In the latest GCBAA newsletter, Carlos Abisambra shares the story of how Travelers Haven supports golf course builders and GCBAA.
Every year, over 15,000 golf courses from pitch-and-putt courses to famous sites such as Augusta National come alive with a fleet of workers completing necessary maintenance, repairs, or new construction in order to make sure that these courses are ready to handle nearly 25.1 million golfers who will play 529 million rounds. This workforce is highly specialized, often working in teams of no more than 10-20 over the course of a 3-6 month period. For the average golfer playing a round at their local course, or sitting in the viewing stands of newsworthy holes such as the 16th at TPC Scottsdale, they may not consider the amount of work that has gone into building that course. There is an entire industry of companies small and large, who specialize in everything from landscaping and maintenance of the greens to the bridges that carts drive over. Without this nomadic workforce, there would be no golf season, and they are currently facing a problem when it comes to getting to job sites all over.
From your local course to Pebble Beach, every course requires the same meticulous attention to detail to ensure the course is ready when the season opens. What kind of work does this entail? Well, whenever a course needs to be refurbished, the owner is responsible for hiring however many work crews it’s going to take to fix each element of a course. For some, you may need land movers and landscapers, along with bridge builders and sand specialists for the bunkers. If the clubhouse needs repairs, you may need contractors or specialized architects. There are guaranteed to be lots of moving parts, and one of the hardest problems to solve is how to house all the specialized nomadic workers who need to travel across the country to make your course perfect.
Another problem is that traditional vacation rentals and hotels are not sufficient in meeting housing needs for these crews. Refurbishing a course doesn’t happen overnight and more often than not these workers need to relocate for a minimum of 3 months, with some projects requiring a whole year. These are specialist workers that are often upskilled by the crews that they are deployed with. While there are some basic skills in the landscaping industry that can be taken into building golf courses, the majority of the training is on the job. These crews are lean and companies don’t want to lose their employees, so housing needs to be a top priority to make sure crews are comfortable.
“Employee retention in our industry is now more critical than ever. We know a happy employee is a productive employee. Employees are happy when it can feel like a home when working on the road” says John McDonald, Vice President of McDonald & Sons, and President of the GCBAA. “Travelers Haven does it all, from start to finish and everything in between including dealing with any problems that arise. Whether we are looking from 2-month to 1-year leases, and after seeing the amount of time and pressure that it saves we’d never consider another method.”
So how are you supposed to find quality housing for crews, especially when the vast majority of golf courses in this country are in remote areas? The amount of 18 hole courses you can fit in a metro area is limited, so instead, many courses are in suburbia, and other places where housing can be sparse. To make matters worse, many golf course specialist companies need to house multiple crews at a time across the country, meaning hundreds of leases need to be arranged. It isn’t feasible for one office manager or even a small team to manage this workload, and be responsible for lease agreements, furnishing, utilities, and a host of other expenses. Things will inevitably fall through the cracks meaning your crews won’t get that peaceful and comfortable place to stay after a long day of work.
Enter Travelers Haven, which draws from a nationwide supply of housing solutions to provide the optimal workforce housing on-demand solution so that companies can focus on their one and only job: golf courses. Workforce housing on-demand allows crews to not only have the housing where and when they need it but also to provide companies overall with a simple and straightforward solution that cuts endless manhours from needing to be spent figuring out these logistics. With inventory in every city, town, and village in the country, Travelers Haven can find the perfect mix of location and comfort so that even on a year-long assignment, workers will always feel at home.
While workforce housing on-demand is the perfect fit for a nomadic profession like golf course building, Travelers Haven is further committed to growing the game with its pledge to the Sticks for Kids program. Travelers Haven cares about the communities that they operate in beyond just finding their customers the housing that makes their operations possible. The golf community is very close and Travelers Haven is happy to be a part of that family by partnering with Sticks for Kids to ensure that the next generation of kids is able to get invested in the game. Travelers Havens looks to help multiple facets of the golf industry to make sure that the courses of today are built and maintained for the golfers of tomorrow.
It’s no question that the golf community is a tight-knit group, from the clusters of players who have their regular weekly tee times, to the industry professionals who make a point of being in attendance at every GCBAA event they can make. This sport is built around personal relationships between every group of members that make it possible and while they may never be interested in pursuing a chance to receive a green jacket at Augusta, the golf course builders are a critical part of the foundation that makes every season of golf possible. Travelers Haven is committed to continuing support for golf course builders, wherever they may land as new courses continue to spring up.
Find the full article in the GCBAA Earth Shaping News Summer Edition: https://issuu.com/gcbaa/docs/gb034_esn_summer_0722_lr