Abstract: The golf course business is full of many good days interspersed with a few bad ones. An effective response statement will prove your ability to manage a bad situation.
I remember driving to my course during a foggy August morning and seeing the sun rise over a fairway killed by pythium. Another time an unforeseen rainstorm delivered six inches of rain on fine-graded fairway creating washouts that could hide a school bus. You sure learn from these events; I learned to prevent conditions that cultivate pythium and create grading forms that slowed water down.
So what happens when you encounter a golf course horror show? Don’t hide. Your communication skills will help diffuse the situation while enhancing your reputation as a task manager able to counter any natural calamity. Your members will respect you for telling them what’s going on. I’m sure most of them encounter crisis during their personal and business life and most will understand that you are exposed to risks while working with turf and golf construction.
Use the following checklist to develop a response about a crisis.
- Identify the primary problem and solution. For example, your decision to skip a fungicide spray resulted in a dead fairway. Next time you will spray.
- Identify the underlying problem and solution. An inferior irrigation system could have created the dead fairway turf by creating drought-stressed turf that couldn’t tolerate adversity.
- Combine the primary and underlying problem and create a response sentence used to explain your predicament.
Use a response statement when spreading the bad news. Walk by the first tee and say hello. Call your green chairman or owner and tell them the news. Don’t sound wimpy. You have two or three sentences to get your point across. In this case, the response statement should say: “Some drought-stressed turf on hole #7 suffered damage last night. I’ll overseed the damaged area and we should be in good shape in a few weeks but our outdated irrigation system created this situation.”
A well designed response statement proves your ability to analyze the situation while creating additional ammunition for your long term management program. It includes the bad news along with your remedy and timeline.