From the time I was 16 to my first assistant position after graduating college, I worked at five golf courses for five superintendents across three states. Each superintendent had different management styles, unique agronomic plans, and taught me valuable skills which shaped me personally and professionally. While I learned countless lessons and made some of their days more difficult than they had planned, the main characteristics I discovered from each of them is that hard work, commitment, and perseverance will always set you up for success.
The three traits these individuals share is by no means limited to just them. I am yet to meet a superintendent who does not own these qualities or who isn’t 100 percent fully committed to their job at hand. Superintendents are some of the most resourceful and creative individuals out there. Their ability to overcome obstacles is second to none.
Around the Great Lakes region this past May, I think this was more evident than ever before. As many golf courses across the region and country continue to struggle with reduced staff and burdens brought forth from COVID-19, superintendents continue to deliver first-class playing conditions.
Oh, and did I forget to mention the weather? As record-setting rainfall in May of 2018 plagued much of the Great Lakes region, many superintendents received even more precipitation in May of 2019. A respite was not to be found in May of 2020 either. After back-to-back years of record setting precipitation levels, a third straight rain-drenched May seemed unlikely, but Mother Nature let us know once again who is in charge. Much of the region broke rainfall levels for the third year running, in arguably the most critical month of the year for superintendents as they prepare golf courses – and grass maintained at less than one-tenth inch – for the brutal summer season.
With countless communication avenues including Twitter, email, text messages and everything in between, I didn’t hear one superintendent complain. Far from it. I heard superintendents discuss the opportunities to improve drainage, train staff, allow plant protectants to be watered in naturally, improve the maintenance facility, and countless other tasks that were able to be completed due to rain events.
We have no idea what May of 2021 will look like, but if the old stock market saying of ‘the trend is your friend’ holds any weight, we might be in for another soggy spring. Regardless if we are bone dry or soaked to the bone, superintendents certainly have a plan in plan in place for any scenario and will do what they always do: work hard, commit, persevere and overcome any obstacles thrown their way – all before the sun comes up.