The Technology of Golf Course Management

By Mark Semm

Technology is everywhere. The world of golf course management is no different. Our industry has transformed from Carl Spacklers using TNT to rid the course of gophers to IT scientists diagnosing potential problems down to the meter over 100 acres. The Agronomy Department at The Club invested in several of these technologies this winter season: The POGO System, Advanced Scoreboards (ASB) TaskTracker and Playbooks Coverage System.

The POGO System (short for Poke and Go) is a “professional, all-in-one system obtaining superior insight into course conditions, allowing better decisions to be made efficiently and cost effectively.” The system consists of field hardware (sub-meter GPS, WIFI, monitoring probes) connected to a mobile phone and cloud-based software. The hardware collects research-grade measurements with each “poke.” This data is sent to the cloud for analysis using desktop software. The data helps us make better and more efficient decisions regarding turfgrass conditions, health and playability.

The ASB TaskTracker is an employee management and scheduling software package using a cloud-based system. Scheduling daily tasks can be a time-consuming process with 25 staff and countless jobs needing to be completed. The system can be used on a desktop computer or via mobile phone allowing our managers to be more mobile and adjust schedule changes on the go. And instead of writing tasks on a white board, it displays them as a digital job board on a TV. The system tracks labor hours, costs, tasks and several other information points. It helps us operate more efficiently through improved planning, labor tracking and budgeting.

The Playbooks Coverage system is a complete resource for all products (fertilizers, wetting agents, etc.) used on the golf course. It allows us to track and log all applications as required by the state. We can also plan, budget and track inventory much more efficiently than in the past. The system also provides a simple color coded “coverage map” as to how long fertilizer, active ingredients and other inputs will last based on their rate.

As I write, we are still in the early stages of learning and applying these new systems but by the time this is published we should be in full swing. Most of the information these tools provide is behind-the-scenes and is already providing greater efficiencies throughout our department. These efficiencies will ultimately help us continue to provide the conditions our members expect.

Mark Semm is the Director of Agronomy at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at msemm@cordilleraranch.com or 830.336.3710.

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