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What is a Golf Course Superintendent?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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A golf course superintendent is a person responsible for supervising the workers on golf courses. This includes workers on the course itself, not those who may work in a clubhouse, restaurant or any other function of the business. Usually, the superintendent's main area of responsibly is for the grounds and landscaping.

Taking care of a golf course, especially a heavily-trafficked and world-class course, takes a substantial amount of work. Tens of thousands of rounds of golf may be played annually on a course, making it very tough on the grounds. Furthermore, golf courses are always looking at ways to add new features to keep golfers interested in coming back. It takes dozens of employees, in many cases, to do this.

All those employees are the responsibility of a golf course superintendent, who was probably also responsible for hiring them. The superintendent's job is to make sure all employees are scheduled as needed. Most of the work takes place in the early morning hours, before golfers arrive for the day. The superintendent will also assign jobs for the day. Some may be responsible for mowing fairways and roughs. Others may be responsible for mowing greens. Others may need to fertilize, irrigate, or work on other aspects of the grounds.

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In some cases, this person may be responsible for more than one course. This happens frequently where there are resorts featuring multiple courses very close together. In these cases, he or she is likely to have an assistant superintendent, perhaps one for each course. However, even on single courses, an assistant can be present.

The golf course superintendent's job is to make sure that all areas of the course are maintained according to standards. Those standards are usually set up by the management or owner of the golf course. To meet those standards, workers often must have a great deal of training. Though there are college courses available for golf course maintenance, most workers learn on the job and therefore need to be given instructions and mentored properly. This is also part of the job of the superintendent.

The outlook for golf course superintendent jobs is relatively good, according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those interested in being a superintendent will likely need at least some college and perhaps be required to start as an assistant superintendent. However, once a person has worked as an assistant superintendent, jobs should become available at other courses. In many cases, the person stays with a single course for a long time, making advancement very hard. Assistant superintendents looking to move up will likely have to search for other courses with openings.

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