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Where's are Superintendents?


Shankster
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I am about to start down the path of an online degree in Turf Grass Management in the coming months. Have my orientation tonight at 9. I'll have to do an internship at the course in the future. Any tips from our current supers? I have 0 experience in the field. Although I did run the rough/fairway/greens mower and santrap 3 wheeled buggy back in the day. No pesticides or anything. What can I expect?

 

 

- Alan

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I'm a retired Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS) and spend over 40 years in the business.  I don't know how to private message here, but you can contact me through my website www.fairwayphotos.net

 

Jim

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Jim the retired Golf Course Superintendent

 

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As one myself for 30+ if I had to give one piece of advise it would know that the Pesticide Applicators License test for your state will be on the checklist. As you are just starting out this may be a ways off and in most states you can spray under the bosses license anyway. But when you get that out of the way you are on your way on the course to the next level and getting your hands on the science of the deal. Fertilizer and chemical application, along with correct water(ing), is where the science of the plant and its soil will begin to make sense. Many a 'student' who knows how to mow gets a good start in irrigation too. Agronomy practices of say top dressing and aerifying are hands on trick of the trade stuff.

Its all easy peasy bud.

 

Welcome to the ranks of the grass nuts Shankster.

The nut who taught me was referred to as the Guru out west at the time. He did things no one thought about or dared to really. Some that became standards and I was lucky to be on his crew. He had no assistant but always had 2 or 3 interns, one of which usually became his head intern. If you could you could stay with him because to say he was intense about his Turf was an understatement. And why not, he was a six figure Super even then. Im not joking when I say his eyes would go all googley when our 18 plus the practice green were all running the same 11 a day before a tournament.  And when it came to the 30 extra bosses (they thought) of the 120 member's we had he told me, "Be one of those Ducks in the lake... like water off your back. As long as your 2 steps ahead of them with the golf course let em squawk". He showed me this one time early on when they got their group ****** on about a thin bunker. The next day it was back to the correct amount of sand for pack and fluff. The hero.

But he already knew it had gotten thin before Joe Cigar couldnt get out of it, and planned for it the week before. 'Be Pro-Active out there' was his word to the wise and my No. 1 lesson. Which really meant a lazy super (at this level) will get eaten alive and sent packing faster than you can say fore.

And they usually did.

 

Good Luck.

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Really good stuff dadivots. One of the favorite parts of my day is when our super comes in for his lunch around 9AM. Ha I'll grab a cup of coffee and just talk to him about the course. I'm sure he thinks I'm some sort of moron asking some of the questions I do. But I'm fascinated by all that goes into the job you guys do. And so very much appreciative of it.

 

He's very knowledgable and will take as much time as needed explaining things to me.

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:titelist-small: T300 5-P Tensei  R flex shaft 1/4 long 

:titelist-small: SM8 48F/54/58 D Grinds 

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Thanks JFitz and DaDivots! I have a few years to work on it. But I am ready for a change. So I'm looking forward to it. I have always enjoyed cutting grass, early mornings, golf courses, golf courses, golfing... you know the golf stuff. So why not put all of those things together. I'm already in a management position, I'll just need to hone my "grass" skills. Hopefully the motivation and attention to detail I have been accustomed to while serving will bring good things to my next career. I'll keep you all posted. Classes start in August.

 

 

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Thanks Guys.

The thing you'll notice is once you get a keen super talking about grass he could do it all day. And all the questions simply set off grass geek mode. Loved it and still do. 

Being a manager already is awesome, because as with anything it is half the battle.

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Every time I play a course, I envision how I'd set it up, it's fun. I'm excited.

 

 

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Yep. When you get to the point you cant play your own track because all you do is see every weed that was missed, you got the bug for good...

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Yep. When you get to the point you cant play your own track because all you do is see every weed that was missed, you got the bug for good...

Perfect. When i get closer to starting classes I might pick your brain a bit more. Thanks for responding.

 

BTW, what is your favorite grass? Which one was the easiest to get along with? And the not so easy? [emoji16]

 

 

- Alan

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The Superintendents job is a thankless one. Every hacker thinks they know what should be done around the course. These people who can't even grow grass in their own yard. think they know more than our trained and experienced professional.

Sadly at my course the Superintendent doesn't get any recognition. I've suggested that they at least once a month let the Super send out an email to everyone informing what's taking place around the course, any plans or improvements, etc. I also suggested we have once or twice a year and evening where the Super can come talk to members about the course. Question and answer session. Nope. Apparently they're not interested. Our Super does a good job with his available help and budget.

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I am about to start down the path of an online degree in Turf Grass Management in the coming months. Have my orientation tonight at 9. I'll have to do an internship at the course in the future. Any tips from our current supers? I have 0 experience in the field. Although I did run the rough/fairway/greens mower and santrap 3 wheeled buggy back in the day. No pesticides or anything. What can I expect?

 

 

- Alan

Good luck and hope it works out for U. I have 3 buds back in CT that R supers and damn good ones and they live their (sometimes thankless) jobs. One of them had the opportunity to intern @ Pine Valley in NJ.

 

 

 

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Rick

 

 

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Irons; Ping G710 6-GW, Recoil 460 R2

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I like the potential of this thread.  I agree with Plaid that it is a thankless job.  And I've seen it can be a high pressure one as well, if a Super makes a mistake or simply doesn't know his stuff it's there for everyone to see...and usually criticize.  I've heard from ours it can be a delicate balance of doing or not doing too much of something at the right time or just missing the timing and then suffering the consequences. 

 

Plaid is exactly right about how everyone thinks they know better, when they actually don't have a clue.  Calling poana grass, crab grass, not truly understanding the need of aerifying and why it has to be done when it is.  

 

Our Super is very visible around the course and will take time to listen and talk to our annual members or anyone that wants to talk to him.  That's too bad that the club didn't want to give the Super a forum to  update and inform everyone Plaid. Seems like it could potentially quiet a lot of discontent when there is an issue. 

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:titelist-small: TSi1 Aldila Ascent 40G shaft

:titelist-small: TSi2 18 FW with GD AD IZ 6 Shaft

:titelist-small: TSi1 20 and 23 degree hybrids Aldila Ascent Shafts R

:titelist-small: T300 5-P Tensei  R flex shaft 1/4 long 

:titelist-small: SM8 48F/54/58 D Grinds 

:ping-small: Tyne 4 

:titelist-small: ProV1X Play number 12

 

 

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Alan,  I've had a bit more time to think about your post and offer the following:

 

1.   You are now a turfgrass student and GCSAA has a student membership. Join!  The resources are great and it is a wonderful place to start networking.

 

2.  Get a job on a course in your area that has THE best Superintendent.  Preferably a Certified Golf Course Superintendent or Class A GCSAA member as you can be assured they are up to speed on the latest developments in the industry.

 

3.  Work hard, show interest, and ASK QUESTIONS.  A good Superintendent will always help someone who show interest.

 

4.  Don't forget the business side.....a Supt. works with the most personal, largest expenditure, and most important aspect of a golf facility.

 

5.  As stated before, get your state pesticide license.

 

6.  Keep playing...I always said I played well enough to understand what the good players are looking for and poorly enough to sympathize with the high handicappers!

 

7.  Don't neglect public relations....you will need to develop a filter as to what are justified complaints and a golfer grousing after a bad round.

 

Being a Golf Course Super. is one of the most rewarding professions ever....and one of the most challenging.

 

Again feel free to contact me through my website www.fairwayphotos.net

 

Jim

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Jim the retired Golf Course Superintendent

 

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Great stuff Gents! Thank you. And yeah CG2 has a good point!

 

It's Memorial Day weekend. Not quite thanksgiving, but give your greenskeep/super a thumbs up on the course this weekend anyways!

 

 

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I really like JFitz idea to try and work at a local golf course with a really good superintendent. I've worked at a private Country Club for 3 years now and I've learned a lot about aerifying (greens/tees/fairways), verticutting (greens/collar), top dressing, herbicide/fungicide, etc.

 

I've learned that there's so many variations of different grass types and we use a creeping bent grass for greens (switched from poa 4 years ago), tees and fairways.

 

The only thing I haven't learned much about is irrigation because we have an assistant that basically handles all of the leaks, blowouts, etc.

 

There's SO much more that goes into it and I know you're gonna make a stellar superintendent. Good luck and have fun Alan!

 

 

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Hybrid: :titelist-small: 913H 21* R flex

 

Irons: :wilson_staff_small: C300 4-PW R Flex

 

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Putter: :cleveland-small: 2135 Cero 33" / :odyssey-small: EXO Seven S 33"

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Just realized I used the wrong Our!

 

Where's OUR Superintendents?

 

From the gentlemen hat replied, do you think the 4 year degree will be worth it or will the associates or certificate get my foot in the door?

 

 

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Perfect. When i get closer to starting classes I might pick your brain a bit more. Thanks for responding.

 

BTW, what is your favorite grass? Which one was the easiest to get along with? And the not so easy? [emoji16]

 

 

- Alan

 

 

 

 

Hey Alan,

I was always a warm season grass guy and have had Bentgrass Greens. Bermuda Hybrids for greens and overseeding them was my thing.

Rye Grass overseed on the course was the easiest to manage and the surface could be made really uniform like carpet if you got your stand right from the start. Takes fertilizer and the rest well and you get a good 'show'/response with it.

Least liked would be Poa as in poa greens. They are, for lack of a better word, goofy. And are or were usually the result of it taking over bentgrass greens.

I knew the Super at Bighorn who re-sodded his bentgrass greens. All the sod was grown from the same day on the same plot for him and shipped in to the tune of 90g+ before it was all over; old out-new in, playable. It was thought that within 8-10 years they would be back to 20+% Poa and…. they would fight it until they had to do it again, rather than go to Hybrid Bermuda and overseed it for the season like they did the rest of the course. Courses that have the either or with only Poa or Bent make the best choice for themselves and I get that.

We overseeded greens with 12-15% “Poa Anna” (annua) and Perrenial Rye and the Poa was an excellent putting surface when kept as a short term turf and never able to realize seed. The tour played on them just fine and all the overseed was transitioned out when the Bermuda returned.

Ive played Poa greens but don't if I don't have to. To much to think about or put into a putting stroke not suited to it so I avoid that. My long time buddy from school has them on the 9 hole he tinkers with now. They work just fine and he doesn't worry about them.

 

Topnotch Bentgrass greens running 11 or better on the club level are of the best grass there is when its all said and done. In short; time, effort, and money. 

And as others well know its usually a thankless deal day in day out. An old timer always told us wannabes, ‘Money is the equalizer in this job. If they're gonna pull out the cheese slicer and take another sliver off your a_ _ whenever they feel like it, make em pay for the privilege”. So it became about the grass first and the equalizer second. Because unless your strictly public some $500 annual ‘member' who puts up with daily fee while lording over them is gonna be twice the jerk for the wannabe Rockefellar he isn't. Golf brings em out in droves. Nature of the beast. Which is why you went out there in the late evening to rub on the stuff on your hands and knees. Give the ‘club' their monies worth while staying 2 steps ahead of Joe cigar and the expert idiot crowd. Because for every one of them there were 5 “good ones” who would give you the nod or a wink, and you went home early for a change.  

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Question:

 

Does replacing the divot in the fairway do any good other than to fill it back in? Will it grow back in or just dry up after a while? I always replace them, but I've wondered if it really matters?

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Question:

 

Does replacing the divot in the fairway do any good other than to fill it back in? Will it grow back in or just dry up after a while? I always replace them, but I've wondered if it really matters?

Yes, it does alot of good simply for leveling and long term uniform surface. Some grasses will grow back as they tiller or run and fill in spots. Others wont which is why seed in the sand mix is put on them.

Good man filling those land mines.

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Question:

 

Does replacing the divot in the fairway do any good other than to fill it back in? Will it grow back in or just dry up after a while? I always replace them, but I've wondered if it really matters?

Our bent grass fairways actually take pretty well when divots are replaced. I'd say probably about 50% of our replaced divots re-root if replaced and then we go around and fill the rest with sand every other week or so

 

 

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Driver: :callaway-logo-1: 10.5* XR16 R Flex

 

Woods: :callaway-logo-1: Big Bertha V-Series 3 Wood R Flex

 

Hybrid: :titelist-small: 913H 21* R flex

 

Irons: :wilson_staff_small: C300 4-PW R Flex

 

Wedges: :titelist-small: SM5 50*, 54*, 58*

 

Putter: :cleveland-small: 2135 Cero 33" / :odyssey-small: EXO Seven S 33"

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