Michael S. Williams

Pomona, California 91767
(818) 425-6142

 

Consultant

Newport Beach Golf Course
3100 Irvine Avenue
Newport Beach, California 92660
October 2011 - Present

 

This 18 hole executive (par 59) lighted golf course located near John Wayne Airport in Orange County offers a challenge for all levels of players from short par 3's to a driveable par 4's. The facility also includes a driving range, proshop, snack bar and teaching pro. Measuring 3,216 yards from mats on every tee the topography of the golf course is all but flat with elevated and declining holes that test all of your shot making abilities.

 

I started as the golf course was working on obtaining a 10 year lease extension from the county. At this time the property had a full time superintendent but the operations manager felt that he needed to be coached on various aspects of maintenance to help improve the golf course to be in compliance with the county. As the consultant my time on the golf course was limited on what I could do but I quickly began to adjust pesticide and fertilizer programs as needed per the weather and time of the year. Record keeping had to be updated and current as well as providing the employees the proper safety equipment. In addition to these changes, the crew's performance was reviewed and a better schedule was created to maximize the tasks to be done with the available equipment. During this process the crew began to speak up about the superintendent and the lack of work he did noting that all he did was supervise. The crew felt that more direction was coming from me even though I was there on a limited basis. As these changes continued to the property the golf course was granted their lease extension and the superintendent position was discontinued as a crew member was promoted to a foreman type position.
As part of my responsibility as the consultant I would generate a detailed report during my visit and submitt this to the operations manger who in turn would share the report to the owner during their weekly meetings. My report noted areas of improvement to be made but also documented the gains made with pictures from prior reports. Over time these reports would turn out to be invaluable to my position and given responsibilities.
For the most part of a year I continued my weekly visit and providing my recommendtions. As a superintendent I react when something needs attention and make sure that the issue does not continue. As a consultant my responsibilities are somewhat different. When something is noticed that needs to be corrected I must remember that I am here just to make a recommendation and not take steps to correct the problem. This is especially true when it comes to pesticide applications. An active disease needs to be sprayed ASAP for the fear of spreading which could result in turf loss or other greater issues. When the situation occurs it could be days before the disease is treated pending when my report is reviewed and even a longer recovery time once sprayed. Same goes for fertilizer applications, water management and staffing. I could see a slow decline in conditions on our greens and general look of the golf course due to the lack of a trained eye on the property. I would often note in my reports on how conditions have not improved but how the crew is working to keep the golf course at a playable level. Various social media websites also noted the poor conditions which isn't good when trying to raise revenues.


This trend continued for most of the year until the fall when I was asked by the operations manager if I can visit the property three times a week and run the crew. It turns out that the owner heard of the conditions and the revenues reflected this. With approval from my current employer I was able to be at the golf course and guide the crew on what needs to be done more frequently thus creating better conditions for our guests. Since this change several cultural practices have improved such as our aerification process with the addition of incorporating bentgrass seed, improved water management skills and a structured mowing schedule. My reports now show improvements and ideas for the future. My consulting title was somewhat changed to superintendent but my responsibilities have increased. While I dont have the ability to purchase products for the golf course my recommendations for pesticides and fertilizers are granted thus keeping our greens healthy and pest free. I have a good relationship with the crew and their schedules are posted and tasks carried out.

The golf course has held many Junior PGA events in the past and due to the service provided as well as conditions Newport Beach Golf Course was awarded golf course of the year 2013 by the Junior PGA.

 

Newport Beach GC