Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Would You Like Fries With That?

About 9,500 more Americans will lose their jobs to foreign workers. They weren’t making plastic toys, vacuum cleaners or even automobiles. They were white-collar workers at Citibank, and the financial monstrosity announced today it will be nixing 5 percent of its workforce to boost its stock price. Yes, investors are greedy, boards are sycophants, and executives will do anything necessary to keep their seven-figure jobs.

How can these guys rationalize keeping their multi-million-dollar paychecks if they’ve run the company so poorly that they need to cut 5 percent of their workers? Apparently in today’s analyst-impressing world, telling your home country that you’re sending at least 9,500 jobs overseas is a good thing, probably deserving of a bonus.

It seems as though money is the only American value we really cherish. It gives new meaning to the “green industry.”

Less than a decade ago, politicians and business leaders were still advising the American workforce to retrain themselves in technology and business. Manufacturing was long gone, but intellectual occupations were thought to be secure. Few are talking about it, but that’s rapidly proving to be false. I guess even ideas are cheaper in China.

I’m just thankful the multi-national golf course management companies haven’t figured out a way to outsource agronomy. But I bet they would if they could.

— David Frabotta

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Redstone Highlights Superintendents Everywhere

It’s overshadowed by a little invitational in Augusta, Ga., but the condition of Redstone Golf Club during the Shell Houston Invitational (March 29-April 1) had announcers Johnny Miller and Dan Hicks doling out the accolades.

Congratulations to certified golf course superintendent Roger Goettsch and assistant superintendent Randy Samoff for a successful Shell Houston Open.

After a little rain early in the tournament, players were able to go for the pin on most approach shots thanks to immaculate course conditions, and the announcers made mention of the fact several times. They called some camera angles “Augusta-like” and repeatedly talked about how the flawless conditions made for a very exciting and enjoyable tournament.

When Johnny Miller spoke to superintendents during the GCSAA opening session in February, he said tour players once talked about the course conditions as small talk before the tournament. Practice rounds were critical to determine the idiosyncrasies of turf managers. But those conversations don’t exist anymore because superintendents do such a good job maintaining consistent turf throughout the profession.

“You guys have it down to an art form,” Miller said. “You guys are good. You guys are almost too good.”

As spring begins to reclaim Northern courses, I’m filled with all the hope and promise the season represents. It makes me wonder if superintendents are eager for the new season, too, or are you dreading the full swing of golf course operations?

— David Frabotta