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What is a Golf Course Superintendent?

A Golf Course Superintendent is a specialized type of Landscaper.

Reporting to the general manager, a golf course superintendent needs to be a proven leader in the industry and will have a successful track record in the areas of turf grass management, human resources and financial management.

He or she is responsible for developing a dedicated team to assist in caring for the golf course. Golf course superintendents are concerned with the environmental health of the golf course, the sporting needs of the players and the financial sustainability of the golf club or country club for which they work.

What does a Golf Course Superintendent do?

A golf course superintendent is responsible for supervising all the workers and the operations on the golf course. This is exclusive to the course itself and not any restaurants, clubhouses, or businesses on the property. The superintendent is mainly responsible for the landscaping and maintenance of the grounds. 

Golf courses have very specific standards to be maintained that are usually set up by the management or owner of the course. The golf course superintendent makes sure those standards are met. Taking care of a golf course takes a substantial amount of work, especially a world class course that gets a lot of traffic. Golf courses are always looking to add new features that would keep golfers interested. It may take dozens of employees to manage a single course. 

The superintendent’s role is to manage the employees on the course; he or she may even be responsible for hiring them. The superintendent figures out the employee schedules, assigns jobs, and is responsible for organizing the mowing, fertilizing, and watering of the green. In some cases, a superintendent will be in charge of more than one course, like in a resort. In that case, they typically have an assistant superintendent working with them. Here are some other tasks that a golf course superintendent might be asked to do:

  • Oversee the care and maintenance of the turf, ornamental plants, shrubs, trees and wetlands on the grounds
  • Direct and assist the staff on the planting, replacing, spraying, and pruning of trees and shrubs
  • Provide a detailed plan for the property that provides the facility with a fresh, eye-catching, interesting and pleasant atmosphere
  • Manage irrigation systems and provide monthly reports on retaining ponds, wells, and other water source usage
  • Recruit, supervise, and retain maintenance staff
  • Provide technical, operational, and safety training for employees 
  • Oversee employees in safe operation and maintenance of mechanical and power equipment
  • Develop annual budget and plans for maintenance of the course
  • Order parts, supplies and equipment as needed
  • Schedule maintenance practices around member play to minimize disruption to members
  • Coordinate snow removal and winter maintenance activities when necessary

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What is the workplace of a Golf Course Superintendent like?

The work of a golf course superintendent can be difficult at times. They must be able to diagnose any problems or potential problems on the course and remedy the situation as quickly as possible. This requires them to think and act quickly. They also work long hours, especially during the peak seasons which vary greatly depending on location. This includes working weekends. Most begin their day at 5am before the sun has come up, usually finishing the day by late afternoon. Some superintendents come back in the evening to attend to the course once more before calling it a day.

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