Golf Course Management

JUN 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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48 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 06.19 golf course in the mix for the past two years has been an exciting development. "We're inundated with requests for people to pick up garbage and mow," Weeldreyer says. "But Bryan's example — to teach inmates skills that are different and that they can take with them — it's unique. It's not some- thing that's offered on a regular basis with our other partners." Alexanne, a current Hillsview crew member from the DOC, takes pride in being among the few inmates whose days bustle with the variety of assignments, equipment and surroundings inherent to golf course maintenance. "I absolutely love working outdoors, especially here on this beautiful golf course," Alexanne, 37, says. "I also get to learn how the golf course operates in its entirety — something that can't be learned just by explanation, but by experi- ence." A newfound knack for shop work has been a highlight of another inmate's Hills- view story. "She actually helped grind all the reels this winter, and she's very proficient at it," Tipton says. To prepare for their new co-workers, Tip- ton and his full-time staff attended a DOC training about working and interacting with inmates, and Tipton attends annual training on supervising DOC workers. Each inmate can work up to 185 hours per month. Že cost to Hillsview is $1.25 per hour per in- mate; each inmate is paid 25 cents per hour. Že training process for inmates is identical to that for any other new crew member, and Tipton says the inmates have followed the typical learning curve for mastering skills and earning responsibilities. ("Že first time we mowed the greens, I ran into the flag - stick," Kari says. "I was panicking, and they said, 'Kari, we have more flagsticks.'") According to the latest data (2005) from the U.S. Department of Justice, 88% of cor- rectional facilities under state or federal au- thority offered work programs. Weeldreyer views such initiatives as beneficial to getting inmates through the day-to-day tedium of incarceration, and to their futures. "We all go to work for a purpose, and our purpose is to stay busy, provide for our families and do something we enjoy," Weeldreyer says. "A lot of these individuals have just never been given the opportunity to work and to learn. From my side of things, show me a person with a willingness to work and learn, and you can take them a long way. Žat's what this program does." Brave new work In a 2018 GCSAA survey of golf course superintendents, 48% of respondents char- acterized the process of finding and hiring maintenance staff as "difficult," and an ad- ditional 26% described it as "very difficult." Of those surveyed, 74% pinpointed crew member as the position most difficult to find employees for and retain employees in. Tipton advises his peers to be flexible and to think outside the box when it comes to obtaining labor, adding that outdated no- tions of an "ideal" golf course worker may inhibit superintendents from seeing prom- ising sources of prospective employees right in front of them. "I think that's why a lot of superintendents are having trouble overall," Tipton says. "Žey want that perfect worker, but that's just not the case anymore. You have to be open-minded." Should inmate workers be an option, Weeldreyer suggests superintendents give the idea some consideration and reach out to their state's department of corrections for information. Such arrangements can yield Outside opportunity: Inmates work year-round at Hillsview, tending the course during peak golf season and pitching in on projects throughout the winter. Photo by Studio 212 Photography — the only women's prison in the state — minimum-security inmates are care- fully selected for their jobs by a coordinator who knows each woman's background and matches them with the employment oppor- tunity in which they're most likely to excel. "Institutionally, we can put them in the kitchen or we can put them in the laundry department; we can have them mow and do things around the building. But there's just nothing like working out in the commu- nity alongside your neighbors," says Dar- win Weeldreyer, director of community service for the South Dakota Department of Corrections. "Our goal is to get inmates in a pro-social working environment that allows them to build a good work ethic and work alongside people who are good, law- abiding people." Žroughout Pierre, inmates hold jobs at places such as food banks, thrift stores and government offices, and the type of work they do ranges from strenuous out- door labor to custodial tasks to clerical du- ties. Although the employment options for inmates have long included roles with the city of Pierre — which operates Hillsview Golf Course — Weeldreyer says having the

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