The Crown is going to start the season with its skeleton crew a couple of people short. Two one-season temps who helped finish last season did so waiting for the jobs they really wanted to open after the season ended and will not be back. The unemployment office said that when they need people to fill the spots in the spring, the Crown must start unskilled people at $11 per hour and offer some kind of benefit package. Some places they said are offering signing bonuses after you have been there a month – or you get part of your bonus each month. They also said people will come from other jobs, not the pool of people currently unemployed. We should plan on hiring people away from the other courses nearby and adjust the pay and benefits to accomplish that. Superintendent Pete McCall will be doing that in the spring, not me.

McDonald’s has a permanent electric sign added to its big sign by the highway that says: “now hiring $11/hr.” When I inquired (while having lunch), they said people already working there are paid less than that but any new hire, for any position, would start at $11 per hour. I asked if the people working there now could quit and come back as new hires. They said they didn’t think it works that way. It seems just wrong that minimum wage is not a living wage in Traverse City. My neighbors work two or three minimum wage part-time jobs to try to cover the high expenses of this resort area. People drive what my family used to call “mill cars,” they barter, cut wood in the winter, heat with wood, fix everything themselves and do without to get through the winter. Even migrant workers don’t want to work at a golf courses in Traverse City. Hard work, out in the sun and weather all summer, for minimum wage – they would rather get paid $11 per hour at McDonald’s or $14.50 per hour at Burger King. It is indoors, air conditioned, there are bathrooms, you get a free meal, etc.

Then there is the beverage cart driver (a friend of my wife) who in tips grosses $380 per 14 hours = $27.14 per hour. Not too bad. That would be $68,400.00 for six months of work if you could do that every day – and take the rest of the year off.

President Trump certainly does bring a different way of doing things to Washington and he is also a golf course owner. Perhaps he can come up with new ways to help the golf industry over the next four to eight years.

A sand blaster is a tool capable of saving labor and boosting productivity.

With the current shortage of people willing to work at a golf course, good tools can improve productivity to the point that one person can accomplish the work of many.

One tool is a sand blasting cabinet completely set up and ready to use. Just toss a part inside and sandblast it with no muss or fuss. It is a quick way to clean a part for painting.

Nearly everything in my two shops is on wheels so that one person can move things around to make room for whatever project is next. Both shops are outfitted identically, even the tools in the tool boxes are arranged the same way so that I instinctively know where everything is and what I have available to work with.

Specialized work areas where everything you need for that operation is close at hand like my wood working bench which is completely outfitted with tools, power strip, and supplies for repairing signs and furniture. It is on wheels so no matter where I move it to, everything for wood working is within arm’s reach.

The vehicle lift arrived from Craigslist so I have matching lifts in the two shops. You will be surprised at how much more your mechanic can get done in a day after he gets a vehicle lift, if you don’t already have one.

Paul F. Grayson is the Equipment Manager for the Crown Golf Club in Traverse City, Mich., a position he’s held for the past decade. Previously, he spent 8½ years as the equipment manager at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. Prior to that, he worked as a licensed ships engine officer sailing the Great Lakes and the oceans of the world.