Friday, January 2, 2015

If You Can Measure It, You Can Manage it

How many man hours are spent mowing tees each year?  How many hours did we spend raking bunkers during July?  How much time was devoted to hand watering fairways over the course of the season? 

These are all good questions, however, prior to 2014 we had no way to precisely answer them.  Therefore, in an effort to see exactly where the labor is being utilized, we updated a golf course labor tracking system.

The system is pretty simple--basically we combine a noun and verb.  That is, every area has a number associated with it, and every activity has a number as well.  Each employee writes down the activities they work on each day.  So, if an employee was blowing off fairways, they would record 05-45, and the number of hours spent on that task.

Each employee's activities are then entered on a spreadsheet.  This was set up to allow us to view the labor used in several ways.  For example, we can look at the time spent on a single activity across the entire golf course on a particular day, or throughout the season.  Below, you can see that almost 7,000 man hours were used in mowing all areas of the golf course.

We can also look at information just by area, or a combination of area and activity.  For example, from February 23-December 20, we spent a total of 4,413 hours in all activities related to maintaining the fairways (aerifying, verticutting, blowing, spraying, fertilizing, divot repair, watering, mowing, etc.).  And of those 4,413 hours devoted to the fairways, 839 hours (or 19%), were spent hand watering.

As you can see from the sample above, there are hundreds of different maintenance activities which take place on the golf course throughout the year.  From February through December, 2014, almost 7,000 entries were made on the spreadsheet.  This information will help in the long-term planning of how best to allocate labor, and where adjustments may be made to improve efficiency and condition of the course.

Thanks goes out to the crew for diligently recording their work activity throughout the year, and especially to Don Holgersen for entering the information on the spreadsheet.


  1. Hello John,
    How many hours are spent Geese Chasing? LOL

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Haha! Thor and Buster are salaried employees, so we haven't been tracking their hours!

  2. John,
    I really enjoyed reading this post on Turfnet's Blog Aggregator this morning. Thanks for the great information.
    Doug Karcher
    University of Arkansas

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi Dr. Karcher,

      I appreciate your taking the time to comment on the post. The labor tracking system is basically just a modernized version of what Dr. Beard shows in Turf Management for Golf Courses. If anyone would like a copy of the spreadsheet, I'd be happy to send it to them.

  3. Hello!, greetings from México, Las Lomas Golf Course.
    We are doing the same thing here, I used to do it with Excel but now I'm doing it on MS Access, is faster and easier to write reports.

    Good job!.

    1. Thanks, Jonathan. We'll have to give MS Access a try.

  4. Good Morning John,
    I too really enjoyed reading your post. We do a similar tracking system here at Ironbridge GC in Glenwood Springs, CO. However, I really like your Excel version that you have developed and described. Would you be willing to share that with me? Thanks!

  5. Absolutely, Eric. I'm happy to share it with anyone.

  6. Hi John,

    We are currently looking for a system to track labour at our course. Would I be able to get a look at the spreadsheet? My e-mail is


  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Hi John,
    I would you be willing to share your worksheet with me? e-mail address is
    Thank you!

  9. Hi John,
    As a member of the Green Committee at Cypress Landing Golf Course in Chocowinity, NC I was wondering if you could share your worksheet with me as we are in the process of compiling our own spreadsheet. Thanks,