OGCSA Father’s Day
Every year labor is one of the most challenging concepts a Superintendent must deal with. Usually, we rely on the high school and college age kids to fill rolls that only cover around three months of a very busy golf calendar. If you’re anything like me, you will beg, borrow, and steal just to get as many people on staff as possible. Sometimes this even means tapping into the friends and family outlet to get staff members. I have had my father, my son, one cousin, and one stepson work for me at Dayton Country Club during my time here. Sometimes family members can be your most reliable staff personnel. It’s also very enjoyable to see them working in and around the industry that I take such great pride in.
Speaking of family, Father’s Day is today. I know several other Superintendents who are of a similar age range as me and have children who are just now into the “working’ phase of their lives. Whether it is a summer job, college internship, or just working weekends to make gas money, at some point they need to get out into the job market. Some of us are even lucky (or even unlucky???) enough to work with our children. It is a pretty easy transition when so many of us are looking to hire summer help and the kids need a job. If they don’t happen to work for you then you would probably have no problem sending them to another golf course to make some money. I was lucky enough to work with my son last summer. Since he was very young, he has always said he wants to work in the Turf Industry as his career. I have never steered him either way around the industry. I have just said, “figure out what you want to do and we will help you get there.” Last Summer he worked for me with his first ever paying job. It really was a test to see if he actually wanted to do this stuff or not. Let’s face it, not everybody wants to work outside in the elements all day. He did a pretty good job and has remained steadfast in his pursuit of a career in this industry. This Summer, he will be working at NCR Country Club so he can see as many different situations as possible. He will be a senior in high school this Fall and after graduation most likely will be going to Ohio State ATI to pursue a degree in Turf. In fact, the last five generations of my family have now worked on a golf course at some point or another in their lives. My great grandfather was a Greenskeeper at Meadowbrook Golf Course in Clayton, Ohio. My grandfather caddied and worked there as well. My father worked for me here at DCC for one summer a few years ago after retirement and now my son is entering into the industry as well. I also have two cousins who work in the industry here in the Miami Valley area.
Not too long ago I never would have suggested my son get into a career in Turf. If any of you have been around for at least a few years in this industry, you probably remember the late 2000’s when the economy and the Turf Industry were not exactly on an uphill swing. At that time, I was working at NCR County Club myself and remember talking to a few or our seasonal staff members about the industry. They were enjoying the work they were doing and were asking about how to get into Turf as a career. I recall specifically telling them to find another career path as a future in Turf looked grim. I am sure many of you have similar stories. Now we are paying for that as there are very few individuals available to backfill jobs in our industry as people retire. There are very few students enrolled in Turf programs and interns are nearly impossible to come by. In fact, my last three Assistants-In-Training have had zero technical background in Turf. They were either seasonal staff members or just randomly applied for the job. I have learned my lesson though and now when they express interest in our industry, I am happy to help them along. That’s why it has been extra special to have my son show such great interest in Turf. I am very proud of him and will support him in whatever career path he ends up in. Especially if it is in Turf!
So, on this Father’s Day take the time to appreciate your children and what they have accomplished. I know all of you will encourage and aid them into whatever career path they enter. If that path is Turf, don’t hesitate to guide them down that path. This has always been a great industry to get into, but even more so now. Networking is one of our greatest assets in this industry. With the merger of the OGCSA, that network is even larger. I hope all the dads enjoy Father’s Day this year and I look forward to seeing you at our next event!
Ryan D’Autremont - CGCS
Dayton Country Club