Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2010 Golf Industry Show

Working in the Midwest affords me the pleasure of having some “down time” in which to work on things I don’t necessarily have much time for in the summer. Recently, I have been working on some continuing education by attending the annual Golf Industry Show in San Diego, California. This year (due to the locale) my family chose to attend with me, although they opted out of education and visiting the trade show and chose relaxation and visiting the beaches instead! Smart family if you ask me…

I didn’t get to frequent the beach or partake in the relaxation as much, but instead furthered my education and spent a day at the trade show learning about some of the industry’s newest innovations. I attended three seminars that seemed very appropriate for upcoming events at the club. The first seminar was about planning and costing a major project on the golf course. As many of you know, 2010 will be a year of “planning” rather than “doing” on the golf course. We will be working with a golf course architect to come up with solutions to the various challenges we face on the golf course. This planning will give us a blueprint as to how to most effectively and economically tackle these challenges. In the seminar, much time was devoted to how to effectively organize a project and ensure its success. I greatly look forward to the planning process that will happen in 2010.

The second seminar I attended was more about personal goals than big picture goals. It has long been my professional goal to become a Certified Golf Course Superintendent. I have made it my personal goal to achieve this in 2011. The seminar thoroughly laid out all that is involved with applying for and succeeding in the certification process. It will be a challenge to complete all of the facets in a 12 month period, but it will be a challenge worth taking!

My final seminar was all about the maintenance facility itself. As many of you can relate, the maintenance facility is not a place that is “seen” by the membership, in fact, some members may not even know of its existence. It is largely for this reason that maintenance facilities are forgotten about and largely misunderstood. The “barn” as most refer to it is actually a far cry from a barn. Nationwide, maintenance “barns” house an average of $1.2 million dollars worth of equipment and inventory needed to protect and maintain the backbone of the club. Our scenario is not much different than the national average. In our case, we house 16 employees in peak season and spend $700k of the club’s money on the course. An efficient operation is a necessity, especially in these financial times. It will be my goal (one of many) in this planning year of 2010, to investigate and diagnose inefficiencies within my department. The ultimate goal will be to find solutions that will be included in future club improvements.

Besides the seminars, I spent the better part of a day at the trade show looking at some of the many new products available this year.  High on my list of things to research is the new Jacobsen Eclipse triplex mower.  We currently have "E-plexes" which are all electric triplexes and occasionally have issues with the longevity of the batteries.  Our lease expires after this year and we will be replacing those E-plexes with something different.  The new Eclipse hybrid has a small gas (or diesel) engine that runs a generator that, in turn, runs the on board electric components.  This unit is much improved from our current units and I can't wait for my demo this summer.  The other product that sparked my interest was a bunker liner that doesn't require you to hand rake bunkers after installation.  I will be researching this product more this year in preparation of our upcoming bunker work.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blogging about Blogging

I was talking with a member the other day and he was telling me how much he enjoyed reading my newsletter articles and the e-mail update I used to send out.  "How come you don't send out that E-Update anymore?" was the next obvious question.  I obviously took the opportunity to promote my blog and directed him on how he could navigate his way to the blog.  It got me thinking though... I've spent a considerable amount of time setting up this blog, adding "gadgets" that make it both user friendly and aesthetically pleasing, updating the blog with as much regularity as possible (I'm getting better), learning to add pictures, videos, etc, but I have no idea if anyone is even looking at it!

I called upon my neighbor (who is way smarter than me) to help me out and he pointed me to Google Analytics, a free program to track gobs of information on any website.  I subsequently investigated Google Analytics signed up my blog to be tracked.  I now have the ablilty to track how many hits per day my blog gets...

...and I can even see from which cities the hits originate...

This is probably not very new technology, but "wow" I say, it's pretty cool what you can do for free these days!  Now that I have the ability to track hits and find out some information about each hit (don't worry I can't find out "who" is on my blog, just what you are looking at) my next challenge will be to get the word out to my membership and have them use this blog for it's original intent.  This blog is such a great tool to get information out to the masses in a very short time, it would be a shame if it's intended audience isn't watching.  Feel free to comment with any suggestions!