Writers note: This will be the final post to this blog. I will leave it active till the New Year
I still remember the first time I turned into the driveway at Pheasant Run. I was blown away that such a nice golf course was actually considering hiring me to work there. That day was also the first birthday of my twin boys Liam and Luke. The story of my time at this golf course goes well beyond “just a job”.
When I was hired as the Assistant Superintendent in August of 2005 I wondered if this was going to be a good job. A wise man (Mark Sharpe-debate this one if you wish hahaha) told me that a job isn’t good, it’s the person who’s hired for the job that makes it good. I worked my tail off for 2 years and was promoted to Superintendent in late 2007. I’ve shouted from the rooftops about Pheasant Run and everything we’ve been through both good and bad.
I didn’t see myself as a “blogger”, “writer” or “social media savant” in those early years but somehow I ended up there. In recent weeks Superintendent’s at great golf courses are thanking me for what I’ve done. There are also those who disliked my approach for one reason or another. The turf industry is chalk full of great people who are driven by their passion for what they do. I too, am one of those people who loves the golf/turf industry. I did all I could to promote what Superintendents do and how we do it. If I’m guilty of anything it’s that I loved my job, the profession and the people who work in this vocation.
The fond memories of the many staff over the years I will carry with me for many years. I can list dozens upon dozens of great staff I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last 10 years. But, the great stories always seem to be the ones about the staff (I hired them. Of course haha) that were quirky, lazy, perpetually late and generally disinterested. It’s often been said that the movie Caddyshack is a great misrepresentation of golf course maintenance. But there have been a lot of days where Carl Spackler could have walked through the door at our shop and fit right in.
The 2015 golf season was my best as a Superintendent. The fruition of a lot of hard work, hardships and scathing golf forum reviews that drove me the last 3 years. I always felt I had something to prove and a standard to raise. I was alone blowing leaves this past Friday afternoon and with my head held high I was proud of the turf conditions I’m leaving for “the next guy”. I will walk out the door of the shop and drive out that long driveway for the last time as Superintendent this coming Thursday knowing I went out on top. That’s an amazing feeling!
It is quite possible that my three boys may miss the golf course more than me. Every summer Saturday for 7 years Liam, Luke and Ethan have been by my side watering greens, patiently waiting as I fix sprinklers or quite simply driving around making sure the course was ok. Those days were “our thing” and really created an eye opening experience for me. Liam and Luke were diagnosed with autism shortly into my 2nd year at Pheasant Run. The golf course was a happy place for them, which allowed me to not “sweat the small stuff”. Ethan LOVED seeing the geese, frogs, turtles, foxes, dear and on and on… His view of the golf course was that it was some sort of wildlife sanctuary or zoo. He also caught on by the end of this year that we always checked Highlands 1 and Uplands 1 greens first because “they were my life”. My boys grew up on the golf course, I’m hoping we can find a new passion next summer that can remotely match what we had at Pheasant Run.
My wife Judy has put up with a lot of crap over the years. Staying late for this, stressing about that (don’t even mention the weather), the constant falling asleep and never ending text messages/phone calls are just a small sample size of what the Superintendents wife deals with. She’s gone to important appointments without me and had to pickup sick kids from school because I couldn’t. Though this new job scares her she knows that I have earned the opportunity. Right to the end…behind every good Superintendent is an even better woman!
Lastly, to all of you who (for some crazy reason) followed this blog I want to say thank you. This platform has been wonderfully therapeutic at times and I legitimately loved posting on here. To my Twitter followers who followed my journey from @pheasantturf to @andrewhardyturf to @PRTurfUpdates thank you to all of you as well. I’m an honest guy (sometimes too honest) who really loved to have a good laugh once in a while. I never felt that “being in character” all the time fit me as a person or as a Superintendent. Some of my best friends in the industry have come from the Twitter community (my wife calls it online dating for Supers) and I’m not ashamed broadcast that.
On Monday November 16th I will board an early morning flight to Winnipeg for orientation with Brett Young. And with that my (and my family) new journey and next chapter begins.
For the last time…Superintendent Pheasant Run Golf Club