Git Yer Tinfoil Hat and Yawlp To The World!

I love communication. Love it. I love to talk. I love to write. I love to yell. I love to blather endlessly about not much of anything. I love communication. To me, there’s nothing not to love about being a good communicator. And even less to be upset about being a bad communicator and still trying. And I love failed efforts to communicate. Love them long time!


That’s right. This is directed right at all of you who have tried and failed to get your point across. But in the trying is learning. And in the learning, there is the amazing thing that happens when you try, fail, learn and try again. You get better, Si Que No??!!

I sucked as a writer for a long time. I’ll never forget my first assistant superintendent’s job. My boss asked me to write up an employee’s attempt to float a triplex and I made complete Huevos Rancheros out of the assignment. He must have sent me back to the pump house (where my desk was) at least 10 times. Each time telling me that I made no sense. I grew tired of his condescending attitude. After all, didn’t he know that I was really the guy running the place? Getting up at 6am fool (when real turfheads get up at 4), how dare he also be my editor. I finally got it right. And there wasn’t praise for my efforts. There rarely was from him.

I found one of the drafts of that document tucked into a notebook years later. And after I read it in complete disbelief, I understood why he was so pissed. It was beyond my usual useless drivel. It was simple disaster on paper. Should said employee’s lawyer ever get his mitts on that particular version, I could just hear the question at the deposition, “Mr. Wilber, is English your second or third language?” It was absolutely that awful. I can’t believe I ever tried to defend it. Every time someone tells me that I’m a good writer, I want to send them that little jewel to prove that, like a big bicep, you have to develop a communication muscle by using it.

One of the things that I see from my fellow Turfheads is this amazing determination to say what they are not. Loudly. “I’m no Sweater Folder” or “I’m never going to be a Sandwich Maker” comes out of our mouths quite easily. In all kinds of ways, Turfheads spout what they are and proclaim what they will never be. Growing Grass is a career that requires so many things to so many people. So many hats to wear. And tin foil or no, there are things like waves flying through the air that must be adsorbed, used and then given back to the airwaves. Be it email, fax, voicemail, yelling, smoke signals at the crew lunch, superintendents are always communicating. So when a grass person tells me that they can’t communicate, all I can think about is that boss of mine. My desire is to send them to the pump house to try again because you may think you are in the grass business, but you really are in the people business.

Often, they would say something like, “Oh..that online forum thing is fine for you, but I’m not a good writer”. Please. Since when does sharing, talking, visiting, offering help or any other reason to interact require “good”?

I used to talk to a lot of people about the opportunities and avenues around electronic communication. Often, they would say something like, “Oh..that online forum thing is fine for you, but I’m not a good writer”. Please. Since when does sharing, talking, visiting, offering help or any other reason to interact require “good”? Hogwash. It’s just about doing it. Feeling it. Having a passion for it.

What am I getting at, really, you must be asking? Simple. In today’s world, you have to communicate. You don’t always have to do it with perfection, but you must show up at the dance.

  1. Members and bosses and co-workers and grandmothers use email, so should you. Period.
  2. You are reading a Blog. It’s short for WebLog. Keyword: Log. Keep one. No matter if you publish it or not keep a log of what you do. Daily if possible. You think you’ll remember. You won’t.
  3. It is absurd that TurfNet has so many lurkers. Really. Post on the forums. Share. You never know when you’ll say the perfect thing that will help a peer be peerless. Lurking is not cool. Jump in. There’s nothing worse in my book that a monday morning quarterbacking lurking critic. You don’t agree. Say so. You don’t like it, speak up. You love it, say it louder.
  4. Never let anyone else speak for you. Write for the club newsletter. Do a course conditions update for the Pro Shop counter to trump the assistant pro. Post a nice note above the Men’s Room urinals. Be the first and foremost source of info about your facility. Because you are more in the know, show it. Find a way.
  5. Develop talking points. There should be 3-5 things that you want to get across in every conversation, every communication. Think of them. Use them. Don’t get hijacked by someone else’s agenda. Use your own.
  6. If feel you need help with your writing, get help instead of not writing. There are plenty of people out there than love to help, love to edit, love to encourage those who want to use words. Find one if you need one.

>It’s time for you to love communication in every form!

~The biggest single problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.~
-George Bernard Shaw

6 Responses to “Git Yer Tinfoil Hat and Yawlp To The World!”

  • Randy Wilson:

    This is great. I feel like I’m playing on a team that just added a wild-eyed middle linebacker.

  • Great stuff Dave! I wish I could put into words what my blog has done for my ability to manage this golf course the way it should be managed. Communicating, doing it big, loud and consistently can bring a freedom to your job you never could have imagined.

    If you start a blog, twitter account or facebook page don’t get hung up on how many people are seeing it. Keep getting the content out there and telling people about it and they will find it.

  • Jim Alwine:

    Wonderful Dave!!! A favorite quote of mine, I have no idea who said this, is “Communication is the responsibility of the person who wants to communicate.” Superintendents have to be the driving force at their club to make sure the proshop, main office, maintenance department, and membership are all on the same page.

    To echo Chris’ comments, the blog works great. I just put my blog address on my business card and pass it out to members with questions, after I answer in person, of course.

    Great start to your blog!! This comment is coming from a reformed lurker, thanks for calling us out.

  • Steven Neuliep:

    Guilty as charged, although I am a relatively new TurfNet Member, I have only posted a few times. Enthusiasm is infectious and Wilber I gotta say you have it!! I vow to become a more participatory member and less of a lurker, as frequently I could have added something to a thread/idea but have not.

  • Dave Wilber:

    Guilty as charged, although I am a relatively new TurfNet Member, I have only posted a few times. Enthusiasm …

    Steven….Cool. I’m sure that you have something to say…just as you just did.

  • Jerry Coldiron:

    Great stuff and proper communication is certainly the ‘secret” to my success as supt. as well as my cross over to the dark side.
    At the end of the day I have coined the term in the Caribbean,,, “The Coconut Telegraph” in honor of our story teller friend “extraordinaire” Mr. James Delany Buffett 🙂
    Thanks for sharing and keep your thoughts coming, it helps challenge and make us all better!