| Nov 14, 2022
I recently had the opportunity to speak at the 2022 EXCEL Nufarm Leadership Conference in Frisco, Tex. GCSAA's Katie Lomshek and Matt Brown help produce the leadership event, which is now in its fifth year. Every year, there are eight open spots for assistant golf course superintendents to apply. The application process consists of the standard questionnaire along with two written essays. Once selected to the program, the assistants begin a 3-year process where they attend a couple of leadership events during the year as well as the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show. Now that the program is in its fifth year, there are 1st-year members, 2nd-year members and 3rd-year members for a total of 24 people in the program.
The program is aimed at teaching these assistant superintendents how to elevate their professionalism through education and the real-world experiences of those in the turfgrass profession. It is not all classroom education: At this year’s event, the EXCEL class was treated to a tour of the new PGA Frisco golf courses and maintenance facility as well as a tour of the new PGA of America headquarters. The tour included a discussion with some of the directors of the PGA. All of these interactions will help the members of this program become better prepared and more marketable when they move into their first golf course superintendent position. When it came time for me to speak, I gave them insight to my career in the industry with a presentation titled “40 years in 40 minutes.” I stressed the points of being flexible in their short-term and long-term planning and of always having a Plan B.
This program would not be possible without a great company like Nufarm that sponsors this event. They also have employees of their company that attend the events with the assistants so there is always communication and feedback. I encourage all superintendents to make sure their assistants are aware of this program and assistants should talk to their superintendents about the program if they are interested. I enjoyed my brief time with this group and I look forward to watching the members of this group excel in this profession.