Rolex Celebrates 40 Years of The Explorer II

New Rolex Explorer II by Eric J. von Hofen

New Rolex Explorer II Watch

Rolex has done it again…they have designed another instant classic. The new Stainless Steel Explorer II Oyster is bigger and bolder than its 40 year old cousin. This new classic watch has increased the case size from 40 mm to 42 mm with the same scratch proof Sapphire Crystal that looks like a picture window. The dials come in Black or White and that is it. The new Explorer II boasts a stunning orange 24-hour hand that jumps out at you when you see it in person. The old Explorer had a red 24-hour hand which looks great with a white dial. Rolex does not make the 40 mm size anymore so hold on to one if you have it.

New Rolex Explorer II next to the old Explorer II by Eric J. von Hofen

New Rolex Explorer II next to the old Explorer II

This picture shows just how much bigger the new watch is. Its bigger and more expensive, if you can find one. The new Explorer costs around $8,000 which is $1,500 more than its older cousin. Rolex has controlled the release of this new watch with the same precision it takes to build one. Thousands of people bought and paid for their new watches and walked out of the store empty-handed. Rolex released and shipped all of the purchased watches at the same time around the world in early October. They used this tactic to prevent the second-hand market from ruining the demand and pricing of this instant classic. Now that Tiger Woods is back on the payroll at Rolex, I’m sure this is what he will be wearing off of the links. For more history and fun facts on Rolex watches stop by Jakes Rolex World. Its the best Rolex site I have ever seen. Check it out.

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New Rules for IRS-Recognized Nonprofit Country Clubs Will Be a Game Changer

New York City by Eric J. von Hofen

Home of the Nonprofit - New York City

For years people have tried to figure out how nonprofits work and where the money trail goes. The IRS feels that enough is enough and that more transparency needs to take place. There are thousands of nonprofits in the United States and, believe it or not, Country Clubs will have to play be these new rules. The IRS has beefed up reporting requirements with respect to compensation, and these new requirements will apply to Country Clubs and other nonprofits alike. The changes were prompted by audits showing discrepancies in what nonprofits across the country were disclosing. In 2012, after the Club’s taxes are filed, the lists of the top money makers and their compensation amounts will be be made public. This reporting will be done on the new IRS Form 990. Will you be on the list and ready for that public relations nightmare?

GuideStar Logo

GuideStar Monitors Nonprofits

This information will be streamlined directly to the web site. According to GuideStar, they have a database of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations. Many people use this web site to monitor their favorite charities to see the good work that they are doing and where the money is going. Well, now your members will be using this site to see how much you are making. This “SuperLeak” will have many golf course superintendents running for cover and wanting to give up that company truck. I think that this process will forever change the mystery of what the top guys in the country are making. No more speculation or rumors on who got what in the last big deal. The GCSAA will have to rewrite the results of their compensation study to show the facts.

I hope there is a silver lining around this cloud, and that Country Clubs will see the value of their top people and take care of them. But I feel that there will be some losers in the deal and they will be compared to the guy down the street and the cuts will follow. This is truly a game changer.

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Polo and Peter Millar by Eric J. von Hofen
Ask any of my former employees and they will tell you my saying. If you dress like a farmer on the golf course, they will treat you like one. As a result, I have always dressed up the part and have kept my golf shirts on the cutting edge. I have based this list off of price point, durability, cut, and style. Superintendents spend just as much time on the golf course as some teaching pros but we have different needs in our shirts. Here it is, the top 5 shirts superintendents must have.

1. Polo by Ralph Lauren
2. Peter Millar
3. Fairway and Greene
4. Donald  J. Ross
5. Nike Golf

I’m not much into the performance materials(polyester), although they do provide some better UV protection than the cotton threads. To me they seem hot and tend to have a “plastic” smell. Nike Golf makes some that don’t smell.  My preferred material for the shirts listed above is cotton. Hit up your golf pro and have him get you the same deals they get from the manufacturers. You can get these shirts at cost and you will look like a million bucks watering that green.

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What Should Be In Your Golf Course’s Long-Range Plan?

Eric J. von Hofen planting a Live Oak tree
If you listen to the news, anyone in the golf business should be running for the hills and filling out an application at the local grocery store these days. This goes for the members too. Golf rounds have declined and the NGF reported again today that more courses closed in 2010 then opened. Those courses that have had a long-range plan is place have come out on top during the market meltdown over the last two years. I have found a pattern of success at operations that have been proactive and set up a committee that has tackled these tough issues.

In order for these long-range plans to get off the ground and stay on track, you need to have longevity on the committee. Usually the past presidents of the club are the best fit. These individuals know the history of the operation and have served their time. They usually are long time members and have the time to met once a quarter. During these meeting topics can be covered very quickly with little time wasted on bringing new people up to speed on what’s going on.

With so many moving parts in running a successful golf course operation, a long-range committee needs to look at the following areas to keep the club and course on track.

1.Membership– What is the trend at the club? How are you handling membership pricing and dues?
2.Staff– How is the club retaining and rewarding it’s best employees? Turn over is expensive and you would like to continue to get that member pour from the server who knows what you drink and eat as soon as you walk in the door.
3.The golf course-Many say it’s the most important thing and I have to agree. Understand the history of the course and when it was built. If it was designed by a classic architect, don’t mess it up. Get a professional that understands the design thoughts and don’t let a group of low handicap players redesign the course to fit their games.
4.Water– Understand the irrigation system and how it works. This alone could be a million dollars or more if you need to replace it. Just because the pipes are out of sight and out of mind doesn’t mean your irrigation system is doing it’s job. Is your club taking measures to conserve water? You might be surprised on what you find out.
5.The clubhouse-What upgrades are needed to maintain the building and provide new services younger members with families might want to use on a daily basis. Here I would listen to these folks, because they will be around for many years to come.
6.Capital Equipment-What does the kitchen need to cook 600 people Thanksgiving dinner or that 300 people at a weeding? How about equipment to mow the greens and fairways. Have you priced out a new rough mower lately? I will save you the trouble and tell you they cost as much as your wife’s BMW. These expenses have to be planned for.
7.Landscape-Yes, good old plants and trees. Believe it or not, but they too have a life expectancy and need to be cared for. Develop a plan with an architect that knows what the heck these trees and plants will look like 40 to 50 years from now. Work off of the plan and add plant material over time. Try not to install the entire design in two months and expect them to grow 20 feet in a year. Remember this apart of a long range plan.

I hope you use these seven items as building blocks to put together or enhance your clubs long-range plans. Good luck out there.

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