Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Part 2 of 3: What zombie movies can teach supers about environmental stewardship

Here's part two of our Golfdom/Zombie Halloween special. Yes, only in Golfdom do we mix golf and zombies! Even when there's a major storm hitting much of the U.S.! This is by Kevin A. Fletcher, Ph.D., President & CEO, e-par USA, Inc. To read part one, scroll down or click here: http://www.golfdom.blogspot.com/2012/10/part-1-of-3-what-superintendents-can.html

Photo by Aeviin, http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeviin/
4.     Keep Track of Your Ammo (Monitor and Measure): The smart ones use bats, golf clubs and machetes as much as possible to make a zombie kill. Not only does slaughtering by hand increase the gore rating (and audience enjoyment), but it also conserves ammo. When guns are used, you have to know how much ammo you have left. Nothing worse than a clip running dry right when the walkers are on you.

OK, this is a little bit of a stretch, but measuring and monitoring environmental performance is just as important on a golf course. What’s our water use? Are we accurately tracking chemicals… how they’re stored, how much we have, are using, etc.? Are we reducing our risk over time? You manage what you measure and if your green committee is “on you,” having a good sense of your ammo can help you survive (but please, don’t use a golf club).

5.     Stay Together and Back to Back (Be Systematic): The post-apocalyptic zombie world is no walk in the park. You need to work as a team, leaving no one’s back exposed in order to avoid the inevitable zombie “sneak attack.” If it’s a Night of the Living Dead zombie shuffling towards you, there may be time to react, but the 28 Days variety move too quickly and erratically to avoid.

Superintendents should be systematic in managing environmental obligations and expectations. Consider an Environmental Management System (EMS) approach. I wrote about this “plan-do-check-act” idea five years ago in the USGA’s Green Section Record… before my zombie-epiphany, and the value of an EMS is even truer today. It’ll keep your environmental plans, policies, procedures, and practices in one place and working together, reducing your exposure to a sneak attack, of the environmental kind.

6.     Stay in Shape, Stay Limber (The Value of Environmental Training): Sure you can sprint, but can you run more than a hundred yards before you drop with chest pain? No? Well, you’re sure to become the main course when you run into the zombie-plagued high school cross country team while making your way through town.

Sustainability and environmental management in golf is a marathon, not a sprint. With a systematic, continuous improvement mentality in place, staff training becomes a key issue. Train your staff about environmental issues in general, but don’t stop there. Train them to follow those standard operating procedures you developed for both managing risk and making positive environmental improvements. It’s important to stay knowledgeable and in shape. Whether you deal with staff turnover or not, you don’t want that untrained staff member being the one responsible for the pesticide spill on your watch. It’ll still be you that gets eaten for lunch.

Kevin A. Fletcher is President & CEO of e-par USA and is dead-icated to helping golf course management professionals fight with the ghosts and ghouls that make up a comprehensive approach to environmental stewardship and sustainability. Feel free to trick or treat us at www.eparusa.com.

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