To: Chris Tusa 
From: Bille Holiday
Subject: Interview Report
Date: September 29, 2001

I interviewed Nels Lindgrend, superintendent at Loch Lloyd Country Club in Kansas City, Missouri, and Will Arnett, superintendent at the University Club in Baton Rouge.  Nels is a graduate of the University of Missouri and has worked in the golf course business for more than twenty years.  Will Arnett is a graduate of Mississippi State University and has been working in the golf course profession for five years, two of which have been at the University Club. 

INTERVIEWEE #1 (Nels Lindgrend)

Preparing for the Profession
Mr. Lindgrend states that his most important criteria while reviewing someone’s resume is his/her experience.  He states that he is looking for someone with at least 3-5 years experience in the field under the supervision of a superintendent who trains well and offers opportunities to learn. Mr. Lingrend also believes that internships at quality golf courses and volunteer work in turf grass associations indicate that a student is dedicated to his/her future career and are of the utmost importance. Although management experience is hard to get as a student, the experience is valuable to most superintendents. 

Mr. Lindgred also stresses the importance of a resume.  A haphazardly prepared resume is usually discarded quickly.  On the other hand, a professional-looking resume that contains a well-rounded list of golf course maintenance skills and experience stands out to a superintendent.  When asked what one can do to better prepare for this profession, Mr. Lindgrend stated that one should not expect his/her career to be “layed out on a silver platter.”  New employees will have to work hard to learn the job and earn the respect of their employers.  Added tips from Mr. Lindgrend include volunteering to do jobs that no one else will do, working closely with your crew, and paying attention to the qualities that your past bosses have stressed.  Learn from them and emulate the abilities that are admirable to you.

Realities of the Profession
When asked how competitive it is in the turf grass profession, Mr. Lindgrend stated that the profession gets more competitive all the time.  The golf course industry is growing at a rapid rate.  More jobs are being created every day, but a highly qualified assistant will always get the job if he/she is honest, sincere, and speaks from the heart. 

A typical day in the life of a golf course superintendent can range from 8 to 15 hours in a single day, and work on the weekend is a must.  The daily operations depend on the time of the year but are, for the most part, repetitive.  Some of the repetitive tasks consist of meeting with your assistants, organizing the crew with daily job assignments, preparing for future projects, and meeting with board members. 

One of the worst aspects is that most golfers and members will never understand what you do and why you bother them so much when you are doing your work.  Another disadvantage in golf course management is working hours, which are always long during the growing season.  Some of the rewards of this career will be the results of your work and the accolades frequently received.  For some superintendents, being outside with nature every day is rewarding in itself. 

When asked how the profession differs from what he expected, Mr. Lindgrend stated that he worked for seven years as a seasonal employee before being promoted to a manager.  The profession is much more professional and respected than it was many years ago. He is proud of that fact and tries his best to live up to the standard and set a good example.

Forms of Communication
Mr. Lindgrend said that communication is an area that is often overlooked and that one must be able to speak and write effectively.  One’s personal skills and ability to communicate well with others is very important.  A superintendent must appreciate his employees and comment on their performance whether it is good or bad.  One must be able to explain job assignments to members of the crew, as well as challenge them to overcome obstacles in their work.   He also stated that communicating with assistants and asking for their advice and opinions cultivate new ideas and improve working relationships between management and employees.  Communication with country club board members is not only important but will determine the length of time a superintendent will be managing that golf course. 

INTERVIEWEE #2 (Will Arnett)

Preparing for the Profession
Like Mr. Lindgrend, Mr. Arnett states that the most important quality he looks for on an applicant’s resume is experience.  Experience in technical operations is very important and stands out in one’s resume.  He also believes that internships are important, and applicants who have worked in diverse growing conditions with different varieties of grasses increase their employability.  Acquired skills such as chemical calibration, irrigation work, and machinery operation are vital information on applicant’s resume.   Since many of the manual laborers on golf courses are Spanish speaking, Mr. Arnett also stressed the importance of being able to communicate in a second language.  An applicant’s management skills and monetary budgeting skills are also important to Mr. Arnett.

Realities of the Profession
Mr. Arnett said that there is rigid competition in golf course management.  Even though the profession is rapidly growing, superintendents are looking for enhanced qualifications on an applicant’s resume.  He, like Mr. Lindgrend, noted that very long hours and weekend work are not uncommon.  Organizational skills are a necessity in scheduling daily operations.  A superintendent must prepare daily work schedules, which consist of each employee’s tasks or job assignments for that day and projects which need to be started or completed.  Mr. Arnett believes that keeping up with new technology and learning new methods of golf course management, whether from other superintendents or by learning from one’s own mistakes, are essential in this profession.

Forms of Communication
Mr. Arnett also stated the importance of an applicant’s ability to communicate effectively.  Superintendents not only have to communicate and speak with work crews but must also be able to converse with the members, guests, and governing boards of the golf club.  Public relations skills are also helpful. 

Both interviews proved to be very beneficial in that each emphasized the hard work and long hours associated with a career in golf course management.  I had not considered the public relations aspect of golf course management, nor had I thought about the value of learning a second language. Each interview also stressed the importance of communication skills and a professional-looking resume.  These insights made me re-evaluate my skills and recognize my deficiencies. 

After these interviews, I realize that I need to improve my communication skills, get more involved with professional associations, and continue to get as much work experience as possible.