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?
This information will be streamlined directly to the Guidestar.org 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.
During the month of October, golf courses in the sunbelt areas of the country are faced with a huge task. Overseed, yes overseed. This process is different in each region and requires a ton of work for it to be successful. In the desert regions, winter nighttime temps drop into the 30′s and 40′s and warm up into the 70′s during the day. These temp changes make the Bermudagrass go dormant and turns it brown. Overseed is a must during the winter months when golf demand is at highest point of the year. The goal with a desert overseed is to completely cover the bermudagrass with ryegrass. Period. Any areas of bermudagrass still thriving in the fresh new ryegrass stand will stick out like a sore thumb in December. These courses will be growing this new crop for the next 7 months then they flip the switch and grow bermudagrass for the rest of the year. I wish it was that easy. These superintendents work magic during this process.
In Florida, I call this seeding process interseeding. The goal here is to have 60% stand of bermudagrass and a 40% stand of ryegrass. Only areas in north Florida have nighttime temps in the 30′s and the rates might be higher. South Florida has only a hand full of cold days a year that knock back the bermudagrass and seed is not needed. With seed comes the stripes. Many clubs that push for green at any cost want to see a bang for their buck. “Hey Sup stripe it up baby”. Somehow they think that your growing bentgrass and they want the place to look like their club up north. Just relax and play it as it lies.
Chelsea Piers is a series of historic piers on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City that was a passenger ship terminal in the early 1900s. It is located in the Chelsea neighborhood, on the northern edge of Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District.
The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers offers a year-round outdoor golf driving range, a teaching academy, two full-swing simulators and two private event rooms. The driving range has four tiers, is weather protected and heated and utilizes a Japanese-technology automated ball tee-up system. Each floor has 12 bays on it. On some days you better be ready to wait. You have to make a tee time on the weekends.
The piers are currently used by the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex. The new complex includes film and television production facilities, including those for CBS College Sports Network and Food Network, a health club, a day spa, the city’s largest training center for gymnastics, two basketball courts, playing fields for indoor lacrosse and soccer, batting cages, a rock climbing wall and dance studios. In addition there is an AMF Bowling center, and two full sized ice rinks for skating.
This place has something for everyone. This HD video shows you the only place to putt and drive in New York City.
Just what you want to see on your computer screen on a monday morning, your course is in the cone of death. That’s right a hurricane might be headed your way. After a look at the computer models and a peak at the ocean water temps map, you have to start to make some decisions. Living in South Florida, you have to become some what of a meteorologist and keep your day job as a golf course superintendent. I have gone through at least five major hurricanes and over a dozen tropical storms in the last eighteen years. I have put together a plan and procedure booklet that lays out what to do to protect the course and employees while a hurricane is headed your way.
Phase 1 – Hurricane Watch means a disturbance is approximately 24 hours away. This is used with the understanding that hurricanes are quite unpredictable and forward movement can drastically change.
- The superintendent must commence the collection and place indoors all lose objects such as trash cans, benches, flags, tee markers, etc.
- Check trees and shrubbery and remove limbs which may damage utility wires or other property.
- Remove coconuts from trees.
- Top off main fuel storage tanks.
- Fill all mowers and carts with fuel.
- Turn off all power supplies to pump stations.
- Back up the irrigation programs from your computer and take it with you.
- Go over generators and start them.
- Update your employee contact information and explain that you will call them when to report to work. Let them take care of their families and homes and you will have a better chance of them coming to work when you need them. Send them home early.
- Assist the clubhouse staff with the installation of shutters over the windows.
- Take a video of your maintenance building and each hole of the golf course. I did this at Doral, when we had hurricanes Wilma and Katrina headed our way, and the videos turned out to be worth a few million dollars. Doral lost thousands of trees and the videos showed what we lost.
- Check your chainsaws and have extra blades.
- Have your outside tree crews on stand by and expect them charge full price. They have been waiting for this storm all year.
- Make sure you have a cell phone charger for your car or truck. Cell phone towers work 8 hours on batteries, so if the storm is that bad you only have a few hours to call staff and tell loved ones that you are alive. Even if you phone is charged, it will not work them those towers shut down.
Phase 2 – Go home and take care of your family and home. If a Cat 3 or more is coming your way, send the wife and kids out of town. You will lose power for days or even weeks. They don’t need to deal with that and your attitude that the golf course is being blown apart.
Phase 3 – Comunicate with staff and members during the storm and after the storm moves through. Your clubhouse will become a safe haven for members and staff to get there life together and take a warm shower. Use Twitter to do this and get the word out if you can open the clubhouse.
Phase 4 - After the storm, take video, count the trees down, and don’t turn on your pump station. You will burn it up because the power supply will be dirty. Wait a few days to turn it on. Review the course and reach out to staff and start the clean up.
Good luck and let’s hope you don’t need to use my plan in your career.
Looking at the numbers of projects going on in the state paints an interesting picture.
There are only three new course construction projects under way in Florida: Streamsong Resort, Bonifay at The Villages and Ocala Meadows.
Streamsong, a 36-hole resort project in Polk County owned by Mosaic, is a 16,000 acre site formerly mined for phosphate. Streamsong is located between Tampa and Orlando. Three big time architects got the tap for this job. Tom Doak is designing 18 holes, and Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore are designing the other 18 holes. With this powerful design team at the helm, I can’t wait to see how the project turns out.
The resort is slated to have 140 guest rooms and a spa with enough land to build more rooms if needed.
Bonifay at The Villages, also in Central Florida, is adding 27 holes to their portfolio. This project will be part of their “Play for Life” membership program.
Not too far down the street is an 18-hole project called Ocala Meadows. This course is scheduled to open in the fall.
Renovation’s are picking up however, are still down from last year. 25 to 30 courses are doing touch ups to their tracks this summer.
Tom Fazio has been busy redesigning Emerald Dunes and The Floridian. Jim Fazio is doing work at Boca Grove and Trump International. Bobby Weed has blown up Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club in Tampa and, from what I hear, has put a new face on the course. Many courses are re-grassing fairways, greens or tees. The trend continues with courses changing greens to a new ultra dwarf bermudagrass such as mini-verde and tif-eagle. A few courses are installing tif-grand on their tees and I must say, after having this grass for the last two years, I understand why…It performs. Fairways are being converted at a record pace to celebration bermudagrass, with many clubs using the no till method with great success.
Bunker projects are still going on and a few new irrigation systems will be wrapping up by September. I just finished the first phase of my master planned landscape project this week. We did our bunkers last summer and added a few new tees the summer before. Just enough work to keep the members excited about the course that they play every day.
Let’s see what happens in the summer of 2012. If I missed one, please let me know.
I have to say that I love when people and companies keep their word. This spring, I contracted to have over 30 acres of turf treated with Bayer’s Chipco Choice for control of mole crickets. Chipco Choice’s active ingredient is fipronil which is very safe and effective at ultra-low doses. The product was sliced into the turf with perfection and carries a six month guarantee. We hit the tee tops, collars and all of the fairways.
The application provided 98% control and I recently noticed small areas of cricket break through on a few fairways. I picked up my phone, took a picture of the damage, sent it to my vendor and within less than a week, I had Top Choice at my door step to treat the areas. Great job Bayer, and way to stand behind your products.
Just when things were showing signs of picking up in the golf world, the last two weeks of financial news has struck fear back into the business. The politics of Washington D.C., problems in Europe and unemployment figures here in the U.S. have cast a shadow on the world economy. The stock market has lost 10% in the last two weeks alone, and is still trending down. Things are so negative that gold, investor’s “safe haven”, hit an all-time high and then sold off from it’s high point during Thursday’s 500 point drop.
On Friday night, August 5, it was announced that the S & P rating for the United States was downgraded from AAA to AA+. What does this downgrade mean for everyone? For starters, the amount of interest the U.S. government pays on it’s debt goes up. Rates on car loans, mortgages, credit cards and student loans will be going up. This downgrade will hit the pocket books of the American people, and discretionary spending on golf will be no exception.
I was traveling last week in New York and was a guest at a few clubs in Southampton. You could feel it in the air. Everyone was talking about the problems facing the country. This morning on the range tee in Miami, a buzz of “whats going to happen next?” was heard down the tee line. If the members are taking cover, its only a matter of time that conversations about cut backs at clubs will take place.
This downgrade will give golf courses enough of an excuse to delay capital expenses and cut back on operating budgets…just what we don’t need to have happen. Many superintendents have been asked to do more and more with less every year. This next inevitable round of cuts may be the breaking point for many guys.
High Line, New York City’s new green space project, is an elevated area that runs along the old train tracks on the lower West Side. The first section of the project opened on June 9, 2009, and runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. The second section, from West 20th Street to West 30th Street, opened in June 2011.
According to the Friends of High Line website, “The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district. No trains have run on the High Line since 1980. Friends of the High Line, a community-based non-profit group, formed in 1999 when the historic structure was under threat of demolition. Friends of the High Line works in partnership with the City of New York to preserve and maintain the structure as an elevated public park.
In 2004, Friends of the High Line and the City of New York conducted a process to select a design team for the High Line. They selected the team of James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, an architecture firm, and experts in horticulture, engineering, security, maintenance, public art, and other disciplines.
In November of 2005, The City took ownership of the High Line from CSX Transportation, Inc. (who donated the structure), and the City and CSX signed a Trail Use Agreement. Taken together, these two actions effectively preserved the High Line south of 30th Street.”
Over the next four years the first section of the above ground park began to take shape. The tracks were removed, cleaned and stored for later installation in the landscape design. The team began to bring in dirt and to install the plant material. Walkways and stairs were added for access throughout the track system. Tracks were then reinstalled into the design as the final touch, reminding anyone visiting the High Line that they are standing on a part of New York history.
The next time you are in New York, check out the must-see High Line project and support the Friends of High Line. This project is truly something special and it will be enjoyed by everyone for many years to come. This HD video shows the final product – the result of years of hard work to build new green space in New York City.