How about a little game? You up for it?
Here are the rules: You can pick 10 things to take out on the course with you every morning. And let’s say that they all have to fit in your utility vehicle. So 10 rather small things. And these will be the 10 things you have each and every day to do your job as a golf course superintendent.
Could you do it? What would they be? And by the way, choosing, say, Scarlett Johansson as your personal assistant to sit in the vehicle next to you is not what we’re looking for here. Sorry.
Here are my 10:
- Phone. Of course, a phone is now so much more than simply a device to call someone. You can text, email, shop, purchase and educate yourself. You can turn on sprinklers, locate a crew member and even check the security camera in your living room at home. You can post a maintenance update to your course’s webpage, take a photo of an unfamiliar weed or a disease on your greens you’re not sure about, or Facetime with your kids if you’re stuck at work for a long day. I hate to say we’re reliant on phones, but … we’re reliant on phones.
- Paint gun and can. Let’s consider these two items as one. For me (after the phone) there is no tool I use more on the course than the paint gun. From ground under repair to refreshing approach lines to correcting fairway edges, I’ve constantly got this guy next to me in the front of the cart.
- Two-way radio. In case you aren’t using cell phones to communicate with your staff, the old two-way radio is still an essential tool for getting hold of people immediately. And unlike the phone (unless you are sending out a group text), this is effective for getting a message across to several parties at one time.
- Superintendent tool. This guy goes under several names, but basically we are talking about the foldable multi-tool in the design of the old Swiss Army Knife. The one I use, the Superintendent Tool II from Par Aide, can pull a core, repair a ball mark and has a scissors, file and knife. Boo-ya!
- Shovel. I actually keep a couple of these in the back of the vehicle, one flat and one spade. You never know when you are going to need to lend someone a hand or maybe uncover a clogged catch basin. The tip of a spade is also great for quickly popping open those darn childproof valve-box covers.
- Bunker rake. I like to strap one of these in the back of the vehicle as well along with the two shovels. Touching up bunkers is just something I can’t stop myself from doing sometimes. Wish golfers felt the same way.
- Soil probe. Although I keep it in the vehicle year ’round, this little fella is used mostly in the summer, checking greens for dryness and making sure the hand waterers aren’t missing spots or, just as bad, overwatering.
- Pruner. This one is no doubt site specific. Some supers may not need this puppy, but many of us have a serious underbrush problem that can impact cart paths during the growing season. My site-specific problem happens to be blackberry stalks. Nice to have a weapon when you have time to go after these thorny chaps.
- Notepad and pencil. I know, the cell phone with its Notepad app probably makes the pad and pencil obsolete to many, so maybe I’m being a bit old-fashioned here, but I like writing down my thoughts and ideas as I tour the course in the morning.
- Coffee. We do start before the sun, after all. This one is nonnegotiable.
Again, your 10 will vary slightly from my 10. One super might add an irrigation repair toolbox, while another might have a Stimpmeter.
As a matter of fact, I’m curious what your list of 10 would look like. Anyone have 10 completely different ones? Shoot me an email (address below) if you’d like to share.
And thanks for playing!