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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50 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 06.19 Top: Bryan Tipton, CGCS, (right) with Hillsview Golf Course mechanic Keith Ehnes. A graduate of South Dakota State University, Tipton has overseen golf courses throughout the Midwest, including the grow-in of Sutton Bay Golf Club in Agar, S.D. Photo by Studio 212 Photography Bottom: A post-rainstorm view near Hillsview's eighth hole. Photo by Bryan Tipton valuable returns for a golf operation, but the impacts aren't confined to the course. "is is what these offenders need," Weeldreyer says. "ey've been beaten down a lot. Yes, they made poor decisions — this isn't a sympathy cry. But it's oppor- tunities like working on a golf course under Bryan's leadership that can make a real dif- ference in these individuals' lives. It's easy to stereotype them, but a lot of them just want to do their time and then go about their lives. ese types of partnerships will take them a long way and hopefully give them a chance to change." Kari, too, has insight for golf course su- perintendents. "When you get somebody who is literally living in a prison, they're going to work hard, because they want to keep that job," she says. "It's getting them outside and giving them something to do, and they know they have to be trustworthy or they won't have the job." Kari emphasizes that any inmates who are permitted to work outside prison have been heavily vetted, and she says that, if superintendents and other decision-makers can set aside stigmas, she thinks they'll find inmates to be dedicated, prolific additions to their teams. "Bryan had a lot of kids not work as hard because the job just didn't matter to them," Kari says. "It mattered to us. We worked circles around them." A different direction Although she grew up on a farm and has always loved the outdoors, Kari says she never imagined she could parlay such an interest into a career path — until she got her shot at Hillsview. "I realized it was a job I was really good at," Kari says. "Anything Bryan threw at me, I could do. It felt good to be able to do anything, and I got to be outside. I didn't realize I could enjoy it so much. Even cutting down trees in winter was fun. Before, I had no idea what I wanted to do. If I hadn't worked at the golf course, I'd be back in prison right now." Kari credits her former boss with her success and with her discovery of her pas - sion for taking care of golf courses. "Bryan treated us like we were normal, everyday people," she says. "He would work with us. Our opinions mattered to him. He ap- preciated our work. If I could have stayed in Pierre and worked on the golf course, I would have — that's how much I liked it and how much I respected Bryan." Instead, after her release, Kari relocated to another South Dakota city, where she works full time at a beef processing plant during the week, and, to her delight, on a golf course during weekends. "Going out there and being surrounded by all the golf carts and lawn mowers — it makes me feel like I'm at home," she says. Reflecting on her time at Hillsview, Kari points to weed-eating as her favorite assign - ment. "I could look back and see what I'd done and how much it had improved," she says. Even plucking foxtail barley out of a native grass rough was satisfying, "because when we finished, it looked better than when we started." ose transformed landscapes mirror Kari's own metamorphosis at Hillsview. If all goes as she hopes, Kari will eventually devote the entirety of her workdays to golf course maintenance, savoring even the moments spent out among the weeds, redeemed. Megan Hirt is the editor of GCMOnline.com.

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