|THE ROLE OF THE CONSULTANT
Finding personnel that are qualified as experts in each of these fields is an unreasonable and potentially daunting task, especially since the Asian Golf Industry has to date not been fortunate enough to acquire sufficient support from local suppliers in the Region to fund and facilitate turf schools and continuing education.
The Golf Course industry is extremely diverse, and requires specialized knowledge in a vast array of professions. In the management of a golf course, the Owners and their Staff face issues daily in diagnosing and solving agronomic problems and prioritizing maintenance, irrigation, drainage and nutritional needs for the turf. In many cases, they also need to plan and confirm the need for capital projects, capital equipment needs, lake and water resource management, tree management, architecture and facility design and safety.
Working with a Consultant
Consultants are very often called in after a problem has occurred, but in the long-run they could be used more effectively if meetings were scheduled on a regular basis as more of a preventative measure. Regular site visits enable a Consultant to understand the issues at a facility better, and to potentially be able to forecast major problems before they arise. This also allows the facility to communicate with the Consultant by e-mail, so that they can answer questions or, for example, provide a diagnosis by viewing just a few digital images sent by the Club. Regular visits also provide a written historical record of the progress or decline of a facility that can be used to plan additional resources and recommend improvements where required.
Choosing the right Consultant
Local and regional knowledge is a most beneficial attribute when selecting a Consultant. More importantly, the Consultant must possess a high level of integrity and credibility if their recommendations are to be taken seriously. They must always act in the best interest of the Owners, Members, Club and Facility. Be sure to check their references and specific knowledge closely when selecting the right candidate for the task.
Most Consultants choose to work with the Golf Course Superintendent in a positive aspect, always looking for ways to improve the facility with the resources available. The retaining of a Consultant should not be viewed as a threat, but rather as an educational experience. Gaining knowledge and being able to control all aspects of the golf course site goes a long way towards meeting the responsibility that is granted to a Golf Course Superintendent. Consultants can potentially fill the knowledge and experience gap as a continually-evolving industry presents new challenges to the profession.
A good Consultant will provide valuable recommendations that may be required to improve the course conditions so as to meet the expectations of its Members. It is then up to the Owners, the Committee and / or Membership to decide whether or not to provide the resources that may be required to implement improvement programmes and practices.