“This is education on crack,” Frank Wong of Bayer Crop Science announced as the Golf Industry Show’s first-ever “Lightning Round Learning” education session got underway on Tuesday. The setup? Each of 11 presenters was allotted 20 slides, which advanced automatically every 15 seconds, for a total of just five minutes to convey their message. “This is really about storytelling and connecting with you guys — no frills, no fuss,” Wong, the event’s moderator, told the packed theater of attendees.
Here, a recap of presenters and their core points:
Henry DeLozier. “We’re each dealing with our legacy right now,” said DeLozier (above), who shared insight into becoming a stronger leader and manager in order to leave the lasting mark you envision. DeLozier urged audience members to take actions now to shape how they want to ultimately be remembered, comparing the process to applying pesticides. “A legacy is not happenstance — these are deliberate actions,” he said.
Carol Rau. When it comes to making a first impression, you have between seven seconds and five minutes to either nail it or fall short, and 93 percent of all communication happens via body language. “My message is that you control your first impression, so be intentional, and be prepared,” Rau said. She offered tips for appropriate body language, anticipating the handshake and choosing your first words.
Carlos Arraya, CGCS, and Jared Brewster. When working to develop effective standard operating procedures, don’t let yourself get bogged down with the details, nor with the innovation-limiting mindset of, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Arraya and Brewster emphasized that SOP success requires universal training programs for staff, and that the process is never done — it has to keep evolving and improving to be of value.
Jason Haines. The Canadian superintendent touted the concept of minimalism, and encouraged those at courses with smaller budgets not to view financial constraints as a disadvantage. “Our shrinking budget released my creativity and allowed me to take bigger risks,” Haines said, detailing how, driven by monetary constraints, he was able to achieve an 80 percent reduction in fertilizer use all while maintaining top-notch turf conditions.
Jim Myers. “There are fewer students perusing turf degrees, so you need to do your homework,” Myers advised superintendents looking to put together a standout internship program. In addition to tips for recruiting exceptional interns, Myers discussed the merits of setting goals with interns, resume workshopping with them, tailoring internships to match career interests, and bringing in guest speakers.
Chris Rapp. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and for Rapp, an equipment manager, much enjoyment and satisfaction lie in the process of innovating to address a problem. “That’s why I love the mundane, stressful and nearly will-shattering things,” he said. Rapp reviewed the components of problem-solving — necessity, teamwork, invention and success — and reminded attendees that they’re each a skilled inventor in their own right by virtue of being in the golf course management profession.
James C. Papritan, Ph.D. The United States is home to more than 100 land-grant universities, and Papritan shared how superintendents can get involved with these institutions to benefit from their research, education and cooperative extension services. Papritan, who is part of the Space Coast Golf and Turf Association, said forging these alliances provides networking opportunities, vast technical knowledge and resources, and the facilitation of BMP implementation.
Darrin Batisky. Throughout 29 years in the industry, Batisky has learned a few things, and he passed along some highlights: Be yourself (even as an introvert, which many superintendents are!), tell your story (or no one else will), have a presence, be passionate, don’t try to please everyone, and recognize there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. “Confidence will help you; arrogance will hurt you,” Batisky advised.
Kevin Fletcher, Ph.D. Fletcher covered environmental risk management, reminding superintendents that many of the everyday tasks they do bear a great deal of risk. Fletcher went over the importance of instating a written environmental policy at your course and getting a grasp on environmental laws. An oft-overlooked way to reduce your operation’s environmental liability? “Training is one of the most underutilized tools to address risk,” Fletcher said.
Trey Rogers, Ph.D. A turfgrass professor at Michigan State, Rogers capped “Lightning Round Learning” by recounting lessons his more than 1,500 students have taught him throughout his 30 years of teaching them. A sampling of the wisdom: Have patience in waiting for the perfect job, approach each spring like it’s your first one, and know that the road to happiness doesn’t necessarily run through a top-100 course.