Turf management today involves many different people working in different positions including managers & employees in multiple offices, ground crews, and a variety of vendors. Information technology will be playing more and more of an important role in the management and marketing of the turf industry. In this article we will see how using computer software and IT can make the job easier.

Managing an effective turf management website
Having a website enables a business to showcase their products and designs, and sell in a broad market place. There are many options open to a business when it comes to content; a website could be a portal containing information on turf management, turf industry and related articles, and it could also have a login area where suppliers and customers check their accounts and update their details.

How to make the website worthwhile!
It is imperative that a website ranks highly in search results, or it won't be viewed by many people. This is a common problem. People spend a lot of money on making a site look good, but often the ranking (how high your site appears in search results) of the site is neglected.

The two most common ways people search for information on the internet is through search engines or directories.

Sites appear prominently on a search engine or directory for a lot of reasons. Above all, visibility on the internet is because of the way they are developed and promoted on the internet; not necessarily because they are better sites. An internet site needs to be promoted, and promotion needs to be maintained, if the sites visibility on the internet is to be maintained.

A business can increase the visibility of a website by many different means, including:
• Link exchanges
• Submitting the site to search engines
• Banner advertising on targeted sites
• Press releases
• Brochures distributed to industry associations

For a site to be successful, it needs the following traits:
• Quick loading
• Good navigational style
• Pleasing to the eye
• Easy to read
• Easy to find the information a viewer is looking for

Processing credit cards
It is important for an internet business to be able to process credit cards. Business can be still conducted by accepting cheques, money orders and direct transfers but having credit card processing on the website is vital. The reason for this is when a customer is interested in a product, it is best for the customer (and the business!) to provide the option of purchasing immediately. If customers do not have a credit card option, they will have to opt for other payment methods which will give them time to change their minds, or lose interest, and forget about it.

If a business is unwilling to pay the $5,000 or so (plus ongoing update costs) it costs to have a reasonable website constructed, an attractive alternative can be to do it yourself!

Previously considered the domain of the sun-starved computer geek, more and more of the general population are learning about I.T.

A website can be built and maintained using technology learned in a reasonably short course. The consideration of time off work can be avoided by studying by distance education. See for some good IT courses.

Software for creating and implementing new designs
Design and planning is always essential for creating turf, be it for recreation, aesthetic or environmental reasons. Time and money can be saved by using a software program like Smart Draw, which is an easy to use software program to create landscape designs. You can create professional designs without wasting lot of time. Programs like this make it very easy to modify a design.

Software for all aspects of turf management
Turf management software is available to cover all aspects of turf maintenance and can be operated with very little technical experience. It can be operated from a palm top organizer, which allows access to a main computer system, the internet, and e-mail.

This means that staff can access and update important information anytime, and from anywhere: Maintain equipment records, access and assign work orders, monitor irrigation, and send e-mail.

From day-to-day activities such as work scheduling and inventory control to detailed budget analysis and labour tracking, the program helps supervisors efficiently organize and interpret grounds care activities. The software also enables the manager to manage the chemical and fertilizers, to set up detailed information on sprayers, spreaders, chemicals, and fertilizers. The software makes it possible to calculate a mixer by the user choosing a sprayer or spreader, the areas they intend to treat, and the chemicals or fertilizers to be used. It then calculates instant, accurate tank mixtures.
One such software program is GCS™ for Windows™.

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