The Summer Scheduling Conundrum and Effective Turf Management
The heat is on and your turf is feeling it. As we discussed in an earlier article, proper vigilance and the right tool can make all the difference in preventing summer turf wilt. But how can you best manage workforce scheduling to ensure that your turf—and your budget—remain healthy? Here’s how.
The Key to Summertime Turf Management
As we pointed out in our earlier article, afternoons are the best time to confirm and treat turf wilt. But admittedly, by that time of day most golf course maintenance crews are at the end of their shift. They’re tired. Mistakes can happen and overtime costs, particularly for those who have been working since dawn, can occur.
We’ve found the best approach to turf management during these summer months is to hire dedicated specialists whose sole job is to monitor and treat turf wilt every afternoon, seven-days-a-week.
Reap the Benefits of Part-Time Specialists
You will need to hire 2-3 people for this job during the summer season. It only requires a few hours in the afternoon, say from 1-5 pm or 2-6 pm, but it is a daily task and having more than one specialist will give you some scheduling flexibility and ensure your turf will be monitored and treated every day. In some instances, the course Assistant can play this role in lieu of the third specialist.
At the Victoria Club, we hired two people, one of whom was a recent high school graduate who was off to college after the summer season ended. She was a perfect fit for the job in terms of availability and trainability. She monitored nine holes Tuesday through Saturday; the other specialist took care of the other nine holes Thursday through Monday. The Assistant filled in on the days the two did not overlap. Simple.
Have a System and a Budget in Place
Having a system ensures the work is done correctly. Before hiring the specialist, the superintendent should determine and chart soil moisture thresholds for every zone on the course. Upon hire, the specialist can be trained on how to use this data and recognize other visual symptoms for assessing wilt and the appropriate treatment method – whether the turf needs water (syringing) or cooling down (misting).
On a daily basis, the superintendent notes hot spots on greens and fairways that he identified during his morning walk on the job board and verbally when the specialist checks in. The specialist uses this information from the superintendent to target problem areas, then reassesses those areas with a moisture sensor and treats the trouble spots appropriately.
Budgeting for these specialists in the summer pays off because it avoids high overtime costs as well as the cost of turf replacement or remediation. When conditions are overcast or cloudy, the superintendent can make the call as to whether the specialists need to report that day for duty, thus also saving costs. So this summer, consider bringing specialists on board to help with summertime turf management and do your budget — and your turf — a favor.