Strong in a Crisis – Tennessee Turfgrass Magazine Article

Tennessee Turfgrass Association

Strong in a Crisis

Tanasi Golf Fire CrisisIf you work in the Green Industry for long enough, you become an expert at Crisis Management. While none of us go looking for a crisis we routinely find them.

When you work alongside Mother-Nature we are constantly reminded that we are seldom in control of the situation. We prepare the best we can, but Mother-Nature ultimately wins. We are in fact in the solutions business and are conditioned to do whatever it takes to survive. You must have the “refuse to fail” mindset, which will be tested.

We all manage perishable goods and fight Mother-Nature to some degree each and every day. We routinely must deal with severe weather and are experts in our preparation and response. This constant battle against factors outside of our control makes us excellent Crisis Managers.

I have been in the business for over 30 years now and have lived through my share of crisis at work. I have managed a micro-burst with sustained winds of over 100 mph; an electrical storm where anything that was connected to a wire was zapped; three direct hits by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne; extreme heat and cold; blizzards, ice storms and hailstorms. This list could go on and on, not to mention the COVID-19 Pandemic that never seems to end.

Tanasi Golf Fire Crisis

Recently, we added another crisis to this list when the clubhouse at our Tanasi Golf Club burned to the ground on Saturday, August 27th at around 4:30 p.m. Most importantly, everyone got out safely, so praise God for the fact that no one was hurt. I was out of town at the time, but immediately went into Crisis Management Mode. The flames were likely still burning, but I immediately started working the problem. How are we going to operate and how quickly can we reopen?

Tanasi Golf Fire Crisis

The carts were stored in the basement of the clubhouse, so I assumed they were all lost. I started working the phones to secure a loaner fleet of carts, because without them we would not be able to operate. A couple of hours later I found out that the carts were saved due to how the cart basement was constructed and the efforts of the first responders. We just needed to go through them to access the damage and figure out how quickly we could get them back in operation. We spent the day on Sunday, August 28th inspecting and cleaning the carts and were shocked to find out that most all of them were fully operational with only a handful that had a significant cosmetic damage. Thankfully, the chargers were saved as well, but where were we going to store and charge them? Our staff spent the day cleaning and charging the fleet, so that part of the operation would be ready.


Tanasi Golf Fire Crisis


We also have a separate turn shack building that with the help of our IT Department we have turned into a makeshift Golf Shop. It has three windows; the first window is the snack bar, the second is for golfer check-in and the third is for our starter-ranger and golf cart operations. One of our staffers nicknamed it the Swiss army knife of buildings as we are constantly working to make it better. This temporary setup, along with our carts being saved, enabled us to reopen on Monday, August 29th. This is all due to an incredible effort by an incredible team.

The Green and Golf Industries never cease to amaze me as the outpouring of support has been incredible. We are all truly in this together and we are for sure stronger together. While the Tanasi Golf Operation is not what it once was, it is alive and well, and the future is very bright. We continue to work the problem and come up with solutions to how to get a little better with each passing day. We are managing our three buckets, the short-term, the short-term-long-term and long term. It is a crazy hectic time, but also an exciting time for Tellico Village Golf as we work to reshape the future.

Thank you all for your prayers and continued support!

– Chris Sykes

Posted on: September 7, 2022, by :