Athletes with an ambition to excel in sports soon learn that the best/only time to definitively enhance their skill sets is during the off-season when trial and error experimentation cannot hurt the team.
I can attest to this personally having initially been a run-of-the-mill high school basketball player who through a commitment to extensive summer-time ball yard practice time developed my skill sets to the point of being able to set a New York State private school tournament scoring record and be the recipient of several college scholarship offers.
I can also attest personally to witnessing up to one in four golf course superintendents through the years abusing their off-season time by either doing nothing constructive which has its own set of pitfalls, or bowling and/or playing racket ball during the day while drinking through it all and then going home to upset families at dinner time - a lifestyle that almost universally leads to strained marriages.
Realistically, the opportunities for superintendents to grow themselves and to use their free time constructively between seasons abound; for example, in part, note the following:
To Grow Personally:
- Read enough so as to become more conversant in life - thereby communicating better in and outside the profession. Your children will notice.
- Take advantage of the new knowledge gained through an expanded commitment to reading to write articles first for chapter publications; then for regional and eventually national publications in and outside golf. Then, link all published writings to your career website. Again, your children will notice.
Nothing impresses industry watchers, or specifically potential future employers inside and outside golf more than a candidate with a proven track record for good writing that gets published.
- Look for opportunities to instruct/teach at local community colleges and/or local middle/high schools on subjects that would have appeal to local residents/students.
Early teaching experience can blossom into full-time teaching opportunities once a superintendent retires. There is nothing more rewarding or that fosters personal/professional growth more than delivering quality teaching.
- Start a post-career company with an immediately available full-time partner that you would join part-time during the off-season and then on a full-time basis upon retirement.
To Grow Professionally
- Take the off-season opportunity to initiate/upgrade all the websites -- content-wise and photographically -- that support your career; i.e. your personal career website; your club's maintenance program website (see Oct 2 2014 blog); and your children's student websites (see Jun 18th blog).
- Similarly, take the off-season to definitively upgrade the following documentation: program SOPs; job descriptions; multi-year plans of action; budget formats; and either to create or update in-house video productions.
- Volunteer for local community service projects, which would earn recognition for the superintendent and his employer. Again, your children will be watching.
To Solidify Family Ties
- Travel with family to restore/re-energize self and one-on-one personal ties.
- To maximize family growth, socialize as a family beyond the immediate circle of professional peers.
- Experiment with/develop new projects and personal hobbies with family and children.
Until golf course superintendents commit to the off-season further development of their personal and professional skill sets, their careers and lives will more than likely go unfulfilled because this is the only way to effectively commit to the personal pursuit of excellence and to provide the best lifestyle models for their children to emulate.