Golf Course Management

JAN 2019

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

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Page 77 of 211

74 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.19 tries, I was able to see many things through a new lens, including what it takes to be an ef - fective, successful golf course superintendent. is know-how — which was often hard-won — can be put into practice by superintendents working in any part of the world. e follow - ing six lessons are those that have guided and best served me in my career. 1. Keep your eyes on the mountain In the early years, there were no amenities for foreigners in ailand, as tourism wasn't yet popular in the more remote areas of the country. My accommodations were in an 800-year-old village. No fancy hotels — just the locals and myself. e only food available was from giant cooking pots in the local huts, where everyone ate together. e chili tossed into the frying pans made me cough and my lenges and, in turn, had ignored that I was get - ting to do what I love and what I'm good at, and that my actions can produce amazing re - sults. I had lost sight of the mountain and was seeing only the jungle. As a golf course superintendent, if you are not working from a place of passion, any chal - lenge — even a small one — becomes a stop. A lesson I learned early on in Asia is that if you re - ally love what you do and can keep your eye on the mountain, you can overcome any setback. I was able to persevere following sicknesses and in the face of many other obstacles by looking outward toward my goals and purpose. Redi - recting my attention this way — rather than letting the chaos of the "jungle" dominate my thoughts — allowed me to stay the course. 2. Treat others as you wish to be treated Barrington Golf Club was a remote, pri- vate resort course, yet I often felt like I was living in a glass house, as my every action was scrutinized by people who didn't know anything about golf or golf courses, let alone about how a professional golf course superin - tendent operates. is annoyed me at first, I must admit, and the annoyance came across in how I interacted with others. One day, when I was reprimanding a staff member for not carrying out my instructions, I was taken aback by the fear I saw flash in his face. It had never been my intention to get the job done with fear as a management tool, but there I was, doing just that. I've had my share of tyrants as bosses, and I can vividly remem - ber how those circumstances felt, and, more important, how they did not inspire me to do my best. I decided in that moment to make a con - scious effort to always speak to others in a way I would want to be spoken to. Although this meant that at times I had to take a deep breath and count to 10 before speaking, this personal- development exercise serves me still. e de - cision created a chain reaction in other, unex- pected areas of my life and how I operate. For example, I no longer felt annoyed at scrutiny, but viewed it instead as interest and curiosity from those whose community and livelihoods were being impacted by my work. By virtue of taking a little more time to explain things and to make sure I was under - stood — not just expecting others to under- stand — I became more of a mentor without really trying. I had always been proud of my skills as a superintendent, but I was now proud of how I represented my profession, as well as Through Quality Golf, a company he founded in 1994, Taylor (left) travels throughout Asia to provide course maintenance consulting. Here, Taylor does a moisture meter demonstration at Muang Kaew Golf Club in Bangkok. eyes water. e food itself was so spicy I could hardly get through breakfast or lunch. On more than one occasion, I found my - self in a jungle hospital all night with food poisoning. Staffing the project was a chal - lenge too, with at least half the labor force hit with malaria at one point or another. I woke up each morning dreading what I might have to face — food I could hardly eat, dengue fever, cobras, a bit of homesickness. ose first weeks were almost unbearable. en one day, while on a mountain over - looking holes I had just grassed, I found my- self smiling, envisioning the course's beauty and the enjoyment it would bring once we fin - ished it. I couldn't wait. at was probably the first real smile and sense of joy I'd felt since arriving in ailand, and I realized then that I had allowed myself to get mired in the chal -

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