We are constantly looking and learning about the multitude of ways the OnLink platform is being used by our cutting-edge early subscribers. Each course is undeniably different in terms of management, so it’s good to take a look at the way our actionable analytics translate in various environments. This week, we want to highlight the prestigious Mississaugua Golf and Country Club in Ontario, Canada.
The Mississaugua Golf Course is on a site first visited by Governor Sir John Simcoe in 1793, and the golf course itself dates back to 1906. For the members, the history of the game of golf at Mississaugua holds a powerful draw and makes the course incomparably unique. The famed Championship course is the six-time host of the Canadian Open and has seen legends like Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and many more throughout its history. Today, Golf Course & Property Manager Adam Zubek is charged with overseeing the historic course and maintaining tournament-level conditions. One of OnLink’s early innovators, Adam boasts 16 years of experience in the industry. We caught up with Adam to see how specifically OnLink has influenced his approach to managing the course and some of the tangible successes he is already seeing.
Now in his fifth season at Mississaugua, Adam says the most distinguishing factor for him in managing the course is the fact that it sits in a river valley. The course’s water source is a direct pull from the river, and the water quality is average to poor. Salts are flushed anywhere from every two to four weeks, depending on the weather. This is one of the major areas that Adam and his team use OnLink to analyze and better manage. He says having a handle on salinity and what is happening post rainfall and post flush helps them to better understand how the turf is responding to inputs. Before OnLink, spreadsheets were used to track data, which he and his team might look at once a month – or once a year. Adam says that’s all changed for the better. For him, the OnLink platform has become a score card for tracking progress and a launching point for future decisions. “Now, because we’re keeping score, we’re driving more eyes and more users to check our score card on a regular basis,” he says.
For the industry as a whole, there is less leeway or “downtime.” Delivering “peak” conditions all the time has become the expectation, and the bar is always being raised. Adam says OnLink gives him the confidence to know what he needs to do to deliver the expected conditions on a regular basis. He says, “The expectation is higher and higher all the time, and so the challenge is rising and it’s tough to keep up. Certainly, when there is a tool like OnLink that allows you to better understand what you’re doing and how to deliver those conditions, it makes the job that much more realistic or the task at hand more achievable.” Right now, data collection includes stimp, firmness, moisture, temperature, salinity, yields from 18 greens, rounds of golf, cart usage, weather, irrigation usage, water level, tissue analysis and green fertility applications. Understanding these key data points and watching the trends is helping Adam both manage with confidence and cut down on costs (he has already been able to cut down on labor costs). He says he believes this new set of statistics is what will help take the operation to the next level.
Like other OnLink subscribers, efficiency is a key takeaway from the platform that is helping him save time and money. He says he is able to manage his chemical budget far more effectively with the concrete data he is collecting and recording with OnLink. Not only is that helping him today, but he believes this will be an invaluable resource moving forward as golf course management continues to move toward “fact-based decision making instead of the traditional intuitive decision making.”
“The caveat is, when predictive modeling becomes available for disease forecasting and other treatments, having the data from today will be powerful for building a model for the future. We will be ready right out of the gate when others will be learning as they collect the information,” he explains.
Adam and his team currently monitor nutrient and chemical applications for all areas. OnLink fits seamlessly into their overall management plan. Adam consults the data from OnLink to help him better understand when and what to apply.