“It is important for staff to have knowledge and skills,” notes Greg Sheara, CCM, Clubhouse Manager for Chevy Chase Club in Chevy Chase, Md. “However, training [to impart the knowledge and skills] can be tedious and boring. By making training fun, staff members will retain more and be motivated at the same time.”
The Grounds Maintenance department at Chevy Chase put this approach into action when it found a way to turn training on everyday tasks like leaf blowing, utility trailer driving and on-course rescue of distressed golf carts into a “Rodeo Daze” skills competition. The challenges and rules of the competition were developed by the Grounds Maintenance team, with the management staff acting as officials.
THE GOAL:Develop a training exercise for the Grounds Maintenance staff at Chevy Chase Club that could improve skills and build teamwork, while providing a fun break from the tedium of classroom-style instruction.THE PLAN:Hold a “Rodeo Daze” competition built around skills challenges that relate to everyday tasks (leaf blowing, utility trailer driving, golf cart rescue).
THE PAYOFF: “Several prizes were awarded,” the club reports. “But many more smiles took place!”
The “Rodeo Daze” training regimen included the specific competitive exercises listed here (followed by the club’s explanation of the purpose behind each):
• Leaf Blower Soccer Challenge—Participants raced to use blowers to push a tennis ball through an obstacle course, being judged on both time and accuracy. “On occasion, leaves can be stuck in precarious places [on a golf course or grounds]. The Leaf Blower Soccer Challenge increases the staff’s knowledge and skills of how to use blowers in many directions, as well as enhancing the speed at which it can be accomplished.”
• Utility Trailer Skills Contest—Contestants used speed and accuracy to maneuver a trailer backwards and forwards through a designated course. “Most golf course maintenance storage facilities are cramped, and many areas on the golf course require cautious operation, so as not to damage surrounding fixtures or landscaped features. Therefore, having strong trailer maneuverability skills is key.”
• Golf Cart Tug of War—Contestants team up to see how fast they can pull a cart across the finish line. “Carts often get stuck in the mud, or a member can lose one in the lake. Being able to tow by hand saves the possibility of other vehicles getting stuck.”
At the end of the competition, the club reports, “several prizes were awarded—but many more smiles took place!”