Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Helping GMs & owners read between the lines

How free is a superintendent to speak his mind, really? Lohmann Golf Designs principal Bob Lohmann makes informative light of this issue in his most recent column for Golf Course Industry magazine, but it’s an interesting, important issue.

We all know that superintendents look after the most important asset at any daily-fee facility or private club: the golf course itself. But the downside to this reality is, superintendents also preside over the most expensive asset, and, on occasion, they must argue for additions to what is already the largest budget item at any course facility.

This can make communication with the head pro, the owner or board, and the golfers themselves an extremely delicate exercise. Club managers and course owners want candor, but superintendents must be extremely politic in the way they handle certain issues. Speaking their minds might just put them in a real awkward position, might put the club in an awkward position.

Bob cites three examples of on-course maintenance issues that perhaps do not get the frank discussion they truly deserve. What are the others? We at LGD are of the mind that architects can serve a valuable mediation role in situations like these — we can speak truth to power in cases where perhaps the superintendent cannot. Are there other mediators out there to whom supers can turn?

What do you think?