In February 2007, Golf Course Industry magazine marked its relaunch with a cover story featuring the concept of “Integration of Teams at the Country Club of Peoria.” That article demonstrated the importance of having all managers and departments within the club’s operations functioning as a single unit with open communication, continual improvement, and a focus on the mission statement and strategic plan of the club. Throughout my career, I have worked with great teams. The team members I consistently have benefitted from the most are the incredible superintendents at the clubs where I have worked: John Ferruchie and Eric Materkowski at Wildwood Golf Club, Andy Morris at the Country Club of Peoria, Loren Breedlove at The Kansas City Country Club, and now Scott Kennon at Myers Park Country Club.
The most influential relationship I have had with a superintendent is the mentorship I have with Mark Kuhns, CGCS, currently at Baltusrol Golf Club. I first met Mark when I began at Oakmont Country Club as its auditor in 1991 and later as its controller. As I began to grow my career in club management at Oakmont, Mark took me under his wing and began to introduce me to the nuances and challenges that face superintendents. Through Mark and his tutelage, I began to understand and appreciate the balance that must exist between the grounds department, the golf shop, the clubhouse, the budget and the membership. Mark also demonstrated the need to create and grow great working relationships with affiliated organizations, including the USGA, PGA, GCSAA and CMAA. These relationships were especially important when the clubs where Mark worked were hosting national championships. Because of his past history and success rate, Mark has built outstanding relationships with national organizations and has demonstrated to his management team the way to grow and develop a team concept among the multitude of organizations that must work together to have a successful club operation.
Following Mark’s advice and example, I was a member of the Green Section Committee of the USGA and have attended every Golf Industry Show since 2006. The knowledge gained at these events as well as the networking are invaluable to me in the daily operations of the club. By having a working relationship with my superintendents and their affiliated organizations, I am able to intelligently communicate course updates, issues and their potential solutions with the board, membership and crews who will be completing the work. While my background is not in agronomy or golf course management, I do have at my disposal an unlimited amount of resources through the coordinated efforts with the various industry experts (the late Stan Zontek and Keith Happ, and Paul Vermeuelen, Ty McClellan, Bud White, John Daniels and Darin Bevard) and the great superintendents with whom I have had the privilege of working with. Our integrated team expands well beyond the clubhouse grounds to include the coordinated efforts and knowledge of all those who are working to provide the highest quality course to the club and its membership.
You are not in it alone. There are entire organizations willing to work with club management to create action plans and solutions to ensure clubs provide the highest quality course for members and guests.
Mark Bado, MCM, CCE, is the general manager at Myers Park Country Club in Charlotte, N.C.