Why a golf course superintendent? It’s something I just fell into. It spoke to me louder than anything. Being outdoors all day, making split-second decisions, the challenge of dealing with Mother Nature’s curveballs, building a team, and balancing golf course needs with budget–all challenges that are exciting to face head-on and overcome. When I first began working on a golf course, I was enrolled in college studying to become an English teacher and aspiring writer. What’s great is that now with my blog, I can have the best of both worlds.
What is your favorite part of your job, least favorite?
I like the daily challenge of having a clean slate each morning and making the most of it. Trying to deliver the best possible conditions and succeeding never gets old. My least favorite part of the job is poor golfer etiquette that creates extra work for my team.
Are you a cat or dog person?
Prefer the loyalty of man’s best friend, but the demands and hours of the job don’t make it practicable for me to be a pet owner.
Beer or wine? I’m not that exciting socially anymore. I am an admitted coffee and Diet Coke addict though.
What would you say are the three most important elements in successful golf course management?
Communication – be open and honest at all times. Teamwork – without them you are nothing. Dedication – always strive to make it better.
How do you keep your staff motivated? I like to be in the trenches with them, but I can’t be all the time. I try to promote them on the blog and with the membership. When a member pays me a compliment, I always defer to the team. The GoPro videos I’ve produced this year go a long way to show my team’s efforts and their dedication to the job.
What’s the best bit of professional advice ever tossed your way? Always work hard, you never know who’s watching.
What did you learn that they never taught you in college?
Balancing the demands of the job and the demands of family. To succeed at an extremely high level, the toll on your family life will be enormous at times. Finding a balance that works is difficult, but when you can make it work it is extremely rewarding both personally and professionally. You can’t be in two places at once!
So, a big greasy double cheeseburger for lunch, or some sort of tofu ball? I prefer food that used to walk the earth.
What achievements are you most proud of? My blog. Never thought it would get as big as it has. Amazes me how many people are interested in what we’re doing at Plum Hollow. Proud to have done my little part to put our historic club back on the map. And since I was torn between writing for a living and growing grass, I’m incredibly lucky to have found a career where I can do both. Now I’m into the video angle of blogging with my GoPro camera, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Name your top superintendent influences. Tom, Clay, and Lucas at TPC Sawgrass. True professionals and I’m very fortunate to have been a part of the 2013 PLAYERS experience. Their passion for what they do is visible, and coordinating an army of volunteers is no small feat! Succeeding at that high of a level is very inspiring to someone like me.
>b>Few people know I like to… Play videogames to unwind. It’s a cathartic feeling to shoot some digital bad guys to release a little tension. Not afraid to admit I’m still a nerd when it comes to things like that. Video editing eats up a lot of my time outside of work, so the gaming gets put on hold a lot.
Do you collect anything, and why? I take thousands of pictures. Too many. Sometimes of the same thing every day. It doesn’t all end up in videos or the blog. Lost in the hard drive somewhere.
Worst place you have ever slept? I still cringe thinking about the bed in my dorm room at Michigan State University. Two years worth of sleepless, uncomfortable nights with bed springs pushing into my back.
What are your favorite things to do away from work? What are your favorite things to do away from work? Playing with my daughters, Ella (6) and Lila (5). They keep me young. I also love spending time with my best friend and losing track of time well into the wee hours of the night.
If you had to choose between a day of fishing or answering these questions, which would it be? I made it this far, didn’t I?
Adam is currently the Golf Course Superintendent at Plum Hollow Country Club and Principal of Turf Republic