Golf Course Management

DEC 2013

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

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THE INSIDER: assistants David Clark Handed the keys to the course mid-season We have all faced adversity in life. In our career, we face diffcult decisions, made either by ourselves or by our employers. At the beginning of the past golf season, I was pulled into the pro shop and informed that I would be taking over the golf course. I was caught off guard to say the least, and had to inform the crew of what had just transpired. I wish I could say the summer went fawlessly, but as most of us know, that is rarely how the golf season works out. NEWS & notes The length of time employees are spending with their employers continues to climb, according to statistics gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In January 2012, that organization reported the median employee tenure — the point at which half of all workers had more tenure and half had less tenure — was 4.6 years, continuing a decade long trend (median tenure was 3.5 years in 2000). Among those workers, age played a large role in the length of tenure — the median tenure of workers 65 and over was 10.5 years, while the media tenure for workers 25-34 was just 3.2 years. Additionally, wage and salary workers in the public sector had almost double the median tenure of private sector workers, 7.8 years as opposed to 4.2 years. Within the private sector, workers in manufacturing had the highest tenure among the major industries (6.0 years), while those in leisure and hospitality had the lowest (2.4 years). 32 GCM December 2013 We had started summer with a bang. The course was nearly perfect — until the irrigation pump went out in the middle of July. We were without water for nearly three days. From there, the issues just kept coming: We fought a bout with Pythium, a squirrel decided to play on the transformer to our pump house and took out one phase of our pump, and we had multiple workers coming and going. Despite these unfortunate issues, I was very pleased in the end with how my wonderful crew, board of directors, course manager and members came through to make it an unforgettable season. I am very fortunate to have an active greens chairman, president and volunteers that helped me through a few of the really diffcult times that we had. I had to learn how to be a superintendent during the busiest time of the year. I learned from my mistakes this year and wish that they could be my last, but I know that I will have many more mistakes to come. I never realized how much more there is to this industry, and certainly have a lot more respect for the diffculty of this job and the professionals who do it. When you get the keys to the course, my hope is that it is in the down months; that way there is plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming season. I had a diffcult time getting my house in order. I truly enjoyed my job as an assistant and I appreciate everything that I learned from the superintendents who trained me. I hope that I can pass along that knowledge to my current and future greens crews. I think all superinten- dents would like to see their assistants move on to a course of their own, and I hope that is the way it works out for you. There are a lot of diffculties in taking over a course, especially from a fxture that had been there for more than 30 years. I don't wish the sudden nature of my challenge on anyone. When given the chance to run a golf course of your own, remember that you are the teacher. Try to involve your assistants in every aspect of I think all superintendents would like to see their assistants move on to a course of their own, and I hope that is the way it works out for you. the industry. I was most defnitely behind the eight ball in certain areas. I had to play catch-up on managing my budget and programming the irrigation system, as well as other areas. If you think you are ready and want to take on the job of superintendent, I want you to know that you will be in for quite the ride. It will test you in every way and in the end, for me at least, it has made me a better person and helped me appreciate the trust that the members and board of directors have placed in me. GCM David Clark is the superintendent at Linden Golf and Country Club in Sumner, Wash., and a three-year member of GCSAA.

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