Overcoming language barriers on the golf course

Gleneagles Country Club’s director of agronomy shares how he tackles language barriers to help his crew stay safe. (Hint: It’s easier than you think!)


Filed to: Golf Safety, Texas

Gleneagles Country Club
Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas. Photos courtesy of Golf Safety

Editor’s note: The following article was supplied by Golf Safety. All product claims, research cited and other information is directly from the company.

Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas, boasts two 18-hole championship courses that cater to players of every skill level. Dan Boley, the director of agronomy, is responsible for caring for and maintaining these well-appointed premises. Boley is a well-respected and experienced agronomist who has managed many top-level operations throughout his career. He oversees a large and diverse crew that keeps Gleneagles in pristine condition. Golf Safety sat down with Boley, who uses our safety training video service, to find out how Golf Safety helps him manage the training of his crew.

Before using the Golf Safety video streaming service, Boley focused heavily on in-field training. “We had to take them out onto the course,” the 17-year GCSAA member says, “and take them through step by step.” With many of his crew being first-language Spanish speakers, this method was a struggle at best and time-consuming at worst. “Trying to talk to crew members over the noise of the machine and show them how to do everything” was a significant challenge. With the help of Golf Safety, Boley says, his team can now “show (their) crew the videos and give them a good idea of what to do before (they) go out on the course with them, so it cuts the time down, and it eases the training.”

The most significant benefit of Golf Safety’s training videos to the Gleneagles crew is how the English and Spanish versions of each video overcome the language barriers on the team. “Questions and answers are a lot easier to do in the lunchroom rather than out on the golf course,” Boley says. “Not to mention, we’re doing it for the whole staff rather than man by man in the field.” The Gleneagles Country Club crew members respond positively to the training videos, as they’re “easy to follow,” Boley says.

Once a month, Boley conducts a safety training session. “We provide lunch, and we have a safety training meeting,” he tells us. Boley separates his crew based on spoken language and then shows the same video to each group in English and Spanish. Following the videos, Gleneagles management asks crew members questions about the information presented, and the crew members also have the opportunity to ask questions. When it comes to the content of the videos, the Gleneagles team schedules training around topics pertinent to the season or topics that are “hot” at Gleneagles at the moment. “Since we have access to stream the entire inventory of safety videos, we flip it a little bit pertaining to our golf course,” says Boley. “Every golf course is different. Gleneagles has a more significant number of ponds and creeks than most courses, so the crew has to be a lot more careful about how (they) drive the equipment.”

Dan Boley golf
Dan Boley of Gleneagles Country Club using the Golf Safety video streaming service.

Before becoming a Golf Safety member, Boley says he struggled to keep his crew’s attention with the available training materials. “When you’re looking at 20-some odd pages of training materials, a lot of it is in one ear and out the other,” Boley says. Because of that, he appreciates the concise nature of Golf Safety’s training videos. “It’s important to do hot topics and keep it short. If you throw too much at your crew, it won’t sink in,” he says. Boley also appreciates that Golf Safety videos contain footage that’s tailored to golf courses. He finds that his crew is much more likely to pay attention to videos that show situations relevant to their work and in which gear specific to the jobs they do every day is used. “This is in-the-field kind of stuff,” he says, “which is nice.” Boley also appreciates that the videos are “simple and straightforward,” so his crew can always grasp the points quickly.

Previously, when doing safety training, the management at Gleneagles Country Club had to use Google Translate or ask bilingual crew members to translate all the information. Now, by showing his Spanish-speaking crew members their safety training videos in Spanish, Boley saves time spent in the training room and out in the field.

Another plus of the Golf Safety video streaming service is how easy it is to access and use, Boley says. He points out that having access to content on dozens of topics — mowers, tractors, hazard communication, respirators, lifting, pesticides, string trimmers, edgers, golf carts and more — makes his training program a breeze.

The Golf Safety training videos have been incredibly beneficial to the Gleneagles Country Club staff. They have kept crew members informed about safety hazards and saved management time with training and translation. It has also been a convenient and easy system to navigate. “If you’re in a rush and you don’t have much time,” Boley says, “you can pull it up real quick.”

If you’re looking for an efficient and language-inclusive way to keep your golf course management crew safe, schedule a demo with Golf Safety today.