With thermometer readings sliding off summer highs and into fall lows, calendars will also change from meeting and event golf season to indoor education season. Chapter education, vendor events, regional conferences, and of course GCSAA Conference and Show in Orlando are being announced and updated almost daily now. As a quick add: Don’t miss the NEW interactive facility Learning Tours in Orlando where hands-on activities will be highlighted! This year’s conference offers more opportunities for staff including assistant superintendents, equipment managers and staff members. With our often-understaffed teams, it’s critical to arm everyone with the education needed to maximize their skills.
GCSAA, along with so many other education providers, learned how to deliver online education during the pandemic. The online 2021 conference and show was the first opportunity your association took to target education for maintenance team members outside of superintendents and assistants. The resulting feedback was excellent! The ease of use regarding the online platform and level appropriate information were noted by many members. The more eyes that are trained to alert of potential issues, the better.
Equipment manager (EM) education and resources continue to grow. More local associations are building education days specifically for member EMs. Add in the long-time running, full-day agenda offered at the New England Regional Turfgrass Show in Providence, and there are several resources available in the Northeast Region. Education at the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show continues to be robust and growing, including EM specific receptions developed for connecting EM peers and growing their network. With the GCSAA Equipment Manager Certificate Program and now EM Certification opportunities, the ability to educate, develop, and recognize this critical part of the golf maintenance leadership team is growing in importance and easier than ever to accomplish.
Educating assistant superintendents seems to always have been an integral part of building a successful team. Local and regional resources are widely known and utilized. As a reminder, the GCSAA Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series is a targeted learning opportunity developed by assistants for assistants to offer these up-and-coming professionals the chance to differentiate themselves among their peers. Agronomy, business, leadership and communication, and environmental stewardship education will assist in building the skills needed for success in the future.
There is little doubt that education can be costly, and travel hasn’t gotten any cheaper either. Have you had the opportunity to discuss the value continued education brings to your facility? If any member of your staff can keep one issue or pest problem from becoming more costly to correct, is that a value? With the supply chain struggling to provide timely parts deliveries (if at all), would a more highly trained and connected EM be in a better situation to develop a fix and get equipment back on the course?
Finding and keeping talented staff is an industry-wide concern. The ability to offer education to your staff at every level can only help in developing your team and benefit your facility. It might take time, funding, and lots of communication with decision makers at your facility to make this important investment in your people. If your staff is valued as the asset they deserve to be, educational opportunities will bring both tangible returns to the club and your team. A true win-win situation.