There is a growing focus on environmental sustainability and improved golf and turf management while at the same time maintaining high course standards. Golf course superintendents are constantly asked to do more with less and must prioritize activity based on available resources.
Luckily, there is a large research effort to improve Golf and Turf best management practices. Most of the existing golf management best practices are common across all geographical regions but many are region or even location specific. There are several great resources for golf best management practices available (see Annex for a list of some of the popular ones).
However, implementing the best management practices can be difficult and requires a lot of work and time. Having a good, integrated software solution in place will allow you to better manage your operations and implement best practices. Over time, a smart software solution will help you analyze your unique course and property and allow you to create your own best practices.
No matter where you are based and what best practices you follow, you will need tools to help you manage your operations and further implement new practices.
Best management practices focus on continual improvement by following the “plan, do, check and act” model. It is critical that you have the necessary tools to follow this model.
The plan stage focus on identifying and analyzing the problem. Superintendents are constantly moving from one issue to the next while at the same time managing the day-to-day operations of maintaining a golf course.
A key component for best management practice is to understand and address the core cause of a problem and not just focus on the symptoms. Integrated management software provides critical tools that golf course superintendents need to better identify key problems and implement effective solutions. This includes:
- Detailed Mapping of all Property Assets and Course Features
- Advanced Record Keeping
- Information Management
- Collaborative Field Scouting
- Agronomic Insights and Analytics
By understanding a problem, superintendents can develop appropriate strategies for eliminating or minimizing them.
Once you understand where and why a problem exists, superintendents can implement best practices for addressing them. This includes a combination of planning, testing and doing the work needed to solve the problem. Integrated software makes this process much easier by providing simple tools for:
- Task Management
- Spray Application and Management
- Asset Management
- Information Management
- Course Design and Spatial Planning
Golf property management requires large teams working seamlessly together. To achieve peak efficiency, everyone must be working from the same set of information and know exactly what is required of them. Teams are spread throughout the entire golf property and need effective tools for communicating while in the field. Knowing where your team is located allows superintendents to better plan tasks and adjust to changes throughout the day.
Superintendents are required to make a lot of calculations, often based on area information and different application ratios. These calculations aren’t always difficult but they are time consuming and generally not as precise as they could be. Area information is very important to a golf course superintendent for planning, purchasing and application purposes. Manually calculating area is a huge pain but is very easy with a map-based software solution.
Once the work is decided, it must be communicated to your team. This is generally done in the morning and/or afternoon meeting, which is great but limiting in that people can only be assigned one task at a time and there is the risk that they might forget something important. An integrated software solution has different user permissions for different levels of management and ensures that everyone knows their tasks.
Once the work is completed, track the time, make comments and monitor the results. This will allow superintendents to see what is working, how long it takes and where they can improve.
The check phase centers on monitoring and evaluation. It measures how effective different solutions are and analyzes whether they can be improved. With everything going on in a golf course, it is important to have simple solutions in place to track and monitor your operations. An integrated software solution allows you to keep detailed records of course activity, record important data (soil moisture, temperature, green speed, etc.), inspect the status of your different assets, provide detailed budget and cost numbers and monitor course quality.
Detailed analytics help explain and quantify best practices to give you a detailed understanding of the way your golf property works and to effectively communicate that to management and your members.
The act phase is about learning and implementing better solutions based on the previous phases. In this phase, superintendents will use new information to make better decision that will reduce costs and improve course quality. An integrated software solutions helps simplify this process and pull out key information needed to make decisions.
Working on a golf course isn’t an exact science, it’s a combination of science and art. The superintendent needs flexible, powerful tools to help them manage the science and create the art. Integrated maintenance software helps superintendents properly identifying the root problem, develop and implement targeted solution, and monitor and analyze the ever-changing course condition and activity.