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    From your GCSAA Field Staff, Kevin Doyle:


What a long, strange trip 2021 has been.  This is the time of year when the job board should be filled with double-cuts and multiple rolls followed by fans, hoses, and syringing.  Instead, pumping bunkers and flood rebuild seems like a daily task.  The tines getting replaced are the venting variety on the aerator, not the moisture meter.  I wanted to see if there were any educational or academic resources that could be referenced to assist in the aftermath of a summer season that was cool, historically wet with minimal sunshine for weeks on end, but I couldn’t really find any?  I was looking to highlight changes we might see agronomically as we transition into late summer early fall.  For our academics giving the newsletter a read…. consider this a hint!  I did want to mention a few items including some I found when scrolling the hundreds of search mishits.

Communication will play a critical piece moving forward.  Whether it is with your owner, board, or internal decision maker, be sure to take pictures and document the struggles Mother Nature has dealt you this year.  Increase in disease pressure, decrease in efficient mowing practices, labor intensive flood mitigation, and many more wet-weather related outcomes can negatively affect your budget.  Superintendents do an amazing job of making these struggles appear as they never happened.  Be sure to photograph and document for those with short memories.

The weird weather pattern of today will overshadow the strange temperature swings of the spring.  It does not mean the timing difficulties of preventative practices for insect and weed control won’t rear their ugly heads.  In-season curative measures that are more aggressive than usual may be needed as a result.  Be sure to accurately document and communicate the challenges posed and hopefully successes your programs provided.  

Working in the rain is not fun.  Rebuilding bunkers is not fun.  Clearing storm and flood debris is not fun.  Hand mowing acres of turf due to wet conditions is not fun.  Having to do each of these multiple times a week can be demoralizing.  Managing the staff who are facing these challenges with you is not the normal grind of the summer season.  Think of outside the box opportunities to add a sip of sunshine to their work week to keep your staff both physically and mentally healthy.

Summer in the Northeast is almost always a war of attrition and full of surprises.  Being reactive to conditions that are not the norm and excelling in the face of adversity is a specialty of golf course superintendents and their staffs.  Communicating these challenges and successes are often not priorities during challenging times but can become critical down the road. 

If you need assistance developing or improving a communication strategy, GCSAA has you covered!  Check out the resources area for information to help: https://www.gcsaa.org/resources/research-information/secure/communication

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