Golf Course Management

OCT 2017

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

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44 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 10.17 As for being considered a mentor him- self, Paul B. says it's very much about form- ing relationships. "Ultimately, you spend more time with guys at work than you do your family. Some of my best friends in life are people I worked with. It's the bond you build. You go through multiple seasons, build a bond, friendships. The common theme is they all want to be active and ex - pect excellence," he says. "It (being a men- tor) is a lot of satisfaction. You feel like you helped them out. After all, you had a lot of people help to get you where you're at." A turning point It was a rude awakening, and Shaffer freely admits that he needed to be awakened. "I thought I knew a lot when I went to work for Mr. Latshaw. I soon learned he was the one who really knew his stuff," Shaf - fer says. First, Shaffer was humbled. Then, he learned, absorbing Paul R. in every way pos - sible. He can rattle off numerous examples. "He always said, 'If you're talking, you can't hear.' With his Augusta interns, he said, 'That's the seed crop, Mr. Shaffer.' When I left there, I implemented an internship program everywhere I went. He's not risk- averse — he gets completely prepared, then just pushes it. He's a grass foreman. It was a basic approach to growing stellar turf. It was ag-based, proper water management, under - standing the soil, having everything avail- able for the plant when you need it," says Shaffer, a 37-year GCSAA member. Six months into his stay at Augusta, Shaffer rejected a superintendent job inter - view elsewhere, much to Paul R.'s dismay. The man who thought he knew too much when he'd arrived to work for Paul R. had come to realize he would know for sure when the right time to move on had come. "He wasn't happy," Shaffer says of his boss. "And I told him getting a job and keeping a job are two different things. I said, 'I want to know what you know.'" In time, Shaffer would be ready to go. He stayed with Latshaw for two more years before departing to become superintendent at Woodcrest Country Club in Cherry Hill, N.J. His mentor had prepared him for the moment, even though Latshaw credits Shaf - Natural areas and the iconic red wicker basket atop the flagsticks are classic features of Merion. Photo courtesy of USGA

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