Smart Moves for Annual Golf Course Maintenance Equipment Planning
The end of the year is closing in and 2015 is approaching fast. By now you’ve probably jumpstarted your year-end review and maybe even started to tackle some short-term planning. Before you pop the champagne, there’s one more thing you can do to ensure that 2015 is off to a good start—a thorough golf course equipment assessment.
Think of it: You’ve got a year’s worth of information on equipment use and maintenance. Chances are you know which pieces of golf course maintenance equipment spent inordinate amounts of time in the shop and which ones are nearing the end of their useful lifespan. If your golf course is like many, this information may be more anecdotal than formally recorded. If that’s the case, now is the time to change that. Here’s why.
The Benefits of a Master Plan and a Double Drilldown
At BrightView, we consider a five-year master plan the foundation of successful budget planning for all our golf course clients. This plan, which entails a detailed spreadsheet, lists every piece of golf course maintenance equipment on a client’s course. It notes the age of the equipment, the years in use, and the expected lifespan of each piece of equipment according to industry standards.
The spreadsheet also takes into account the golf course location’s water quality (whether or not it’s corrosive), how it will affect golf course maintenance equipment lifespan and figures all that into the calculation for replacement timing. Other factors such as the cost of parts, filters, oil, etc., are also considered.
Once all the data is inputted into the spreadsheet, it automatically adjusts and calculates the cost of the golf course maintenance equipment in terms of labor, parts, and lost productivity due to time in the shop and flags the equipment that’s due for replacement.
Ultimately, this spreadsheet provides a bird’s eye view, indicating where and how the money is being spent and how to proactively plan for golf course maintenance equipment costs and replacement in the coming year. But like any automated program or plan, the information it provides is only as good as the data on which it turns—and that’s where the double drilldown comes in.
The Smarts Behind a Fleet Management Program
Underlying our master plan is the fleet management program. For BrightView golf course clients, our experts recommend Toro’s myTurf or another fleet management program . In addition to triggering automatic maintenance alerts for regularly scheduled service, this automated system also provides detailed parts and labor lists and tracks all labor and parts costs. Data from this program is fed into the master plan, providing the added information necessary to make truly data-driven budget systems.
According to Mike Harbin, BrightView’s Director for the Southeast Region, having this kind of detail makes planning and budgeting simpler for all. “I’ve been a superintendent myself and I know that asking for budget for golf course maintenance equipment replacement is much easier when you have the data to back up the request.”
That said Harbin is also quick to add that the information provided by these plans, even those fed by data, should be balanced by on-site observations.
“It’s really a combination of data and personal expertise,” says Harbin. “One supports the other. The data is entered throughout the year via myTurf and the evaluation takes place once a year, depending on the course or club’s fiscal year, and spending is planned accordingly.”
The Importance of Documentation
The key, however, is documentation. “Having the facts in front of you makes decision making clear,” Harbin says. “It can mean the difference between managing budget effectively or being blind-sided by big capital expenditures.”
And, says Harbin, the trickle-down effect of not having the budget to replace golf course maintenance equipment is significant. “When equipment goes down, production suffers, conditions degrade and player satisfaction drops,” he says. “It’s a snowball effect and you can easily avoid it with proper documentation and a yearly equipment assessment.”