3 Things Your Plan Needs To Be Successful

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We’ve all heard that you “fail to plan, and you plan to fail.” But what really goes into that? And what does that mean to a turf organization?

Planning in turf management is a beast. You have to factor in labor and hiring, tasks and processes, standards and a long list of stakeholders to satisfy. Your plan is subject to the elements (not to mention the labor economy), and some days it’s all you can do just to respond to each of the issues that come up.

A quote we like even better when talking about planning for turf organizations is: 

“If you don’t have a plan, any road is going to get you where you’re going.”

This means you will get somewhere without a plan, but it won’t be where you want to go. You won’t even know where you’re headed until you get there.

This makes us ask: what, in all practicality, is the best way to avoid failure if planning in turf management has so many moving parts?

Not only should you plan to succeed in turf care, you also have to make sure your plan is viable. Here, we’re going to break down what goes into a viable plan, pin point some of the old-school tools that don’t work anymore, and pave the road to the one plan that will satisfy all your turf management needs with the best technology out there and the 21st-century business hindsight of how we got where we are today.

What we’ve resorted to

Creating a solid maintenance plan isn’t easy. If it were, superintendents and turf professionals all over the world would have an easier time responding to conditions and shifts in budgets and markets. 

But turf management is complex. It’s so complex that we resort to pen and paper, Excel spreadsheets, and anywhere else we can dump thoughts to later try and piece them together in a meaningful way. We all know how difficult it is to turn those thoughts into a working spreadsheet only to have one factor change that messes up all our programmed equations.

And then, our fragile system is broken and we’re left flying by the seat of our pants to get the job done.

The takeaway here is that a plan needs to do more than just outline thoughts. It needs to be responsive and intelligent enough to help us adjust that plan and see how all pieces in play will be affected.

Let’s take a look at what actually sets a plan up to be intelligent and proactive to give us the real system we need so that a plan can respond to everything thrown at us.

3 crucial elements of the plan you need

In order for your plan to be intelligent and responsive and to help you manage turf in the real world—where stuff is going to happen and circumstances are going to change—it needs to be:

  • Attainable

A plan can’t assume you’ll be drinking Champagne on a Natty Light budget. Your plan has to fit realistically within your budget, and this means knowing and outlining the different responsibilities and resources they require to see your plan’s success.

You can’t pick numbers out of a hat, either. At least, we hope you won’t. Responsibilities and the costs associated with them need to be matched with real data, and that data needs to respond to the real world.

For example, do you have a pulse on changes in the labor market? Or cost changes around the equipment and agronomic materials you need? Your plan has to be easily updated with these shifts to show you how those changes affect the cost of each responsibility and task across the board.

Staff availability is another important thing to think about, too. You might have the budget to hire 20 people, but if there aren’t 20 experienced people available for hire in your price-range and geographical area, your labor needs might need a tweak to be attainable.

  • Agreed-on

Just because we can plan and cut a budget doesn’t mean everyone’s going to be happy about it.

Whoever makes up your key stakeholders—general managers, management companies, boards, members—has to be in agreement with your plan in order for it to be viable. 

There are a couple key elements to ensure your plan is agreeable to all those who have a say: 

  • First, you have to have your plan on paper. For golf professionals, this historically came in the form of Maintenance Standards. But crafting a handbook of standards isn’t enough if it ends up in a desk drawer. All other aspects of your plan need to be spelled out, too, including those key responsibilities we talked about above.

     

  • Second, your plan needs to be actively communicated. Use what bandwidth you have at board meetings to share your plan in quantifiable terms (which are those that steer any meeting in the right direction). This also helps combat the old-school practice of drafting standards only to have them stuffed in a desk later. A working plan has to be visible to all parties at all times to keep your organization on track.

What were once drafted as Maintenance Standards can now be woven into a bigger vision or mission statement to bring your documented plan to today’s requirements, too. All the responsibilities and tasks that roll up into that statement then need to be spelled out. Outline the kind of facility you want to run, and you could be one successful board meeting away from getting real stakeholder buy-in.

  • Actionable

At the end of the day, all of the above needs to be built into a system that KNOWS what your plan is and helps you and your staff EXECUTE that plan on a day to day basis while allowing to modify the plan on the fly and automatically building reports to show you  how well you executed. This is where hand-written notes and Excel spreadsheets fall well short of meeting day to day challenges of turf professionals.

Does your current system know where you are in your plan and keep your staff accountable to needs as they ebb and flow? Does your system act as an auto-pilot? It should. And with today’s technology, it can.

This is the core of why we built Turf Assistant. With your plan built into our software specialized for turf management, it can update everything from task A to Z with all the data feedback you need to see where you are now and how to get where you want to go.

Data is the only way to justify adjustments made to your plan, and automating that data can’t be done today in a spreadsheet. You don’t have to rely on gut feelings anymore. Now, you can justify budgets and paint a realistic picture for all players as to what’s possible and what’s expected.

Turf Assistant was built to help you map your plan out and check for attainability, then document that plan to ensure all players are on the same page—and then, to leave you with an actionable system to execute your plan on a daily basis while collecting data to give you real-time feedback on the health of your organization. 

Plan forecasting and reporting are now a click away. Contact us today to get started so you can build the plan that will take you exactly where you want to go.

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Brian Sexton   Lorem Ipsum is simply

Brian has almost 15 years experience of building software platforms and managing development teams . He specialises in the development of data driven technology platforms and machine learning algorithms.

Brian has a degree and a masters in software development and spent many years designing and building real time fraud and AML solutions for financial institutions around the world while working for BAE systems.

Since 2015 Brian has worked with a number of startups helping with development of technical strategy and building and managing software teams. Recently he has been working in sports tech for the golfing industry as VP of Engineering at Game Golf.

John Clarkin   Lorem Ipsum is simply

John Clarkin has been working in the golf industry for the last quarter of a century. Following a London City and Guilds Degree in Greenkeeping, John graduated with distinction from Pennsylvania State University, USA, in 1994 where he studied Turfgrass Management.

He returned to Ireland where he assumed the role of Director of Golf Operations at Powerscourt Golf Club, Co. Wicklow, which he constructed, grew in and maintained for three years. In 1997, John established Turfgrass.

Turfgrass employs a team including Agronomists, Project Managers and Course Managers. John has established a reputation as one of Europe’s leading golf course development and management advisors specialising in Agronomy, Project Management, Golf Course Management, Private and Commercial Putting Greens and Recruitment. Current clients include Wentworth, Adare Manor, Gleneagles, The Solheim Cup and Vidauban.

He has spoken at numerous European and International Golf Federation conferences and has developed an extensive network of industry contacts across the world. Turfgrass have also developed Private Golf Academies for Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington.

Marcello Farini  Lorem Ipsum is simply

Marcello Farini Former  member of the British and European institute for golf Course architects 1998-2010 ( took a master degree in golf course architetture  in Merrist Wood College england Uk in 1997/1898. He has a Milan University Law degree and  masters therefore In 2010 found his own legal firm in Bergamo Italy and in London Uk , self-employed advocate member at Middle Temple inn of court in London. Worked as barrister And European lawyer in different countries in Europe in commercial and criminal Law. Italian english and french working languages, good knowledge of spanish.

Agustine Piza   Lorem Ipsum is simply

Agustín Pizá, Architect with a Masters in Golf Course Architecture from Edinburgh University in Scotland. Member of the European Institute and the American Society of Golf Course Architects.

For more than two decades Pizá has collaborated with legends of the game and world class golf developments. His designs are known for delivering quality, aesthetic and strategic golf courses.

Since 2006, Pizá Golf has been recognized with several international accolades and is known for Redefining Golf Facilities with its concepts WellnessGolf and GolfLounge. Involved in more than 60 projects in 3 continents, Agustin is a writer, tv commentator and director of The First Tee program in Mexico. 

At Piza Golf the passion begins when you live the experience.

Josh Williams   VP of Sales / Customer Success

The game of golf has been a passion of Josh’s for his entire life. He attended both Cal Berkeley and UC Davis on golf scholarships. After college he went on to play professionally for over a decade including playing full time on the Nationwide (now KornFerry) tour. Since retiring from professional golf he has worked in Sales and Business Development for a number of companies most of which are in the golf space. Josh has a proven track record of establishing key client relationships and driving new business.

In addition he founded and runs Giving in Motion, a non profit dedicated to providing clean water for children in Ghana. Since it’s inception Giving in Motion has provided 20,000 people clean water for life.

Tripp Cobb   Business Advisor

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Alex Borzo   Customer Support / Project Manager

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James Walsh   Customer Success / Project Manager

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Francois Haughton   International Business Development

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Suman Kumar  Engineering Manager

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Al Wilson   Co-Founder / CEO

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