Abstract: A few suggestions for unemployed golf course superintendents.
Golf course superintendents looking for employment should write a detailed resume. Job leads can be found through salesman, golf course placement services, Internet listings, and association web sites. Networking is the most important work search tool.
Steve (not his real name) worked at a private club in the Northeast. He spent seven years bringing the course back from the conditions created by a previous golf course manager who over-watered the course, causing a big poa annua infestation. The course looked good. He came back from the Memorial Day holiday with a relaxed view of life. He looked over and saw his green chairman in the parking lot. A few minutes later he had a severance check and no job.
Steve called me a few days later. The shock settled in and he wanted to find a new job. He asked if I had any ideas on golf course superintendent job placement.
I had lost my golf course superintendents job ten years before. The individual that got me fired was one nasty dude. Fueled by a big ego, and a need to control the purchasing at my club, he wanted me out. I could have delivered Augusta National conditions; he wanted me to disappear.
I decided to take the honest route and assume that I’d get fired when he took control. Which is exactly what happened.
I told Steve to call golf industry salesman. They travel to association meetings and golf clubs. They know the gossip. I also suggested contacting a few university professors; they often get inquiries on golf course positions. He tried these avenues, but nothing clicked.
Steve found a golf superintendent placement service. The “headhunter” described a few openings, and they worked together to polish Steve’s resume and interviewing skills. The placement service is paid by the club, not the applicant.
In late-November, Steve called. A private club, twenty miles from his home, hired him as a golf course superintendent. Steve and the club have been together for four years, and all is well. The placement company got paid and everyone is happy.
I read that 70% of all jobs are found with personal contacts. The ones on Craigslist or Careerbuilder are usually specialized positions requiring unique skills. They rarely include golf course superintendent jobs.
List all the contacts you’ve met in the golf business. Don’t be afraid to call them and ask for any job leads. Many have been unemployed in the past, and they are willing to assist in process. Some people will ignore you, don’t take it personally.
Attend trade shows with a stack of resumes. Walk down the aisle and ask questions. A few years ago a friend visited my office with a sad story about his unsuccessful job search. At a trade show a few weeks later, I talked to a vendor about employment opportunities. He wasn’t hiring but another company was looking for a sales representative. Several minutes later, my friend got hired.
Golf course superintendent placement services can be found on Google. Some want the golf club to advertise the position and identify a small group of qualified individuals. The placement service works with the club to further identify superior candidates.
Check placement service references. Use one with the fee paid by the owner, nor the applicant. Watch out for scams. If they want an up-front payment-don’t do it.
A placement service looks for the best applicants, so be sure to have good references and resume ready when you call. After you sell your skills to them, they will try hard to place you in a job.
Golf courses looking to hire a golf course superintendent should write a detailed job description describing:
- Golf course history and location. Describe past and pending construction projects. Scan a scorecard to provide distance information.
- Responsibilities. Describe who manages the superintendent.
- Salary range. Describe a salary range. This will generate more qualified applicants.
- Benefits. Health insurance and association dues are important.