Bulletin 46

Meet Our New Team Member–Chris Allen

Chris Allen is the most recent golf course superintendent to join the Plant Food Company (PFC) in hopes of having a broader impact on an industry that he cares so much about.  He will be working with new and existing customers in the North FL / GA region.

Chris has been in and out of the golf course maintenance world since he was 14 years old. It was in 2012, in Naples Fl, when he finally started as an hourly staff member at a course, while pursuing a club professional certification through the PGA program. As the First Assistant Golf Professional, if there was a staff change for the GCM department he was the one to run the crew as an interim Superintendent. He soon discovered that turfgrass management was the only thing that demanded and required his full potential.  

The years that Chris has spent on the Superintendent's side of things is invaluable. One of his main takeaways is that he learned how much he loves problem-solving and helping others. Now he looks forward to the chance to focus on doing that for other turf managers.

We recently sat down with Chris so that he could share his experience as a superintendent and how that will translate to helping other superintendents in the North FL / GA region. Here is what he had to say:


PFC: Problem-solving and innovation are at the core of PFC’s approach to creating consistent playing surfaces for our customers. What was it like experiencing this as a PFC customer?

Chris: “As a Superintendent in South Florida for 6 years I tried many different programs. I began dabbling with 1 or 2 products of PFC and noticed dramatic improvements within the first month. Fast forward a year later I was on a full customized greens program. The program took us from a mediocre putting surface to one of the best in the area. Our course couldn’t afford a renovation and with some greens at 100% contamination, the program solved our playability and consistency issues. As a customer, I had never known a company in this industry that cares more about your bottom line than their own.  PFC wants to see your club have the best possible conditions with the least amount of product necessary. Giving the soil and plant what they need while maximizing utilization. “


PFC: What do you think is the most important factor in maintaining a successful course?

Chris: “There are many factors to being successful, but I think the most important factor is having a staff that treats each other like family and everyone is bought into the mission. If everyone feels respected and valued, with good leadership, the possibilities are endless.”


PFC: What are the indicators of a well-maintained course?

Chris: “I think there are varying levels of defining a well-maintained course, most of which depend on the business model of that particular property. There are many courses where there isn’t a leaf or a pine needle out of place, a spectacular feat. There are even more that do not have the resources to provide that type of flawless conditioning. What are the expectations of the players, members, customers, and the staff? If you can answer those questions and you are meeting and hopefully exceeding those expectations, then I think you are a well-maintained golf course. I also do not think there is a turf manager out there that will ever be completely satisfied with their level of conditioning.”


PFC: What are your thoughts on the turf conditions and meeting the expectations of players.

Chris: “Consistency is the key to conditioning. If you can provide consistent conditions year-round, it goes a long way for the playability of the golf course and overall health. I absolutely love the idea of firm and fast as a player and as a turf manager. The great thing is that firm and fast don’t necessarily have to mean brown is the new green. I always prioritized low water usage from an environmental standpoint as well as a cost/resource standpoint. Having the ability to do so is what made me fall in love with Plant Food Company’s product line. The two products I started with Flo Thru A+ and Hydration A+ in South Florida year-round, allowed me to maximize water retention and firmness as needed.”


PFC: What are the biggest challenges facing superintendents today?

Chris: “Labor no doubt will always be the biggest challenge. In my time as a Superintendent, there were always hard days, irrigation breaks, machinery failure, etc. But the hardest thing to overcome is not enough labor. This was why it was always so important to me to have a trustworthy support team of distributors, representatives, or vendors that I could lean on. With less labor to rely on, many Superintendents and their management team are doing the work instead; they do not have a minute to waste on any given day.”  


PFC: What made you decide to move over to this side of the industry?

Chris: “The time I had on the Superintendent's side of things was invaluable. The amount of knowledge you can gain from being in that life is incredible. One of the main takeaways for me was that I learned I really loved problem-solving and helping others. Having the chance to focus on doing that for other turf managers is really what I am looking forward to. I am extremely grateful for Plant Food Company, who has given me the opportunity to develop relationships with other turf managers and help them in any way I can.”


PFC: Based on your previous work experience, what are you most excited about in this role?

Chris: “I am most excited about creating a better quality of life for other turf managers. Whether it is more time with their family or friends, less stress, conditioning, playability always trending upward, membership satisfaction, or just more sleep at night. In my experience, all of these are direct results of growing with Plant Food Company. I am excited to develop relationships with other turf managers and share that!”