinions may even improve their work to where they where if they see little things they will do them without even being asked.
 

KellyBo

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After I retired, I worked PT at a county owned course. We used community service workers to help. It became somewhat of a burden at times though. It was hard to supervise people when you didn't have enough staff and they definitely needed close supervision. We also used county inmates until one stole the Superintendent's car. The Sheriff's Dept. would occasionally bring out a detail to do larger jobs and that helped a lot. Our association would gather on occasion and do improvements to the course. They finally received SPLOST funds the year we left and used it for irrigation and other upgrades. Does your city have a beautification committee? Maybe they could help with the entrance.

Good luck as that course has one of the hardest working Superintendents I've ever seen and he and his very limited staff just can't keep it up.
 

KellyBo

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Not quite the same but I have worked in grounds keeping before for a company that always tried saving money. And they spent a lot of money wastefully for things that weren't necessary. I would recommend talking to the guys doing the job and seeing what they think could be done to help improve the course and save the course money. Getting to know the people doing the work and genuinely being interested in their opinions may even improve their work to where they where if they see little things they will do them without even being asked.
This! No one ever came out and talked to us about things that could be done differently. The lips probably would have been sealed anyway. Way too much politics involved in small town government owned courses IMO.
 

Lefty78

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Everything revolves around the budget and for you to make wise decisions, you should know as much as possible about your course. Get to know the course superintendent, he knows the course better than anyone. Study the course hole by hole. In general, a course is as good as its grass, it takes sun, water and proper drainage to grow grass. Study the infrastructure, how is the irrigation system, how is course drainage, have trees overgrown the fairways, what shape are the bunkers in, are there problems with the greens, how is the equipment? Does the course have a golf course architect to help with planning, does the course have a "plan" for course improvement or is the course just trying to maintain the status quo? If the budget or the will is not there to improve the course then there's not much you or anyone can do. Every part of a golf course deteriorates daily; tees, fairways, rough, greens, irrigation system, trees, paths, it's a slow process but if not addressed a tipping point can be reached where the course will face major renovation. Good luck with the job, it can be a lot of work, and very rewarding.
 

Tedfroop

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If it was me, I would consider the following:

-Retirees have time on their hands. If you can afford it exchange a specific number of hours of time spent cleaning up the appearance related items for a round of golf or pro shop credit.

-Maybe a work bee in the spring to clean up followed by a tournament and weenie roast the next week for the volunteers. Prizes are a good way to clear out old pro shop stock either by using them as prizes or by giving gift certificates so they can buy bigger ticket items.

- If you are not booked solid, advertise! You are the bargain place to come and golf. Add friendly small town atmosphere to the mix and you may just start attracting bargain minded golfers away from the other course. There are also lots of older guys who are not as long as they used to be off the tee and would love to play from one tee further back than at longer courses.

-High School kids looking for work experience programs might be another way to reduce costs and clean up the appearance stuff.

-If the course is shorter get the retirees marshalling and advertise that you can play a round of golf in X amount of time. You could offer incentives for members for well paced play as well to help keep things moving along.
 

ArmyGolf

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To me a golf course is all about a few things:
Value
Greens/Tees
Service

If those things are top notch the course will do just fine.
 

Maddog701

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people, man,people. make sure the people that work there are friendly and eager to help. golfers will remember how well they are treated by staff. it cost nothing to have your people treat players like they are augusta national. I always remember how i am treated regardless of the shape of the course .
 

wadesworld

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people, man,people. make sure the people that work there are friendly and eager to help. golfers will remember how well they are treated by staff. it cost nothing to have your people treat players like they are augusta national. I always remember how i am treated regardless of the shape of the course .
Absolutely agree. There's some courses I play that are not as nice as others. I keep going back because the staff is nice. If your course has quality issues due to low budget AND an uncaring staff, what reason would people have to play there?
 

ShanksaloT

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As many have said, it is all about how the players are treated - I always remember how the staff treats myself and the playing partners.

Also, if you are not booked out weeks in advance, 100% advertise (Yelp, Golfnow, Etc.)

Good luck and congrats on your position!
 

NoLine

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Good Luck - I'll be serving on our greens committee for 2015-2016 so I'm equally prepared for the unknown, along with many unsolicited opinions.
 

Bucketsofjoy

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Thanks guys! I'll be sure to let everyone know how our first meeting goes. I've been told to bring my thickest skin... Here goes!
 

rickkimbrell

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I have served on several committees golf related thru the years. My first one, and probably the one that was most enjoyable, was I was on the "greens committee" at a club I used to belong to when I lived in Alabama. Every week, a member (or more) of our committee of 3 people, would ride the golf course with the head greens superintendent and the golf pro. We would look for problem areas or areas that were starting to become a problem on the course and talk about what options were to fix/remedy the problem. We did not have unlimited funds so often times we had to decide priorities. Another thing we did as the committee was to solicit donations (money/equipment/people time from members who had companies who could help out in areas when the club itself just could not foot the bill to fix something. I served on it from the very first year the committee came into being. We really did make a difference at the club. I think more than anything, we got the pro off his butt and got him out looking at the golf course instead of just listening to the greens keeper saying everything is "just fine". We always had great greens...but we DID have other issues.
It really was a fun committee job. Much more fun than a few years later when I served as MGA President.
 

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