Year in Review

Year in Review

I know what you are thinking, “Stephen why are you doing a year in review you have almost 2 more months?” Well it’s because if I don’t do it now it probably won’t get done as my schedule begins to get busy at the end of this month and secondly it’s been a busy year of ups and downs so as season begins to ramp up for us now I figured what better time.

So this year has really been a busy one with lots of surprises some good and some bad but in all a really good year. This year I decided after talking to some good friends this year to expand my consulting business and get involved a lot more in the purchasing of equipment for my consulting clients. For many years now I have been heavily involved in the purchasing process in equipment which really began back at Hawks Ridge Golf Club in Georgia (Thanks Jim Dusch for involving me in the process). I was involved a little at prior clubs but more so giving recommendations on equipment and Jim gave me the first opportunity to sit in front of owners and discuss getting a new lease on equipment. Jim also took a big risk switching equipment brands from equipment he had been using for years and had a lot of confidence in. While at Ritz Carlton for 7 years I really began to get a knack not only for understanding the process but understanding how the numbers are put together and what would work best for our owners both financially and best pieces for the golf course. So over the last 10 years I have really paid a lot of attention to the process and also forged relationships with all the equipment manufacturers. So it has been exciting that in my first year of adding this to my consulting options that I was able to help courses with $2.69 million in purchases this year and those are all outside of my employers purchases. During this process not only have we been able to save courses money on their purchases but more importantly talking through the options on the equipment and making sure that we are spending each owners money to maximize their equipment and savings. It’s not always an easy process being in the middle of these deals but I also enjoy the fact that on all these deals a significant amount of money went to all the manufacturers I work with not just 1 or 2. It is important for me to remain neutral as a consultant and not push one manufacturer over another but let the customer decide what they want.

Also this year we have had a huge driving range project at the club which I hope to talk more about once it is complete. We are sworn to secrecy until it is completed then I can show off some photos but it is an enormous project and nothing like anything in Florida that I am aware of.

This year we held our first televised event The Diamond Resorts Invitational which was great for the club. Not only the relationships we are creating with Diamond Resorts but a lot of the players are also Four Seasons customers which is great as well. So in saying that we will be hosting the event again this coming year (mid January) so if anyone is looking to get some tournament experience in our shop we are open to having in volunteers just let me know your interested.

This year 3 of my good friends moved on as some may have read in prior posts Thomas Bastis moved on to PGA Tour Agronomist and John Cunningham former Superintendent now GM at Aronomick in Philly and other great friend Carlos Arraya taking over for him at Bellerive CC.

As an employee of Four Seasons I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to help out some of my colleagues in Mexico, Dallas and soon Costa Rica with assisting in putting their equipment replacement plans together. With properties as big as ours we are always competing against other departments (just like many hotel companies) for capital dollars so it is important that we are able to provide our owners with justification and sound business cases that support those needs. Not doing that can certainly make it tough to get the things we need not just in the hotel business but any business. While I have been offered opportunities at big name clubs the knowledge I have been able to gain from both Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons on running a successful business has been a crucial part of my career.

In the coming months I will be speaking at both the Wisconsin Turf Symposium and the Indiana Green Expo and attending the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. Hope to see many of you there. This year I will not be speaking at GIS for the first time in 7 years I believe so I am looking forward to having a bit more time to connect with colleagues and equipment shop for our new lease at the club in 2018.

Finally I want to close with this. We all go through a lot of challenging times in our careers (peaks and valleys) sometimes it’s the work load, sometimes it’s the loss of a job and sometimes it’s the feeling of being disconnected from our colleagues, many times it’s not knowing what to say or how to say it. I have been fortunate in my career to make a lot of good decisions and I have also been fortunate to make a lot of bad ones. I say fortunate to make bad decisions because I believe every bad decision I make I learn more from then the good decisions I make. Over the years I have been accused of a lot of things like being selfish, self promoting, not thanking the people who got me where I am, only thinking of the equipment manager and not the technician, and I could go on for days. I have also been thanked for doing the very same things. You can’t change someone’s perception of who you are but you can certainly let them change you if you listen to hard. Just remember there is only one person we are on earth to impress and I don’t think he plays golf (could be wrong have been before but I am ready to learn!)

 

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