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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50 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.18 North Carolina State, graduating two years later, in 1994. "I was surprised that out of about 80 stu - dents in that program, very few were women, and most of those were studying horticulture," she says. After doing a brief internship in Florida and earning her turf degree, Dickens was lured all the way across America for a job at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mi - rage, Calif. Dickens was familiar with the fa- cility, having interned there while working at Pinehurst No. 2. "Pinehurst coordinated my internship at Mission Hills because they were both Club - Corp courses," she says. "At the end of my internship, Mission Hills offered me the as - sistant superintendent position, at which time I returned to N.C. State to finish my final se - mester in the fall. en, I headed west in Janu- ary 1995 to begin my career there." Just one year after joining Mission Hills, she was promoted to head superintendent for both the Arnold Palmer and the Dinah Shore Tournament courses. "It was an incredible ex - perience that taught me a lot about the busi- ness. I reported to the director of agronomy, and under that leadership, I felt quite eager to eventually have my own course," she says. at opportunity came one year later, when she accepted the job as head superintendent at the Sun City Mountain Vista Golf Club, de - signed by Billy Casper and Greg Nash, that was being built at that time in Palm Desert. It was an experience Dickens cherished. "e course was still under construction when I arrived, so it allowed me the oppor - tunity to learn a great deal about golf course construction that I may not have otherwise had access to learning along the way," she says. She stayed on at Sun City for five years be - fore being asked in 2002 to join Troon Golf as director of agronomy in Rancho Mirage at the Westin Mission Hills Resort, overseeing both its Pete Dye and Gary Player courses. "Joining Troon was an incredible oppor - tunity for me, working for such a highly re- garded management company," Dickens says. "I was certain there would be an abundance of opportunities within Troon, as long as I re - mained true to my dedication toward doing the very best job possible, and I was right." World-class opportunity Evidently, Dickens did a great job, because in January 2005 she was asked to take over as director of agronomy at Kierland Resort, an - other Troon-managed facility in Scottsdale. "It was a great opportunity at a world-class re - sort, and it offered a chance for me to utilize all of the knowledge I had gained along my journey to that point," she says. Kierland Resort features 700 guest rooms, 27 holes of championship golf course and a full-service spa among its many amenities. one day owning and operating her own tennis and racquet club. After graduation, she landed a job at Hall - mark Cards in Kansas City, one of Missouri's largest employers. ough she enjoyed her time there, she became intrigued by the idea of having a career outdoors. is is where her golf roots came in handy, as the brother of Dickens' supervisor at Hallmark was the assis - tant golf course superintendent at Kansas City Country Club at that time. "I thought, 'Wow, what a cool job he has, being outside and being involved in both sports and in business,'" she recalls. "I discov - ered that being a golf course superintendent is like running a small business with multiple employees and a budget to manage. at in - terested me a great deal." The climb begins In fact, an agronomy career interested her so much that she left her job at Hallmark, packed her car and headed to Pinehurst, N.C., one month prior to Pinehurst No. 2 playing host to e Tour Championship, for that part- time, $5-an-hour position working at the sto - ried facility, just three days a week — Fridays through Sundays. e rest of the week, she commuted back and forth to Raleigh-Dur - ham to work on earning her associate applied sciences degree in turfgrass management from

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