Carol Turner takes a boat to work. In the winter, she must wait for a lake to freeze to get to work.
Such is life as the superintendent at Bigwin Island Golf Club, a highly regarded private club 140 miles north of Toronto. Turner uses her Twitter feed @greensgurl to post the assortment of glamour, serenity and informative pictures during the Ontario club’s condensed golf season, which spans from late May into early October.
The late fall, winter and early spring months are when things get really interesting for Turner — and that’s when Twitter is most effective in telling her work story. “This past year, I was out on a sprayer, but we still had ice on the lake,” she says.
Bigwin Island Golf Club is aptly named. The course sits on a small island inside Lake of Bays. The job is a perfect fit for Turner, an outdoors enthusiast who grew up in the region. During the peak play season, she leads a team of around two dozen employees. During the winter, Turner’s year-round staff must wait for the lake to fully freeze to reach the course via airboat. The small group must then wait for the lake to fully thaw to begin shuttling the seasonal team on and off the island.
“Even the course down the road might have 10 workers out there getting the golf course looking good and perfect and fixing winter damage — which is common in our area — and we’re limited because only five people, including the driver, can sit in the airboat,” Turner says. “It’s basically myself, our assistants and our mechanics trying to get the course ready for the first couple of weeks. It’s challenging, but it’s also cool, interesting and fun.”
Turner’s descriptions of working on an island and clever ability to use social media to inform, encourage and inspire peers has earned her a 2023 Super Social Media Award in the Best Twitter Feed category. The annual awards honor the best of turf on social media. All 2023, 2022 and 2021 winners will be recognized at the 12th annual Golf Course Industry TweetUp — #GCITweetUp23 — scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8 at Aquatrols Booth #2373 at the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Orlando.
In advance of #GCITweetUp23, we spoke with Turner about what she shares and learns on #TurfTwitter.
How do you use social media for work?
I want it to be fun. I don’t take myself too seriously, in life, in general. Members are going to see it and obviously superintendents, assistants and other people in the industry are going to see it. It’s just showing them the ins and outs. I love to show off the uniqueness of the island. I think a lot of people have funny ideas about where I am. I’m just showing the challenges with the boats, the airboat and snowmobiles. All that’s fun to post about. I love showing people the unique things about Bigwin. Also, it's such a beautiful spot. Muskoka is Toronto’s cottage country. It’s where I’m from. I love showing that side of things, with the lakes and getting to enjoy the non-work side of work. But I keep it mostly work-related. I keep it mostly fun and light while also keeping people posted on what’s going on.
What do you learn from your industry peers on social media?
I love turf Twitter. I love seeing people’s innovations and how they are doing things differently. You learn you don’t have to do things exactly the way everybody else is doing them. I feel like everybody is coming up with fun ideas and posting them. It’s also nice to know people are in the same boat as you. If we’re in a drought, maybe a lot of people are also in a drought. Or if it’s non-stop rain, it’s non-stop rain elsewhere, too. My ultimate favorite are people’s shop cats if they have a shop cat. Everybody has a dog, and I love looking at the dogs. But the cats are so unique and not everybody has them.
What advice would you give to peers looking to boost their social media game?
We have a couple of interns who are getting into it. I guess they are Instagram people, but I try to get them over to Twitter because I feel like it’s a little bit of a different vibe on Twitter. You have to drown out the noise of the other stuff, but if you’re just looking at turf Twitter, it’s going to be a positive in our industry. Make a fake name and watch other people if you’re shy about it. It’s fun watching turf Twitter. It’s not super serious, not everybody is trying to make everything look perfect with filters and things like that. If they want to do it, maybe then start putting yourself out there, which will come naturally. Post your sunrise picture of the golf course. Nobody is not going to like that.
Guy Cipriano is Golf Course Industry’s editor-in-chief.
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