As I write this article it is the temperature outside is -6 degrees F with drifting snow. Winter is finally here and with it comes the same question that I get year after year: “What do you do in the winter?”
First off, winter is the time to take some much needed time off after the grind of being open every day over that past 6 months. Most work weeks in season for golf course superintendents range anywhere from 45-65 hours per week working six or seven days per week. Needless to say, getting up at 3:30 in the morning for the entire summer takes a toll on a person. In the winter months, our workday is much like that of a normal human being, with a typical workweek running Monday-Friday and weekends closed. It is pretty nice but I have to admit that after the holidays, I begin to miss the intensity of the growing season-I want this “Shining” type winter to go away. This is a good thing-the moment one begins to lose the passion for what they do, it is time to get out. But I digress as this article was supposed to be about what we do in the winter.
I took a few photos this morning of a few of the indoor chores we have going at the moment. The first is a reorganization of my office.
Office Painting and Reorganization December 2016
I perform this chore every year around the holidays and every three years (including this year) or so we also add a coat of paint to the entire shop interior. This helps to keep the workplace fresh for everyone. I think that performing this task is particularly important in the golf course maintenance environment since the work we perform is inherently dusty and sometimes outright dirty. After taking this picture, I visited with Jori Hughes, our mechanic, to see what he was up to.
The following pictures are a pretty good example of typical winter work on a golf course. Throughout the season we observe equipment issues which need attention. Sometimes these issues need immediate repair but often we can wait until the winter to repair something properly, eliminating downtime and increasing efficiency. One such case is the rough mower below with the leaky hydraulic ram.
Rough mower winter maintenance. Preventative maintenance and repairs are made on all equipment over the winter months.
These two chores are just a snapshot of what we have going on at the moment. Sometimes in the winter we are fabricating golf course accessories and/or tools out of wood or steel-such as the cart directional signs we made last winter. We might be updating our Safety Data Sheets to comply with the law or we might be attending a trade show or seminar to expand our knowledge of the business. We are sometimes grooming cross country ski trails on the golf course. In short, there is no shortage of work to be done in the winter months. Indeed, thorough preparation in the winter months leads to a better product for our customers in season delivered with greater efficiency.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope for 2017 to be the best year ever.
Vincent Dodge CGCS