Golf Course Management

AUG 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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38 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.18 going to be a dad," Arraya says. He decided to remain in Florida and took a job making $4.75 per hour to strip and wax floors. "I told myself that I did not want to not be in my son's life," he says. Facing one of the numerous forks in the road he would encounter, Arraya showed maturity at a young age. His decision meant finding a job that would pay more and promised other perks. e 75-cent in - crease in pay he received by leaving a job waxing floors to work at MetroWest even - tually proved to be worth every penny. A child of divorce at a young age, Arraya ar - ranged to spend time with his family. "I was used to working the night shift, but by taking the job at MetroWest, I went in early and was able to see my son at night," Arraya says. "at was important to me to have some sort of balance. I wanted to make sure he had a better life than I did when I was young." Arraya has implemented his beliefs at home and at work. He is determined to grow as a person for his family and grow a team at Bellerive. For Arraya, growing peo - ple is at least as important as growing grass. "It (PGA Championship) has political significance in golf globally and in the indus - try. But, compared to life, it has less mean- ing," Arraya says. "I have an obligation to my club and staff to be better for people, not bet - ter for something or a championship." A work in progress With $400 in his pocket and a wife and baby Isaih at home, Arraya recalls going to purchase a car. e experience drove him to greater heights in his profession. "When I went to buy a car, I didn't have credit. I still remember that feeling of rejec - tion," Arraya says. "My now-ex-wife's family helped to get us going. I thought, 'at will never happen again.'" Arraya, a 19-year GCSAA member, was promoted by the end of his first year at MetroWest while on the side earning an associate degree in computer electronic en - gineering. He was offered a job as an engi- neer when Universal's Island of Adventure was being built in Orlando. He could have made $55,000 annually but chose to remain in golf making $9.50 an hour. "I loved golf course management. It was no longer about the money," he says. His decision to stay in the industry paid off. At 20, Arraya became an assistant super - intendent at Hawk's Nest Golf Club in Vero Beach, Fla., where he spent his spare time securing an associate degree in golf course operations and grounds management from Indian River State College. To earn extra money, Arraya worked nights resurfacing and conditioning clay courts at e Moorings Yacht & Country Club. "We had a young child and a lot of stu - dent debt. en we found out we were preg- nant with (his daughter) Aleanah," he says. GCSAA's job board sparked a new direc - tion. "I knew I needed multicourse experi- ence in Florida to differentiate myself from others," Arraya says. "I saw Black Diamond Ranch (in Lecanto, Fla.) was looking for an assistant. It said to call John Cunningham, CGCS (director of golf and landscape op - erations), so, in old-school fashion, I faxed my résumé." Arraya got the job. On his first day, Arraya hopped into the driver's seat of a utility vehicle with Cunningham as the passenger. Before they departed, Arraya told Cunningham he'd grab the cup cutter. at triggered quite a conversation. "John said, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'We're going to cut cups; aren't we going to set up?' He said, 'Yes, we are headed to lead the setup, but cutting cups — that's not your job.' I said, 'What do you mean? I'm not going to work?' He said, 'Oh, you're going to work; you're going to work a whole lot. But you're not going to be cutting cups for me. You're too important. I need your lead - ership.' I said, 'Oh, really?' I was completely perplexed, because I was used to working from a provided list and was responsible for setting up the course every day. I was never taught to lead," Arraya says. Cunningham, a 22-year association member, had three assistants. eir goal? Make Black Diamond the best-conditioned course in Florida. Cunningham hoped one Left: Arraya (right, in driver's seat) meets regularly with the maintenance staff at Bellerive, including (from left) assistants Lennon, White and Brewster. Below: The #Prestige365 bracelets that each member of the maintenance staff at Bellerive wears to remind them of the department's goals and culture.

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