Communicating with employers

Few vocations demand such a wide range of knowledge to ensure professional success as does that of the golf course superintendent. Employers take it for granted that you know the technical side of turf management. Increasingly though, employers expect you to also be proficient in communication. Communication may be the single most important contributor to employment longevity and enjoyment.

The following are excerpts from GCSAA's guidebook: “Communication: The Cornerstone to Professional Relationships.” To obtain a copy of the complete guidebook at no charge, contact the GCSAA career development department at (800) 472-7878.

  • Play golf with your employer, golfers, and other golf course managers at your facility. Point out improvements, problems and planned solutions and general turf management practices that your playing partner/s may not be aware of. Ask for and listen to their input.
  • Golf with your employer at other facilities; he/she usually becomes your biggest supporter after seeing other courses. If your course is better managed, you look like a star. If your course is not as well managed (you should know that before going there with your employer), use your visit to illustrate similar improvements you would like to make on your course.
  • Be sure your employer, green committee members and/or board receives copies of Golf Course Management magazine and Leader Board, the GCSAA newsletter targeted to golf course decision-makers.
  • Attend green committee and/or board meetings. Develop an agenda for green committee meetings, publish meeting minutes and distribute promptly.
  • Provide committee members or board members with an attractive binder. Encourage them to place long range plans, progress reports and meeting minutes in the binder. Distribute timely articles, reports, Leader Board, etc. to be inserted into the binder.
  • Send appropriate agronomic and golf management articles to your employer and attach a handwritten note with a few brief thoughts related to the article. Stay up-to-date on turf management research. Share what you learn with your employer and explain what the findings mean or how it could affect your course.
  • Hold employer meetings in the maintenance facility. Host periodic tours of the golf course and maintenance facility. Be sure to highlight turfgrass research areas and discuss the value of maintenance equipment.
  • Hold an annual orientation for green committee members.
  • Invite new board or committee members to tour the course and the maintenance facility with you. Take him/her to lunch.
  • Invite your employer to GCSAA related-events such as educational seminars, chapter meetings and the annual conference and show.
  • Write thank-you notes to your employer and other managers at your facility when appropriate. For example, send a note after attending conference and show or education seminars paid for by your employer.
  • If you are emotionally upset about an issue, wait 24 hours before discussing it with your employer. You will be much calmer and more rational after a cooling-off period.
  • During meetings with your employer, write down all the important points discussed. It shows professionalism and serves as a reminder for later reference.