It has been 30 years since comedian Steve Martin graced the stage on “Saturday Night Live” and delivered his famous “A Holiday Wish” monologue. If you do not recall the performance, it started with, “If I had one wish that I could wish this holiday season, it would be that all the children of the world ... join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace.”
He then adds that if he could have a second wish, he would keep the children as wish No. 1, as harmony and peace do take priority this time of year, but wish No. 2 would be for unlimited wealth. He proceeds to add a third and fourth wish, both selfishly motivated, before wrapping up after he has reprioritized the order to where the children of the world now sit last.
So, I started thinking … If I had one wish this holiday season, what would I wish for? I don’t think anybody would be surprised if I used my wish to restore my wife’s health. The past year-plus has been a physical and emotional toll on us both, but thankfully the prayers and support of the professional turfgrass community helped pull us through.
The professional turfgrass community, that is where I will use my wish! If I had one wish this holiday season to give back and repay my sisters and brothers in turf, I would wish for everyone’s turf in the coming year to experience deep rooting, uniform density and superior plant health.
But is that enough? Maybe I should include a clause that puts an end to droughts, floods and other extreme weather. We all would receive timely rainfall when needed and everyone could put the hoses away for the year.
But wait, what about everyone’s labor issues? It would be shortsighted if I didn’t wish for your budgets be flush with funds to adequately support the labor line item and, more important, that there be folks willing and able to work applying to your posts.
And since everyone else is getting a raise, I could wish you all receive a tidy bonus and salary increase like our good friend Dr. Klein referenced last month.
Then again, there is the issue with golfer etiquette. Maybe I should wish for all the golfers in the coming year to repair their ball marks, rake their footprints, fill and replace their divots, and obey all posted golf car policies. Actually, that is what folks would call a Christmas Miracle.
When you really stop and think about it, there is a lot that could be wished for to make our lives easier. But if things were easy, would the job be as fulfilling and rewarding? One thing that makes greenkeeping such an amazing profession is the ability to work hand in hand with nature, nurturing a multi-faceted living, breathing piece of land.
We are agronomists, meteorologists, pathologists, soil scientists, engineers, accountants, human resource managers and more. Our portfolio encompasses a vast array of skills that most working-class people do not possess.
We are faced with a myriad of daily circumstances requiring us to handle decisions impacting our facilities and the enjoyment of millions of people around the globe. It may very well be that this decision-making is the ultimate hook to being a greenkeeper, as it ensures each day is different. Yes, there can be times during a season where the maintenance can seem mundane, but those periods are typically short-lived as something unique happens all the time.
Maybe my wish would be best used if I wished for more folks to recognize what an awesome profession greenkeeping can be, and they entered into the workforce? Wouldn’t that be nice if our university turfgrass programs returned to pre-recession levels?
Maybe it would help if all of us made it clear to everyone what an awesome job being a golf course superintendent is and stopped complaining on social media. I understand you are frustrated at the lack of etiquette on the part of golfers, or the lack of appreciation shown to you and your team at times. But we are the bona fide leaders in a multi-pronged service industry. Whether you care for a premium private facility or maintain a 9-hole course in rural America, you provide a service to millions of people. They get outside, breathe fresh air, take in the scenery and get some exercise.
As crazy as we all believe society is today, I shudder to think what society might be like without us.