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Golf Operations Proposal

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Angelo B. Zappella
Golf Course Superintendent, retired
Sun City Homeowner

10301 Snead Drive
Sun City, AZ  85051
(623) 972-5288

EMPLOYEES:

Seven (7) men on each regulation course:

3 permanent: Water Man, Mechanic, and the Assistant (Man #1, #2, #3)

4 part-timers/JOB SHARE: Course maintenance. (Man #4, #5, #6, #7)

Man #4 and #5 Job Description:
Daily (Sundays off) cut greens finished by 8:15 a.m.
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays:
Do aprons and tees and cut cups for pin placement on done between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.; do ball washers and trash with time left.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays:
Cut greens, do sand traps, and odd jobs, i.e., cutting weeds next to sidewalks, cutting around practice greens, etc.
Leave one hour earlier on the weekdays so that they could come in Saturday to cut greens, thus making it a 40-hour week.

Man #6 Job Description:
Cut fairways three times a week and help cut rough, and do odd jobs as assigned.

Man #7 Job Description:
Cut rough and help out with odd jobs.  Remember that from November to April there is no rough to cut, so this man would not be needed as much during those months.

One (1) shift, working 5 days a week, Monday through Friday, with 2 men coming in to cut greens on Saturdays, and a day of rest on Sundays.

Hire retirees, who do a better job and are more conscientious in taking care of  the equipment.  Eliminate full-time help.  Hire on a "trial basis".  Performance wins the job.

Employees assigned specific job description for which he and he alone is responsible.  Increase employee expertise and pride in his work when everyone will know that he did it---and how well.  More accidents happen during learning curve; therefore, specialization reduces risk of injury.

HEIGHT OF THE GRASS:

Three (3) cuts of different height: 1) greens, 2) rough, and 3) fairways-aprons-tees (same height). 

By cutting this way you can see the difference between the apron and the greens.  Gives the course a professional look. 

Additionally, we would require less equipment; an apron-and-tee mower is a waste of money.  You can take your three-or-four-year-old greens mower, raise the height and do aprons and tees; it does a better job and, at the same time, it picks up the clippings.  Instead of a hydraulic fairway mower, which costs about $50,000 and only lasts 3 - 4 years, get an enclosed tractor with heating and air conditioning and a seven-gang mower, which will do the job just as well, but faster, lasts 25 years, and costs less.  The same applies to the rough mower.  (Heating and air conditioning would attract more people to come work for us.)

Teach each mower operator how to regulate height without going back to the mechanic (the operator would have his own toolbox).  Height adjustment in the field takes only 5 or 10 minutes as opposed to the 2 or 3 hours downtime caused from returning the mower to the mechanic.  Additionally, this would relieve some of the mechanic's workload.  Time is money!

EQUIPMENT:

Because we have a mechanic at each course, capable of sharpening and overhauling, we would not need an overhaul center.  The overhaul center could be closed and the space used for something else.

Two (2) or three (3) trucks at each course.  Fewer men requires fewer carryalls.  Most men will travel about their jobs on their own assigned equipment.

Buy or Lease?  An apron-and-tee mower is a waste of money.  Take the three-or-four-year-old greens mower, raise the height and do aprons and tees; it does a better job and, at the same time, it picks up the clippings.  Instead of a hydraulic fairway mower, which costs about $50,000 and only lasts 3 - 4 years, get an enclosed tractor with heating and air conditioning and a seven-gang mower, which will do the job just as well, but faster, lasts 25 years, and costs less.  The same applies to the rough mower.  (Heating and air conditioning would attract more people to come work for us.)

Leasing with an option to buy for the greens mowers because we use them all the time.  Another reason is that new technology on these mowers is regularly being developed.  Also, if a machine is giving us headaches after 3 years we have the option to let it go rather than buy it.
 
Leasing everything is not prudent either, because it costs too much.  Tractors, fairway mowers, and rough mowers should be purchased because they have a life of 20-25 years.

MAINTENANCE PROGRAM:

Get three (3) bids for fertilizer with no contract.  

Monitor and report fertilizer's performance to change to a better product as soon as possible. 

Train employee on detailed, descriptive checklist of what they should look for to evaluate the fertilizer's performance, which they would fill out after each application.  By changing formulas until we get the right one for each golf course, we should have noticeable, beneficial results.

Each year, each golf course would be given a detailed description of what to put down, when to put it down, and how to put it down.  Each course may be different. 

Let the grass grow during periods that would seed itself, requiring less seed to purchase.

WATERING SYSTEM:

Disassemble the fertilizer injection system.  It is wasteful because it is fertilizing areas that do not need it.  Spreading fertilizer into the air is dangerous; many people are allergic to it.  Also, it is an invitation to terrorists.  Another reason is the contamination of our new pipes and spillage around the containers themselves, which have killed some of the trees and bushes.  It is a simple task to disconnect it and possibly sell the headache to somebody else who thinks it's a good idea.  It's not good for Sun City.  Spreading fertilizer by hand assures that the fertilizer is evenly and properly distributed.  It's a little extra work, but it will show better results.

During dry periods, cut grass higher and water every other day.  Cuts water usage by 50%.

BUDGET:

With these proposed changes, the budget would be drastically reduced.  Anything left over would be "put aside for a rainy day".  Hopefully, we could afford to make the necessary improvements without going to the Preservation and Improvement Fund, even though some improvements could be so labeled to meet that criterion.

Click here for OPINION "Wasting resources on bad ideas"

Click here for OPINION "Overwatering causes brown spots"

Contact Anne Randall StewartPHONE_Ringing.GIF
 Phone: (623) 933-6192
Cell: (602) 318-0708

 

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anne@annereport.com 

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