The Golfdom Files: Unlimited budget

By |  December 12, 2016 0 Comments

In the October 1958 edition of Golfdom, superintendents were asked to dream the impossible dream. What would they do, they were asked, with an unlimited budget? An unidentified greens chairman had recently attended a superintendent meeting and posed the same question to attendees. The Golfdom staff compiled the answers for the “Planning & Reference” issue.

The following turf professionals from almost 60 years ago had answers similar to those of their modern-day colleagues: They would replace old equipment or add a new irrigation system. We doubt anyone would request a mahogany-paneled office today. To view the original article, click here.


1958octUnlimited budget!

Well, a superintendent can dream, can’t he?

Would discard old equipment
The remarks of Tom Leonard, superintendent of the Muskogee (Okla.) CC, are typical of those who say that if they were given a free ticket, the first thing they would do is replace worn-out equipment. “Our tractor is 20 years old. Parts for it are hard to find and so we have to spend many winter hours beating it into some kind of shape so that it will last another season; the same thing is true of our spraying machine,” says Leonard. “If I had an unlimited budget, equipment is the first thing I would buy because in the long run I think I would save the club money by doing so.”

“That isn’t all,” Leonard continues. “I seriously doubt if many superintendents ever get as much money to spend for fertilizer and chemicals for various controls as they’d like. I could spend at least 50 percent more than I do for these materials.”

He’d help himself
A Virginia superintendent who prefers to remain nameless says that several jobs that his staff undertakes around the club could be done more professionally by specialists brought in from the outside. If he were given sufficient funds to do so he would immediately hire a mechanic to handle maintenance of equipment, because in his estimation this is the most pressing need at practically all medium-sized or large courses. And probably because he is wearing the cloak of anonymity, the Virginia superintendent adds that he would increase his annual salary to about $12,000 and provide himself with a house, utilities and automobile.

Wants sprinklers installed
L. R. (Bob) Shields, an acknowledged master at living within the allotment dollars and who is custodian of 36 holes at Woodmont CC, Rockville, Md., would, if given a free hand, build huge storage ponds on the club property to catch winter rains. Then he’d install what he calls “one of those California automatic sprinkling systems.” After that, he’d landscape every tee on the course and hire a gardener just to look after the tees.

If Bob had his way, his labor force would be doubled and there’d be more specialization among members of his staff. For himself, Shields says he’d like to transplant the mahogany-paneled office Mai McLaren has at the Oakwood Club in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ideal Maintenance Staff
The ideal maintenance staff for James A. Morrison at the 36-hole Philmont CC, Huntington, Pa., should be made up of a foreman, mechanic, three drivers, six greensmen, two utility men and two night-watering men. As for capital improvements and the purchase of heavy equipment, Morrison feels that clubs should have a program whereby the need for these things are reviewed at least every five years.

However, a Michigan superintendent at a 36-hole club, who prefers to remain anonymous thinks that a course of this size should have a staff of at least 20 men. This is particularly true at clubs where members demand that tees be maintained as well as the greens. This superintendent would use part of a staff of this size in maintaining a large nursery, because the need for replacement turf is becoming a very important one considering what is being required at first-class clubs these days. A large part of an unlimited supply of funds, the Michigan man maintains, would go to increasing wages, providing uniforms for employees and giving them more benefits than they are now getting.

Photos: Golfdom

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