Friday, September 15, 2017

Better Conditions through Better Communications

We recently made an investment by purchasing walkie talkies or radios for each member of the agronomy staff and it is already showing benefits to our operation.  Our golf course is spread out over 600 acres of property.  Trying to track employees down to give them an instruction or calling or texting them on their personal phone, which I never felt was fair to use their minutes or data, was very frustrating, inefficient and and a tremendous waste of time.  In speaking with several of my mentors in the industry who have taken this step and experiencing this setup when I volunteer at East Lake Golf Club each year for the TOUR Championship it seemed like a great idea.

By providing each member of our team with their own radio it makes our entire operation more efficient.  We can give instructions or corrections in real time without having to stop what we are doing and go find them or hope they answer their phone or see the text they have been sent.  Employees can be redirected to areas of the course where they are needed easier, mechanical issues can be reported to our equipment technician quicker, if there is an irrigation leak, tree down, or any other major issue occurs on the course we can be notified immediately.  From a management standpoint, having each crew member with the same radios, on the same frequency means that instructions, good or bad, given to one employee are heard by all so the entire staff knows what we are trying to accomplish in our work.  The radios which were purchased from Smith Turf and Irrigation for $192.00 each (programmed and delivered) have already shown to be a benefit and wise investment.

For the golfers this investment in our operations will hopefully mean a safer and better quality of golf course.  As I said before our course covers a large amount of property, now each of our staff members will be equipped with the capability to call for assistance if there is an injury or a medical emergency to a guest on our course.  We will be able to work more efficiently and be able to contact each other to find gaps in play or know what is left to be done on the course so we can stay out of your way better.  I believe over time as we continue to work toward having the best golf course we can this investment will pay benefits over and over and over.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Golf Environment Organization Recertification Achieved

I am proud to announce that The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay has completed recertification with the Golf Environment Organization to remain a GEO Certified golf course.  We gained our original certification in 2014 GEO 2014 certification. The Golf Environment Organization is a worldwide leader in environmental sustainability based in Europe with member courses all over the world.  The thing I enjoy the most about GEO certification is that they look at all aspects of the golf course operations not just what is happening on the course.  GEO looks at things like whether or not you are purchasing locally grown produce for food preparation, how far your fuel has to be delivered which impacts your carbon footprint, what your involvement with the local community is, to all aspects of the property.  For us, being that we are located on Harrison Bay State Park property, this examination into our environmental programs expanded outside of the boundaries of the course to include all the projects undertaken and impacts made property wide.

The certification or recertification process with GEO really got us looking into our complete operation and got us to see things that we were doing correctly and things that we could improve on.  There are six sections of certification with GEO and our inputs and reports from these areas can be found here.

The content of our Nature section can be viewed here  The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay---Nature

The content of our Water section can be viewed here  The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay---Water

The content of our Pollution Control section can be viewed here The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay---Pollution Control

The content of our Supply Chain section can be viewed here  The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay---Supply Chain

The content of our Energy section can be viewed here  The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay---Energy

The content of our Community section can be viewed here The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay---Community

We are very grateful to our department leaders locally and in Nashville for all their support in obtaining our original certification and in gaining this recertification.  Special thanks go to Mr. Robin Boyer, BT@HB GM and Golf Professional, Mr. Don Campbell, Park Manager and Mr. Matt Vawter, Park Ranger at Harrison Bay State Park for their assistance in sharing and gathering information about the history and impact of Harrison Bay State Park.  Special thanks also has to go to Mrs. Diane Johnstone and Mr. Jim Morgan of the Friends of Harrison Bay State Park for sharing how the Friends Group assist in providing support and funding for some park projects including the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Project and also how they are assisting the golf course by being members of the BT@HB Bluebird monitors Bluebird Trail is Thriving.

We are very proud to be among this list of only 11 courses in the United States to have obtained GEO certification.  GEO Certified United States courses

The recertification process is very educational as you get to step back and look at your operation from a distance and then dive in to gather specific information for each category.  I am always excited to see how others view our environmental projects and practices and was thrilled when GEO assigned Ms. Teresa Wade of Net Positive Golf to be our independent verifier.  Our complete independent verification report prepared by Ms. Wade can be read here--2017 GEO Verification Report