Thoughts on GIS 2016 in San Diego

Let me start with what a Golf Industry Show in San Diego. I would like to start with thanking a few people for me again having the opportunity to attend. I believe I have one of the most supportive employers (Four Seasons) in the golf industry that cares about my development, my involvement in the industry and I am sure wonder what I will bring back as well. I would also like to thank the GCSAA for their support as well and allowing Mike Kriz and I to continue offering our time to educate equipment managers and Superintendents on what our role is all about. I would also like to thank my Superintendent (Rusty Wilson) for putting up with my travel schedule the last few months. While I have the opportunity to help others by putting on seminars he sometimes gets the short end with me not being around and for that not only am I appreciative but I am sure those that get to attend the classes appreciate him as well.


So the theme this year for me was a few things one to help out one of our sister properties with their equipment package, and I wanted to spend a little more time this year attending classes that worked on my management skills not so much technical this year. I started the week off giving a seminar with Mike Kriz (Preventive Maintenance Strategies for Turf Equipment). Mike and I were surprised to see 90 percent of our attendees were Equipment Managers. Every year we have asked attendees to tell us whether they are Equipment Managers or Superintendents and there would always be around 8-10 Equipment Managers until this year.

I also attended (Take Your Career to the Next Level) a great seminar that was put on by Kopplin & Kuebler as well as John Cunningham and Pat Finlen. What was great about this seminar is that it was a different take on the skills necessary to do our jobs. We always look at the skills necessary to get the job but not those we need to develop to keep the job. As an example as an Equipment Manager we are always taking technical classes so we can keep up with the up and coming technology or reel grinding, etc. Well what about a class or read a book on becoming better organized or even better what about learning how to be more flexible? There are many other things that we need to work on to not only be a success but be of value to our employers. If there is one thing that I have learned working in the hospitality industry it’s that there is no “your department” and “my department”. There is a guest and we meet their expectations no matter what department we are in. It was great seeing leadership from a point of view outside of your defined job description.

The next class I attended was (DIY for Your Facility: Ideas That Make an Impact). I really enjoy seeing the innovative things going on at other golf courses around the world. We talked about running and organized operation, installing bat houses to control the insect population, renovating a golf course to minimize water use, and innovative ideas that technicians and Supers have come up with around the US.

The final class of the week was (Labor Management: Innovative ways to Accomplish More) that was put on by the National Golf Course Owners Association. There was a lot of discussion on how to keep talented employees, effective budget management, and new regulations such as the affordable care act. While I felt we were in line with everyone’s ideas of managing labor effectively there are always areas we can be more efficient and innovative.


While on the trip I was able to meet a lot of great industry friends that I rarely get the chance to see. I also was able to make new friends as well. I recall attending one dinner with around 10 select individuals who either hosted majors last year or were hosting them this year where I was learning about poa eradication on bentgrass greens. I attended the Equipment Manager reception put on by the GCSAA where I got recognized again winning the Edwin Budding award but also got to meet Cory Phillips who was last years Most Valuable Technician. Meeting up with some of the top technicians in the golf industry is a great thing.  The amount of innovation in that room is ridiculous! I also got to catch up with some great friends of mine from Bellerive Country Club. I think we had chicken wings at least 5 times for lunch or dinner throughout the week. In addition I was able to share a great experience with a great friend. John Cunningham Asst. GM of Bellerive invited me to his lunch as a guest as he was a finalist for Superintendent of the Year by Turfnet. I will never forget that one! I believe our conversation along with Thomas Bastis of California Golf Club revolved around an automated range ball picker. To close out the night we had a great time on the USS Midway for the VIP John Deere event. An evening of networking, touring the aircraft carrier and great food was awesome.

Trade Show

The first day my Superintendent and I spent the day looking over all the booths . On my list I was looking for some markless tires for Club Car to use around the resort as well as new innovative products that would make us better. I’m not sharing what I found I have to keep that edge somehow right? On day 2 I spent a lot of time in the big 3 booths as we were working on a new equipment deal for a sister property. I was very impressed with some of the manufacturers and let down with others but I guess that’s just part of it. Some of the negatives were at some of the booths we had people eating and talking to us about their product and on the last day packing up before the show ended. That was a bit of a let down but overall some great new stuff with drones, marketing innovations, etc.


My conclusion is this. Overall probably one of the better Golf Industry Show’s that I have been to. The weather was great, there were a lot more equipment managers in attendance this year, the education continues to improve and I see great progress from GCSAA and their efforts for Equipment Manager’s. I think there is a long way to go but I am happy to see progress being made. For those of you on the fence about attending the show let me say this you will only get out of it what you put in it. If you don’t talk to anyone and you don’t take notes and ask questions in seminars you may not get a lot. If you meet people, evolve your education and take advantage of the engineers and such on the trade show floor you will walk away amazed at the opportunity and looking forward to the next one.


Video of EM Reception –


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