With global supply issues reaching every corner of the industry this year, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of early order programs (EOP). EOP is a great way to secure products early and optimize your budget for next year, but it can be daunting to know where to begin. We asked some superintendents to share their advice for getting the most out of EOP this season.

If there’s one thing superintendents can agree on when it comes to early order, it’s the importance of their sales representative to guide them through the process. With so many programs and products to consider, it’s crucial to have an expert with a thorough understanding of both early order offerings and your unique needs. Jim Harmon of Sawmill Creek Golf Course shared how valuable it is to meet with his sales representative to strategize for early order: “We sit down together in September when work on the course slows down and take our time discussing current conditions, problems encountered during the season, and decide what to change or keep the same for the upcoming season.” 

A conversation is the first step to a successful early order season. Kevin Hershey of The Quarry Golf Club said that his sales representative “will answer all my questions about new or better products to try the next season or recommend something that he feels may be a better option.”

It’s also helpful to learn from the past when planning for the upcoming season. This cuts down on time spent building an order from scratch, which has given Hershey success with early order: “Looking back at the early order history and through our application records, we go into the order process and the upcoming year with a very good idea of what we need and when we will need it.”

Casey Taylor of Thunderbird Hills Golf Course also recommends paying attention to your storage, current inventory, and acreage. It’s important to plan for a rotation of fungicides to avoid disease resistance, as well. “Know your target pests and when to attack them,” says Taylor. Planning ahead for pest control gives you a jump start on prevention for the following season.

While each superintendent uses early order a little bit differently, they all enjoy the benefits of EOP. Perhaps the biggest advantage of early order is stress relief, as Harmon can attest to. “Having already taken care of one of the biggest expenditures is just one less thing to deal with in the spring,” he shared. “It takes a tremendous load off your mind knowing everything will be ready to go come the next season.”

For Hershey, it’s a relief to not be worried about having enough products for the next year. “I rest easier knowing that all of the products that I know I’ll need are already in my building when the season starts,” he said.

Taylor appreciates the opportunity that EOP gives him to evaluate and improve his own practices. “It allows you to see what you have, but more importantly what you missed. There is plenty of time to make adjustments and fine-tune your program,” he said.

With these benefits and recommendations in mind, you’ll be on your way to a successful early order season too. Check out our EOP dashboard to see the latest manufacturer programs, and contact your sales representative to start the conversation today.