Golf Course Management

MAR 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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16 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.19 experienced, hard-working candidate would be to a superintendent. So I dropped a note to Fink, asking if the course had openings and was hiring. When he replied in the affirmative, I left it in the hands of him and my son to work something out. ree days later, Alex started at Blessings. A few months after that, he called to say he was considering returning to school to study turf, and this semester, he found himself back in the classroom, agronomy textbooks in hand. Now, I tell this story not to brag about the lengths I will go to land a new GCSAA member (although ... Rhett Evans, take note). Instead, it seemed an appropriate and timely illustration of one of the industry's most- pressing issues — labor — and the ways that GCSAA and GCM are addressing that issue and attempting to offer real-world solutions to the problem. One of the most popular sessions at GIS in San Diego was "Help Wanted: Creative Staff - ing Solutions for Your Golf Course," which featured a panel of industry experts dissecting the labor shortages facing golf course manage - ment, how the industry got here and where it can go. You can read more about that session at GCMOnline.com ( www.gcmonline.com/ latest-stories/golf-labor-discussion ) and again in the April issue of GCM. In this month's issue, you can read the first of what will be a series of stories in 2019 on golf course management's labor issue. "Labor pains," by Andrew Hartsock, GCM's man - aging editor, dives deep into the results of GCSAA's 2018 Labor Survey Report and ex- amines the real challenges superintendents face in all corners of the country in filling their maintenance teams. I was already unbelievably proud of what Alex has accomplished, but to say I'm ex - cited he is pursuing a career in a business I've worked in for more than 20 years would be an understatement. at his career might help a golf facility fill a crucial vacancy and ensure the long-term health of the industry is just icing on the cake. Scott Hollister is GCM 's editor-in-chief. Scott Hollister shollister@gcsaa.org Twitter: @GCM_Magazine Joining the family business (inside gcm) Call it a happy accident, an ironic twist of fate or a calculated attempt to increase GCSAA membership, but at some point in the not-so-distant future, it's likely that my son will become a golf course superintendent. I shared this information with several folks during the recent Golf Industry Show in San Diego, and when my son learned it was be - coming a topic of conversation in my world, he gave me permission to share the story with the much broader audience offered by this col - umn. But the long and short of it is, yes, Alex is currently enrolled in the turfgrass program at the University of Arkansas and working for Troy Fink, CGCS, at Blessing Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark., the home to the university's golf teams and the host to this year's NCAA Men's and Women's Golf Championships. He is not the first child of a GCSAA staff member to consider a career in the business. Austin Wright, son of Mischia Wright, the associate director of the Environmental Insti - tute for Golf, has already made that leap. He's equipment manager at Sand Valley Golf Re - sort in Nekoosa, Wis. Unlike Austin, though, who always had an eye on a career in golf course management, my son followed a more winding path. Alex already has a four-year degree from Arkan - sas, but found applying that degree to, first, a postgraduate education and then to the work - ing world a little complicated. As he tried to plot his next move, he came to the old man for advice. And I almost immediately asked him, "Have you thought about working on a golf course?" e suggestion wasn't as out-of-left field as it sounds, primarily because Alex had worked at a local golf course for a couple of summers during high school. He enjoyed the work (and the free golf that came with it), but not enough at the time to consider it as a possible career. Now, he thought the idea was a great one, even if it was only for a short time, and asked if I could help him find a landing spot. I was pretty confident that I could do that, and not just because of my two-decade affilia - tion with GCSAA. is wasn't a matter of the big, bad national association coming in and demanding a superintendent hire the child of one of its staff members. is was a matter of understanding the state of the job market in the business and knowing how attractive an This wasn't a matter of (GCSAA) coming in and demanding a superintendent hire the child of one of its staff members. This was a matter of understanding the state of the job market ... and knowing how attractive an experienced, hard- working candidate would be to a superintendent.

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