A Golf Course is an exceptional kind of asset, one that requires special management. While an architect or builder may be able to lay the groundwork for a truly spectacular golf course, without skilled management, a course will never achieve its full potential. Worse, without competent management, a course will surely and progressively deteriorate.
Superintendent responsibilities can include but are not limited to, the following:
- Management and landscaping of all golf playing areas as well as surrounding areas.
- Repair and maintenance of all golf course structures, including buildings, fences, bridges & shelters.
- Management of all golf course equiptment, including purchasing, storing and inventory.
- Management of all golf course personnel, including motivation, training and work assignments.
- Financial management of the golf course budget.
- Maintenance and updates of golf course records, including cost accounting, inventory control, IPM reports and maps.
- Knowing the game of golf, playing regularly and being aware of rules and regulations.
- Assuring sound communication with the public, members, management, media and employees.
The educational background of golf course superintendents makes them uniquely qualified to serve as a community's environmental steward. That education usually entails a college degree in agronomy, turfgrass science or hoticulture, combined with continuing education through the OGSA, university extension services and turfgrass associations. Superintendents must acquire a designated number of education points annually in order to maintain their pesticide license and IPM accreditation.
Superintendents nowadays must adhere to legislation surrounding the documentation and use of pesticides. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a systems approach to pest control that assists the superintendent in selecting pest control methods that will provide an optimum level of control and are both economical and envronmentally sound. IPM involves a combination of control practices with chemical use being the last resort.
Superintendents are innovators, constantly looking for new and better ways to achieve the goal of a well managed course that satisfies the discriminating golfer as well as being increasingly environmentally friendly.
Many superintendents have joined forces with Audubon International to enhance environmental stewardship on their courses and have achieved designation as a Certified Audobon Cooperative Sanctuary.
Whether they play at a professional tour course or a small rural community nine hole facility, golfer's have an interest in the condition of their course. When a new golf course opens and the public is interested in the layout and how it plays, who better than the golf course superintendent to have a discussion with?
Course conditions are dependant on a myriad of factors, some controllable, and others not. A renovation or restoration of the course will have an impact as greens are rebuilt creating new putting surfaces. But even if the greens remain essentially the same, a change in the type of grass will have an effect on the golfers game as well.
Working with mother nature is a constant challenge. Providing optimal playing conditions during prolonged periods of drought or rain dictate mowing schedules, pattern and heights, and the required applications necesarry to combat disease and promote healthy turf.
Core aeration, topdressing, overseeding, syringing and frost delays are just some of the cultural practices employed to improve the quality of a course. While these maintenance activities are undertaken at times to cause the least possible delay, they are crucial to protecting the golf course.