To Open or Not To Open, That Is The Question
When to open the course is always a big decision for us. There are many factors that we need to look at to decide when the optimal time to open is. The biggest being the forecast, the forecast for next week has changed 3 times in the last 3 days. Once we have some decent temperatures (overnights being very important) we will start to call up some staff to see who is ready to come in and help. We have to be concious of the fact that many of our staff are leaving their winter jobs to come work so if we start them and then it snows for 3 weeks and they get no hours, it is not a great start to the season. Ramping up includes all the initial orders for pop, beer, food, proshop inventory etc. etc. a good cleaning of the entire clubhouse and starting the on course work. The on course work includes removing tarps, taking out tee markers, bunker rakes, garbage cans, plowing left over drifts of snow, taking down snow fence, etc etc. Then you can start to cut the grass, even though it is not growing it will put a nice stripe on things and get it looking great.
Now things are getting done and we are getting close to ready, last thing we need, is...Golfers! With todays technology it is alot easier to get the word out, a well timed email with updates on our Facebook and Twitter will get us full pretty quick.
What if the weather changes? If the temperatures over night dip to -10 or colder we have to seriously consider re tarping the greens, this is extra time, labour, and ultimately expense.
So...The only thing we can do is be ready and see what mother nature brings us. GlenEagles only opens on regular greens and tee's and is one of the first to open in Calgary.
Inside the Golf Nike Nerve Center
Heading West on the I-30 outside of Fort Worth don’t expect a giant swoosh to help direct you to The Oven. You are pretty much into no where when you make a few turns and see a 50,000 square foot building in the distance which has to be our destination. At first glance the outside of the building does not seem like much but as soon as you walk up to the doors you know there is something special inside.
The Oven is where Nike creates, tests, builds, and fits all of its equipment. Walking in the doors and seeing a virtual timeline of the history of Nike Golf including cool keepsakes such as Tigers head cover, and shoes from 1984. There is a constant reminder of performance with a wall dedicated to the last 8 major tournaments that Nike Golf Staff Players have won. As soon as there is a new win on the PGA, Nationwide, European, or LPGA tour #8 gets bumped and everyone gets shuffled down.
Entering the research area of the facility we had to turn in our cell phones as they are very strict on confidentiality. We toured where the clubs are made, how they test MOI off of drivers, where they build custom clubs for PGA tour pro’s etc.
We got a good look at their 3D printer where Tom Stites and his crew would envision the next great thing and draw it on a cad program, the printer lays plastic the width of 1 sheet of paper each pass and after 8hours they have an exact replica of what Tom dreamed up. They can then send this to Tour Pro’s, their marketing team, engineers, etc. to get feedback on the design.
You will also find where Nike spends $300,000 a year buying competitors equipment to take them apart and test durability etc. so that they always remain on the cutting edge of playability and design.
After our tour we headed to the range and were greeted by 3 Oven staff to fit us for equipment. Using motion capture cameras and the Track Man software we were able to hit balls and record data such as launch angle, spin rate, carry, and total distance for each club. After hitting some balls I found that I have always been Dynamic fit with standard lies, but it was clear that I lift my hands at impact and clearly should have been playing 2 degree’s upright for all of these years. A little embarrassing for a Golf Pro who should know better.
Next we headed to the Putter Lab where we used the latest technology to check our launch and skid with our putters. Our Head Pro, Blake was using a non-Nike putter and had 4.5 inches of skid of the face, one he changed to the Method Core putter his numbers went down to 0.4 inches of skid. The less the ball skids the straighter it will role. Joel Monk from HeatherGlen used a Method #1 to sink 24 putts in a row, a little shy of the record of 102 but about 20 putts more than me.
Once all are specs were complete we headed to the 130,000 square foot short game center to play around with some new wedges and putters. The center consists of 3 artificial greens complete with bunkers. You can play them a 3 par 3’s from 100-150yards.
After seeing everything that goes into their VR-S line for 2012 it would be very difficult to recommend anything but. Everyone at the club will be playing these clubs and you will not find more distance while keeping a high trajectory.
As a big suprise to they made me part of the Nike Golf Advisory Staff! They have picked 150 people accross North America who they will lean on to get feedback and insite on future Nike products
Come on by the Proshop and check out their new gear, try a few and see for yourself.
One of the questions I hear the most in the off season is, “What do you do in the winter”? Well, if you only knew.
There are not many businesses who have the opportunity every year to shut its doors, reassess everything, have 4 or 5 months to work on improvements and then open the doors again. A big part of what we work on comes from surveys from our guests. We take your feedback to help us get a handle on what’s important, what we need to improve, and what we are doing well. We also take a look at the entire building to paint, fix wobbly tables, replace broken hinges, clogged drains, etc etc. In the off season a typical day could range from budgeting, setting up our marketing plan, booking tournaments, picking proshop clothing to buy, hiring staff, cleaning the bathrooms (yes we all take turns).
A snapshot on some improvements include, spending more time and money on bringing up the standard of our bunkers. With over 100 bunkers on the course and a slight breeze on most days makes a difficult situation for our Superintendent to continually be working on bunkers. We will be order twice the number of loads of sand this year as we typically do and hiring more staff to focus on bunker shape. We will also be starting a 3 year program on filling in unnecessary bunkers. We have identified 20 traps that are not needed for aesthetics, depth perception, or playability and we will fill them in, reshape, and sod them. We will also continue to focus on green speeds as we like to have a consistent 9.5 – 10 on the stimp.
As for as the Lounge you will see the introduction of a new 15min menu. This is where we will outline a handful of items that will be ordered and served in 15min or less or it will free and delivered to you on the course. This will be a great menu for those in a hurry to tee off and want to grab something quick.
In the Proshop you will see some new fixtures and merchandising as we have become a full Nike Partner. This will allow us to off the very best pricing and selection on today’s best Nike equipment. If you are looking for new equipment this year I would strongly encourage you to look at Nike’s new “S” family. They have been getting some fantastic distance increases for players of all levels. Even Paul Casey and Lucas Glover hit the new VR-S 6irons and far as their last years Nike 5-iron, and they maintained the same trajectory. These clubs will be tough to beat this year.
Keep your eyes peeled in March for our Golf Trivia contest where we will have a new trivia questions and Nike prize everyday on our website for 2 weeks. We will give out over $3000 worth of equipment in 10days!
We will also kick off the season with our GlenEagles Free Golf When You Bring a Friend Promo. This popular promo will let you play GlenEagles FREE this spring. We gave out over 5000 certificates in 7 days last year.
We are just starting to hire staff as well, we had a fantastic number of staff return this year with us having almost 80% in the Golf and Food & Beverage departments. I hope that says how much our staff like to work here. We are looking to fill any open spots with new staff now, if you know anyone interested please have them fill out our "Join Our Team" form under the "Contact Us" on our site. Hiring good people to make GlenEagles a fun and enjoyable place to be for all our guests is always our most important off season task!!!
Looks like we may be seeing you sooner than later on The Links this spring!
Keep checking back to our blog to get a behind the scenes look at GlenEagles this season
Welcome to GlenEagles Behind the Scenes
Here you will find some interesting thoughts & stories from General Manager Slade King and Head Professional Blake Clayton.