Art and maintenance… two things that are not normally associated with each other. For many, maintenance is a mundane task, vacuous of thought and abundant in labor. On the golf course maintenance is taken to the next level. Superintendents have learned to shed the myopic view that sometimes accompanies repetition and look deeper into the business of maintenance. Timing, precision, and calculation, are all components of a well rounded plan that have their roots based in the art of maintenance.
As a kid growing up on the country side of Maine I had no shortage of choirs to manage, and a father that was happy to remind me of that. For many of us, maintenance starts at a young age. Whether we realize it or not we learn the quality of timing through these early years of maintenance. Mow the lawn in the summer, rake the leaves in the fall, shovel the snow in the winter and prepare the beds in the spring; timing is at the core of good maintenance. Here on the golf course good timing will make or break a maintenance program. With jubilant golfers awaiting tee off and a limited window to accomplish our work, the day begins and ends with the timing of tasks.
If cleanliness is next to godliness then precision is a close second. I used to think precision
was for engineers but soon learned the business of golf course maintenance is inundated with it. Everywhere you look you find precision on the golf course: grass cut to an eighth of an inch, water metered to the gallon, fertilizer applied by the ounce and of course the perfect putt. Being precise isn’t just important for proper results it lets you know what the results should be. Without precision, maintenance would be lost in a world of ambiguity and uncertain out comes.
One of the more assiduous gentlemen on my crew likes to joke that I have a game board layout of the golf course at home which I mull over the previous day as I move the pieces around to form my plan. Well… I don’t have a game board or the pieces, but I do formulate my plans at home often through thought and calculation. Planning ahead, being able to anticipate potential problems and seeing the big picture all come from good calculation. Proper maintenance on the golf course is molded in careful calculation. It is the foundation for success and the best shot you have at a good maintenance day…no mistakes!
It is said that art is in the eye of the beholder, I believe it after visiting the MOMA; though I do believe art can be found everywhere in life. As we race through our lives we often forget to take a step back to see the art we all perform on a regular basis. The chef cooks with precision, the coordinator structures by timing and the manager calculates the next move all of which have their roots based in the art of maintenance.