Golf Course Management

APR 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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50 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.19 we could take even more students. Attending GIS is important for their development. ey see positions other than greenkeeper. Many are focused on being a superintendent, but there are other support industries out there, and students need to keep their options open and think about their future. ey also have an op - portunity to mix with students from other uni- versities and to meet potential employers." To offer the greatest number of students an opportunity to attend GIS, McGraw says this year's Turf Bowl winnings will be saved to pay for next year's expenses. To economize, stu - dents this year were bunked four to a room at a hostel in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter within walking distance of the convention center. Although Penn State may have made win - ning look easy, it's not as simple as it appears. Most of the school's turfgrass students come from branch campuses and do not arrive in Happy Valley until their junior year, so the ma - jority of Penn State students are seniors coming to GIS and participating in the competition for the first time. "Every year is a challenge," McGraw says. e 2019 GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl hosted 63 teams comprising 233 students from 30 schools. Iowa State University was the win - ner of the Tweet Rally, taking home the An- nual Collegiate Spirit award and $1,000 in prize money, courtesy of John Deere. — Teresa Carson, GCM science editor Staffing strategies During his long and storied career, Matt Shaffer tried to attract staff any way possible. "I had a guy come to us once who answered an ad in the paper," said Shaffer, whose career as a superintendent included a long stay at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., where he hosted the 2013 U.S. Open. "He was a high school teacher in Louisiana who came up here in the summers to visit an aunt. He saw the ad, and he started working for us in the summer for a few years." at man who taught eventually came to love working on a golf course and is currently a superintendent. Nowadays, though, not many people seem to read newspapers, and even with so many other avenues for reaching the masses, securing enough qualified golf course crew members is as challenging as ever. Seven years ago, a GCSAA survey found that 19 percent of superintendents said they were having a difficult time recruiting labor. By last year, that number had risen to 63 percent. e number of college students endeavoring to make golf course management a career has declined in recent years, and while GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said there have been some positive signs on that front recently, it isn't enough to stand still and simply hope the numbers increase. "We need to do a better job explaining how fun it (working at a golf course) really is," said Evans, who hosted "Help Wanted: Creative Staffing Solutions for Your Golf Course" at GIS 2019. Evans was joined on the GCSAA TV Live stage on the trade show floor by Shaf - fer; Patrick O'Brien from Hyde Park Golf and Country Club in Cincinnati; and John ompson from Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind. e foursome discussed innovative ideas that superintendents might investigate to try to address hiring issues, including recruiting re - tirees, veterans and different groups of young people. One avenue is the National FFA Orga - nization, a youth program with which GCSAA has engaged and appears to be making inroads, with some of the students showing interest in future careers in golf. More than 669,000 stu - dents are members of FFA. "ey work out- side, work with their hands, and they grow something. ey're starting to say, 'Count me in,'" Evans said. Another possibility that GCSAA has help wanted Top: GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans (right) hosts "Help Wanted: Creative Staffing Solutions for Your Golf Course" on the GCSAA TV Live stage. Joining him for the discus - sion were superintendents (from left): Matt Shaffer, John Thompson and Patrick O'Brien. Middle and bottom: Students participate in Turf Bowl XXV, the annual collegiate competition that in 2019 drew 233 students from 30 schools. A team from Penn State won the Turf Bowl title, while Iowa State won the Tweet Rally. Photos by Roger Billings

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