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Still a greenkeeper

Digital Turfhead Jim Black has no problem with the term "greenkeeper," which invokes a simpler time when you depended on the rain for irrigation, sheep to take care of your roughs, and a 5-man crew to handle the rest.

Jim Black | April 4, 2011

From Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary: green•keep•er: a person responsible for the care and upkeep of a golf course. Now I’m no dummy. I know that the term ‘greenkeeper’ has been technically on the outs for quite some time. Just not a fancy and dynamic enough term anymore for what is arguably one of the toughest jobs out there. I find it to also be misused and abused in its’ reference. And to include the ‘s’ ? Blasphemy -- plain and simple.
   
Personally, I have no problem with the term Greenkeeper. But then again, I’m also into antiques, old barns and rusty cars abandoned in fields. Greenkeeper, to me, invokes a simpler time - when you depended on the rain for irrigation, sheep to take care of your roughs, and a 5-man crew to handle the rest. The golfer came to the first tee carrying his bag, let fly from the first tee and played the ball where it lay, accepting the course as it was presented.
   
I will enjoy considering this long ago golf course maintenance era until my reverie is shattered by the alert from my iPhone announcing a 2 percent drop in soil moisture demanding irrigation as my 15-man crew stripes every inch of turf with trim mowers and the committee demands the greens stimp out at 12. Alas.
   
As a writer, I’ve researched some of those content creation sites where you write little informative ‘how-to’ blurbs. The topics were always kind of obscure, and the burning hoops you had to jump through to get published got pretty painful after awhile. But you can imagine my amusement when I ran across this one entitled: Greenkeeper Duties. It included in its’ description, “While there is no formal education needed for this job, the majority of employers prefer employees to have specific certificates pertaining to gardening experience.”
   
You’ll get a kick out of the whole thing, I promise.
   
Since Mirriam-Webster got us started, I would like to point you in the direction of where greenkeeping got started. The Old Course in St. Andrews is blogging about their goings on like the rest of us! Course Manager Gordon McKie will be posting regular updates as they prepare the course for the coming season.
   
BIGGA, our industry friends across the Atlantic with ‘Greenkeeper’ in their name, publishes a monthly magazine called, surprisingly, ‘Greenkeeper International.’ Obviously since they invented it, they can use it at will. Visit this LINK to see the latest edition.
   
If you’re planning on playing golf in the west, you can log on to Greenskeeper.org. (yes, I see the ‘s’) It is a site dedicated to golf course and product reviews - with a twist. There is also an area dedicated to Aeration and Maintenance Alerts. As long as there are timely updates, you can check here first to see if the club you want to play is undergoing aeration, bulldozing, or whatever. Kudos on the concept.
   
 

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