Skip links

New Tracks for Golf Course Maintenance

Two aspects promise to gain momentum for the year ahead in the management of agronomy and golf course maintenance departments:

DUAL ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT TRACKS. Traditionally, golf course maintenance operations have been intensely focused on hiring or developing assistant superintendents to become future superintendents. But situations often occur when a club’s assistants get new jobs elsewhere in the same timeframe and the club is left with a challenging situation until new talent can be hired or developed. Providing two tracks for assistant roles can be a better approach. The first track is for individuals who want to become superintendents and the second for those who want to become permanent assistants and stay at the club. Under a two-track system, the permanent assistant can always be the backstop should other assistants leave at the same time or the golf course superintendent and an assistant leave at the same time. This creates a level of stability during the transition period. Additionally, the learning curve for new hires can be greatly enhanced by the permanent assistant’s knowledge and experience. This approach is proving to be in the club’s best interest, by adding a level of security in the golf course maintenance operation.

HIRING FROM WITHIN VERSUS OPEN RECRUITMENT. Golf course superintendents often hire from within, and when an assistant leaves, there is a tendency to look to promote an assistant in training or a foreman, spray tech or irrigation tech. It’s understandable to favor employees who are knowledgeable about a club’s property and its personalities and culture. But if the training and exposure that has been given to these team members has prepared them properly for the job, they should be able to compete in the open market against applicants from outside the organization for the role. By putting a current employee up with outside candidates for a position, many things can be learned. While these in-house candidates may seem to have an advantage, what if they don’t compare well with an out-of-organization candidate? Does that mean the training they’ve received wasn’t adequate? Or that when initially recruiting them as team members, the club didn’t get the best and the brightest? At the same time, does someone coming from the outside offer more varied experience than the in-house candidates that would be beneficial to the organization? Ensuring that a broader search is conducted will lead to the golf course superintendent being able to identify training and recruiting areas to improve upon, which in turn will lead to higher-performing teams and better golfing conditions for club members.