Where did you get your degree in turf management?
Michigan State University.Why did you become a golf course superintendent?
I have worked on golf courses since I was 15 years old. My father had a friend who was a superintendent, Frank Lamphier, whom he persuaded to give me and my brother a job. Patrick Sisk was the second superintendent that I worked for. While working towards a bachelor’s degree at a local college, I dropped out and worked year round for Pat at the golf course. He saw the passion that I had for working on a golf course and suggested that I enroll in the Michigan State University Turf program.
You obviously made the right decision.
This profession is very rewarding on many levels. I have the opportunity to work with Mother Nature every single day. I have always been fascinated by what we can do with turfgrass and the science of agronomy. As I sit here on a steamy 95-degree day, I wonder how the greens will survive being mowed at .115” and having 150 golfers trample across them. It is amazing to me, and probably always will be. I forgot to mention that I love to cut grass. Where have you worked besides (2004 to present)?
From 2002 to 2003 I was assistant superintendent at the Golf Club of Purchase; from 2000 to 2002 I was assistant superintendent at the Country Club of Fairfield; during the summer of summer in 2000 I had an internship at Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, Ca,; during the summers from 1995 to 1999 I worked at C. C. of Fairfield; and I was at Aspetuck Valley Country Club in 1994.What is your major challenge as a course superintendent?
Communication is by far the most important and neglected aspect of probably all business. There is so much going on all of the time at a golf course. It is nearly impossible to always be on of your game. Communicating effectively and efficiently to superiors, staff and coworkers is a constant effort. Communicating the English language is hard enough, then throw in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking employees and that adds a whole different dynamic. Growing grass is the easy part. What is the favorite part of your job?
Being able to work outside everyday and having golfers compliment me and my staff for the product we provide is priceless. Being able to see the sun rise (and sometimes set) every day over the golf course, is amazing. The relationships I have developed with staff, industry representatives, coworkers and golfers has been life changing. I am grateful every day for the people I have in my life and where I am today. There are so many good people in this industry, I am very fortunate to be where I am today. What would surprise golfers about your job?
There is a tremendous amount of science that is involved with what we do as turf managers. Every superintendent has his/her own way of managing the golf course they take care of. Grass lives and dies when it’s hot/cold, sunny/cloudy and everything in between. We are even responsible for it on holidays and weekends. Keeping the golf course in the best possible playing conditions is always at the top of our priority list. We want it to be perfect all the time. Much too contrary belief, superintendents hate to aerate. Aeration is by far, one of the worst tasks we have to accomplish as turf managers. I get asked this one all of the time “What do you do all winter?” Well, in addition to snow removal, tree maintenance, projects, service/rebuild/sharpen every piece of equipment, continuing education, trade shows, budget preparation, tweak fertility programs, refinish golf course accessories, water usage reports, just to name a few- sometimes we even take a day off to spend with our families.