Software profile:

By Alistair April 30, 2020 07:13 Updated

Did you know that there is software, designed specifically for greenkeepers, that converts data on a range of topics from machinery maintenance to budget control, so that all sorts of job functions, including daily task planning, is made far easier, that you can sign up to?

It seems as if the digital age has been with us forever as endless advances in new and advanced technology are constantly introduced; each designed to better manage information, communication and interaction. Yes, it was as recent as March 12, 1989, that the British computer scientist, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, submitted his proposal for what would become the World Wide Web and the first web page only went live on August 6, 1991.

How time have changed!

In 2013, the idea of harnessing this technology for the amenity industry was conceived and a web-based portal was designed specifically for turf industry professionals. TurfKeeper is a personalised and fully inclusive platform introduced to help turf professionals organise and deliver daily tasks and manage future decision-making.

As an original idea presented by a friend to Kevin Scarce, who as a golf course manager, had an interest in digital technology, TurfKeeper as a concept eventually became a reality. He explains: “My involvement came about when I was asked how I planned my work on the course, kept records of work carried out, machinery maintenance records and budget control and how this was presented at committee / board meetings. Quite alarming was the fact that I realised this was all done on paper, and to draw any meaningful information from the data took a lot of time … which with short staff numbers, was at a premium.” It was through this conversation that his friend told him about a pioneering vision he had to create an online one-stop-shop solution to improve record keeping, task planning and reporting within the industry.

Kevin was involved in the early testing and ideology of the system that today has become TurfKeeper and was appointed product manager. “It really caught my attention,” says Kevin, “as I could immediately see the benefits.” The system was then developed and during that time evolved into the early software that turned paper based diaries and records into a technical solution and TurfKeeper took off from there.

Even a few years ago, the application of technology across the turf care industry was fairly basic. TurfKeeper was a new concept, yet many turf managers even today, when asked to present a budget, might not know how this can be produced on a computer. Part of the driving force for TurfKeeper is to provide the technology and educate people about how to use the product and system to benefit their working environments.

Technical benefits

Today, TurfKeeper offers the turfcare industry a modern approach to managing all turf operations. This impressive technical tool has the capability to help turf managers plan, perform and present data, providing:

  • Fully integrated, online operations and management solutions
  • Personalised management systems
  • Complete control over and insight into staff management, task planning, machinery management, inventory management, chemical applications, budget control, recording and reporting and expense management.
  • Detailed reporting readily available and a resource library at your fingertips.

Such benefits are enormous and can be used in a multitude of ways, from daily task planning to simply diarising what has been carried out and the time taken to do it. Machinery maintenance and repair, stock control and budgeting are all integral parts of the system and the daily life of turf managers. The digital whiteboard movement has really taken off and with the ability to visualise the daily tasks and work plans onto a TV screen, it is becoming extremely popular.

Notes and direction of cut icons for a multitude of surfaces and areas can be shown and what’s more it can be updated from a mobile phone in the middle of the course. It is important to understand that having a resource at you fingertips such as TurfKeeper does not distance the manager from having daily staff briefs or is a substitute for verbal communication but is an interactive way of scheduling tasks and showing the details surrounding the decision making process

With the help of TurfKeeper, a course or ground manager or head greenkeeper can quickly present data to managers, help protect jobs, justify how many labour hours are required for a task and show if a machine is costing too much money in downtime and repairs. Having such data readily available at their fingertips is a useful tool for backing up recruitment, machinery or equipment purchase requests. Such technology also allows for the recording and storing of a digital calendar for fixtures, tasks and man-hours and can record how many hours might be spent on greens, tees and bunkers. It also can highlight how many hours are spent repairing, say storm damage or washout to bunkers. With labour data at one’s fingertips, it could easily help sway a decision to invest in perhaps lining bunkers to prevent the issue in the first place. Committees and directors will want to see the return on investment and this can easily be shown with the correct data.

Once the initial data is locked in, TurfKeeper is easy to use and is fast-becoming known as a valuable asset for every turf maintenance team, as Kevin continues: “Wherever there is turf, TurfKeeper can be used, whether that is in a prestigious golf club, at a school or at an international sports stadium. Once the information is recorded, it’s about planning and diarising – whatever you choose to do with the software, it is hugely beneficial.”

Confirming the benefits

TurfKeeper has received some excellent feedback after being adopted at many well-known venues, with key individuals in the industry confirming its benefits. Examples, include Brain Clark, course manager, Close House Golf Club; Fintan Brennan, Portmarnock Hotel & Links; Paul Burgess, director of grounds and environment at Real Madrid FC; James Bledge, golf course manager at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club; Danny Negus, head groundsman at Devonshire Park; and Damian Hough at the Adelaide Oval.

In some cases, TurfKeeper has even become a prerequisite in job applications and CVs, with preference giving to applicants who are proficient in using the technology! As Kevin states: ”For TurfKeeper, the future is bright with a large number of potential users keen to learn more about the product, as they realise such technology is the future and the way forward for our industry.”

By Alistair April 30, 2020 07:13 Updated

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