Brisket or ribs? Chicken or pork? Burgers or brats?

Summer brings heat-of-the-moment decisions and some of the most meaningful selections superintendents and their supporters make come away from the turf.

With a national labor situation where demand for goods and services (golf rounds and events) exceeds the capacity (workers) to meet that demand, soft benefits and work culture matter more than ever. Think about it. How many golf facilities are willing to go dollar-for-dollar with neighboring businesses?

This leaves the golf industry between a spatula and grate.

Getting and keeping the right people to do the work means recognizing the intrinsic value of camaraderie and a fun professional environment. Cookouts are a low-risk, low-cost tactic to keep employees happy. A solid grill plus meat and fixings for a few cookouts each month seems like a reasonable budgetary ask, especially considering the influx of golf revenue over the past year and the inability to find enough workers to reach projected labor expenses.

Every respected golf industry legend urges colleagues to use every available dollar in their budget. Remember that guidance when you’re ordering a new grill and planning team-building events.

Sure, cookouts take time, the most valuable resource in any industry. But unless the course is closed, how much work can a crew complete during the middle of a busy golf day? Experienced employees are almost always more likely to complete tasks faster and better than a constant rotation of newbies — and that’s assuming (wrongly) that new hires can be identified and hired. People are more apt to stay at their job if they like their co-workers. Positive interactions with co-workers give employees, including those who don’t have to work, such as retirees and students, a reason to avoid the temptation of a higher-paying job.

The power of grilling represents the impetus for a campaign Golf Course Industry launched earlier this year in partnership with AQUA-AID Solutions. Started in late January, #TurfheadsGrilling has developed into a meaty weekend Twitter highlight reel on the @GCIMagazine and @Solutions4Turf feeds. The posts are receiving thousands of impressions and engagements, inspiring followers to expand their culinary creativity.

But …

We know readers who avoid social are missing the idea and imagery exchange. The program, which includes a chance to receive swag and have a recipe published in the December Turfheads Guide to Grilling, is open to all. Enter into your web browser to submit a recipe and images. A #TurfheadsGrilling pin will be sent your way and you’ll be entered into drawings to win more swag. Avoiding social media means you’re missing colleagues modeling #TurfheadsGrilling aprons. It’s quite the timeline show!

Also, encourage others on your team to participate. Our recent readership study indicated 87 percent of print subscribers share their copies of Golf Course Industry. The hunch here is that every crew has a few grillmasters. Let them know a forum exists to showcase their grilled and smoked creations to an industrywide audience.

Even our team boasts a grillmaster. Once a Twitter observer, national sales manager Russ Warner has added to the social media highlight reel with regular posts (@GCIRWarner). Russ and his wife, Christina, GIE Media’s audience development director, recently hosted our annual planning meeting at their secluded Chesterland, Ohio, home. Russ smoked fall-off-the-bone ribs and tender pulled pork. We’re looking forward to more food, team-building and 2022 planning later this year.

Grilling won’t solve your entire labor conundrum, but it’s a tasty tool to consider.

Try giving your team the brisket, ribs, chicken, pork, burgers and brats this summer. You don’t want to lose a worker or two who you can’t afford to lose.

Guy Cipriano