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Landscapes hires Hanks to direct new contract maintenance division

Course contractor, developer and third-party manager Landscapes Unlimited has announced the formation Landscapes Golf Maintenance, a separate corporate division that provides golf course facilities public and private with contract maintenance services. According to Landscapes Unlimited founder and chairman Bill Kubly, industry veteran Larry Hanks was hired in April to lead Landscapes Golf Maintenance (LGM) going forward.

Landscapes Unlimited (www.landscapesunlimited.com), formed in 1976, spent its first 10 years concentrating on course construction, renovation and irrigation installation. In the mid 1980s, it started developing golf projects. Landscapes Management Company, which today operates more than 40 properties on a third-party basis, was formed in 1988.

“Contract maintenance is the logical outgrowth of these core businesses, which have always revolved around building, managing and developing golf properties smartly and efficiently, with a special eye for innovation and quality,” Kubly said. “If you’ve looked closely at how we’ve done business these last 40 years, you’ll notice these core businesses have thrived because we place such a high priority on building lasting relationships with clients — and oftentimes those clients are course superintendents.”

“Landscapes Golf Maintenance will operate according to this same value system, while at the same time leveraging the agronomic and operational expertise we’ve developed over the course of decades. And, in Larry Hanks I believe we have found the perfect guy to further those relationships and build a contract maintenance business that meets these high standards.”

Hanks is a Class AA lifetime member of the Golf Courses Superintendents Association of America, one who’s had a direct hand in creating the contract maintenance phenomenon in North America. After running his own course development/acquisition consulting business in the mid-1990s, he spent seven years with Tampa, Fla.-based OneSource Landscapes and Golf Services, a pioneer in the contract maintenance niche where Hanks rose to the position of national sales director. In 2003, he joined Valley Crest Golf Course Maintenance. As national sales manager, helped build what is today the golf industry’s largest provider of contract maintenance services. Valley Crest changed its name to BrightView in 2014.

“It is the existing reputation of Landscapes Unlimited and breadth of their golf-industry expertise that allow us to effectively launch and grow Landscapes Golf Maintenance,” Hanks said. “Frankly, no name in golf carries with it a better combination of trust and expertise. Its purchasing power immediately makes LGM very competitive with in-house maintenance teams in terms of cost.

“But cost is only part of this puzzle. We must find our efficiencies and provide our superintendents with all the support and resources they need to maximize golf course performance — and we really want to do that with the existing maintenance team. Superintendents must see LGM as an asset, not a threat. That’s our challenge, to never value fast growth over the day-to-day delivery of superior product. That sacrifice can never be made at the expense of quality, at the expense of the core relationship at every facility, which, for us, begins and ends with the superintendent.”

“Superintendents who partner with LGA will recognize all this very quickly — and that we’ll be there to support them, not to threaten their authority or autonomy. In fact, we’ve found that superintendents often appreciate the added support of a service provider like Landscapes Golf Maintenance.”

The golf industry has supported a contract maintenance model since the mid-1990s. It has proved ever more popular because, if done well, it brings efficiencies that many superintendents cannot achieve on their own. Hanks said that using data analysis to manage the labor component is the biggest key to this application of new efficiencies. A legitimate man-hours study, he said, can identify wasted labor dollars and unlock potential savings. This and the purchasing power of a company like LGM can quite quickly secure for clients significant savings, year on year.

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