06 Jan 2014
January 6, 2014

Are you Routine?

The first full week of January is upon us.  The holiday season is officially over, people return to work, children return to school, and everyone has their lives return to somewhat routine.  We all have our own way of reflecting on the past year.  This reflection usually leads us to come up with our New Year’s resolutions.  We look back and realize the items that we have done and those that we have left undone.  We make attempts to repeat some resolutions and always come up with a few new ones.  How many of those diets, exercise programs, nicotine habits, savings plans, and self improvement programs have already been broken?  I can raise my hand on this one.  For most, we can accept this as some sort of natural phenomenon and this too is part of our normal routine.

The word routine can be either a noun, adjective, or a verb.  The definition of routine as a noun is “a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.”  The definition of routine as an adjective is “performed as part of a regular procedure rather than a special reason.”  I was a golf course superintendent before my role now with Aqua-Aid.  I know the lifestyle of a golf course superintendent and his or her family is a routine.  No one understands this unless you have been in the shoes of a superintendent.  Being a superintendent is no different than being a coach in collegiate or professional sports.  You are only as good as you were yesterday.

I see a lot of superintendents get into trouble because their yearly plans for the course become routine.  Remember one is a noun and one is an adjective.  Superintendents need to remember to not let their agronomic plans and attitudes become routine.  Routine leads to complacency and complacency leads to trouble.  Every year as a superintendent I always choose the first week of January to sit down and perform a serious self evaluation.  Waiting to after the New Years will ensure that the euphoria most feel during the holidays season won’t cloud your honesty with yourself.  You need to sit down and write down what worked and didn’t work last season from an agronomic standpoint.  How can you make your staff more efficient?  Are you working efficiently?  How can you do a better job communicating?  Are you doing enough to mentor those that work for you?  Are you educating yourself on new products, processes, and laws pertaining to the workplace?  You get the point.

This is a must do if you want to stay at the top of your game.  I always had my assistants answer in essay form 5 or 6 questions that made them look at themselves and our entire operation.  The last question surrounded around the job I was doing and how they viewed the operation we were running.  These became good ways to use as quarterly reviews throughout the years.

Some might say……..I had a great year and no issues so why should I take the time to review, I’m going to stick with my programs for next year.  How many years are the same from a weather standpoint?   In this business mother nature can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.  Even if you had a great season from a turf health standpoint…..there is no way the weather or schedule will repeat itself as a carbon copy.

Review, prepare, honesty with yourself, honesty with others, and prepare for the unexpected.  The only item in your review that should remain routine in your schedule from year to year is time for your family.  This was one item I never put in my review……I’m trying to make up for that now.  Don’t make the same mistake as I did.  We all know events from this past year where we are made to realize that life is short.

Make the best out of this first week of the year.  Remember it marks a new beginning for everyone.  Wishing you all a great 2014 filled with peace and happiness.  Remember to keep it in the short grass.


About the Author

Sam is the Director of Business Development for Aqua Aid Inc. Sam has 22 years experience in the golf course maintenance industry. He has been a Superintendent for 16 years and has been fortunate in his career to grow cool season and warm season turf. He has vast knowledge of the Aqua Aid product line from extensive usage in his agronomic programs for the past 19 years.