In 2001 I was working as the Risk and Safety Training Manager for all facilities and employees on the Desert Mountain property in north Scottsdale, AZ. My golf course maintenance experience was invaluable because I knew each of the six golf courses like the back of my hand. It was this experience that got me involved in the training of beverage cart girls.
The beverage cart girls were scheduled to work any of the six golf courses, and that’s what concerned me. Two of these golf courses, Geronimo and Chiricahua, have very steep and winding cart paths. They are so steep a three-wheeled machine with a blower on the back tipped backwards trying to go up a hill on the Chiricahua course.
With these concerns in mind I approached George, the beverage cart supervisor, and asked him if his newest employee had been trained on all the courses.
“Of course she’s trained. As a matter of fact she just completed a ride-along on all six golf courses. I’m convinced she’s doing fine. Not to worry.”
As I walked away I couldn’t believe the training had been as extensive as George led on. So I kept an eye out for his new employee and watched her every chance I got. She was doing okay, but didn’t seem as confident as I expected. I stopped by to see her supervisor again.
“George, are you sure your new beverage cart driver has had enough training?”
“Nothing’s changed, Don. We gave her all the training the other beverage cart girls have. I think she’s doing fine.”
“Well, I just had to ask, because she doesn’t seem sure of herself when I see her out on the courses. But, if you’re confident, I’ll let the issue go.”
Two weeks later, while out on the property in my golf cart, I heard sirens. I listened and judged they were not out on the highway, but somewhere on the property. I quickly called security and they told me there was a cart rollover and personal injury by the 17th green near the main clubhouse.
I drove to the location as fast as I could, not knowing if is a member or employee was injured. As I pulled up to the scene, the EMT extracted the young woman I had been concerned about, from a formation of six to eight foot high boulders. The beverage cart she was driving was on it’s side about eight feet down the slope from the cart path. The cart and beverage cabinet were extensively damaged. Black tire marks on the curb indicated she had cut the turn short, tipped the cart off-balance, and crashed into the boulders.
Over the next few days I learned that the young lady suffered broken bones, and head lacerations. Repairing the equipment damaged in the accident cost thousands of dollars. And, once George saw the bill for the accident, it didn’t take long for him to ask for my help developing a more thorough training program for his new beverage cart operators.