There can be a seemingly endless list of tasks to perform on a golf course and the maintenance staff must be highly productive to deliver the best possible playing conditions. Productivity depends on the number of skilled and experienced employees performing maintenance. However, golf courses across the country are facing challenges with recruiting and retaining qualified employees.
At Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club, Superintendent Nick Mooneyhan, CGCS, was experiencing these issues firsthand and finding it difficult to prepare the course for an important tournament. His biggest challenge was finding and retaining qualified employees to complete the more technical tasks involved in golf course maintenance. The undersized staff was simply not able to keep up with the necessary maintenance tasks.
To give the experienced staff members more time to focus on highly skilled tasks in the lead-up to the tournament, Mooneyhan hired temporary laborers through a regional staffing company to help with less-technical tasks. Four temporary laborers were hired for four eight-hour work days to help with tournament preparation. One Hobbit’s Glen employee helped train and guide the temporary laborers around the property as they trimmed around trees and stream banks, and performed other tasks.
Hiring temporary laborers was a huge success. All the necessary tasks were completed and the golf course was in excellent condition for the tournament. Mooneyhan plans to utilize temporary labor more frequently to help with special projects, bunker washout repair and routine maintenance. He also sees a cost benefit in utilizing temporary staff because of the labor shortage in the golf course maintenance industry. The total hourly cost of a temporary laborer is slightly more than a part-time employee, but approximately 25 percent less than a full-time employee with benefits.
Mooneyhan expects training challenges if temporary labor is utilized more frequently, but he also said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if I hire a temporary laborer for one of my full-time positions if the right person comes along.”