This is the golf course superintendents' favorite question. We do not go into hibernation or migrate like the other animals of the world, but our pace does slow down tremendously from the summer season. I would be lying to say we are busy in the winter, but there are plenty of things to do in preparation for summer. Equipment maintenance, accessory refurbishing, winter irrigation and/or snowmaking if necessary, strategic planning and ordering of fertilizer/chemical needs, and continuing education are a few of the things that I do during the winter. Oh, and recharge my batteries. I love the summer season, but it can indeed become a grind that would be unsustainable for 12 months/year.
Last week I attended the Nebraska Turf Conference in Omaha put on by UNL and the Nebraska Turf Association. It is always good to visit with my fellow superintendents and others in the industry and take in some seminars concerning our industry. Sure there are always turf management and pest control strategies, but a couple of interesting presentations were given concerning off-turf topics. First was a discussion of personality types and how they affect workplace dynamics. You may have done some of these tests to determine your "personality type" defined by colors, animals, acronyms (ISTJ, EIFP), etc. This discussion was just a slightly different way of looking at those personality types and how they interact in the workplace. I always find these interesting and feel that an awareness of what makes people tick can help all relationships. Many of us that grow grass for a living are usually not really "people -persons." I know you are shocked, but that side of the job is important to be able to develop communication strategies for employees, employers, and customers. The guys that go far in our profession are able to do both-deal with nature and with people.
For those that are familiar with the tests I am an ISTJ or the analytical type which happens to be the smallest group of our population. Therefore I must remind myself that my way of thinking is often the outlier in a group, but by being aware of that I try to adjust my communications with the rest of the group whether it be employees or customers. If you haven't ever done one of these tests-google personality test and find out what you are-it will be be very introspective and help you understand how you (and perhaps others) view the world.
WOW! a turf guy delving into psychology and sociology- I better get back to what I know and that is turf. Wait! now I also know about synthetic turfs from another presentation that examined them in comparison to natural grass fields. Obviously us "real" grass growers are hesitant to accept field turfs, but this presentation did a good job of showing the real and hidden costs of installing and maintaining synthetic turf fields. These fields are often sold as "maintenance free" but that is far from the truth. If they are indeed maintained that way they consistently fail prematurely. So I guess the take home message is if you are on a city or school board that is considering such fields do your research and really understand the maintenance and replacement costs for synthetic turf fields. Nearly every time, natural turf will be more cost efficient long term and injuries will be significantly less than synthetic turfs. Try as we might with all the technology we have, Mother Nature still does many things better than we can.
Hope you didn't read this to learn about turf or WHGC conditions or you have been disappointed to this point, but finally a quick update on the golf course. Snow cover has been consistent and persistent which is great during this frigid stretch. Took a walk around yesterday and most greens are still snow covered and looking good at this point. Still a couple months away but the lengthening days signal spring is just around the corner.