I’ll start this post with a healthy dose of honesty. I’m tired. This year has been one chock full of a very many things, a lot of goodness, hardship, tough conversations, and wonderful connections. Now one could say, “well, that’s life”, and that is true… but 2019 was a solid one. As I sit down to write the last post of the year, I simply cannot deny the fact that the cumulative fatigue of the year has caught up with me.
When I find myself strung out, writing is tough. The flow of ideas an
All superintendents have to-do lists. It doesn’t matter how one manages them — smartphone, tablet, app or even manually on a piece of paper — they guide our days and can shape us as much as they shape our courses.
Many of us live and die by these lists. The blueprint they provide us is essential to what we accomplish on any given day, week, month, or over the course of the season. But what is your relationship to that list? Is it a positive source of clarity and organization? Do you pause a
A few weeks back a good friend, Michael Vessely (Culver Academy) reminded me of someone special who has had a profound effect on my life. He was not someone I ever met in person, but nonetheless always felt a deep connection with. This person had that kind of effect on all those he touched, met, and taught. I’m speaking of cultural icon, instructional painter, and humanitarian, Mr. Bob Ross - creator and host of The Joy of Painting television show that aired for many years on PBS.
There has been a theory forming in my mind for a while now. It’s one of those connections that I have been subtly observing for a while now, but it wasn’t until this spring that it has emerged fully formed. The idea explores the overlay and the similarities between turf departments and restaurant kitchens. It may seem like an odd theme for a blog post but bear with me.
Over the last couple of months our kitchen staff has suffered tremendously. We have been dealing with devastating personal
Like many of you I sat transfixed as Tiger Woods made his way to his unprecedented fifth Masters title. It was hard not to be swept away by the culmination of this archetypal hero’s journey and cheer him down the 18th fairway. It was great to see him don the green jacket once more, but more importantly it was really nice to see him happy.
It wasn’t until after a recent conversation with my dear friend (a former Assistant Superintendent of mine) Robert McGregor a few days later, that the arc
The practice of yoga has always fascinated me. The breath work, the mind/body connection, and the way it can absolutely destroy you without you leaving your mat. Yoga has had a profound effect on my body and my well being.
A key yoga lesson which has stayed with me over the years is that of support. A wise teacher once explained that when doing a pose, the primary source of strength doesn’t always come from the main body part you would assume it would. Instead, much of the strength and sta
We are all part of communities. I am a family member, a citizen of my small town, I am an Islander, a Maritimer and a Canadian. You can say similar yet different things about yourself. Whether it’s at the family level, within our surrounding neighborhoods or even based on our geographic locations; we are all part of a something bigger than just ourselves. At the macro level we are also part of the larger human community and even the community of all beings that makes up this planet. We all are i
With each turn of a new year, it can be a helpful exercise to both reflect on the year that was and ponder the time ahead. I’ve never been a huge fan of the resolution thing and hopefully most of us have figured out that approach doesn’t really work anyway. Most resolutions fail principally because they start from a place of deficiency; the idea that something is inherently wrong with us and we just need to buckle down and fix it.
What if instead we simply reflected on our strengths and so
A funny thing happened this week. After my most recent bout with intermittent recurring back pain (on and off for the better part of the past 25 years) I finally decided to go for a physiotherapy appointment. I’m really not sure why I hadn’t gone before; ignorance, procrastination, stubbornness... pick anything really. My wife picked stubbornness. My chronic back struggles had become a part of how I defined myself and I guess I just accepted that my back pain was inevitable.
Back trouble fo
We had a feeling that we were on to something. An idea for an event that was so far out of the industry box, there was no packaging left. We sincerely hoped that it would have a lasting impact on the attendees; that the small space created would open a door to new possibilities and a fresh way of approaching what it means to be a Superintendent. We had no idea the impact our first retreat would have.
The beta version of the Mindful Superintendent Leadership and Wellness Retreat has come and
Every now and again we get a nudge in the right direction. It can be from a loved one, a stranger, or a good friend. They see something special in you or an opportunity in your future that you just haven’t noticed yet. It’s not that you wouldn’t ever see it on your own, it’s just that they are looking at the situation through a different lens.
Over a decade ago my amazing wife Jill told me that one day we would be writing together and that folks like you will be reading about what we had t
the shore, the shore… forever more
the shore is where I’m bound
‘cause it’s the closest place to feeling free… that I’ve ever found
those troubles great will have to wait… right now I’m doing fine
in a place that is no place at all
and a moment out of time
“Chasin’ the shore” by Island author David Weale
No matter where you call home, there are special landscapes where the lines between the everyday and “out there” blur a little bit. Whether it’s t
Most of you know that I am a fan of meditation. We have discussed it here on more than a few occasions (the art of the pause, silence is golden). Recently I passed a personal milestone with my practice: 100 consecutive days. I have been practicing for a lot longer than that but decided to make a conscious effort this year to make daily meditation a habit.
Like any behavioral change a little positive reinforcement can go a long way. There are lots of different mediums and types of meditatio
One of the fundamental truths of life as a human being is that, no matter what, we all suffer. Whether physical fatigue, mental exhaustion, anxiety or another factor... episodic or chronic... some measure of it is unavoidable. The level or degree ebbs and flows, but at some point we all encounter it. How we engage and relate to this inevitable suffering can be one of the keys to living a balanced life.
As golf course superintendents, our jobs require total immersion if we are to be successf
Every now and again a book comes along that really connects with people close to you. Originally from an uncle, given to my mother in law, then passed to my son and then my wife, the book by James Rebanks has made the family rounds. As my wife Jill finished reading it, she turned to me in bed and stated, "You have to read this. You will get it. There are so many parallels between his life and yours."
The work tells the story of a forgotten way of life in the Lake District of the nort
How many times have you struggled with a problem only to find that the tighter your grip, the more elusive the answer became? You doubled down, squared your shoulders and refocused, only to find that in your fervor, the problem had resolved itself without your intervention. Lost in the haze of your quest to fix things, doing nothing at all was actually the best course of action.
An old greenkeeping proverb states, "Doing nothing is often the hardest thing to do." But for many superintendent
I was finally able to attend my inaugural Golf Industry Show a few weeks back. It was a long time on the "to do list" as a Superintendent from the East Coast of Canada, and the experience did not disappoint. As I flew home, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and positive vibes from the whole event.
I would like to take a moment to thank some of the folks who made the trip so memorable.
Chris Tritabaugh, for teaming up with me to deliver my first ever seminar at the GIS. Chris
We are well into the New Year and hopefully most of the resolution hoopla has passed us over until next year. It seems that the resolution craze has simply become yet another fabricated holiday that marketers and advertisers use to sell us things that we just don't need. They know that if every news outlet runs a story about how we all need to be better at being us, then they most assuredly have the product or service that that will help us achieve our goals.
That's not to say that there ar
Every now and again we all have moments that force us to tune in. It can be an achingly beautiful sunrise, that profound stillness that accompanies watching a child sleep, or the moments of reflection that come with the death of a loved one. Such events are so poignant and so groundless that we have no choice but to pause and pay attention.
For all of us in the TurfNet family these past few weeks have placed us square in the midst of one of these moments. The sudden passing of long time Tur
The passing of seminal artists always has an effect on those fans who remain behind. With their deaths, we are confronted with a review of the full reach of their creativity and contribution to society as a whole. The magnitude of their contributions can easily be taken for granted while the artist is alive and creating, yet as in many things, it isn't until we posthumously acknowledge the power of their legacy, that we fully appreciate their artistic impact.
Recently, TurfNetters from nort
Throughout the years writing this blog, I always find the September edition the toughest one. Being a superintendent/GM in the northeastern portion of the continent is always difficult this time of year. You are worn out by the season, many of your younger staff members have returned to their studies, and you still have a few miles left to go before winter. Finding clarity and creativity can be a challenge.
Creative inspiration can be an elusive concept to pin down. We know it when it hits
"Embrace the vulnerability of being human as a source of strength." -- Pema Chodron
No, it wasn't this past week. It was actually the week before. One of our members took a serious health turn on the third hole and his playing partners brought him back to the clubhouse. It was one of those emergency events that you prepare for, hope never happens, and one that both my staff and I won't soon forget. We promptly called 911 and went into action responding to the situation, all the while keepin
In everyone's life they have a few core things they know in their heart of hearts to be so. I hesitate to use the word truth, because it can so often get twisted and deformed. One person's version of "truth" can be vastly different from someone else's, so for the purpose of this piece, we will leave that word alone.
In our industry there are also things that appear to be so. These things are not dogma, nor are they written in stone anywhere. They are simply things that I have noticed over th
When you write a blog with a certain theme you are constantly on the lookout for inspiration. No matter where you are or what you are doing, a thought or idea can sneak up and whisper to you. If you are mindful enough to create some space that day, you tune in and pay attention.
Such was this past Saturday as I was driving home from dropping off my youngest daughter Clara at dance class. The radio was tuned into a CBC show called "My Playlist." It's essentially an hour long show where famous
We all love a good story. From our favorite bedtime yarn to our best movie, stories capture us in a unique way and share what it means to be human. Stories and those who tell them bind us together as a culture and allow us to access a deep sense of shared community.
But what happens when our stories become, well, not our stories? What happens when stories are used against us for nefarious reasons? In this day and age this appears to be an increasing problem. The wild west that is the interne