We first opened on April 21, but then we got snow and shut down again. The first week of May was just a wash because of the snow.
We had our Scramble on May 8 and we just went from there with beautiful weather in a month that is so important in the operation of a golf course.
For one thing, you struggle to control labour – when you don’t need people, you don’t have them, but it’s a double-edged sword because, for some of them, it’s the only job they have, so you try to have them on different projects, so at least you can pay them a bit.
You’re figuring out who you need and when and where. The grounds crew is figuring out what their priorities are and there’s a buzz in the air as you set a tone for the entire season ahead.
This year, we’ve instituted a new food and beverage minimum, so you’ve got to be on your toes. Your food and beverage operation has got to be immaculate and you’ve got to be addressing everything because we’ve never had a minimum before.
We send out dues in January for February, but the reality is that you can’t prove anything until about mid-May, which is what makes this time of year so important.
Out on the golf course, it’s green and starting to fill in, but after awhile, the honeymoon’s over and people start to expect prime conditions.
I recently took a drive around the course and talked to people, saw the grass changing colour and asked myself if I need three backshop guys or five? I believe you’ve got to be visible with members because if you set standards, then you should be following through.
Also, May’s a big month financially, so it’s important that you start off on a strong note.
The first few weeks are about getting cleaned up, training your staff and, if you get snow like we did, you go from a nice, slow buildup to bam, the tee sheet is full and you’re going at high gear.
As much as we get frustrated with that, put yourself in the shoes of a member. That person paid dues in February, we opened at the end of April and everyone was pumped about an early start, then bang, we lose a week.
Playing catch-up in not an easy thing to do at such an important time of year for a golf operation.