Is it time to hit the refresh button?

“Life goes pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every now and then, you might miss it.

– Ferris Bueller, 1986

Golf course superintendents live in a world that can change at a freezing pace, waiting for management and board decisions or for the grass to grow. They also include the Mother Nature boost effect which can propel them from zero to 60 for the time it takes lightning to strike or break an irrigation line. The physical demands of their job are often only exceeded by the emotional demands. That is why it is important to press the refresh button regularly. Here are several easy-to-follow steps that may help:

Enjoy and develop your hobbies

Many superintendents are outdoorsmen. Hiking, camping, fishing and running enrich their lives. According to, some of the more popular hobbies are less tiring but just as rewarding, including birding, reading, gardening, and cooking.

The benefits of hobbies are many: taking time for yourself, refreshing your mind, and reducing professional and personal pressures. Superintendents live in a world of repetitive tasks, but can find relief by breaking away from their routines. If monotonous tasks tire you out, try something different – restart and refresh.

For Fred gehrisch, the veteran superintendent of the Highlands Falls Country Club in Highlands, NC, physical exertion is an outlet. “My hobbies include teaching kickboxing and practicing Kung Fu. I find that physical exercise really calms my anxieties, ”he says. “I also love doing home improvement projects. But spending time with my wife and our dogs is my favorite pastime outside of work.

For Carlos Arraya, the superintendent who became the general manager / COO of the Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, the stress reliever requires a mix of mental and physical activity. “I love to listen to vinyl records, go to museums and have a passion for fitness activities. All allow me to refresh and recharge my batteries. I have a new bounce in my gait after each exercise. I chose meditation in 2019 and kept it in my refreshing tasks.

Become a lifelong learner

Continuing to learn more about the topics that interest you and how to be more efficient at your job is another way to relieve the pressure. Want to learn more about nature, software code writing, or history? Online learning has made lifelong learning available to almost anyone, even superintendents with busy schedules. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are affordable and flexible ways to learn new skills, enrich your interests, and advance career opportunities. The learning content for a MOOC is often created by an educational institution, including some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country. MOOCs often address non-agronomic topics that can expand awareness of the world beyond fairways and greens.

Most superintendents also know that the GCSAA offers excellent career development knowledge and exposure to subject matter experts. Participation in GCSAA’s strong professional training programs is the foundation on which to broaden your knowledge base and increase career opportunities.

“Like many of my colleagues, I read a lot of specialized articles in the various professional publications to follow and deepen my knowledge. I also like to read articles from other industries and see how I can use the information in our profession, ”says Gehrisch.

Same thing with Arraya who adds: “I read a lot and I found myself switching to audible books. I like to create a list of challenges that the team or I are facing and research them at length. The research broadens my thinking, and if all else fails, I pick up the phone and call someone smarter than me.

Do more for others

Mike Kitchen, the superintendent and general manager of the Teton Pines Country Club near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, assisted his son’s computer club. Many Superintendents welcome Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops to their courses to provide hands-on experiences in conservation, nature, leadership, hiking, backpacking and bird study. In addition to helping young people get their badges or complete a school project, most superintendents will tell you that the experience reminds them of many of the reasons they were drawn to agronomy and eco-maintenance. in the first place.

As Ferris Bueller observed so vividly on his famous day off, life can go pretty fast. It is important to stop every now and then and smell more than freshly mown grass.

About Rachel Gooch

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