Archive for February, 2011

Guest Blog: Turfgrass Tips – Chilling Injury

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Note:  This week’s guest blog is from Global Turf Network – an initiative to provide scientifically-based educational information and expertise to the turfgrass industry globally in native languages.  You can learn more about their services by clicking on the link at the end of the blog.

Chilling injury is defined as low temperature stress in the absence of freezing (Levitt, 1980). It readily occurs on warm season grasses growing in the subtropical to tropical regions when temperatures drop below 54 F (12 C) in the fall. Although chilling is most often associated with bermudagrass, it occurs on other warm season turfgrasses.

Besides temperature, light is essential for injury and leaf bleaching to occur (Levitt, 1980; Youngner, 1959). Specifically, Younger (1959) demonstrated the interaction of reduced temperatures and high light intensity. Chilling injury causes several metabolic of physiological dysfunctions to the plant including 1)disruption of the conversion of starch to sugars (amylotytic activity), 2) decreased carbon dioxide exchange, 3)reduction in net photosynthesis, and 4) the destruction/degradation of chlorophyll (DiPaola & Beard, 1992).

Given the range of temperature from freezing (0 C) to 12 C that chilling can occur symptom expression can vary. The most striking symptoms occur, again under high light intensities with rapid temperature drop to -or close to – freezing. Under this scenario symptoms are expressed in 24 to 48 hours. Symptoms appear as bleached out turf often in a camouflage appearance. The bleached out leaves is due to rapid pigment degradation. Although we are not aware of any data or studies, the consensus opinion among researchers in this area is that the serpentine or camouflage pattern occurs because of differential settling of cold air. In other words cold air settles into the lower areas of the turf causing more injury, similar to what occurs in a valley or at the base of a mountain range.

At temperatures in the 8 to 12 C (high 40’s low 50’s F) chilling injury occurs much slower and is not as drastic. Chilling symptoms appear more uniform and the turf color is a combination of purple, blue, and red shades due to the slow degradation of chlorophyll and the corresponding expression of other pigments and carotenoids.

Control

Preventing chilling injury is nearly impossible if temperatures get cold. If conditions can be predicted prior to occurring covering the turf may help reduce the severity.  Most of the practices mentioned work best if the chilling period is short in duration.

Covering the turf can reduce the effects of chilling but may not be practical for large areas.   Applications of gibberellic acid (GA3) within hours of discoloration may help reduce the discoloration (follow labeled directions). Painting the turf ‘green’ is another option if the discoloration is objectionable.

References

DiPaola, J.M. and J.B. Beard. 1992. Physiological effects of temperature stress. in (eds. D.V. Waddington, R.N. Carrow, and R.C. Shearman) Turfgrass. ASA Monograph 32. Madison, WI.

Levitt, J. 1980. Responses of plants to environmental stresses. Vol 1. 2nd ed. Academic Press, NY.

Youngner, V.B. 1959. Growth of U-3 bermudagrass under various day and night temperatures and light intensities. Agronomy Journal 51:557-559.

Dr. Karl Danneberger, Turfgrass Science Professor, and Ed Nangle, PhD Candidate.  They can be reached through the Global Turf Network website – www.globalturfnetwork.com.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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Fire and Emergency Evacuation Drills

Monday, February 21st, 2011

An essential element of any fire safety plan is the emergency evacuation drill, commonly called a fire drill.  Without making the effort to train and rehearse employees on their responsibilities and actions in case of fire or other emergency, the lives of many people – members, guests, and employees may be at risk.

The challenge for clubs is that the facility use patterns are very different for different parts of the club and for different times of the day and week.  The evacuation issues at the golf course maintenance facility or aquatics center are far different than the clubhouse; and a clubhouse evacuation on a Tuesday morning will have far different concerns than a busy Saturday night.

Add to this is the disruption of member service and enjoyment of their club by scheduling frequent evacuation drills or holding such drills when members are dining and guests are attending a large and expensive wedding.  Clearly, evacuation drills must be held, but they must be carefully planned and executed to provide full safety value with the minimum disruption to member and guest activities.  So what strategies would meet both requirements?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Hold quarterly departmental evacuations drills for remote (non-clubhouse) facilities and activities such as aquatics, racquet center, golf course maintenance, and cart barn.  These will be scheduled by the department head in coordination with the club Safety Director or General Manager.  The time of the drill should be chosen based on greatest rehearsal impact for the largest number of employees with the least disruption to member service.
  • Schedule two types of quarterly clubhouse evacuation drills:
    • Daytime – schedules drills for two quarters of the year will be for a weekday timeframe when all operating and administrative departments are functioning – again with the least disruption to members.
    • Evening – the remaining two quarterly drills should be scheduled for an evening period.  Clearly a nighttime drill will impact members, but this impact on member service and enjoyment of their club can be lessened by various strategies such as a Board approved and supported weeknight “Fire Drill Night” when members are alerted in advance to the evening’s drill and the drill is scheduled for a particular time.  Meal service on this “special activity” night would be a reduced price buffet scheduled to start just after the drill is completed.  Members would be asked to arrive early for a brief open bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres while seated in the dining room.  After participating in the drill, members would return to their seats for the specialty buffet.  The selected date should be one without scheduled catered functions.

The other means of training and testing employees in various departments of their responsibilities and actions during an emergency evacuation would be departmental Emergency Evacuation Simulations.  These routine periodic simulations would consist of a variety of cards describing simulated emergencies for each area of the operation and asking employees what their actions would be when handed the card.

Simulation cards would be readily identifiable by design and color.  Each card would:

  • Describe an emergency scenario.
  • Require the employee to describe his or her actions, including:
    • Notification of the emergency.
    • Location of emergency exits.
    • Primary and alternate evacuation routes.
    • Steps to evacuate members, guests, and other employees.
    • Location of exterior assembly area.
  • Require the employee to list:
    • Appropriate life safety actions in the presence of fire, heat, and smoke.
    • Steps to fight or slow the spread of the fire.
  • Require the employee to:
    • Point out the location of fire pull stations.
    • Point out the location of fire extinguishers.
    • Explain the types of fire extinguishers and their respective uses.
    • Simulate the use of a fire extinguisher, while describing the necessary operating procedures and techniques.

The supervisor presenting the simulation card would grade the employee responses and point out any incorrect actions or answers.  The whole exercise should take no more than ten minutes and can be executed without disturbing normal service routines.

The combination of quarterly evacuation drills and routinely administered simulation exercises will increase the fire safety awareness of club staff and provide valuable information and experience in emergency evacuation procedures.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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The Night Ranger Dave Took Charge

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Some general managers are at a loss when it comes to getting their department heads to take greater responsibility for their department’s performance.  They wonder why they have to tell their subordinates what they must do and how to do it.  Why won’t these managers take charge and assume the initiative to run their operations more efficiently and profitably?

Let me tell you the story of Dave and one of my early leadership lessons.  As a newly-commissioned second lieutenant I was going through Army Ranger School – a grueling 9-week course at Fort Benning with a three week segment in the mountains of north Georgia and another three weeks in the swamps of Florida.  Each Ranger candidate was paired with another – his Ranger Buddy.  Mine was Dave, a classmate from the Academy.

One night on an extended patrol in the mountain phase, Dave had been assigned to carry the heavy M-60 machine gun in addition to his normal load of gear and ammunition.  We were cold, hungry, sleep-deprived, and physically exhausted from miles of “humping” up and down the mountainous terrain.  As the night went on, Dave, who was behind me in the patrol formation, carried on a non-stop litany of complaints about his sore legs and back, his blistered feet, the extra weight he carried, the constant stopping and starting as we groped our way through the darkness, how hungry he was, and on and on.

At one the many halts, the word came down the line that the patrol leader had been “killed” and that Ranger Dave was now in charge.  In a flash Dave sprang into action.  In short order he assigned the M-60 to another Ranger, took charge of the patrol, huddled under a poncho with his flashlight to confirm our location and route of march, and moved about issuing orders like he was fresh from two weeks of rest and recuperation.

The change in Dave was astounding.  In an instant he went from a complaining malingerer to George Patton on the offensive – the only difference being the mantle of responsibility.  From watching Dave lead the patrol for the next 10 hours I realized that giving a person a leadership role with its heavy responsibility for mission success is a transforming event.

But I would also point out that when the responsibility is not fully given, when the senior leader continues to tell the subordinate what to do and how to do it, a junior leader will not take full responsibility and has a legitimate excuse to evade accountability.  So, what can a general manager to do ensure that his subordinate managers take full responsibility for their enterprises?

  • Make it clear that it is their responsibility to set the agenda for their departments within the larger goals of the club and to run their operations efficiently and within budget.
  • Broadly spell out expectations, but do not micromanage.
  • Define and employ measurable accountabilities so their performance can be objectively and accurately gauged.
  • Monitor performance closely until the subordinate proves that she can be trusted to do the right things.
  • Offer help when needed.
  • Intervene when necessary to avoid significant errors or faulty decisions.  Use such interventions as teaching moments for the subordinate.
  • If too many mistakes are made or the subordinate is not meeting expectations, remedy appropriately with counseling and ultimately, if improvements are not made, discharge.

Many managers, when given full authority, an opportunity to make a difference, and reasonable expectations, will rise to the occasion.  They will quickly go from passive execution of your directions to a hard-charging, energized Ranger Dave.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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Give Them More Than Just a Paycheck

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Throughout my career I’ve too often heard managers complain about the labor pool, the lack of work ethic and sense of responsibility among workers, and the constant headaches that came from their human “resources.”  The overwhelming sense from these managers was – “We pay too much to these people whose only interest is in collecting a paycheck.”

Yet at the same time and in the same or similar markets, there were other managers who did just fine in finding and retaining good people who made a real contribution to their clubs.  What then made the difference?  The answer is quite simple – good leadership!

So instead of just providing your employees with a paycheck, consider giving them the following:

  • Respect.  The life of all human beings is important to themselves, yet too many people are treated by their bosses as if they didn’t matter.  This maltreatment is not always by design; it’s the byproduct of busy bosses too focused on themselves or the many problems they face in busy operations.  But every employee deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and the common courtesies of human interaction.  When consistently and sincerely given, this respect will transform any work team.
  • Responsibility.  Placing responsibility on your work team demonstrates your trust in them.  Trust given returns trust.  In contrast, when you treat your employees like idiots or children, many will respond by acting like idiots or children.
  • Recognition.  Every day your employees do hundreds of things right.  Make sure you recognize that essential contribution to the success of your operation.  When sincerely given, a simple thank you or handshake of appreciation has a profound impact on morale, commitment, and contribution.
  • Responsiveness.  Leaders must engage with their employees every day and respond to their issues and concerns.  In any group of people working in a complex, fast-paced, and detail-intensive business there will be conflict and turmoil.  Without the leader’s guiding hand, this turmoil can consume the operation.  Leaders must stay engaged, be approachable, and respond to concerns.
  • Example.  Someone once said, “A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.” The leader’s example is paramount in setting the standards of the operation.  If the leader doesn’t seem to care about his employees, they won’t care about him or his initiatives and agenda.
  • Training.  Most people want to do a good job and appreciate when they are properly trained to improve their knowledge, skills, and job performance.  Lack of training leads to a chaotic and confusing work environment, the loss of conscientious employees, and a staff dominated by people who “couldn’t care less.”
  • Removal of Roadblocks.  Leaders should be hyper-sensitive to anything in the workplace that inhibits efficiency.  Do whatever is necessary within reason to identify and eliminate anything that makes employees jobs more challenging, time consuming, and frustrating.  Not only do you gain speed, efficiency, and improved productivity, but your employees will understand that you are dedicated to improving the operation and you care enough about them to address legitimate concerns.

All of the above steps from leaders will have a dramatic effect on employees and the operation.  In contrast, when you give your employees no more than a paycheck, you shortchange them, the club, and your members.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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