21 Nov Talking Green: Tips to Talk Budgets with Course Decision Makers
As a superintendent it can be frustrating to have ideas about how things should be done to make things better and not have that vision shared by the people who make the budget decisions. You’re the boots on the ground and can see what’s happening every day, but these things aren’t always as obvious to the people who are making the financial decisions. Here are some guidelines to help in presenting your proposed budget requests and getting them approved.
Think from Their Perspective
It’s very possible that the people you’re talking to don’t fully understand what golf superintendents do or why. The first step would be to explain your suggestions in a way that makes them understandable from anyone’s perspective. Start by establishing that you both share the same end goals for the golf course. Once you explain your thoughts on how the course should play or be prepared, you can then begin to educate them on what’s needed to make those ideas a reality.
One way to get everyone on the same page is to develop a course standards manual. By putting this manual together, you will need to discover your bosses’ goals and find ways to address them using the current resources. During these discussions you can explain the many variables that can have an impact on course maintenance and this can allow you to lay the groundwork for some of the topics that you’d like to see addressed in the future.
Bring the Course to Them
You are on the course day in and day out, every season. Sometimes we forget that things we see so clearly are not seen that way by different eyes. Taking photos to illustrate your point is a great way to make it easier to understand and also educate those who may see things as a golfer, not from your technical view.
A great example of this would be to show a core sample of an area that’s experiencing problems. They may have never seen what it looks like below the surface of your greens and this is a great way to educate while you make your point.
Take Them to the Course
If what you are suggesting is an upgrade to buildings or equipment, it may be better to take them out and show them the problem firsthand. They will be able to understand why it’s so important if they can see the current conditions and appreciate where the difficulties lie. You can try to describe these things, but nothing beats seeing it with their own eyes.
Talk Budget All Year
Don’t look at budgeting as something that happens once a year. Make sure you are keeping the higher-ups informed about problems as they come up, planning ahead for what you’ll eventually need and laying the foundation to make those requests. No one likes to be surprised by a big expense, so start talking about these things early so you can avoid sticker shock.
Also make sure you are staying within your budget or are proactively explaining what happened when things go over. You want to anticipate questions and answer them before they’re asked. This way you’re viewed as a professional and on top of your job.
Bring in an outside expert
Of course for many projects, it helps to have data and the findings of an outside expert to back up your recommendations. I work as a partner on your team and can provide scientific analysis in addition to a lifetime of experience out in the field. Give me a call and we can discuss how you can get the results you are looking for.