Equipment managers talk shop at #GIS18

Technicians took their turn in the spotlight on Monday’s day-long learning tour.


Patrick Drinkard
Patrick Drinkard, equipment manager at Cordillera Ranch Golf Club in San Antonio, was among three hosts who welcomed more than 120 equipment managers and superintendents to their facilities as part of Monday’s equipment management learning tour. Photo by Howard Richman

The importance of an equipment manager has been on the radar of Tom Lively, CGCS, for quite a while.

In fact, those equipment managers are better equipped today than ever, he believes.

“I’ve been in the business for 40 years. Now, equipment managers come in with so much more training. They’ve got a background in electronics, know all the different types of regulations, such as Tier 4. They have really evolved,” says Lively, a 36-year GCSAA member who is the director of golf course operations at TPC San Antonio.

As part of today’s equipment management learning tour at the Golf Industry Show, more than 120 equipment managers and superintendents visited Lively’s facility along with Cordillera Ranch Golf Club and The Quarry Golf Club, affording them the opportunity to get a close-up view of how their equipment manager operates.

Cordillera Ranch equipment manager Patrick Drinkard gladly shared his knowledge and what works best in his situation. “Efficiency and effectiveness is what we’re trying to go after,” Drinkard says. “We always will be doing something in the shop for efficiency sake.”

Drinkard also expressed his thoughts on the importance of becoming certified. “It (certification) personally has opened doors for me. Without it, I wouldn’t have gotten the knowledge and networking opportunities,” he says. “Six years ago, I was an assistant technician. Now, I’m giving a GCSAA shop tour.”

During the stop at TPC San Antonio, Pat Carroll, CGCS, said the three-course tour was valuable to him. “It’s always good to see what somebody else is doing and to pick up things,” says Carroll, a 22-year GCSAA member who oversees the Cavalry Club in Manlius, N.Y., and transformed his former assistant, Larry Pilcher, into his equipment manager. “He knows how the equipment is supposed to work. He mows greens on Saturdays.”

Bruce Burger, CGCS, superintendent The Quarry Golf Club, hosted one of the day’s visits and welcomed advice and tips from those who came to hear him. “I got some great ideas from the groups who visited here,” says Burger, a 29-year association member, noting that some of his visitors told him that it’s OK to use a hand blower to clean off equipment instead of using an air hose with a nozzle on it. Another idea he gleaned was to consider the addition of a moveable metal ladder with hand rails to reach an upper storage area rather than installing a stairway.

At TPC San Antonio, Lively leans heavily on equipment manager Sam Baldea, who is a pillar of the staff. “Assistants come and go. They’re here sometimes maybe three or four years, then are looking to move on. Equipment managers, hopefully, are the ones who stay around with you and will be here for as long as you are,” Lively says. “Sam does a great job. He’s a key to our success.”

Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.