Golf has many easily recognizable faces. They are famous players who through an amazing contribution to the sport have risen to celebrity status. If I was to flash a picture of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Payne Stewart, Annika Sörenstam, Tiger Woods, or Seve Ballesteros across the screen most of you would not give a second thought as to their efforts to make golf a great sport. It is natural for most golfers to associate with these legends and nod sagely as their accolades are listed.
Well, I would suggest that there are a group of unsung heroes that empower these greats to become greater, but never really seem to receive the accolades they deserve. These behind the scenes experts never take a bow, never seek the spotlight, yet work tirelessly so others can enjoy golf. The course superintendent is just that person!
Over the past 10 years, I made a point of getting to the superintendent of the course I play. The reason I like to talk to these experts is to better understand the course conditions and perhaps gain an advantage from someone who knows the course better than anyone. Additionally, I wanted to understand the challenges of maintaining a course and there by apply that knowledge into my course management strategies. It has actually worked out very well and in addition, I have met some very interesting people.
In the past 10 years, I have gotten to know Moe Mantha Sr. (RIP) from the Laurentide Golf Course, Jeremy Sizer from Roundel Glen Golf Course, Darwin Howard from Sequin Valley Golf Club and Craig Moody from Osprey Links Golf Course (my current home track. I can say without hesitation that these gentlemen make my golfing experiences better and I a grateful for their efforts.
I am fortunate that these extremely busy men took the time to talk to me. Every time I saw them, they were running off to fix something. Yet, when they take a breath and I asked them about the course, their eyes would light up like a kid in a candy store. It was easy to see that loved their job and the passion they exhibited was evident on the course every day. I make a point to telling them that I am grateful for their efforts and appreciate the many hours they devote to making their course the best it can be.
Another very interesting topic for any superintendent is their strategy for improving the course. Each of the gentlemen above are true golfers at heart, there is always room for improvement. All them need is an extra worker, slightly larger budget, or a few more hours in the day and then their course would be the best around! They are an infectious lot and I thoroughly enjoy talking to them every chance I get.
So the next time you hit the links, take the time to seek out the superintendent of your course and offer them a kind word. They are the unsung heroes of golf and the truly good ones prefer to remain in the background doing their thing. I say that is great, but sometimes it is important for dedicated individuals to take a bow.
Thanks guys for making our golfing experience memorable.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!