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Network with More Golfers, Not Peers...


Matt Leverich

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598e3de09feccec63d90735717f39bb7-.jpgContinuing with the theme of 'preparing now for career opportunities later' I started in my last article, consider this:

Spend more time networking and playing golf with members and business people instead of your superintendent peers.

Why do I say instead of your peers? Because your free time is extremely limited and you have to put effort where it will be most valuable to your career opportunities. I am not saying to abandon colleague communication at all, I mean we are all on TurfNet to network and learn from each other and things like GIS and local conferences are great a few times a year.

No, I am talking about finding time to go to actual events that golfers/members will be at from a different course, instead of golfing or commiserating with fellow superintendents. Very few superintendents make the effort to connect with the customer base of golfers outside their course, leaving an untapped opportunity for those who wish to broaden their career ambitions.

Very few superintendents make the effort to connect with the customer base of golfers outside their course, leaving an untapped opportunity...

Even though there appears to be a growing shortage of interns and assistants, there is still a bottleneck at the top when seeking a superintendent position. How are you going to stand out or get to the front of the line? Career materials like websites and portfolios certainly help, but a connection through that hiring club is the fastest way to jump ahead of the competition. You can't do this by networking with superintendents. It can only be done by reaching out to golfers, general managers, PGA pros, etc. These are the people at other clubs that will be deciding who they may hire for their next superintendent.

You can't do this by networking with superintendents. It can only be done by reaching out to golfers, general managers, PGA pros, etc.

I have attended a few retreats as a Golfweek Rater and I can't tell you how valuable it is to just sit and listen quietly to the comments about the course. It is so educational and again is great for networking with actual golfers outside your home course.

So, how should you begin on this path? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Join a golf tournament or league at a course where you don't work. This will automatically get you meeting golfers outside your existing patrons and grow your network. Seeing another course while playing a round will help you at work, plus you will start to make connections with new golfers. Sure, most will not be members of super high-end clubs if you join at a public course, but you need to start somewhere and this is a very easy and fun beginning.
  • Find a business networking group and join it. Even if the group requires referrals, you can use your knowledge of landscape and refer to a company you know and trust. But many groups don't require referrals and just have social gatherings once or twice per month. A chance meeting at one of these events with someone from another course could lead to something down the road. This is again a fun and easy way to broaden your career reach.
  • Volunteer at golf tournaments -- but not in the greens department. Instead, work with golfers along certain holes, in the concession and stands areas, or any other location that they may be volunteering. You will then be spending free time during the day networking with mostly avid golfers who are key decision makers at their respective clubs a lot of the time.
  • Find ways to get involved in your local PGA section association. Join a committee, assist The First Tee, or anything that can bring you closer to those in the golf world in your area.
  • Make friends with a Realtor. Seriously, they work with a multitude of people in your community and can be one of the best assets you can have on your team.  You never know who they may speak with on any given day and could point in your direction. The key here is to have a great website that your new Realtor friend can direct people to when necessary. Give them rounds at your course, take them to lunch, keep them happy and it?s only potential upside for you.

These few starter ideas should lead to increased exposure to the golfing community in your area that will hopefully lead to an enhanced career for you.

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