Attention, all assistant superintendents: Do you want to stay an assistant forever? Or, do you aspire to climb the career ladder? Is your goal to one day be a superintendent at a desirable club?

If you answered no, yes and yes, keep reading.

Tailored specifically for aspiring superintendents who have their eye on bigger and better job prospects, the Green Start Academy took place Oct. 7-9 in North Carolina at John Deere Golf’s headquarters in Cary and factory in Fuquay-Varina, and the Bayer Technical Training Center in Clayton. The event was sponsored by John Deere Golf and Environmental Science, a division of Bayer CropScience LP.

It was an eye-opening event for the 50 assistant superintendents who came to learn exactly what it takes to become a superintendent and advance their careers.

Chris Dew, head superintendent at The National Golf Club of Canada, talks with Green Start Academy attendees about managing different personality types on the golf course.

Themes of the workshops, discussions and seminars at the 10th-annual Green Start Academy included the concept of self-marketing, how to effectively build a resume and cover letter, how to properly network, the right way to build relationships and how to best distinguish yourself from the hundreds of other assistant superintendents out there who also are looking to move up in the industry.

Or, as golf career consultant Carol Rau put it during one session: “If you don’t know how you’re different, you’ve already lost.”

Count Stuart Sheridan, second assistant superintendent at Capilano Golf and Country Club in West Vancouver, British Columbia, among those who came away with a whole new understanding of what it will take to attain the career progression he desires.

“The most valuable thing I learned from GSA was that separating yourself from other applicants for a superintendent position is key for succeeding,” Sheridan said. “Visit the golf course you’re applying to, learn about the club’s history, research the people (GM, hiring committee) who will be interviewing you and develop a plan for how you’ll succeed in gaining the position.”

Ed Ibarguen, general manager and PGA director of golf at Duke University, spoke about trying to find the perfect fit for an assistant’s next job. Among the many points he made was this: “Can you recognize your strengths and also understand where you need to grow in your abilities and skill?”

Ibarguen also explained the importance of maintaining a proper work/life balance. “I don’t want a super [who] works 12 hours per day,” he said. “I want someone who needs to spend time with [his or her] family, come to work, delegate what [he or she] needs to delegate and go home. I want someone who has work/life balance.”

Billy Weeks, head superintendent at the Duke University Golf Club, stressed that networking is a tool that you must have in your toolbox. “I can’t stress networking enough,” Weeks advised. “Talk to supers, ask for advice, get out of your comfort zone and promote yourself.”

So if you’re an assistant superintendent, career advancement is right up your alley and you want to make a name for yourself in the golf course industry while setting yourself up for future success, strongly consider applying for next year’s Green Start Academy.

Your career will thank you.