What does #ThankASuper mean to you?
Jeff Schultz of Shoreline Golf Course in Carter Lake, Iowa, left, and Bruce Griebler of The Golf Club at Devils Tower in Hulett, Wyoming.

What does #ThankASuper mean to you?

Nine golf course superintendents share what being a superintendent — and what the game itself — means to them.

September 12, 2022

By Rich Katz

A foundation to every business is perfecting the product. If it looks and performs in ways that provide enjoyment, function and overall value, the Vegas odds of meaningful profitability are favorable.

Golf courses are no exception. We sometimes hear players denounce playing conditions and go visit other layouts down the street. Yet the competition is stiff among those courses that live up to gold-star standards. Notwithstanding and impressively, we most often hear about stiff competition for the almighty.

That brings us to September 13 and Thank a Golf Course Superintendent Day. Indeed, let’s celebrate the often-overlooked heroes who awake in the wee morning hours to passionately present tracks golfers love.

Golf Course Industry talked with a cadre of golf course superintendents from Landscapes Golf Management, which operates more than 50 golf courses, country clubs and resorts, to gather their insights as #ThankASuper day nears. Here’s Part 1 — a “front nine” — with the “back nine” to follow tomorrow.

 

Jared Dillinger

Three Crowns Golf Club, Casper, Wyoming

What it means to be a golf course superintendent: Far more than taking care of a golf course, we provide our community with a unique space to get outdoors, escape the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, and enjoy themselves in a way unlike any other. It also means being a steward to the environment to continue providing such a space for generations to come. 

What golf means to me: Participating in a sport and hobby that’s rich in history, where you can connect to the past as well as the present with your playing partners. Golf is the only sport where amateurs and pros alike enjoy themselves on the course and experience the same conditions and play with the same set of rules. Golf connects people of all walks of life and cultures worldwide.

 

Matthew Whalen

The Broadlands Golf Course, Broomfield, Colorado

What it means to be a golf course superintendent: It isn’t by accident that superintendent begins with “super.” It can be challenging, and you learn to enjoy the days when everything goes your way. However, better lessons are learned from the days it doesn’t. Working with Mother Nature and remaining patient and humble is truly a science and an art learned through successes and failures. Working with staff is the most enjoyable part of every day and building the best team is the most rewarding.

What golf means to me: Anyone can enjoy golf, be they a low or high handicapper, and the game is best played with strangers and talking throughout the round. Golf brings people together for the true love of the outdoors and beautiful scenery we are blessed to enjoy each day. I think most people would say even a bad day of golf is still better than a day in the office!

 

Scott Dillinger

Greeley Country Club, Greeley, Colorado

What it means to be a golf course superintendent: It’s the culmination of my professional dream. I started as a rough mower 37 years ago and looked in awe at the superintendent. I can’t wait to get up every morning to go to work and start on my to-do list.

What golf means to me: The greatest yet most frustrating game ever conceived. To borrow a quote from Paige Spiranac: “It’s my therapy and the reason I need therapy!”

 

Doug Hausman

Dakota Dunes Country Club , Dakota Dunes, South Dakota

What it means to be a golf course superintendent: It’s a lifestyle and a passion that I look forward to participating in every day. If not on these hallowed grounds, I am always thinking about the property while away.

What golf means to me: What I like about golf is it teaches life lessons. It’s self-regulatory whether alone or with a group, done the proper way with respect to yourself, the property and your fellow player.

 

David Smith

Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course, Laredo, Texas

What it means to be a golf course superintendent: It’s my life on and off the course, and every day is a new challenge.

What golf means to me: Being a scratch golfer all my life has opened a lot of doors and has given me the opportunity to meet great people along the way.

Luna and her running buddy, David Smith.

 

Brice Griebler

The Golf Club at Devils Tower, Hulett, Wyoming

What it means to be a golf course superintendent: I am not sure there are enough words in the English language to encapsulate exactly what being a superintendent means, but it means so much more than growing great turf. It means being a leader, it means being innovative, it means being flexible and it means being a teammate!

What golf means to me: In its simplest sense, golf means togetherness. It means fun in the outdoors with your friends, spouse and children, and even with complete strangers. It means fun whether you're a single-digit handicap or just beginning!

 

Joel Holling

Jackrabbit Run Golf Course, Grand Island, Nebraska

What it means to be a golf course superintendent: I take great pride in being a golf course superintendent and have been committed to Jackrabbit Run for 33 years in making it the best it can be.

What golf means to me: Golf has been everything to me, from learning the game from my father and spending time with him playing the game. I then became a member of high school and college teams, and earned a degree in horticulture. Teaching my kids the game and watching them become successful at it means enjoyable time spent together. 

 

Jeff Schultz

Shoreline Golf Course, Carter Lake, Iowa

What it means to be a golf course superintendent: It’s a blessing. Every day I get to go to work and do what I love, and I am surrounded by a lot of great people. It does not get any better than that. It’s instant gratification to know I have a part in making this golf course the best it can be.

What golf means to me: Golf is therapy to me. I’m on the course getting rid of some stress by digging a hole, fixing a sprinkler head or playing nine holes. It’s like a fruit or vegetable — it’s healthy and good for you.

 

Mark Hassell

King’s Deer Golf Club, Monument, Colorado

What it means to be a golf course superintendent: You are a person that’s slightly a perfectionist who wears many hats and better have some thick skin. You are also a steward for the environment and able to organize a variety of different personalities on your crew to achieve a common goal.

What golf means to me: Golf is a sport with a huge, long history that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of ability, who wants to take part. It’s allowed me the opportunity to apply my skills and create a playing field equal for anyone who wants to enjoy the game.